•Learn how to design for aging in place.
•Find out how to blend style and functionality.
An old adage says, 'With age comes wisdom.' And as many baby boomers reach retirement age, they’re proving that along with wisdom can come style. A prime example is this spa bathroom, designed by Midwest Living senior home editor Carol Schalla for the Meredith Corporation’s Design Idea Center at K/BIS 2008, which puts a fresh spin on accessible design.
“This space is all about aging in place, but it doesn’t look it” says Schalla. “I designed this … with the thought it was going to accommodate an empty-nester, baby-boomer couple. [It’s] a getaway space for this couple who wanted to start a new time in their life.”
For couples who like to relish the morning ritual--enjoying a leisurely bath, sipping coffee and watching the morning news--Schalla designed a space that can accommodate many activities at once. After all, baby boomers retire from work, not life.
At one end of the bathroom, shimmering glass lavatories rest on illuminated countertops, adding a touch of glamour. This sparkling quality is echoed throughout the room, from glass windows and tiles to the scrolled mirrors above each sink. Below each vanity, stools offer portable seating without taking up much space.
Glossy accents contrast with natural elements throughout the room. Rich cherry cabinets surround and separate the vanities, housing the coffee maker and TV. A tropical theme emerges from the blue print wallpaper, and makes its way to the tub, where indoor plants and leafy art prints add organic greenery.
Of course, central to any spa is a spacious tub for soaking away stress and muscle aches. Schalla took that idea literally, placing an Archer™ Comfort Depth tub in the center of the room, against a wall that effectively separates the bathing area from the toilet area for privacy.
The tub employs aging-in-place features, including a 15-inch deck, low step-over height and lever bath handles for easier operation. “We made sure the deck on the tub was quite wide and the tub itself is a low-rise tub” says Schalla. “That makes it easy for someone older to sit on the deck, easily lift their legs over and ease themselves into the bathtub.”
On the other side of the tub is the spacious walk-in shower, complete with multiple WaterTile® bodysprays, a DTV™ digital interface and convenient handshower. An extra wide opening accommodates wheelchair access, and a built-in bench allows for a seated spa experience.
See more of this bathroom: watch the video.
For more aging-in-place design ideas, explore the Green Mountain Ranch.