2014 BLSJ MAME Award Best Feature
Marlton, New Jersey
Universal Design/Aging in Place
Tammy Collins Designer, CAPS
Cipriani Remodeling Solutions
Having physical limitations and being completely dependent on others for care does not mean that you cannot have a fabulous life and a fabulous bathroom. Designing for this wonderful family, I knew this space needed to be both functional and drop dead gorgeous. I needed to provide a universal design that not only worked for the client, but also the caregiver. It must, without a doubt, be aesthetically pleasing. I needed a perfect combination of form and function. The client had specific needs, but did not want them to be so pronounced in the design. The clients gave me a pretty loose creative leash with only a few restrictions. The objectives were to create more space without expanding the room, provide an open floor plan for wheelchair mobility, lighten and brighten the space, protect everything from water and provide lots of storage. One unique objective I had to resolve dealt with the clients’ ability to see her reflection. Above all else, the main request, “Please, don’t make it feel like a hospital.” All of these objectives added up to a unique challenge that I was eager to resolve.
For this universally designed bath, we needed to create an environment that could handle water, water everywhere, and at the same time provide a beautiful bathroom. Trying to maintain a dry bathroom meant I had to re-arrange the floor plan. By moving the toilet to the left wall, I could create a corner bank of cabinets which provided lots of storage, while also opening up the room. By reducing the depth of the base cabinets, it opened up the center of the room, allowing for complete maneuverability and easy access to the toilet. The clients’ ability to see her reflection and brightening the room had a solution from the same source – mirrors! I placed mirrors as the backsplash that are 14” high, with a few rows of coordinating accent tiles to finish the edges. These mirrors proved to be priceless in the overall aesthetics of the space. To complete this magical bathroom, the turquoise, chartreuse and light grey color palette blended beautifully to provide a warm, bright and beautiful color scheme. The light warm gray tiles created a neutral base that allowed for the turquoise glass tiles to rise to the occasion and take center stage.
In this project, solutions where revealed in many areas and they came with a big impact on the final aesthetic and function of the room. All of the objectives and challenges where achieved, and the result is a beautiful aesthetically pleasing functional space. Being able to reconfigure the fixtures within the existing footprint paved the way for the much needed open floor plan, allowing for the functionality of the space to be optimized for both the wheelchair and caregiver. Making the room completely waterproof was overcome by installing a waterfall Quartz counter-top at both ends of the cabinet runs. This type of installation proved to be budget friendly and provided a terrific solution to waterproofing the cabinetry. This technique had the added perk of being a visually pleasing treat. Another great solution came from a sunken linen closet. The decision to remove the existing traditional closet with a hinged door provided more functional storage with the pull out shelves. By tucking this cabinet away, it will stay dry. Providing new approaches to the waterproofing element and opening the space within the existing footprint allowed for an emotionally moving universally designed bathroom for everyone to enjoy.
I used some great products in this design. Some of my favorites are Cambria Quartz Darlington, Conestoga cabinets in a Crystal white with Pewter glaze finish, Kohler Rhythm stainless steel undermount sink, Kohler Forte fixtures and Hirsch glass tile in Turquoise.