2021 Master Design Awards: Universal Design

by Kyle Clapham

The Art of Access/Mikiten Architecture

Berkeley, Calif. | mikitenarch.com

Designer: Erick Mikiten, AIA | Location: Berkeley, Calif.
Square footage before: 795 | Square footage after: 1,285 | Project cost: $290,000

Photos: Erick Mikiten, AIA

After 22 years of crashing into each other, the wheelchair-riding owner, his ambulatory wife, their teenage son with a disability and their two dogs had become desperate for space. They needed a master suite and study and sought to move their laundry inside from the inaccessible back porch. They also desired a strong connection to the outdoors and to be able to age in place.

Zoning requirements limited the urban lot to a small addition, so every inch mattered—especially when planning for a wheelchair maneuvering space. The curves of the addition acknowledge the curved flow of a wheelchair through space and create visual excitement. The flexible spa shower and bath, as well as the study knee space and smart home controls, are perfect for aging in place.

Doors/windows: Sierra Pacific
Roofing: IB
Paint: Benjamin Moore
Bathroom tile: Bedrosians
Bathroom walls: Viva/EmilCeramica
Toilet: TOTO
Handheld shower: Hansgrohe
Showerheads: Grohe
Lighting: Tech Lighting; Modern Forms; WAC Lighting; Brayden Studio
Interior doors: ELEL
Door levers: Emtek
Water heater: Rinnai
Furnace: Bryant
Security system: Nest
Energy management: Nest
Lighting control: Lutron

Harrell Remodeling, Inc.

Palo Alto, Calif. | harrell-remodeling.com

Designer: Debra Winston | Location: San Jose, Calif.
Square footage before: 44 | Square footage after: 70 | Project cost: $110,000

Photos: Bernard Andre Photography

The homeowners of this project sold their tri-level home and found a single level ranch house in order to age in place. The wife has some health issues and needed to plan for the possibility of wheelchair accessibility in the future.

The original bathroom was dark, dated and depressing. It was small and unsuitable for a wheelchair accessible space. A tiny neo-corner shower with a high curb was a barrier for entry, and too small for assisted bathing.

The team reconfigured the space, taking from the hall bathroom and increasing its size. A large roll-in curbless shower with teak folding bench, grab bars and handheld shower make bathing safe, easy and accessible.

The wall-hung washlet toilet and floating vanity are functional and attractive. Tiles with burnished metallic finishes, glittery mosaics and silver ribbon candy-like pendant lights add sparkle.

Barn door: TruStile
Barn door track/hardware: Mockett
Sliding door guide: Mockett
Window: Milgard
Sink: Kohler
Thermostatic trim shower pipe: Hansgrohe
Shower channel body/grate: Schluter
Toilet: Toto
Washlet: Toto
In-wall tank system: Geberit
Actuator push plate: Geberit
Pendants: WAC T6242-8Y952 Candy 4 1/2” Silver art glass mini pendant
Vanity cabinet: Plato Inovae
Knobs: Top Knobs

Next Stage Design + Build

San Jose, Calif. | nextstagedesign.com

Designer: Corina Ramirez | Location: San Jose, Calif.
Square footage before: NA | Project cost: $149,207

Photos: Scott DuBose Photography

The master bath in this expansive penthouse home needed a universal design update to accommodate the needs of a homeowner with limited mobility. The goal was to create a luxurious, obstacle-free space where the homeowner could easily navigate travel within the space and have easy access to basic bathroom functions such as bathing and using the vanity.

Because of the home’s 22nd floor location, all changes to the space were to remain within the existing footprint. Plumbing locations could not change.

The existing master bath floorplan was not accessible for a person dependent on a walker and wheelchair. The threshold at the small stall shower was an obstacle for entry, and the seldom-used large tub was challenging for bathing. The vanity had limited storage for a master bath and did not accommodate wheelchair access.  

The tub space was converted to a walk-in shower with a built-in bench for seated bathing. The former shower stall space now houses floor-to-ceiling built-in cabinetry with access for a wheelchair. One set of vanity doors now fully retract, providing full access to the vanity sink.

Countertops: Bedrosians
Plumbing fixtures: Brizo
Tile flooring: Imola Ceramica

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