Project Spotlight: Accessible Bathroom Renovation

Our client, a Canadian Forces veteran wanted a bathroom that better fit his needs. He is wheelchair bound yet extremely independent, and it was important for him to remain that way. The existing bathroom was typical for a home 50+ years old. It was small and dated, and the tightness of this space made it very difficult for him to maneuver around in his wheelchair. Not only did he want to renovate it to make it more user-friendly, but he also wanted it to look nicer.

This was the first handicapped-accessible renovation we’d done, so the first step for us was to educate ourselves to the accessibility standards so we could make this space user-friendly for our client. We were pleasantly surprised at the large variety of products on the market for our handicapped and aging-in-place customers. It showed us that handicapped bathrooms can still be designed with look and function in mind.

Once we had a solid understanding of the products and standards, our first course of action was to improve wheelchair maneuverability. We “borrowed” a few feet from the adjacent workshop to make the bathroom larger. This allowed us to achieve the minimum turning radius so the wheelchair could turn and be clear from any obstructions and bathroom fixtures.

The bathroom doorway was widened to accommodate the wheelchair, and a pocket door was installed, which doesn’t require a swing radius. It is also fairly easy to open and close.

Further, grab bars needed to be incorporated into our design so the homeowner could easily transfer from his chair to the shower or toilet. From the construction point of view, we needed to ensure that there was adequate support behind the drywall to be able to screw in the bars.

A wall-hung vanity was installed, leaving space underneath for the wheelchair to roll.

The shower floor was designed to be level with the bathroom floor to allow our client easy access. To achieve this, we cut into the existing basement floor and lowered the floor and drains.

A folding bench seat was installed inside the shower, so that when he is using the shower, he can fold down and sit, and when others use the shower, they can fold it back up for maximum space. The hand-held shower on a sliding bar has the same dual purpose. It can easily slide up to accommodate others who wish to stand while taking their shower. The grab bar in the shower is unique as it doubles as a shampoo holder.

All in all, this was a great renovation project for us. We got to meet one of Canada’s veterans, become more familiar with the many accessibility and aging-in-place products on the market and make a dated, small bathroom much more pleasant and functional for one of our clients.

See more photos in our project portfolio.