Happy Monday, y’all!
Thought I’d share a few photos of the Bungalow Barn bathroom today since the tile is going in this week. Jim & Katie went with a 3″x6″ white subway tile on the shower walls…
…and a traditional octagon/dot tile (also from Home Depot) on the floor:
The octagon/dot tile will also cover the shower floor, and there will be glass in the window openings on the left and right. There will also be some built-in cubbies (for body wash, shampoo, etc) on the inside of those short walls (below the window openings), and a transom window above the (glass) shower door.
Which brings me to my next topic: the shower door opening. We had asked the contractor who framed the barn for a zero clearance shower, which he said was no problem. Jim (who uses a scooter to get around, but can take a few steps here and there) is able to step up and over a short barrier in his current shower- we just wanted to make it even easier for him with this new one. Especially since we were starting from scratch and there’s always a possibility that he won’t be able to step over a short barrier in the future.
It wasn’t until the other day, when the tile guy showed up, that we discovered it couldn’t be a zero clearance entry. :-/ Basically, the tile man said the whole floor would’ve had to be built two inches lower in order for it to be flat from the bathroom into the shower. *Sigh*
If I’m honest, this is just one of the many things that didn’t turn out the way we had hoped on this build, but I won’t get into all that here. I’ll just say that communication and execution haven’t been amazeballs, and building from scratch isn’t our favorite. 😉
Anywhoobs…the shower door opening is almost three feet wide and there will be lots of grab bars in all of the places Jim needs them.
That’s their washer/dryer closet on the left up there, and here’s a straight-on look at the shower:
Since it won’t be zero clearance, someone on Instagram suggested we look into (removable) ramps to use on each side of the door. I did a quick Google search and found this company that sells lightweight ones (that hold up to 1500 lbs.) that just might work:
They come in a variety of widths and lengths. Or maybe we can find something that is more “one-piece”, like this:
Sorry for the teeny tiny photo. That’s literally the only one I could find on Google, and when I clicked on it, it didn’t lead to a store that sold it, so if you know where we might find something like that, we’d love your input!
And speaking of things that weren’t built the way we had hoped, the bench in the shower is currently too small. Both too short and too shallow. Thankfully, it’s not too late to bulk it up, so it will be four inches taller and three inches deeper by the end of this week. When it’s finished, it will be 18 or 19 inches tall (like a handicap toilet), and 15 inches deep (vs. 12).
Here’s the area where the vanities and toilet will go:
Katie chose two of these Glacier Bay vanities from Home Depot:
They were priced really well ($239/each), and that included the countertop and sink.
She also got two matching drawer units that will be sandwiched in between them, like this:
I don’t *love* that the countertop on top of the two drawer units will have a seam down the center of it, but it’ll be fine for now, and maybe we can swap those tops out for one solid piece of something later on down the line.
We’re going to swap out the chrome knobs that came with them for antiqued black knobs, like this:
Now that things are moving along in there, I hope to have another bathroom related update to share with you next week!
PS- Here’s a link to this week’s online LuLaRoe pop-up for anyone who wants to check out my latest inventory! XO
Taste of France
I feel for you on the shower step (in France, a flat-entry shower is called une douche italienne). Codes here require a basin on showers above the ground floor, which almost always means a small step.
Even my parents’ assisted living apartment in the U.S. had a step into the shower–and that was a facility purpose-built for the elderly. So go figure.
Do you have temperature controls on the shower? A great safety feature.
I am sorry for the “hiccups” in this project and I get how frustrating it can be–we just completed a new build for my ageing-in-place FIL. Quick Q: Will Jim be able to use the vanity sink? It looks great 🙂 but I wonder about access with enclosed cabinetry beneath the sink.
Yes- he stands a vanity sink just like that one right now, so I guess that’s why Katie picked another one like it. I think he could drive his scooter up to it whether it has doors or not though because of how the room is laid out.
