Before and After: A Brown, Bland Bathroom Got a Wheelchair-Friendly Update

updated Oct 11, 2019
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Credit: Erin Zubot

The beige-on-brown powder room in Erin Zubot’s parents’ house wasn’t attractive, but most importantly, it wasn’t useful.

“My mom and dad’s life has changed a lot in recent years, as my dad fairly recently lost both his legs and is now wheelchair-bound a lot of the time,” says Erin. “This bathroom vanity was too high for him to reach when in his chair, and my mom wanted a bit of an update as well.”

Erin decided to take on a powder room refresh as part of the One Room Challenge this past spring. She spent six weeks’ worth of evenings and weekends working on the space all by herself, painting, tiling, wallpapering, and installing the trim, toilet, sink, and sconce. She only hired a plumber when she realized that the pipes for the vanity needed to be moved from the floor to the wall, and asked her brother-in-law to help smooth out some drywall errors and install the final plumbing fixtures. In all, the materials and plumber cost about $3,700 Canadian.

Erin reports that her parents are thrilled with the changes. “I talked my mom into this blue paint color, and it’s the best part about the room!” she says of Waterloo by Sherwin-Williams.

For anyone else renovating a room based on wheelchair accessibility, Erin advises testing things out as you go. “We did a lot of trial and error with my dad’s particular wheelchair as far as space to turn around, how high was comfortable for him, instead of relying solely on minimum standards for accessibility,” she says. “I love the after for so many reasons. It is so bright and happy, it’s updated and clean-looking, and it functions so much better for my dad, who is able to access the sink because not only is it lower, but it allows room for his wheelchair underneath.”

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