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incorporate principles of universal design into many client presentations. I find this transitionfocused style can lend itself to a contemporary bent. The bathroom is one space where everyone agrees that safety is extremely important. From lighting to shower styles, adaptations and products are available to keep the bathroom a safe place for everyone, all while looking current and chic. Zero-threshold shower bases are a favorite. These shower bases mimic European style and provide homeowners with a seamless and beautiful finish. Flush with the bathroom floor, they often feature a trench drain to contain water in the shower area. The design allows for easy access by foot or wheelchair. A slip-resistant, textured floor can help protect against possible accidents. In the shower or tub, incorporating grab bars for support, a ledge or seating area for ease in getting in and out, and night lighting can all be functional and decorative choices if cleverly designed. Manufacturers now provide homeowners with more design options and flexibility, including universal products that coordinate well with existing faucet and shower fixtures. Designers use creative tricks to make these products work. For example, to increase visibility we may offset the vanity’s finish with the countertop color so it is easier to distinguish between the two. There are many universal design options available and guidelines have been established relating to each. I feel strongly that each situation should be assessed on an individual basis. As a designer, I work with my clients to take into account the parameters of space, budget and style priorities. If all of these needs are met, the resulting spaces are beautiful and efficient. Most importantly, they improve the convenience, safety and independence of all household members, making it possible for more people to age in place.

April/May 2013

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North Sound Life / Bellingham Alive April-May Issue