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What You Need to Know about Ageless Kitchen & Bath Design

What You Need to Know about Ageless Kitchen & Bath Design

You love your house, your neighborhood, your location. But your home may not meet the needs of your future lifestyle. You could buy or build a new house. But what if you choose to stay and make changes that will suit your future needs?

family serving dinner at a Galley workstation

An increasing number of homeowners are choosing to build their dream, while staying in the location that holds their family’s memories. Many are making renovation decisions now, while keeping possible future limitations in mind. Ageless design is not just for seniors; it is thoughtful and wise to consider the future for yourself, and, if desired, for resale.

Kitchens and baths are the most common areas to be remodeled, so let us examine some simple design ideas to consider that could impact your ability to stay.

In the bathroom, switch to a kitchen-height vanity cabinet and a comfort-height toilet. Create a barrier-free or low-profile shower threshold. Add strategically placed grab bars and a shower seat.

In the kitchen, choose drawers instead of doors or pullout shelves behind cabinet doors. The full access and single motion nature of drawers is the most popular option currently. A balance of different features is still preferred for flexibility in storage.

The design idea of a kitchen work triangle should be disrupted. Linear prep and cooking is more efficient. A large sink (e.g. The Galley Workstation) keeps the work contained and accomplishes prep, cooking, and serving in a single location. Designing the cooking surface nearby and linear to the sink, adds to this efficiency and keeps the turning and moving to a minimum. Also, fewer slips and spills should be expected.

Minimize bending and overhead reaching by keeping the microwave at or just below counter height. Microwave drawers are a good option for this very reason. Also consider a pantry cabinet with rollout shelves and perhaps drawers at the bottom. Choose appliances that have easy-to-read controls, soften counter corners to minimize bumps and bruises, and be sure your flooring choice will not be too slick when wet.

Standard kitchen clearances are generally 42 inches. If you have the space, widen your clearances. True universal design requires much more than that, but anything extra, even an inch or two, is an improvement.

If you want to keep your home, your memories, and your lifestyle, while preparing for the next stages of life, remodel using simple ageless kitchen and bath design to meet your goals.

How to Design a Bath Your Kids Won’t Outgrow

How to Design a Bath Your Kids Won’t Outgrow

Children’s bathrooms are absolutely fun to design! We focus on the details when we are designing a bathroom, and the kids’ bath is no exception.

Like many who are remodeling, you want this bathroom to last. You don’t want to get down the road a few years only to find your kids have outgrown their bathroom. We have three quick details you may have already considered for your kids’ bath remodel, but are worth mentioning:

  • Function: While it is fun and fulfilling to create the ultimate bath for the “little one,” design the functional aspects (such as the tub) not just for a small child, but also for the child as he or she grows.
  • Themes: Fun themes are great, but avoid purchasing permanent themed fixtures. Instead, introduce a theme using towels, floor mats, wall stickers, toilet seats and wall paint color.
  • Features: Some features that both a child and an older teen would appreciate are ample ledges or shelves in tubs/showers as well as soft-close cabinet doors, drawers, and toilet seats. Also consider conveniently placed small storage compartments for products used daily.

designing Kids Bath

How do you design a bath your kids won’t outgrow? Our top four considerations for a well-designed children’s bathroom are safety, ease-of-use, durability, and longevity of design. Let’s break the bathroom into sections and we’ll share our tips to make your kids’ bathroom functional for all ages.

Bathing

Opt for a shower with a tub. While tubs are not often used by teens and adults, it is usually a necessity for young children. Plan a tub that is amply sized for teens and adults down the road. Showering in an all-in-one fiberglass tub/shower is the most financially feasible option but can get a little claustrophobic for many.  Surrounding a tub with tile or solid surface adds design, character, and a little more elbow room.

