Updated for the Future

When renovating a bath, look ahead a few years, and create a space with accessibility and comfort in mind.

Functional was the only way to describe the small, plain bath in this 1923 home. The old tub had lost its smooth, glossy finish long ago, and the worn-out faucets were an eyesore. The wood-framed window wasn't suited to its location in the shower, and the miniblinds were a nuisance. This space definitely needed much more than a cosmetic face-lift; it required a major makeover.

The owners had just finished remodeling their kitchen, so they figured they could handle this project like pros. The renovation would give the bath a clean, fresh look; but they also wanted a comfortable design that would serve them well as they aged.

A love of the ocean inspired the bath's color scheme--the soothing watercolor effect of the wall tile enhanced by the blue-green, sand-sprinkled look of the floor tile. Multiple showerheads evoke the feeling of ocean waves.

For ease, they removed the old tub and converted the area into a roomy shower, which will be accessible even with possible future physical limitations. The 12-inch-diameter rain showerhead is the ultimate refresher. If you choose one, plan on a ceiling mount because the weight of the water will bend a wall-mounted pipe over time.

Glass blocks provide a beautiful replacement for the old window. The 8-inch-square clear blocks fill the room with light and offer privacy without the need for another window treatment.

A tall pedestal sink is elegant and reinforces the clean, uncluttered look. For comfort, the owners chose a 17-inch-high water closet.

The walls presented a different challenge. The one-dimensional look of paint wouldn't live up to the rest of the room. Hanging wallpaper would be easy, but the patterns all seemed too busy. Then the owners discovered a line of wallpaper that resembles a faux finish. Its blend of greens, aqua, and blues is a perfect complement.

The 30-inch-tall medicine cabinet is the same width as the sink. Side lights take up little space and provide the most natural view.

Lighting is extremely important because dim showers can be difficult for aging eyes. To prevent this, two ceiling lights in the shower illuminate the entire area. The main fixture also houses the exhaust fan.

Homeowners: Andria and Milton Hurst