We’ve been thinking about adding an addition which would include a much needed second bathroom and a larger bedroom. The house is likely to be the last one we own, and I hope to never have to leave it. While I have heard about universal design and aging in place for years, when it comes down to putting plans on paper, I have to say, it seemed overwhelming.
It’s our home so really, the so we need to design it around our needs. ADA doesn’t apply. We know what our needs our now, of course. We need some grab bars for balance and pulling up from a sitting position. So we definitely plan to reinforce around key walls, like by the toilet with 3/4” plywood under the drywall for the easy placement of grab bars. Then if needs change, we can move or add grab bars where they are most helpful.
It’s the “needs change” part that makes some decisions hard. Who knows what we might need in the future? What do you do now “just in case”. Especially if it adds costs or takes away from current wants and needs?
For the shower, well we’d love to have a roll-in 60” x 38” shower of course, but we just can’t fit it in. There’s only so much addition we can do. So the drawing now has a 48”x34” shower with a low threshold. We debated getting one with a built-in seat. I know others do this thinking they are doing well in planning for the future. However, not knowing what our needs might be, we decided it would be better to have it open and then get the type of shower chair that best meets our needs when and if the time comes. Maybe we’ll want a transfer bench or one with or without arms and back? Who knows? The built-in seat could potentially just be in the way. And we’ll put in the ¾” plywood all around so we can have many options for grab bar placement.
The other debate has been whether to add glass shower doors. For access, a curtain would be better as the opening can be larger. But glass doors could keep the floor dryer. Right now, we are thinking of trying to make our own weighted shower curtain and hope this keeps the floor dry! Glass doors are expensive, and it would be shame to remove it later.
I really want a deep soaking tub – so good for sore muscles! The tub we have now is also the shower. Even though it’s not very deep (making for not pleasant baths) it’s hard to step in and out of, even with the grab bars. A separate tub would be ideal.
Of course the problem with a deep tub is getting in and out. I did find a great article about walk-in tubs, “Walk-in Bath Tub: Your biggest Mistake?” which helped confirm for me that that is now what we want. This led me to this article “Getting In & Out of the Bathtub: Benches, Lifts, and Transfer Chairs”. So yes, access may be difficult for the deep soaking tub, but we’ll add a grab bar like this for now, and perhaps one on the side of the tub too, and hope we can save some money for a potential lift in the future.
Then too there’s planning for turning radius space and room in front of the vanity and shower, clear space for transfer by the toilet, how to get in and out the door and be able to have it close behind you. So much to think about it!
What are your ideas and suggestions for planning for future needs in building/remodeling a bathroom?