When William J. Patrick renovated a 100-year-old building to create new office space for his Lancaster, Pa., remodeling company, he had the future in mind. Not only was the office going to house his company's day-to-day operations, Patrick also wanted it to be a showplace of craftsmanship and a real estate investment that would grow through the years. That thinking filtered down to the tiniest detail and even extended to the bathroom, which Patrick created as barrier-free and ADA-compliant. “We're always trying to design with a barrier-free approach so that people can age in place,” Patrick says. So it made perfect sense to do the same in his office.
The bathroom boasts a smooth, flat entrance, a 5-foot-diameter floor space, a 17-inch ADA-height toilet, blocking in the walls for grab bars, a high sink with 34 inches of clearance for wheelchair accessibility, levered door handles, and a special lock to accommodate a weakened grip. “The lock was the toughest thing to come up with,” Patrick says. “We wanted something that matched the rest of the hardware in the house.” (He hit pay dirt in a specialty hardware store). The extra features, including more floor space —which translates to more tile and other materials — added about $3,500 to the cost of the bathroom. Patrick views the additional investment as well worth it. In addition to garnering compliments from clients, the accessible bathroom means that “if we ever move out, the unit is more attractive to a wider market of future tenants.” — Christina Breda Antoniades is a freelance writer based in Baltimore.