KBB - January 2015 - (Page 34)

UNIVERSAL DESIGN A Perfect Blend of Safety and Aesthetics Today's accessible bathrooms don't have to look uninviting and institutional There is a widely held misconception pervading all generations that safety features in bathrooms lack aesthetic appeal and appear institutional. Many people have an almost visceral reaction to the thought of installing safety products such as grab bars because they perceive them to be solely designated for "old people" and are often in denial about aging themselves. However, it is possible to create a bathroom that is functional, safe and aesthetically pleasing with the principles and goals of universal design. The objective is to design spaces that are beautiful and comfortable, as well as less hazardous - no matter the size, ability or age of the users. Many clients desire a cool, trendy bathroom with the latest styles and finishes. Others want a spa look and feel, but they also need ample storage and to stay within their budget. Develop ideas and designs to fulfill your clients' requirements while deciding which universal design features to incorporate so their bathrooms will be secure, efficient and striking. Utilize words and phrases that would appeal to your clients, such as "spa shower" and "light and airy." Educate them about universal design and how it will benefit them, and explain that even guests will be able to function well in the room, no matter their abilities or disabilities. If a client has had hip, knee or foot surgery - or just wants to age in their home independently - universal design features and products offer many great advantages. Unfortunately, many people find out too late how much incorporating those beforehand could have helped. Natural and Aged Appeal Of the universal design principles and goals - which were formulated by Ron Mace and Ed Steinfeld, among others - several address safety: * Flexibility in use * Ease of use * Minimizing hazards * Requiring low physical effort * Size and space for approach and use * Comfort * Wellness Flexibility in use deals with the range of different users. Bathrooms can have vanities with kneeholes that provide legroom for seated or standing users. Design the bath so a right- or left-handed person can use any vanity or single-mount faucet. A single-lever faucet on the side to avoid reaching across the sink is especially helpful for a short person or someone who has had a stroke and is limited to the use of only one side of the body. Hanging vanities can be hung at any height. 34 + K BB With simple and easy-to-use features, everybody can use the space. Storage functions best at point-of-use, exactly where it is needed and accessible. A pullout or bank of drawers makes it easier to reach stored items. Replacing a linen closet with a tall cabinet with pullouts gives added storage space that is easily accessible. A pullout step in the toe kick of the vanity makes it easier for smaller children to reach the sink faucet without climbing on the toilet or on top of the vanity. Install eye-level lighting next to the vanity mirror, as overhead lighting can cast stark shadows onto the face. In the shower, position a bench with a handheld showerhead with its own controls within easy reach for the elderly, persons recuperating or those with traumatic injuries to easily transfer from a wheelchair. Minimizing hazards, such as slipping perils, is essential because the primary objective should be making the client's bathroom safe. Good lighting aids in seeing what one is doing, lessening chances of falling and injury. * Tubs and showers are areas where a majority of accidents happen. Tubs should have a wide enough rim on which to sit and lift the legs over and into them. The wide rim also makes it easier to Figure 1. An example of a tub transfer from a mobility aid. with potential fall hazards * Look at some shapes of today's trendy freestanding tubs. Any person might struggle to lift a leg high enough over the lip without losing their balance or catching a toe and falling. The sliver of a rim gives no space to sit and pivot. These tubs are sleek, but are they safe? Another risk concern is positioning a tub on a platform with steps leading up. This tub area is potentially hazardous, especially when wet (Figure 1). * In the shower, a grab bar is helpful for a bench user or a standing user to reach if dizzy or falling. Grab bars are often thought of as only for the elderly or infirm, but anyone can slip and fall. Nowadays you can find many that are attractive and functional at the same time. Decorative grab bars fit in seamlessly with the other plumbing and can double as towel bars, soap dishes or toilet paper holders, as well as complement the hardware. * Removing the trip hazard at the shower threshold aids a wheelchair or walker user - or even an elder worrying about entering the shower. January 2015 / www.kbbonline.com / The Official Sponsor of KBIS www.kbis.com http://www.kbbonline.com http://www.kbis.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of KBB - January 2015

Contents
Online Contents
Editor’s Note
Show Director’s Note
People & Places
Dealer Dish
Tech Savvy
Business Practice
Sustainable Design
Universal Design
Solutions
Favorites
Before and After
Industry Outlook
KBIS 2015 and Design & Construction Week
Trends
Products
Design
Living Joyfully
Bittersweet Symphony
The Glamorous Life
New Lines, New Look
Learning Corner
Last Word

KBB - January 2015

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