Accessible Design: Bathroom and Ramp

Nina’s Bathroom and Ramp

Finished ramp to zero-clearance front entry.

Finished ramp to zero-clearance front entry.

"Before" - Design consultation with owner.

Design consultation with owner.

Having a number of friends visiting their home who were wheelchair mobile and finding themselves, occasionally, with ambulatory challenges, the homeowners wanted a solution that would make entering their home easy. There were many details needing to be addressed, including multiple elevation changes addressing the steps and front porch and the modification of the existing security gating. Having a modest budget, a wooden ramp was the ideal option.

The wooden ramp with handrails was designed with the correct slope, making rolling access, within ADA specifications, easy. The homeowners chose to anchor the look of the ramp to their home with a little colorful purple whimsy.

Nina's bathroom before renovation

Before: Narrow hallway leading to bathroom, showing all items needing proper storage.

Having a brand new, zero-clearance entry into their home, created an unexpected issue within the house for wheelchair mobile visitors: bathroom access. This is quite usual in homes where doorways into bathrooms are commonly narrow, making wheeled mobility impossible. In the case of this home, the bathroom, in general, was fairly narrow but could handle most wheelchairs once they passed the doorway. The trick with expanding this entry was working within the inches that were actually available without venturing into significant hallway modifications. This was creatively managed with the addition of the use of off-set hinges, a door framing adjustment and the doorway was expanded from 27” to 34” of clearance.

The fixtures in the bath: the sink, the deep tub/shower with accessible valves, easily cleanable surfaces, appropriately placed handrails, towels bars, storage cabinet housing bathroom necessities, new lighting, expanded electrical service and new flooring all came together, creating a pleasant and reasonably accessible bathroom for the homeowners and their guests.

Finished bathroom.

Finished bathroom.

Seamless Tub/Shower with safety built in.

Seamless tub/shower with safety built in.

Ideal bathroom storage

Ideal bathroom storage

From the Client

[Molly and Jeramy] were very patient in analyzing the problems, such as making sure that an extra-wide wheelchair could maneuver in a small bathroom, and designing practical solutions within our budget…They could always be reached when we wanted a design change or hardware adjusted, and were pleasant and friendly about making changes. After a couple of years, people still admire the ramp.

Molly and Jeramy designed two jobs for us, a front-door ramp and a complete bathroom remodel. The house had never been ramped before. Almost every bathroom fixture was worn out, from the bathtub to the toilet paper holder. Since we had no relevant experience, we needed help with every phase, beginning with figuring out exactly what we wanted. They were very patient in analyzing the problems, such as making sure that an extra-wide wheelchair could maneuver in a small bathroom, and designing practical solutions within our budget. They researched the best hardware for everything we wanted, went with us to showrooms, and picked up some items for us. They recommended a contractor and subcontractors, and supervised the ones we hired. They could always be reached when we wanted a design change or hardware adjusted, and were pleasant and friendly about making changes.

After a couple of years, people still admire the ramp. We are very happy with both the ramp and the bathroom, which still seems lighter and more spacious than before.

–Nina