Right-height countertops. Rather than counting on step stools to boost small children up so they can reach the sink and faucet, consider lowering the countertop, suggests Ellen Rady, designer/president, Ellen Rady Designs, Cleveland, Ohio. “But of course, kids grow...”
Low-maintenance materials. Be careful what material you choose. “I would incorporate quartzite materials that are durable,” recommends Lori Carroll, president, Lori Carroll & Associates, Tucson, Ariz., adding that the price of some granite surfaces are comparable and suitable for family bathrooms. But avoid overspending on flair when function is the main theme in this space.
Durable fixtures. If children use the bathroom, “don’t choose high-end plumbing fixtures that won’t hold up to yanking and pulling,” Carroll points out. “Choose faucets that are easy to turn on and off, and easy to clean and maintain.”
Functional hardware. Even drawer pulls can make a bathroom “work” better for a family. “Choose vanity pulls that are easy to get your fingers in and out of, and be sure that drawers open up easily,” Rady says. You might opt for soft-close drawers.
Tub-shower combo. A space-saving and economical choice is the traditional bathtub-shower unit for families who depend on the full bathroom for their “house tub.” (The master bath might be equipped with just a shower.)
Make it a double. For households with children, be sure everyone gets their own drawer for storing toothbrushes, etc., and ideally separate sinks. Jack-and-Jill bathrooms are still very appealing for this reason.
Ample storage. Full bathrooms are often the “hall bathroom” in a traditional home with upstairs bedrooms, and you need a place to store linens. In layouts where a linen closet is positioned outside of the bathroom in the hallway, Cameron Snyder, president, Roomscapes Luxury Design Center, Boston, Mass., likes to open up the wall so there is access to the storage from the bathroom. “You don’t want to walk out of the bathroom to get a towel,” he says. Hotel shelves built into the shower above the shower head are a storage alternative for smaller spaces.
Outfit the space with right-sized features that will function as kids grow.
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