- One group sees the bathroom as a “quick in and out” bathing space. Users then return to their bedrooms to complete the grooming process. This is the typical approach when one bathroom is shared by several family members.
- Another group dreams of a bathroom that is both a bathing and a grooming center. Users stumble into the bathroom in the morning and do not emerge until they are ready to face the day – hair, face and nails in perfect order.
Wise designers also try to determine the grooming philosophy shared by the family. Do the prospective clients appear to be naturalists who are satisfied with a quick brush of their hair and a swipe of lip gloss? Or, do they appear to be people who purchase every conceivable beauty aid for sale? Do they tend to collect a variety of grooming aids or concentrate on a favorite few? Do family members share equipment or maintain private sets? Are the bathroom staples, such as toothpaste or toilet paper, purchased in large quantities or just as needed? Using the NKBA information gathering questionnaire will help obtain this important information.
Human Anatomy Considerations
Historically, bathroom design has focused solely on the space required for the three basic fixtures: the lavatory (sink), toilet (water closet) and bathtub (bathing pool) and/or shower enclosure.
Clients today clamor for a bathroom that is designed with people in mind – not fixtures. For example, when working with a small space, always consider whether your client is right- or left-handed. Provide the majority of countertop space on the right side if the client is right handed and on the left side if the client is left handed. When limited to a 36" to 48" vanity top, this information is crucial. Two small landing areas on each side of a centered sink are not nearly as useful as one larger space positioned to suit the user’s handiness.
The National Kitchen and Bath Association also has an excellent set of guidelines published for bathroom planning that includes minimum and maximum recommendations based on nationally accepted codes, as well as industry experience. Make sure you are familiar with them so that you have industry information when considering: standing space in front of a lavatory, tub or shower; wall space or knee space for using a toilet or a bidet; proper placement for bathroom accessories such as the toilet paper holder, grooming recesses in showers/tubs and grab bar installations.
Following are some key points.
In the Toilet Area: The toilet paper holder should be installed slightly in front of the edge of the toilet bowl. Smart designers specify a recessed toilet holder in a narrow space. When using surface-mounted toilet paper holders, the overall dimension of the accessory’s protrusion from the wall must be determined – to make sure it does not become an “accident waiting to happen.”
For the Bathing Pool Area: Although these guidelines have been long-standing, these are the areas I see continually overlooked.
- Realize the user needs to access the tub’s filler controls from outside the tub, and exit the tub with wet feet.
- The primary concern for ergonomically safe planning is the height of the platform, the distance from the edge of the platform to the interior tub and the left and right space for the user to be seated first, before swinging his or her legs into the tub.
- Ideally, tubs should never be recessed in the floor, should never have steps leading up to them and should be carefully positioned regarding the overall finished height based on the client’s stature. Wherever possible, tubs should be under-mounted, allowing for naked bathers to sit on an even-surfaced deck and swing their feet in. Non-skid floor surfaces outside of the tub area are a must. Keeping the controls to the front of the tub – but positioned left/right – as opposed to at the back of the tub provides safe accessibility.
In the Shower Enclosure: Many manufacturers can provide excellent details about how to create a shower that features a variety of water experiences. When we consider the human form in the shower, here are some key points.