My husband remodeled a friend’s gorgeous tiled bathroom last summer. She did not like that the tile in the shower had a hump going in for the previous owner wheelchair. She said when she showered water would splash on the floor outside the shower. So he tore out all that gorgeous tile work and added a small lip (like yours) and retiled all of it out, customizing with a divet in the wall for her shampoo and conditioner and razor. It turned out amazing in the end. When he gutted the handicap access he found the builders had used a strange (but efficient) foam material that was rigid to form the “ramp” into the shower. Your builders could have used something similar and never had to alter that floor at all. 🙁
Hi Layla, what color grout will you use with the subway tile? I’m in the middle of a bathroom Reno and would love to know. Thanks
The tile guy suggested we use one called “Sterling Silver”, so that’s what we’re going with. 🙂
I’m so glad you aren’t getting white grout! I feel like I am on a “NO WHITE GROUT” mission in life after moving into a house with an all white master bathroom. What a nightmare! (I’m not a fan of bleach.) Gray/silver/black grout hides everything!
I love the floor tile they chose and those vanities are a great price! I’m sure once their bath items are in place the seam will be covered or add a nice tray to cover most of it.
Boy communication is huge during remodeling or construction isn’t it? You have a vision and think you have expressed it, but somehow the contractor ends with a different one! We almost need photos and notes taped everywhere! What level will the shower floor be once it’s tiled, maybe the gap on shower side won’t be as high? Those lightweight ramps look like a great solution though.
Hi Layla, my husband is in a wheelchair, but can walk into the shower at present (who knows what the future holds). My question is this – if Jim has been in a wheelchair or scooter for some time, why didn’t the builder or architect suggest a zero clearance for the shower. That lip would be very hard for my husband to clear. And what do you do with the ramp when not in use, because it will be wet from Jim leaving the shower? Sorry for the personal questions, but before we built our addition, the architect went into all of those problems. And here’s another question – will Jim sit sideways when using the vanity?
That’s actually what this post is about. I mentioned up near the top that the shower was supposed to be zero clearance, but that the contractor didn’t build it that way. 🙁
Also, that ramp is made to get wet and dry quickly, but I have seen others that are perforated, so the water goes right through them.
Jim will sit sideways at the vanity. He pulls up next to things and turns his seat sideways. 🙂
Layla: Before the plumbing is complete, may I suggest to put the water handle/handles/valve, near the entry of the shower. It would be nice to turn the shower on without getting inside (avoids getting sprayed with cold water!)
My parents did this with their large shower, now you can turn the water on from the doorway without getting wet.
Just a thought.
Jim and Katie are actually all set up with handles back by their bench seat, so they can turn the water on through the hose attachment first. XO
We know the frusteration with building for elderly parents. We had a home built for my parents and they were told right from the start it is for someone who cant do steps. (Only step we would allow was one into the house.). Well, they got a beautiful house but…the garage was lowered!!! In all the ones they toured they were all same level. No steps. Even all the neighboring houses dont have this. Plus the front sidewalk is real kooky. Like there should be a step (because the garage is lower so the driveway is lower, so the sidewalk should have a step) but not a step just a steep incline. Kinda disappointing but…theyre not complainers. All we wanted was a ADA compliant home.
These are rubber and can be cut to fit. I’m not sure if they’re tall enough for you. You’d have to put one on each side.
I searched for “threshold ramps”.
My husband is in a wheelchair and we had a zero clearance shower built for him. He rolls right in, transfers to the bench and pushes his chair out. He has a hand held show head and does not turn the water on until he is safely seated. We opted to go with a teak bench fastened to the wall because he felt tile would be too slippery. I know the thought is not appealing, but I honestly would make the contractor start over on the shower. You can’t just plan for today, you have to keep tomorrow in mind. I would think that the ramp would be more trouble than its worth.
I wish that was an option, Carmen, but this project has gone waaaay over budget and waaaay past the deadline (of May 2016), so we’re just going to keep trucking on. And by “trucking along”, I mean crawling. 🙁
Layla – I really appreciate you sharing both the downs and the ups of this whole process. I know it’s very easy to second guess from a distance.
