Designed Within Reach

Dennis Mason has used a wheelchair since he lost his legs in the Vietnam War. His natural athleticism allowed him to navigate a standard bathroom for many decades. Now in middle age, Dennis, along with his wife, Juliette, asked Dean Johnson of Green Construction Services, in Lakeland, Fla., to help them reconfigure the space last year. The new bathroom includes a sink and counter set at 34 inches above the finished floor that Dennis can roll his chair up to, along with a wall mirror that tilts at an angle to suit his needs. Handy shelves and drawers beside the sink solve the storage problem that often plagues accessible sink set-ups.
Chris Usher for AARP Designed Within Reach Dennis Mason has used a wheelchair since he lost his legs in the Vietnam War. His natural athleticism allowed him to navigate a standard bathroom for many decades. Now in middle age, Dennis, along with his wife, Juliette, asked Dean Johnson of Green Construction Services, in Lakeland, Fla., to help them reconfigure the space last year. The new bathroom includes a sink and counter set at 34 inches above the finished floor that Dennis can roll his chair up to, along with a wall mirror that tilts at an angle to suit his needs. Handy shelves and drawers beside the sink solve the storage problem that often plagues accessible sink set-ups.

  For clients who use a wheelchair, nothing beats a bathroom sink with legroom underneath. Without such a sink, a wheelchair user must roll sideways up to a cabinet and employ an awkward, potentially painful body twist just to use the faucet. But an accessible sink lets wheelchair users experience a level of ease performing simple hygiene tasks that the able-bodied among us take for granted. With such a noble function, however, form often gets short shrift. It doesn’t have to be that way. We show that accessible sinks can be both handy and handsome.

82% Respondents with a full bath on the main level of their home. 43% have a half-bath on the main level*

“Home and Community Preferences of the 45+ Population,” AARP survey, November 2010

Emory Baldwin
Emory Baldwin
 
Lock & Roll
When architect Emory Baldwin designed a Seattle house for his family, he thought of both current and future needs. Though the family is young and able-bodied, visiting inlaws — who may one day move in — need an accessible environment. Baldwin designed the ground fl oor for wheelchair accessibility, including this bathroom. When wheelchair users visit, the vanity cabinet rolls out of the way on its lockable casters. The house won an AARP/NAHB Livable Communities Award for its intergenerational focus.