Toto Washlet S300: adjustable water temperature and volume, warm air drying, air deodorizer, and more.
Jim Magnotta Toto Washlet S300: adjustable water temperature and volume, warm air drying, air deodorizer, and more.

Though many features of this accessible condominium remodel received attention during a parade of homes tour, remodeler Jim Magnotta of Magnotta Builders, in Lansing, Mich., says that the unusual master bedroom with its toilet really had visitors talking.

The design meets the specific needs of a client with limited mobility. Previously the client had to wake her husband during the night to help her to the bathroom. In creating the design, Magnotta found out that the client could take a few steps with the aid of her walker, which suggested that the toilet could be located near the bed. He briefly considered building a partition around the toilet but decided against it because it would be just one more barrier for the client.

Not having the toilet in the master bath also freed up space to accommodate a large accessible shower there.

Two grab bars are within reach of the Toto toilet, the bar across from the toilet also serving as a towel rail. The 8 ¼-inch by 19 ¾-inch compact sink can be operated while sitting on the toilet. A Broan Ultra Series light/fan offers quiet operation and a night light.

Though Michigan’s residential building code forbids floor registers closer than 3 feet to a toilet, officials granted a variance, allowing the existing floor register to remain.

All Access

Other accessible features in the condominium project include:

  • Tile floor — “no trip, durable, simple to maintain,” Magnotta says — throughout the first floor.
  • Three counter heights in the kitchen, including a 30-inch-high area that accommodates a wheelchair
  • A drawer microwave
  • A dishwasher that is raised 12 inches
  • Kitchen cabinets with drawers and slide-out trays

Aging in Place

Magnotta is a Certified Aging in Place Specialist and says that although he does a lot of accessible design work, this project is “the most thorough and aggressive” he has done.

He broaches the subject of aging-in-place with baby boomer clients and says that most of them do realize the advantages, frequently choosing accessible features for their bathrooms such as wider doorways, grab bars, sink vanities without bases, and roll-in showers.

In addition to raising awareness about the topic, another reason why Magnotta says he opted to include the condominium project in the local parade of homes tour was to “show that universal design does not have to be ugly or institutional.” —Nina Patel, senior editor, REMODELING.