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HeyGirlfriend.Net ~ Accessible Bathroom

From the time I was in grade school I was drawing floor plans for my bedroom, for forts in the woods and for future dream houses. In high school, I excelled through 4 years of drafting and architecture classes (I was one of only two girls to make it to the end).


When I go into a less than beautiful home or building, I see all of the possibilities. I recognize this as a great gift and a slight curse; we have lived in more construction zones than I can count because of this!


Our last home in Southern California was the sweetest 1920s historic home. It was in rough shape when we bought it, but it had heart and soul. The downstairs bathroom had a large hole in the floor and a strange asbestos stack leading to nowhere.


When it came to redesigning, I made every effort to create a plan that would be handicap accessible for our niece and for anyone who in the future might have physical limitations.

HeyGirlfriend.Net ~ Accessible Bathroom

36″ doorways and a flush shower threshold for ease of accessibility

HeyGirlfriend.Net ~ Accessible Bathroom

The Calacatta marble countertop was a remnant from our kitchen. The sink, faucet, sconces and shower heads were items I collected over the years and had stored in the garage.

HeyGirlfriend.Net ~ Accessible BathroomIn spite of the fact that I couldn’t design to the exact specifications of ADA code, because I was limited to the home’s footprint, I was able to design a beautiful shower with a rain bonnet and an adjustable slide bar for a wall mounted shower head. The floor was lowered, so that a flush threshold could be installed, allowing those with mobility issues to have ease of access. I also made sure that there was enough floor space for a portable shower chair.

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To keep visual clutter at a minimum: a soap niche, with a tempered Starphire glass shelf, was installed on the least focal of the available shower walls.


Although, accessibility was important to me, I didn’t want the room to look utilitarian, which, disappointingly, is the norm.

In order for the sink to be accessible by wheelchair, it needed to have clearance underneath. My solution was to install a stack of drawers on each side and bridge them with the countertop. To soften the open space under the sink, I attached a gathered linen curtain with velcro. That way, the curtain could be removed either for cleaning purposes or if it interfered with accessibility.

HeyGirlfriend.Net ~ Accessible Bathroom

Our neighbor gave this mirror to me, the frame was gold plastic, but the mirror was high quality and heavy! I had the cabinet maker spray it soft white to match the woodwork.

HeyGirlfriend.Net ~ Accessible Bathroom

Tile materials were mixed in the shower.

The shower’s ceiling tiles are 6″x6″ Calacatta Gold marble, cut from remnant 12’x12″ floor tiles. The stone subways are inexpensive Carrara marble from Lowes and so are the bullnose liners above the basic white porcelain subways.


I’m not a lover of diagonal lines (X shapes, tiles and concrete scoring are exceptions), but space was an issue, so I compromised by losing a bench seat and building a corner seat.

The shower floor is a marble basketweave mosaic, which is slip resistant. The jamb and threshold are luxurious Calacata Gold, cut from kitchen countertop remnants. The square, polished chrome drain was custom ordered to complement the shower trim kit. The frameless glass door is hinged to swing in and out. It is extra thick and made from Starphire glass.HeyGirlfriend.Net ~ Accessible Bathroom
The door is located on the toilet wall, allowing plenty of space to park a wheel chair next to the toilet. The door is hinged on the wrong side for ADA purposes, but I deliberately did this to hide the toilet from view when the door is left open. If needed later, the door can always be rehung.

10 thoughts on “Designing a (Beautiful) Accessible Bathroom

  1. Kim says:

    Melissa you have a wonderful talent !! Loved that home!


  2. ssspaces says:

    You know that was my favorite bathroom ever and I tried to recreate it in my current home.
    You are a visionary talent!


    1. Jeri! The design work you did on your home was your brainchild, so gorgeous and simply sophisticated 😉.

      I think the reason we like seeing other people’s work is that it sparks new ideas in us. We can take a little idea from someone and turn it into something completely different and new, that’s what you did!

      I have been missing you and the gang and our writing days, I was just reminiscing about what an amazing team we were… hard working, loyal, committed, patient, cohesive, uniquely gifted, creative, fun… if you ever find the time and energy to revisit our creative endeavors, I’ll start rounding up the troops!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Nancy says:

    A beautiful bathroom with a beautiful cactus flower on the stand next to the toilet!
    An amazing bathroom!


    1. Until this morning, I forgot about that lovely flower! It didn’t last very long, but while it did, it was lovely!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Katy says:

    So beautiful Melissa! The whole house was utterly delightful! So you!


    1. Katy, Do you remember taking the roll of black and white pictures of our house before escrow closed? I have them someplace. I am so thankful for those because they are my only real “befores”! xox


  5. Janea says:

    Melissa, your creativity and intelligence always inspire me! I would have LOVED a bathroom like that after knee surgery – and it’s so pretty! 😍
    XO, Janea


    1. Janea, so kind of you and YES besides wanting an accessible shower for our niece, I had a friend who had knee surgery and he told me how it was nearly impossible to get into his shower because of the height of his shower’s typical threshold! Whenever I get to reconstruct a project, I push for accessibility.


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