People of all ages who have mobility challenges need remodeling options designed with universal access in mind. While many kitchens and bathrooms are both aesthetically pleasing and functional, some designs are not safely navigated by people with mobility challenges. A bathroom or kitchen designed with functionality in mind is vital for people who live with mobility issues, and remodeling is an easy way to redesign a familiar space to provide both access and comfort. But, mobility redesign is not just about functionality; remodeled bathrooms and kitchens don’t have to sacrifice style or elegance to be accessible, and a remodeling professional in Livonia can create a design plan that works for every user.
One of the major benefits of working with design professionals is their skill in customizing rooms to suit homeowners’ needs and desires. A remodeling professional can help design a kitchen perfect for seniors, or recommend elegant vanities in master bathrooms that allow for wheelchair access. Remodeling for universal access requires prior experience, close consultation with homeowners to understand needs, and importantly, attention to detail.
Experience and consultation
Remodeling a space to meet mobility needs is a challenge that is best met by an experienced design professional. Choosing a remodeling designer can be tricky, but one of the best measures of a professional designer’s work is a visual portfolio or photo gallery showcasing the designer’s prior work. Reviewing the portfolio of past projects allows homeowners to see the best work the designer has done to date, and evaluate whether the look and feel is right for them. Aesthetic impressions are important, and homeowners should look for a designer capable of producing different types of top-quality finished looks, as well as several that appeal to them as inspiration for their own remodel.
A professional remodeling designer can discuss what elements of each portfolio design appeal to homeowners, and then work with them to develop a design plan, project timeline, and detailed project budget.
Understanding mobility challenges
A remodeling design professional will work to understand the mobility challenges faced by each individual homeowner or user, and design a space around those specific needs. A homeowner who uses a wheelchair may have vastly different access needs than a homeowner who uses a walker or cane, and a skilled designed professional will take careful inventory early in the planning process of all intended users’ preferences, capabilities, and tastes. Mobility needs will be discussed with each user in detail so that all users’ expectations for mobility can be met. A walk-in shower may be just the remodeling detail needed for a wheelchair user, and may also be a good choice for other family members; a design professional can recommend just the right granite, marble, or porcelain tile to turn the space into a functional, elegant, relaxing haven.
Attention to detail
A design professional will understand all specifications required to create a fully functional space for individuals with mobility challenges. But equally important is the design aesthetic; a homeowner’s unique tastes should be incorporated into any redesign to ensure that the new space is not only functional, but aesthetically pleasing.
While universal design will accommodate users in wheelchairs, it can also make a bath or kitchen area more comfortable for all users without sacrificing style. A remodeling professional in Livonia can help to ensure that the right features and details are included in every redesigned bathroom and kitchen space.
Remodeled bathrooms designed for universal access present design challenges, but also aesthetic opportunities.
- Planning for space needs. The priority in bathrooms designed for those mobility issues is plenty of room for maneuvering and access. Barrier-free bathrooms may need to be larger than average; an open area within the bathroom at least five feet in diameter will allow for easy turning. Four feet of clear space in front of vanities and tubs may be required for wheelchair access, and if both the sink and toilet share the same wall, four feet of clear space between them will allow room for access and a caregiver, if needed. Entrances should be three feet wide if a wheelchair will be passing through, and the door should swing outward rather than inward to allow for maneuvering. In small spaces, a design professional may recommend a pocket door.
- Selecting fixtures. Bathroom doors should be fitted with a lever-type handle for wheelchair users. Vanities and shower stalls can be specifically designed for use from a wheelchair; a shower stall should have no threshold that would impede a wheelchair’s access. Shower heads and controls should be installed at two different heights to accommodate multiple users, or should include a hand-held nozzle. A built-in shower seat and grab bars beside the shower, tub, and toilet can provide extra utility and comfort.
Kitchens are typically bigger than bathroom spaces, and can be easily redesigned with the needs of several users in mind.
- Planning for space needs. To optimize mobility, work aisles and passageways should be planned to accommodate walkers, canes, wheelchairs, or other mobility tools. Work aisles should be at least three to four feet wide if accommodating a wheelchair. Built-in seating, kitchen islands, and cabinets should be designed to provide room to maneuver, including room to turn and back up. A kitchen design plan for wheelchair use should provide knee space for a seated user below or next to all appliances and fixtures, including dishwashers, sinks, cook tops, ranges, and refrigerators. Knee space under counters may need to accommodate a seated wheelchair user.
- Selecting fixtures. Built-in seating may be designed to allow wheelchair users to pull up to the seating area, and if more than one user with mobility issues will be navigating the space, all mobility tools should be accommodated.
A kitchen remodeling design professional in Livonia can recommend beautiful cabinetry, appliances, and sinks designed for universal access, as well as accents such as door handles and cabinet pulls that provide mobility-oriented solutions. Elegant tile backsplashes and high-end task lighting are must-haves that provide luxury and comfort for all.
With the right plan and the right professional remodeler, a bathroom or kitchen plan designed for universal access can be functional, budget-conscious, and absolutely gorgeous.