Monday, April 4

The Beauty Behind Barrier Free Design

Delta Universal Design
Zero Threshold Shower
I hear more and more kitchen and bath professionals talk about the importance in Barrier Free design, especially considering 40 million, or 12% of the American population is over 65 years old.  [read more here]  It is my opinion, and, the opinion of many other industry professionals, that every remodel should have some form of universal design incorporated.  Now this doesn't mean that every bathroom designed should have a zero threshold shower, but that it should at least include or incorporate bracing for the future placement of grab bars, easy to use faucets, comfort height toilets, etc.  According to the American Institute of Architects, demand for Universal design was down in 2010 from 2009, however is still a consideration for home owners when building their new home, 26% of kitchens and 44% of baths.  [read more here]  So while interest may be down, it is still something that home owners should be thinking about for the future.

Grab Bars to fit any bathroom
Some home owners I have talked to, feel that Barrier Free and Universal Design doesn't fit with the rest of their home, and that they don't want their bathroom looking institutional.  Many of them don't realize that Barrier Free isn't cold and institutional anymore.  With manufacturers creating grab bars and other accessories in more traditional and transitional designs and finishes other than chrome and white, it's easy to add them to any interior.  Even if you are in your thirties and don't have any need for a grab bar yet, they are still something great to add to your shower area, strictly because of the unexpected.  I have friends and clients in their twenties, thirties, or even forties, that have had an accident where grab bars would have been a great thing to have in the shower.  Imagine if you fell tomorrow and badly sprained your ankle.  A grab bar would be a great thing to just ease getting in and out of the tub or shower.  They are also useful to any female, for the sole purpose of added stability when shaving legs.  

Moen Single Hole Bath Faucets
How about a new Faucet?
When considering a new faucet, it is important to throw out that old faucet with the plastic round ball, and replace it with a lever.  Also, it is better if you take a single lever instead of one with separate hot and cold controls. There are thousands of options available, and in any design style and budget.  Another tip for picking out that great universal faucet, is how smooth and easy it is to control.  Imagine if you had Rheumatoid Arthritis, a great for you would be one that you could either control with one finger, or a wrist, something easy to use with out having to grab or hold.  Not only would one of these faucets be great for someone with arthritis, but if one were to sprain a wrist, break a finger, etc.  It's also much easier to control temperature with one lever instead of two.  

All of these are simple solutions that not only can be beautiful, but useful for anyone of all ages no mater what their limitations are, permanent or temporary.  It will not only help to enjoy the time spent in your new kitchen or bath, but also help with resale and value.