As we look toward either renovating our home or building something, I would love to get your perspective looking back on the process. Were issues caused by not knowing what to ask, by assumptions on how things would be built, by a contractor saying they’d do something and then flat out not doing it, should things like ‘zero entry’ have been written instead of just stated, is it communication between the general contractor and the trades, or a lack of general contractor, or just having the flat out wrong guy? I imagine that would be exhausting to get into, but if you ever have the energy (and geez, it’s not like you don’t have significant other things going on…) I would love the ‘hindsight is twenty-twenty’ view if you are willing to share!
I was wondering the same things too, and would love your insight and hindsight once you feel you can share, Layla. We are heading into a remodel and I’d love to learn from others who have been through the process.
Great questions Chris S and Laura… I also wonder the same and that would be a GREAT BLOG POST which would help quite a few of us out. I am in the same situation also. I hope you read this sweet Layla
Layla, you have the patience of a saint! You are so sweet to share this all with us, as frustrating as it is. You’re doing a wonderful job! Onward!
Carla from Kansas
Be sure the bench is not slippery. First time I sat on mine I slid right off.
What would you suggest to make it not slippery, Carla?
Layla – we have a tiled bench in our shower. It is chilly and can be a little slippery once soap gets in the shower. We set a hand towel down on it before sitting down. Not sure if that is an option for your Father in Law. You could probably use Command Velcro strips or something similar on the tiles and set the towel on top if bunching up of the towel is a problem.
It is a bummer that things haven’t worked out in the build. Know that there are great contractors out there. We have built 3 homes. 1 of the builders was FANTASTIC. 1 was OK and 1 we would never use again. Our experience has been that the small family builder who actually does some of the work (framing, tiling, installed the wood floors, cut and hung the trim) was the best – he was on the job site everyday and it was personally important to him that the work was great. The other 2 were General Contractors only and did not actually do any of the physical work, but managed the schedule and hired people. We felt like a lot got lost because the General Contractors were not on the job site all the time.
If it is any consolation, your build is looking fantastic!
Marianne in Mo.
Oh Layla, I know your frustration all too well. We just finished our THIRD build this fall, this one being a custom home. I can’t tell you the daily issues we had as it would fill pages!
I would suggest anyone who is doing a similar build as yours ( for handicap use ) to find an ADA builder who has been educated to the needs of wheelchairs etc. They are out there. Check references on them too, as they have to follow strict guidelines to be certified. It’s a more costly build, by at least 10-30% too.
We took almost daily photos of our build, and glad we did at one point. The drywall guys covered an outlet, and the carpet guys covered a vent. I had to give the builder the photo to show where the outlet was, but was lucky to be there when the carpet guy was finishing up. I just showed him the spot where the vent is! And we had to completely tear out a wall that they did wrong, after we had drawn the design out on graph paper. I finally found an old photo of the wall to show him. That cost us two weeks and more money, even though it was not our fault! Builders don’t understand most clients, nothing new. We’ve been through three, and had issues with all of them! Write down EVERYTHING, and have you and them sign off, with copies for both parties!
Now — I love their choices for the bath, and agree the bench needs to be non-slip. If all else fails, he could use a non slip mat there that can be laundered or easily replaced. ( like shelf liner type stuff? ) Just a thought.
Hi Layla – was the octagon tile a special order or in-stock product? I am not seeing it at my Home Depot with the gray accent.
Hi Toni! We got it at our local store.
Wow, very interesting to read about your experiences, Layla, as well as those in the comments section. I am an occupational therapist and frequently make recommendations for bathroom adaptability. Few of my patients have the opportunity to design their own bathrooms so my suggestions are geared to “making it work” in their current bathrooms. I have learned a lot by reading this today! The best suggestions come through personal experiences.
