*Sponsored Post in collaboration with VictoriaPlum.com*
As you know my blog and recent Instagram photo challenge #inclusivechic is all about trying to find that great balance between things that are safe for Mr Wheel Chic Home but also appeal to my interiors sensibilities. I’ve been amazed by the creativity out there from individuals on the hashtag to have a lovely inclusive home. Also it’s enouraging that more brands, hotels and architects to actively looking at ways to integrate inclusive or accessible features into a family home for everyone to use. It’s comforting to know that ‘hospital chic’ isn’t our only option any more.
Sadly those with disabilities often have an option between cheap hospital chic or expensive designer options. Their Independent Living range is not only suitable for all budgets, but also looks great and suitable for the whole family.
This example is a gorgeous on-trend bathroom which looks like something we’d all be happy to have in our own home:
If you look closely you’ll see the the grab rails, shower seat, level wetroom shower and an almost invisible pull down bar by the toilet. In fact this is their Jacuzzi Independent Living Complete Ensuite set – and it’s a great price for the whole suite – the additional decoration shows how it can be incorporated into a room to suit your own style and have a room we’d all love to use. Remember too you might qualify for a grant to help pay for this.
I also love how the sink is wheelchair accessible and the taps have large handles which are great for people with dexterity issues or arthritis in their hands. Does this look like a ‘disabled’ bathroom to you? That’s because it’s a clever inclusive design.
The very keen viewers amongst you will also spot the shower switches are outside the space, allowing the shower to get to the right temperature before you get in.
I’ve written a lot about accessible bathroom ideas before, but what I really wanted to do this time was to learn more about the design process behind an Independent Living Bathroom and I was please to be able to chat with Nicola Kingston, a Visual Stylist at VictoriaPlum.com to learn a little more:
WCH: Where would you start when it comes to designing a bathroom for someone with a disability?
Nicola: Understand the disability. You want to know the things in day to day life that can be difficult and what they may need assistance with.
Appreciate some people may not wish to talk in depth about the difficulties they are facing in the bathroom, so it’s your task to understand them without having to ask.
Read blogs or look up independent bathroom ideas for help. VictoriaPlum.com have a full section of their website dedicated to designing bathrooms for independent living and a range of products to make them easier to create.
Gradually work your way around the bathroom, one element at a time.
- Start with basins; do you need easy-to-use taps, contact-less taps or simple lever taps?
- The shower; does this need to work with a voice-activated system like Amazon Alexa? Can it be pre-set on a mobile app?
- Do you need to fit the shower head at a particular height, install a shower seat for ease or add contrasting black levers so they are easier to see?
All these things must be considered.
WCH: What’s the biggest challenge when converting a bathroom to one that’s accessible?
Nicola: The biggest challenge is always size. If you have a normal sized bathroom, it can be difficult to find space for these added extras. Sometimes you may have to compromise.
Would a walk in wet room be easier to use and more functional then a step in bath? Would more space around the toilet for grab rails be more effective then that extra space in your shower?
My top tip is to always make use of wall space and keep things organised for ease of use. There are some lovely slimline heated towel rails on the market now and some beautiful compact furniture.
WCH: What’s your top tip for keeping a disabled bathroom functional and stylish?
Nicola: Pick a style. Just because your bathroom will have the odd grab rail or assisted seat doesn’t mean it can’t be stylish!
There’re many interesting products on the market, so don’t let your style slip. If you want bright yellow metro tiles, geometric floor tiles or rose gold accessories—go for it!
WCH: What recommendations do you have for creating an inclusive bathroom used by everyone in the family, including a someone with a disability?
Nicola: There’s nothing stopping you from creating a bathroom which is both suitable for the family but also for a disability. Start with style. Work out a style that suits all, be it monochrome, neutral or bold and creative.
List the products you need and if one isn’t suitable, just pick a happy compromise. There are so many products which help with a range of disabilities whilst having the same functions as any other products on the market.
Fit a walk in bath with side door so you can still take that long soak whilst keeping it accessible.
Add a foldaway chair so it doesn’t limit shower space for others. Grab rails aren’t just practical for disabilities—they can come in handy for everyone at bath time.
Nicola summarises it perfectly:
Always remember, just because one member of the family has a disability doesn’t mean your bathroom can’t have style or function, you just need to select the right products for that space.
Thanks to Nicola Kingston for sharing her design process and giving me some tips. I particularly love the idea of using Alexa or a similar speaker to get the shower started for you, especially on cold winter mornings! Great idea, whether you have a disability or not! That really qualifies for #inclusivechic!
For more details on their Independent Living range, click here to take a look at all the options.
*All photos in this post are courtesy of VictoriaPlum.com