Inclusive bathrooms and kitchens can be beautiful!
One of the UK’s leading providers of accessibility solutions, AKW, is noticing an increasing demand for inclusive bathroom and kitchen adaptations. This is partly driven by the UK’s ageing population and also by a desire from home owners to future-proof their houses for their older years. With this in mind, there are now a wide range of solutions that bring beautiful adaptations to any home.
According to Stuart Reynolds, Head of Product and Marketing at AKW, one of the reasons that more homeowners are wanting to incorporate inclusive bathroom and kitchen adaptations into their new builds or refurbishments, is due to their desire to live at home for as long as possible. With an ageing population, this is a logical progression in home-building.
The structure of the UK’s population is undergoing a seismic shift, with people aged over 65 now outnumbering those aged 16 and the number of retired people set to grow by 2050 to 34.2 million. The number of households headed by a person aged 65 and over is also predicted to rise to more than seven million by 2021 and these property owners have high expectations when it comes to what they want from their homes.
In the past, home adaptation solutions, particularly those aimed at the bathroom, were only available in a limited design style and colour palette. However, following demand from end users for more design-led solutions, there are now more options available. An example for bathroom adaptations is AKW’s stylish Onyx range of bathroom products and for the kitchen, the company’s extensive range of finishes and accessories, all of which ensure any adapted space is in keeping with the rest of the home.
Taking a fresh look at adaptation equipment
Wet rooms, in particular, are continuing to grow in popularity, as they provide a safe, level access alternative to traditional shower cubicles and baths that are also stylish and remind the user of hotel-level luxury. While they offer multi-user households a truly inclusive open-plan showering area, the latest wet room technologies are also now quick, easy to install, watertight solutions. For instance, the latest generation of wet room formers feature a built-in gradient to ensure correct drainage levels and are simply fitted beneath the floor of a room. These durable, high load-bearing devices also offer maximum flexibility, as the leading products, such as those from AKW, have offset waste positions and are strong enough to fit straight onto joists.
The ’Bathroom for Life’ option
Although wet rooms are proving popular, some homeowners are not prepared to do away with the possibility of a bath altogether. In such cases, many are choosing the ‘Bathroom for Life’ option. This is where a wet room former is installed during the construction or renovation of a bathroom and the waste positioned for connection to a bath. Then, as the needs of the homeowner changes, the bath can be removed and the room quickly converted – typically in half a day – to a wet room with minimal adaptation costs and disruption. It can also be converted back to a family bathroom at any time just as easily if and when required.
Onyx – design-led inclusive bathroom products
For those homeowners who want bathroom adaptations such as grab rails and shower seats, yet are looking for products that blend seamlessly into the style of their home, AKW has been working with occupational therapists to design a range of design-led adaptation products. The Onyx range brings contemporary design to inclusive bathroom solutions. With minimalist design, tactile finishes and chrome, black and white colour options, these mobility aids can be incorporated in a stylish, inconspicuous way into any home. Space saving details such as rails and shower seats that fold away when not in use have also been included.
Beautiful, flexible kitchens
Sometimes the traditional design process needs to be turned on its head to ensure that kitchens suit the needs of users with mobility issues or other impairments. However, with the right knowledge and equipment it is easier than ever before to create safe and inclusive rooms that are responsive to everyone’s daily needs. Through the inclusion of products such as AKW’s Liberty and Independence kitchen ranges, it is possible to include features and finishes that match the existing décor of the home. Also, thanks to the company’s made-to-order service, kitchen units are delivered fully assembled direct to any site.
From electric or manually operated rise and fall units, or deep recessed plinths to accommodate wheelchair footplates, there is something for any wheelchair user. In addition
AKW offers consultations to architects, installers and designers to help with the process of measuring up a kitchen for wheelchair users. During the initial visit they will take between 150 to 200 measurements to ensure that as much of the kitchen as possible will be accessible to them in the final design, including pull out work surfaces, drop down units and rotating corner unit shelves.
The shifting demographic and increasing consumer desire to future-proof their homes looks set to continue and now thanks to companies like AKW, there are a wide range of products available to accommodate this. Whether it is a homeowner looking for a competitively priced wet room, or a modern twist on traditional adaptation equipment, there is something to suit any customer’s budgetary and style requirements.