Good catch on the built-in shower bench, and modifying it for height and seat depth. As for what materials to use to make it less slippery–I’m unsure, as I typically recommend removable plastic benches, but Marianne has hit on a great solution–using the nonslip shelf liner materials. This is pretty important, as you want to avoid a fall at all costs! Hand held shower heads are a great solution for most people. I’m assuming you are installing a handicap height toilet. You are already probably aware of this, but make sure any grab bars installed by the toilet don’t impede the ability to transfer from the scooter to the toilet.
I love your generous heart and willingness to accommodate a family member’s needs.
I went through a bathroom reno and it was a nightmare. I wanted to use that same tile on my floor and my guy said we couldn’t. Ridiculous. I have the same subway tile, too. I think to make the seat not slippery, you could use a solid piece and honed. You can definitely feel a difference in texture with some tile. Good luck, I got a little anxiety just reading this. Still traumatic for me. We had to pay someone to redo many things and it’s still not right in a few areas, but I’ll have to live with it. The best of luck to you. If anyone can turn lemons into lemonade, it’s you.
I’m so sorry your having issues with this project!! I know it can be frustrating when you have a certain design or look in mind and it doesn’t get executed like you want. I’ll preface all this with the fact that I don’t know how your contract reads and also that I work on commercial projects so I know that contractors in general dont understand accessible requirements or codes. It’s the Architects responsibility to design to them and the contractors often learn them because of experience. If it was built incorrectly it is on the contractor (because of your contract) to correct it at no additional cost or time. They may have to work extra hours but that’s on them to correct their mistakes. In commercial projects because of our contracts, the only delays allowed are for weather or client changes and even those are agreed on by all parties before moving forward with the changes. Documenting everything in writing is a must, verbal changes can be forgotten or misinterpreted. For accessible showers we have the concrete poured with a depression at the shower, this allows the tile installer better workability to get the slopes right and still maintain a zero clearance entry. This is something we’ve found works because of many projects and working with a really great contractor to come up with the best solution for all parties. Unfortunately, It’s not something I would expect a residential designer or contractor to necessarily know unless they’ve also experienced these issues before. I wonder if you could use a threshold to keep the water in and still allow a wheelchair or scooter accross. It would depend on the drain placement and the slopes to the drain to make sure the water wouldn’t make it over. Cleaning something like that would be annoying though…. I’m not sure if any of this helps your situation or not. I love design and my favorite part of a project is watching it come to life. Construction project management is what I love, although now I’m having to live through others projects while I spend time at home with my 4 boys! I’m loving your design!!
Argh! I have been where you are more times than I care to remember. I think when budget is an issue, many contractors know they have you over a barrel. The good news is, the bathroom is lovely.
Is it my imagination or is this barn taking a very long time? I m really loving all your choices and I know it will be beautiful and comfortable in the end but it seems so slow. Previously you had mentioned changing the stairway to the loft area. Was that done? I would love for you to post an after photo. Thank you and have a good week.
Yes, like I mentioned in another comment above, we were told it would take “2-3 months” from start to completion. That was in March of 2016. 🙁
We’re not going to worry about the stairs until everything else is done because, frankly, that’s the least of our worries at this point. *sigh*
Layla, I’m feeling for you on this build. I’ve been in construction management for fifteen years, and, listening to your account of your general experience with your builder, I would suggest that you demand this be made right. This isn’t a cosmetic issue, and if the plans spec’ed a zero-entry shower, they’re in breach of contract and are responsible to remedy it. Yes, it would be time consuming to jackhammer the floor, lower the drain, and re-pour it, but it can be done and it can be done in less than a week if they’re compenant and have good relationships with their subcontractors. I hope I’m not offending or hurting you, but I want you to know that you have a right to what you agreed to and paid for.
Thank you, Kelly. Unfortunately, I think it was just a request we always talked about with the architect, general contractor and subcontractor. 🙁 I didn’t realize that just *saying* it was not good enough.
