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Impressive, not Institutional

rganizations that monitor residential safety agree that the bathroom is the most dangerous space in the house and where nearly one-third of all accidents occur.

Bathroom safety should be a priority for everyone. Even minor water spills or wet towels on the floor are a potential cause of injuries, so bathrooms need to be especially adapted to provide a safe environment that minimizes the risk of injuries

A barrier-free bathroom has fixtures that are easier to use and enough space to make it easy to move from one function to the next.

For example, a walk-in shower can be built so that there is no line separating it from the bathroom floor and is drained by gravity with a slight slope towards the drain.

Bath and shower seats are special chairs that allow you to sit when showering or


They are rust-resistant, and use features like suction tips to keep them stable. All have strategically placed holes to keep water from gathering. Some seats offer back support for additional comfort and lumbar support.

A good, slip-resistant bathtub or shower mat may not be cheap at about $50, but it is one of the best investments a person can make against slip injuries.

A Single-Level Shower

Whether you call it a wet room, a one-level shower, or a curb-less shower, a shower design minus the tray or step-up, it is a stylish and contemporary design that is functional for all.

A person with limited mobility will greatly benefit from a “wet room” design, but anyone who loves a sleek, minimalist design can appreciate the clean lines and how it can create a sense of more space in a typically small area.

Although the task of building a one-level shower takes more planning, it is not as difficult as it seems. They key is to have the right system for the specific space, minimizing the need to cut through floor joists, or reducing the subfloor height. Shower base “formers” and waterproofing kits are available in sizes as small as 32-inches by 32-inches.

While many people will prefer the look of a door-less walk-in shower, during colder weather, a door will keep the showering space warmer. A frameless glass enclosure or shower screen will not take away from the looks of this open curbless shower.

Additional research may be required put together a list of knowledgeable contractors who are skilled at this kind of work.

Using a wet room system, waterproofing the entire bathroom floor, a spa-like environment that uses multiple jets is possible in almost any sized room. Multiple jets using a lot of water may be fun and luxurious, but it is also environmentally responsible to be mindful of water conservation. A single, hand-held shower saves water, and is forceful enough provide a good body rinse.

From a design perspective, in many ways, it is easier to create more elaborate tile patterns with an open shower because the bathroom embraces a more “continuous” space, not enclosing the shower.

An elevated or raised toilet seat is a device that attaches to the toilet and raises its level, making it easy to sit on and get off with minimal effort. These seats are bolted to an existing seat and raise the height between two- and five-inches (five cm and 12 cm).

All have large cut-out surfaces that are easy to clean and maintain, designed to be antibacterial, and will ensure a user’s comfort without compromising stability.

Another variation of the basic elevated toilet seat is one that has arms, providing the user with some extra support while rising from the seat.

A low water volume or dual-flush toilet is an excellent sustainable option.

A “comfort height” toilet is approximately two inches (five cms) higher than a standard unit, making it easier to stand up and sit down.

Some people of shorter stature find higher toilets uncomfortable to use, particularly if their feet don’t touch the ground. Still others complain that in absence of a “squat” position, it is more difficult to execute the intended function.

These benches are positioned two feet (60 cm) outside the bathtub, and two feet (60 cm) inside. The user will sit on the bench with their feet outside, then steadily re-position themselves to move into the tub.

An accessory feature of the transfer bench is a commode


A bathroom vanity design could be off-the shelf, or custom made, depending on the budget or any special requirements that the user may have.

A typical bathroom vanity height is between 30 and 36-inches (76 and 100 cm) high.

Some people might prefer a vanity that allows them to sit in front of the mirror. That type of cabinet design should have enough clear knee space under it. The plumbing pipes should be installed as far back towards the wall as possible, both to keep them out of the way and to avoid any burns from hot pipes.

The market offers a wide range of toilets, sinks, faucets, tubs and showers. It is important to select one that meets individual needs and preferences.

Many bathrooms have two sinks or washbasin areas in the vanity. A universal design approach might be to install them at different heights. The choices of countertop materials are seemingly endless and the huge range of cost will help you choose the most appropriate materials.

A faucet that is controlled by a single lever is by far the most convenient type of widely-used control, being the easiest to use by all family members. For both the bath/shower and sink, it is a much better choice than a control valve that must be turned, a task that is often difficult to do with wet or slippery hands. (Above photo: A wooden sink design by artisan Dan Tilden.)

A goose-neck faucet, while attractive and practical for providing a high space between the water source and the sink, will tend to splash back, even at a moderate velocity.

But nothing is easier than an automated faucet. Turned on or off by a motion detector or with a light touch (and perhaps, soon, by voice?), they have been a common feature in public washrooms for years, and finally, the technology has found its way into private homes.

Getting the temperature just right for your morning shower is now as simple as pressing a button.

An electronic shower control will allow each household member to personalize the water temperature and water flow. Each person selects a button that has been designated to them that determines the balance of hot and cold water in the flow.

This technological breakthrough will not only save energy, it will reduce the danger of hot water burns. Some models will even provide audible feedback of the selection.

Another important new feature in shower systems is a delay mechanism that will temporarily stop the water flow, allowing the user time to enter the shower without getting sprayed.

Materials and finishes

The bathroom is a space to be thoughtful and cautious when choosing materials and their finishes. Flooring materials must be slip-resistant and one of the best ways is to use small tile of two-inches or so, or even mosaic tiles, which come in various sizes.

Of course the room’s aesthetic appeal is important, so the goal will be finding that balance of looks and practicality.

Any bathroom flooring material should be a non-slip surface, or should have slip-resistant properties. For example, rather than large marble tiles on the floor, the many grout areas of a mosaic marble tile will make it a surface on which one is less likely to slip, and a much better choice.

In most cases, slip-resistance is

a property of the material’s natural or as a result of an applied finish.


These are not your grandmother's bathroom accessories. The towel bars and rings, shower shelves and toilet paper holders are all designed to support body weight and are, in effect, beautiful grab bars.

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