by Paula Leslie, Managing Partner, Mankel Mechanical and Two Brothers Plumbing
My company recently remodeled my mother’s master bathroom. We made it mostly accessible for “aging in place.” We installed a no-barrier shower complete with grab bars and a fold-down seat and a comfort-height, elongated bowl toilet. She repurposed a sewing machine table as her vanity. Not completely by ADA standards, but if she were wheelchair-bound, she could reach the faucet and sink easily.
Now, she’s decided to remodel the guest bath, which has a tub-shower combo. She was thinking about installing a freestanding tub, which is a great fixture for a bathroom, but not so great when you are an aging woman who recently had a partial hip replacement. I tried to (gently) persuade her to look into getting a walk-in tub. I’ll be the first to say that walk-in tubs are not the prettiest fixture, but a bathroom should also be functional.
My mom’s next concern was the resale-value argument. I asked her when she planned to sell. The answer was, she wasn’t planning to sell and that she would live in the house until she could no longer. So we’re evaluating walk-in tubs. She’s chosen nicer faucets with updated finishes and a sink that isn’t the standard oval drop-in. Her master bath has this beautiful copper bowl vessel sink that sits atop the repurposed sewing table. It adds charm and individuality. I think we will be able to achieve the same in the guest bath.
My mom’s bathroom may not be your cup of tea, and that’s OK because you should have a bathroom that suits your needs and wants and reflects your personality. Although I don’t like to admit it, I’m aging too, so when I remodeled my master bath and bedroom I removed the tub and built a walk-in cave-like room with a seat. You may not like it, but I absolutely love it.
Stepping out of the box and into a cave, or a walk-in tub, isn’t all that difficult.