Oh, Layla, I can imagine how frustrating that must be. Also, as soon as I saw your picture on Instagram I thought, “How will Jim get over that threshold in to the shower?” I’m in this mode thinking ahead to the future for my mom so I notice those things too.
It looks like there might be some solution options out there, though.
I didn’t read *all* of the comments, so I apologize if someone else has posted this. I’m an occupational therapist and LOVE Patterson Medical for all of their rehab/adaptive aging products. This ramp may work for you: http://www.pattersonmedical.com/app.aspx?cmd=getProduct&key=IF_400552.
Also, if you haven’t already considered a hand-held shower on a sliding bar, that would be a great addition. I did home health for years and found that the hand-held showers that can slide up & down on the bar (in addition to being able to be removed and “hand held”) are much more functional. You don’t always want to hold the shower. Sometimes you just want to sit and have the water spray you. Ferguson typically has good prices- and if you have a store near you the prices are actually cheaper in the store than online. Something like this: http://www.fergusonshowrooms.com/product/Delta-Faucet-D57021-Chrome-635955?Ns=AvailabilitySort%7C0%7C%7CPrimary_Finish%7C1%7C%7CSort_Order%7C1&N=103+214+77+3000347
Hope this helps!
Amy–I’m the OT who commented, above, about how much I am learning from reading the comments. I work in acute care and have also worked in various rehab settings, so we are called on to make recommendations, but I feel like the home health therapists truly know what works best because they see it firsthand. I will be keeping your suggestions in mind for future patients! Thanks for adding your two cents worth!
Praying for you about this whole situation. Not easy.
Layla, The bathroom is looking so amazing already, even with the disappointments. We just finished building an entire new home in November and I can totally relate to your story right now… However, this is the second home we have built and we knew going in that communication just isn’t perfect 100% of the time and there would be balls dropped no matter how organized we were. Having that expectation at the start of this build helped me to roll with the punches much better this time and look at them as design challenges rather than disappointments. 😉 Love your style, girl! You know how to rock the cottage look for sure! I’m excited to see the finished product as I’m sure your family is as well! 😉
Layla, sorry for all the issues with your build. Can you share where the antique black knobs were purchased?
I’ve been following you for many years and love your site as well as the view into your lovely life but it is getting so darn hard to read, I hardly find it worth it any more. I can’t see anything correctly and it’s very slow because of all the ads and I usually just give up. I hardly come at all any more and it’s a shame because I miss you!
I’m sorry you’ve had trouble viewing my posts lately, Kate. :-/ I’ve been tweaking and re-tweaking my ads with the folks that do that manage those kinds of things, and after lots of rearranging, we’ve finally got it at a place where it needs to stay…at least for the time being while Kevin continues to search for full-time employment. I’d love to get rid of the ads completely one day, but they’ve really kept us afloat in this season, so obviously we’re super grateful…but I know they make it not so fun to view. 🙁
Layla, how about you use a different, very textured tile for the seat? Also, (not sure if there is something for tile like this), but we had slippery stairs, and when we redid them, we stained the wood and then used a non-slip additive to the polyurethane. It’s like a sand and it has worked extremely well!
Hi Layla, here’s a great example of a zero clearance shower. Sorry things didn’t work out to plan.
Hope you find a suitable solution. Any chance fabricating your own ramp would work?
Waterproof board and tiled to match your existing floor tile?
Your choices look great so far! Your in-laws are very fortunate to have you as family and as designers!
Hang in there! What a blessing you are to your inlaws and family.
I was wondering if you had a number for thr floor tile, I am not seeing it at my Home Depot. The one on line looks more beige then gray. We are redoing our bathroom and would love to use that one with the gray hex. Thanks Pam
Gods speed on your construction.
Looks nice! Where did you find the antique blacks knobs? I’m in the middle of a bathroom remodel and just had white subway tile put in and I’m using gray grout and dark floors. I would like ve to put those dark knobs on my white cabinet.