Home renovations typically make old spaces new again, refreshing their appearance and improving functionality. However, in some cases, these changes may be necessary rather than optional. Such was the case with a three-bedroom ranch house in Louisville’s Brook Hollow neighborhood.
Necessary renovation work
Bethany Adams of Bethany Adams Interiors explains how a Louisville couple’s health issues led them to completely renovate their primary suite.
“My wife suffered a debilitating stroke,” Adams told the Courier-Journal. “She needed help with all aspects of using the (previous) bathroom because it was laid out like a (typical) bathroom. What they really needed was help with her disability. It was a wheelchair-accessible bedroom, bathroom, and closet that was custom-built for the.”
She added that while accessibility was important, the homeowners also wanted renovations that reflected their style.
“They have a very modern taste,” Adams says. “They were remodeling the rest of the house in a very modern style. … They refreshed it with grays and neutrals and kept everything really modern and clean to blend in with the rest of the house. I was thinking about it.”
The first step to creating an accessible area was to do a little reconfiguration. Adams worked with Stefan Rumancik of Designer Builders to bring the space up to standard.
The homeowner had a bedroom without a window, so they relocated the space to what had been a guest room with an egress window. A new bathroom was built in what was once a closet. Now easily accessible from the bedroom.
custom designed shower
Of course, the renovated space included new features that not only looked great, but were also functional and accessible. In the bathroom, it was important to install an accessible shower, Adams explains. Homeowners had to be able to roll in with a wheelchair or walk in using a cane.
The flooring in the Slice River Rock shower was also chosen with this in mind.
“We specifically chose the floor tiles because they have a little bit of grip,” Adams said. “It’s a little rough so it’s not slippery, but it’s not very high, because anything over a quarter inch is a tripping hazard.”
A louvered teak screen provides privacy while a shower window allows natural light to stream in. Accented with a custom-made floating teak bench. A handheld showerhead is installed for easy access from the bench, and a heated towel rail keeps towels warm.
“(Everything) was set to a custom height so she could easily reach it,” Adams said. “And on the other side of the shower there’s a rain shower (for her husband). He goes to that side and she goes to her side, so everyone got what they wanted. ”
The neutral color of the vanity matches the color of the shower and attached bench.
“Although it looks like the vanity is floating, it actually rests on a floor base for added stability,” Adams said.
She added that the towel bar at the end of each vanity doubles as a handrail. The vanity is fully her ADA compliant. Anyone in a wheelchair can roll up and everything is within reach.
“And[Rumanschik]had the great idea of adding motion-activated under-vanity lighting,” Adams said. “If someone walks in or rolls in at night and needs to use the bathroom, a soft light under the cabinet turns on so they don’t have to fumble for a light switch.”
A TOTO washlet was installed in place of a regular toilet to increase independence, and handrails were also installed.
Fully accessible, the custom-made portion of the renovation also included a brand new walk-in closet.
“It’s a big, open space, so it has double pocket doors so (homeowners) can come in and out and (just) move around,” Adams said. The vanity in the center of the space was also specially designed to fit within her reach.
“It’s a pretty nice looking bathroom for a medical support (space),” Adams said. “I’m very proud. We won the (American Institute of Interior Designers) award.”
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nuts and bolts
House: This is a 3 bed, 3 bath, 2,300 square foot ranch home located in the Brook Hollow neighborhood of Louisville. Built in 1992.
distinctive elements:Fully wheelchair accessible floor plan. Discreet grab bar. Walnut cabinet. The entire wall of the shower is made of pearl marble. Custom floating teak bench with non-slip ceramic tiles. Polished nickel fixture for one-handed operation. Teak screens have been installed on the outside of the windows to ensure privacy.
applause! applause! Stefan Rumancik of Designer Builders. Burckhardt cabinet. Interiors by Bethany Adams.