Posts Tagged ‘UD bathroom’
What is a Peter Pan House?
It’s the opposite of a Lifetime Home. “Peter Pan Houses” are designed and constructed as if the occupants never change, and assume an “average person” of a typical height, weight, ability, mobility, vision, hearing, etc. In other words, you have to adapt to the house instead of vice versa. Depending on life, you might not be able to stay.
Unfortunately, most houses and neighborhoods built since the Second World War were developed this way, more up than out with narrow passages, sharp corners, and lots of steps inside and out (even on flat lots!).
Thankfully, regardless of your preferred style, houses can be designed and built to proactively emphasize efficiency, convenience, comfort and safety for anyone of any age or ability. A Lifetime Home is universally designed, the antithesis of Peter Pan Housing.
Lifetime Home Survey
I was on a mission and took six months developing the Lifetime Home Survey (LTHS), which was born of a single negative comment following a post class, feedback form. Without ever knowing his name, I still picture the disgruntled attendee with arms crossed, an engineering type who frowned the entire presentation.
His comment? “Didn’t give specific measurements!” I purposely avoided getting technical to reduce the likelihood of audience slumber; but, after reading Mr. Unhappy Engineer’s feedback, I vowed, “Metrics you want, measurements thou shall get!”
Call me obsessive compulsive but, with Mr. Unhappy Engineer’s scowl burned into my mind, what began as a simple checklist grew (out of control?) into a whole house assessment. I referenced 17 documents and architect teammate Charles Hendricks proofread the final product, what we believe to be THE most comprehensive Universal Design home assessment resource currently available on the web.
Spray Any Way
Maintain control and boost safety in the shower area, by including, not only seating (preferably built-in), but also point-of-use and multi-functional fixtures and grab bars. Avoid reaching, stooping or any strained movement which could cause loss of balance.
The shower head deserves careful consideration despite seeming like a natural place to save money. Don’t go cheap on this, flawless top performance is worth the extra expense, so too is low hassle cleaning (by spraying down the shower area). Ideally, get a fixed shower head that includes on a vertical slider bar an easy grasp, detachable handheld with a 6-foot flexible hose. (Look for wands with an on/off switch.) The single lever, water control should be mounted near the shower entry and 40 to 45 inches from the finished floor (43 inches preferred).
Slip-sliding, No Way!
Look at the picture. What is it? Any guesses? What if I told you it supports 250 pounds? Give up? That soap dish a grab bar. Would you have known if I hadn’t told you?
That’s the essence of Universal Design, done well it’s unnoticed. One of the main objections about installing grab bars, “It’ll make my bathroom look like a hospital or nursing home” is simply misperception based on where most people first saw grab bars (i.e. hospitals and nursing homes!). Because of aging Boomers, every major manufacturer of kitchen and bathroom fixtures carries a designer, universal line so these aren’t Granny’s grab bars.
Roll into the Wettest Room
Account for all life circumstances and achieve maximum accessibility by planning a roll-in shower. Design a universal shower usable by anyone including the space for a potential care giver or parent assisting young children. The absolute minimum shower space, whether insert or tile, is 36 inches by 36 inches and no more than a 1/2 inch curb, beveled to provide a tiny “ramp” rather than potential tripping obstacle. Ideally, you want curb-less (flush) entry.
However for a true roll-in shower, allow no less than 36 inches by 60 inches and ideally 42 inches by 60 inches, or better still, 48 inches by 60 inches. Also plan a seat or built-in bench inside the stall. Splurge on space to make your shower the most convenient and safe for lifetime use regardless of how life happens.