Families and their needs change, sometimes unforeseen, especially where disability craves accessibility which is one of many reasons to renovate your bathroom. Driven predominately by the need of accessible utility and informed by the existing Art Deco architecture of this residence, this inclusive bathroom design ticks all the boxes for safety, functionality and beauty. Read on to find out how accessible design can blend practicality with pretty.
We spoke with Heather Schwarz from Instinct Interiors about her design process for this exciting, highly bespoke bathroom renovation in Bentleigh, Victoria. Heather was very keen to share her passion for accessible design with us and she advocates that "playful, fun and stylish should be accessible to all, should it not?"
Throughout the whole design journey, from concept to completion, great care and consideration was given to every conceivable aspect of this project - with no stone left unturned. With a brief to create a serene sanctuary where a young man with special needs, who shares with his two younger siblings and his carer, can perform daily ablutions in a safe and beautiful space. This bathroom needed to be special.
It was important that the new design complemented the style of the home, with a subtle blend of tactile materials and a soothing colour palette informed by the buildings original Art Deco architecture and the clients personal taste. Heather visited Design 10 in Melbourne looking for inspiration before she began planning this bathroom design and she said the showroom is "well worth a vist as a new build resource for your renovation project. It is an amazing space!"
The initial focus was on creating spatial flexibility and access by opening up the existing cramped floorspace and eliminating the associated trip hazards that existed. Simplifying and streamlining this compact bathroom was achieved by removing an outgrown bath with its bulky tiled hob and creating a wider doorway entry.
Every millimetre counts in a petitely proportioned room like this to maximise efficient use of space and allow more access to all areas of the bathroom. The difference extra floor space makes for accessible design can be life changing.
This new bathroom design has significantly improved function and aesthetics by incorporating well researched and considered care products, including tapware, toilet and fixtures. The brushed gold Parisi Ellisse tapware and Nero accessories were selected to complement the Grohe Euphoria twin shower while evoking a sense of luxury in the space.
Curves are not only an original feature of this Art Deco home but are also more 'bump-friendly' which helps to minimise sharp edges and improve ergonomics to create an accessible, yet stylish, bathroom.
Another clever design element in this bathroom was the addition of a recessed ledge wall behind the toilet that continues along the shower, which acts as an inconspicuous, stabilising 'grabrail' when raising and lowering it's sometimes balance impaired occupant.
Much consideration was also given to the robust requirements of wetroom conditions, from the ceiling exhaust fan, cross ventilation via windows, to the non-slip floor and wall tiles. The custom-designed vanity and mirror cabinet have soft open and close storage solutions with concealed powerpoints installed.
There are also many other inclusions that you don't see, such as the reinforced load bearing studwall construction at predetermined key points for the future provision of grab rails, ergonomic soft curved nib wall, underfloor heating of the gently sloped floor towards a seamless tile insert shower grate, and a bidet toilet that sits within a 1350mm wide WC zone with ample room for the carer to assist with personal care needs.
No matter what the ability (or disability), it is so important to understand how our built environments are directly linked to our mental state and the influence that great design can have on our quality of life.
"A most satisfying outcome has been created here. This accessible designed wetroom is exceeding all expectations. Delivering in spades on all fronts, then some", comments Heather, reflecting on the impact this completed project has made for the occupants and carer in this beautiful home.
Image credit: Instinct Interiors