Ahwatukee Master Bathroom Remodel
Greater Phoenix NARI Award Winning
Budget Range $40,000 – $60,000
This Ahwatukee master bathroom had worked for many years without any issues. It wasn’t until one of them had a stroke that the bathroom’s accessibility issues became a real problem. He had become less sure-footed, and often needed to use a walker. Suddenly, the 24 inch wide entry doors to the bathroom and the water closet became an obstacle to him as he used his walker. The shower curb seemed much taller and hard to step over. The shower itself was too small to bring in a chair to facilitate showering while seated. Their largest challenge was what would they do if he found himself needing to use a wheelchair in the bathroom.
Our goal was to resolve as many of their issues as possible by using Universal Design principles in our plan for their remodeled Ahwatukee master bathroom. Universal Design, as taught by the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, is based on “the idea that all residential environments and products should be easily used and accessed by all members of the family regardless of their age, size, or physical abilities – throughout their life span”. Using these principles, we set out to produce a beautiful master bathroom that would offer all of the accessibility and safety features our clients’ situation required.
The new bathroom design would need to improve the doorway accessibility , the shower’s function along with a seating solution and slip-resistant tiles that would also look beautiful. Both bathroom doors would need to be widened as much as possible. The water closet doorway would be simple fix by framing the doorway for a more accessible size. The entry door to the bathroom was wedged between a closet and another perpendicular wall making widening it a real challenge. The best solution was to install a pocket door to gain the widest clearance .
Our first thought was to open up the back wall of the closet to create a space for pocket door to fit inside the wall. This would have worked , but we ultimately decided it would be quicker and less expensive for our client if we added our framing and pocket door on the bedroom side of the closet wall. After the framing, we covered everything with new drywall to create our new and thicker closet wall. By completely recessing the pocket door, we were able to widen the door to thirty inches, providing much better access to the master bathroom.
Our next challenge was to create a beautiful, fully accessible shower . We wanted to make it as large as possible to provide seating and a barrier-free entry by recessing the shower pan into the floor. We considered doing away with the tub, but our homeowners were positive that they wanted to have a tub even if they didn’t use it.
In order to enlarge the shower , we basically started over. The existing tub was replaced with a more spacious and efficient soaking tub to gain space on the tub side of the shower. The entire wall that contained the shower’s plumbing water supply was eliminated from the other side to further enlarge our new accessible shower. Once we had opened up space on both sides of the original shower, we cut through the concrete floor below the new shower location to reconfigure the drain pipe and recess the new shower pan into the floor to create a barrier free shower entry. The floor of the new shower was installed with a drain with the proper slope to blend perfectly with the tile of the bathroom floor.
Tile floors are often a slip hazard. Our solution was to make sure that our flooring tile choices had the proper Dynamic Coefficient of Friction (DCOF). T he methodology used by DCOF Ac u-Test has become the new industry standard because it’s the most accurate way to determine whether or not a product is suitable for a commercial flooring environment, which holds a higher standard than residential flooring. Our focus was to bring these high commercial standards into our bathroom remodel to insure our client’s safety when using the floor.
The new tub was mounted inside of a box enclosure that was tiled to be waterproof and complemented the overall design of the new bathroom. The tub’s faucet fixtures were mounted to the front to eliminate the hazard of bending over the tub to access them. We also added a step in front of the tub to make it easier to use.
We mounted a folding teak seat inside the shower which maximized space for showering and also provided ample seating when needed. To facilitate showering while seated, we installed a hand shower that attached to a grab-bar located on the new water wall. All the fixtures used in the bathroom were chosen with levers and were placed in locations with ease of use as the primary goal.
The bathroom vanity was raised to a higher height of 36 inches specifically to add comfort for our clients to alleviate any discomfort from bending over for periods of time. The vertical tile work, as well as the other features and fixtures, were all designed to complement the overall beauty and function of our new accessible Ahwatukee master bathroom as illustrated in the following photos.