Accessible Bath-Sink Area
An important part of an accessible bath is the Sink Area. To provide full accessibility to the sink it is crucial that someone in a wheelchair can roll under the sink as far as desired to use the sink easily. Moreover, when positioned under the sink they should be able to easily reach everything they need for daily grooming. The following are details on parts of the Sink Area:
Forgive me while I digress for a moment. We all take so many things we do for granted. We often don't appreciate them until there taken away. When I was released from rehab following my accident we stayed in a very small rental house for about six months while we waited for our accessible house to be completed. Although I could get around nothing was very accessible. I remember clearly the first night we spent in the new house. I was able to roll up under the sink while brushing my teeth; when I was done brushing I was able to spit in the sink
. As silly as it sounds that first spit brought me so much excitement and joy I could hardly believe it!
The vanity in our accessible bathroom uses "flipper doors" or "pivot doors", similar to the sink and cooktop in the kitchen. When the doors are closed the vanity cabinetry looks conventional. But they can be opened and pushed back into the cabinet to allow full wheelchair access under the sink.
It's important that all the items for personal grooming are within easy reach of the person pulled up under the sink. There's room on the vanity top for my electric toothbrush. In addition there is a bank of drawers on each side of the sink available for storage; plenty of room for all my grooming stuff as well as medications.
Even prior to my accident we specified an "Electric Drawer" in every home we built since it was just so darn convenient. When building the house we have the electrician put a wall outlet on the wall directly behind the center of the vanity. Then we have the cabinet installer cut a hole in the back of the vanity cabinet so that wall outlet is accessible though the hole. Once we move in I attach an extension cord to the inside of one of the center drawers and plug the other end into the wall outlet.
Then we plug in the hair dryer and curling iron into the extension cord in the drawer. In order to use the hair dryer you simply open the drawer, pull out the dryer, turn it on and go. When you're done just lay the hair dryer back into the drawer and shut it. It couldn't be any easier.
Other Sink Area Ideas and/or Improvements
In our new home we plan an improvement to the Accessible Bath Sink Area. Rather than one large mirror running the length of the vanity top we are going to have two smaller mirrors, each centered above a sink. In addition we plan a small tower of cabinetry, centered between the sinks, rising up from the vanity top to about eight feet high. This cabinetry will stand out from the wall approximately 10" and be about 18" wide.
The bottom of this tower cabinet will have an appliance garage with a pop-up door, similar to the ones in the kitchen. That will allow us to store our electric toothbrushes out of sight, leading to a less cluttered countertop. Above the garage will be a cabinet door that opens into shelves for storing bath linens, etc.