As people are considering renovating their home or parts of it, the spaces that get priority seem to be bathrooms and kitchens.
I see a great increase in demand for making spaces safe and accessible, as people are thinking of their future. Many plan to stay in their current homes for as long as possible. The right kind of design can future-proof spaces like bathrooms for almost any situation.
CAPS (Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist) is a designation recognizing a person who has studied, taken in-person classes and passed the tests for making spaces safe, accessible and more for anyone with limitations or challenges. Such needs may arise from an accident, progressive illness or simply natural aging.
As a CAPS designer, my knowledge goes beyond ADA (American Disability Act) and Universal Design requirements.
We focus on finding solutions for specific needs for each client to ease their maneuvering in their space safely. There’s not a one-solution-fits-all approach. Each person varies in size, proportion and their life situation. For instance, safety-bar heights and locations vary from person to person.
There may be some limitations, such as budget or structural issues, for making a space completely accessible. However, we make the best effort to achieve the maximum benefits for the client.
One specific sector in CAPS studies focuses on Adaptability, which is planning ahead for design modifications that might be necessary should there be a life-changing event in a resident’s life.
In our recent master bathroom renovation project, featured here, a dividing wall was removed, as well as the second small vanity. These changes opened the space for additional storage, such as a linen closet with pullouts and open shelves for towels and accessories, and allowed enough space for wheelchair maneuvering (if needed).
A new tub with integrated handles and grab bars on the walls was installed to make it easy to enter and exit.
The shower was equipped with a built-in shampoo niche, grab bars on the walls, and single shower head operating as a fixed (magnet) or handheld option, with five spray functions to choose from.
A removable folding shower seat was a perfect choice for this project. And a comfort-height toilet was installed with the adaptability to add a Washlet (a toilet seat with a water-spray feature) if desired later.
LED sconce lights at the new vanity are controlled by a dimmer switch. General LED lighting is controlled by separate switches as individual lights or groupings.
The bathroom also has a new quiet fan for air purification and moisture control.
All tops, sills and the shower curb are easy-care quartz.
The large single vanity has plenty of storage in easy-access drawers. One side houses a hamper. Wall cabinets have space for electrical gadgets and toiletries so they don’t collect on the counter.
The vanity was designed and made with adaptability in mind. The lavatory base can be modified for wheelchair access, should there be a need for that later. A second set of doors was made for that purpose.
This bright, light and timeless spa-like master bath, with its easy-care finishes, is safe, practical and beautiful—more than the client expected and a space that can be enjoyed for years to come.
— Riitta Ylonen