WORDS Jennifer Cosslett
For the able bodied, the bathroom is as easy to use as any room. But for the disabled, it can be the most challenging. This was the struggle for Peter Aitken. After being diagnosed with Parkinson’s, Peter began to struggle with the limitations of his bathroom and needed a design that took into account the degenerative nature of his condition. After seeking help from Refresh Renovations Specialist & Project Manager, Alan Gemmill, Peter and his wife Sonia sat down to discuss their ideas.
“Trying to organise everything themselves would have added quite a lot of stress,” says Alan.
“My job was to make the process as smooth and as easy as possible for them.”
Aside from accessibility, the couple wanted to create a modern space that was functional without being obvious that it was designed to accommodate a disability. “Initially we contacted district health, but Alan came up with much better ideas for safety provisions while attaining the look that we wanted,” Peter says. In keeping with the couples desire to have less noticeable disability fittings, Alan sought out fittings from Goman, who specialise in this area.
It was also decided that the couple would need a level entry shower, which allowed easy access for Peter while also keeping the bathroom appealing to possible buyers in the future. Once the design had been determined, Alan transferred the ideas into a concept which allowed the couple to see exactly what their bathroom would look like and make changes if needed. “We used one of our architectural designers to put the ideas into concept drawings which formed the basis of the council consent application,” says Alan.
“Level entry shower systems are the most expensive to create. Therefore, the concept design was a vital element to ensure all of the desired elements came together resulting in a smooth path to obtaining a code of compliance certificate.” After the couple were able to see exactly how their design would look. The renovation process began. Tiles were the first deciding factor in the project.
A textured, non-slip tile was chosen from local supplier Reptiles, for the floor and a gloss tile on the walls to provide a reflection and a sense of a bigger space.
One of the more challenging elements of the renovation was cutting through the concrete floor.
“We had to cut out a 1500 x 950mm x 40mm deep section into the floor to accommodate the preformed Marmox level entry shower tray,” Alan says. “Using the Marmox tray was the best method to get the correct fall for the water to drain in the shower. We also had to cut some new channels in the concrete floor for the new bath and vanity locations.”
To get the best of both worlds, the shower was fitted with a ceiling mounted rain-head and diverter which added a stylish sense of quality to the room. The Goman fixtures blend in well and could almost be confused for towel rails, giving Peter the aids he needs while keeping the room looking contemporary.
In addition, a spa bath was fitted which added a luxurious finishing touch to their bathroom.
“Alan gave us exactly what we wanted and we are so very happy with the outcome,” Peter says.
“Disabled bathrooms can often look cold and clinical but Alan did a great job with the design and kept it looking modern and subtle and made the process as simple as possible for us.
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