Before and After: A Clunky Bathroom Tub Is Now Stylish and Safe for Aging in Place

published Sep 20, 2022
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Before and After photo of a bathroom designed for aging owners
Credit: Photo: Van Manna; Design: Apartment Therapy

Homes are sentimental, familiar, and a comforting place to be — especially for anyone who has lived under the same roof for decades. That’s why aging in place, or growing older in your home, is such an important concept to know about and plan for, whether for yourself or a loved one. According to the National Institute on Aging, when it comes to planning for life at home during your senior years, “the first step is to think about the kinds of help you might want in the near future.”

This can mean arranging help with grocery shopping and delivery, hiring a lawn care or gardening service, or making small changes to your home to help you get around better, “like a ramp at the front door, grab bars in the tub or shower, nonskid floors, more comfortable handles on doors or faucets, and better insulation,” reports the NIA.

Homeowner Norma’s bathroom redo is a great example of this; she has lived in her penthouse condo for over 30 years and wanted to make the bathroom a little more friendly for aging in place. Norma hired Van Manna Homes to give her bathroom a makeover meant for better mobility. “Her master ensuite bathroom was large in size but had only a deep soaker tub and no shower,” Jenn Pidlubny, a spokesperson for Van Manna Homes, says of the before.

Credit: Van Manna

The design team helped Norma replace her built-in tub with a standing shower — located in the same place as before in order to work with the existing tub drain. Its new features are excellent for easy access, Pidlubny says. Hello, dual-swing shower door, added grab bars, and stylish-yet-safe tile!

Credit: Van Manna

The shower was built with room for two people so a nurse’s aid can fit if needed, and it has a bench, plus an extra-long wand sprayer that can reach the bench for seated showering.

“This penthouse was in a tall building tower with concrete floors, so we were not able to create a curbless shower, but we managed to get the curb as low as possible for a minimal step over the threshold into the shower,” Pidlubny says.

Credit: Van Manna

The veiny, swirly tile looks like marble but is actually stone for added texture and grip in the shower, proving that aging in place does not mean sacrificing style.

One other change Pidlubny recommends for the bathroom is choosing a comfort-height toilet and installing a grab bar there, too, which her team did in Norma’s bathroom, too.

Credit: Van Manna

Norma “couldn’t be happier with her brand new oversized and luxurious walk-in shower with stunning tile, a large bench, and grab bars,” Pidlubny says. “We hope she enjoys many more years living independently in her beautiful home.”