Other features to consider in the tub/shower:

  • strategically placed grab bars to prevent slips and falls
  • a handheld shower head on a slidebar, or 2-wall holders (one high for the shower, one low for the parent who aids the small child in bathing)
  • a rod with a shower curtain rather than a glass sliding door allows full access when bathing young children

Toileting

Some brands offer a toilet seat with an integrated rim that is child-sized.  When the child outgrows the necessity for this function, simply replace the seat. Also, the toilet height is usually an important decision. While a standard height toilet provides ease-of-use for a young child, an adult height or “comfort” height is likely best for everyone else. Of course, a toilet can be replaced easily as the child grows or when the kids’ bath will be converted into a guest bath.

Hardware

Instead of privacy hardware on the entry door, use passage hardware that can’t be locked from inside for younger children. This can be easily changed as the child grows.

Washing up

The vanity height is often a concern when designing a kids’ bath. The old vanity height of 30” is no longer used except for special circumstances. Often a client will choose a height of 32”-34” so that it helps the child reach the sink and still is useful for teens and adults. Sometimes the adult height of 34½” is chosen for longevity reasons. The thinking here is that the child will have to use a stool for a season either way, so make the height of the vanity efficient for when they are through the stool phase and for when the kids are out of the house and the bathroom is converted to a guest bath.

Water and moisture issues

To keep damage at a minimum, consider using tile flooring and tile baseboard instead of wood.  Add plenty of floor mats to help avoid slipping. A suitable ventilation fan is a must to remove humidity from the bathroom. Humidity causes mold/mildew issues which can warp wood-made products and can damage many other products and surfaces.

Budget

How much should you expect to spend on a kids’ bath remodel?  A coat of paint and some new hardware can easily make the space appealing and will cost very little. A full remodel will cost much more. Often, the desired scope of work is not in sync with the desired budget of a kids’ bath. Since there are many factors to consider, the best thing to do is to meet with a design professional to help develop a budget.  Remember, a bathroom may be small, but there is no other room that is packed with as much product and labor per square foot of space. So meet with a professional to see if your thoughts for your budget will allow you to accomplish your project.

Designing a bath your kids won’t outgrow is possible! If you take these tips for longevity with you when you meet with your professional bath designer, you will be better prepared to fill your bathroom with products that will last. And remember, you will always be able to change the shower curtain, rugs, towels and accessories to accommodate their evolving style.

Tips for a master bath remodel you’ll love (Part 1)

Tips for a master bath remodel you’ll love (Part 1)

You have been scheming and waiting, perhaps doing other projects around the house that are more important first. Now it’s time to focus on remodeling a master bathroom.

This is a one-time remodel project, and you want to get it right the first time. We’ve partnered with many homeowners on remodeling a master bathroom, and in this 3-part blog series we’d like to share 12 best bath remodel tips with you.

So what are the characteristics that homeowners find most satisfying in their master bath remodels (i.e. what people love about their new bathrooms)?

Heightened Comfort

Consider a 34 1/2″ vanity, which is the customary adult height for a vanity. (The old vanity height of 30” is no longer used except for special circumstances.) Be sure to get a toilet that is a comfortable height for you. Toilet manufacturers may use the term “comfort height” which is considered the normal adult height. Also consider raising the shower valve and shower head to give you that luxurious rainfall effect.

Smart Storage

You want storage options that not only look great, but also allow for easy everyday access of product you use daily. If in the remodel you are tearing out the old linen closet, consider extra built-in cabinetry or baskets displaying rolled up linens.

Plug & Hide

If your design includes two sinks and can spare 15-18 inches in between sinks, look into a countertop cabinet with a lift door. With an outlet installed inside the cabinet, you now have a use-and-stash option for hair appliances, shavers, phone chargers and more. Why not hide all those appliances and cords?

traditional bathroom with lift door storage

Make it Last

Clean, simple lines combined with classic elements help a design withstand the passage of time. Color palettes evolve so incorporate color through paint, fabric and accessories. Do your best to avoid trends in product and design.

Those are just four tips for remodeling a master bathroom. Read Part 2 & Part 3 to get more tips for a great master bath that you will love for years to come!