A Handicap-Accessible Bathroom in Queens is Designed With Care

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Two daughters renovate an unused room into a senior-friendly, handicap accessible bathroom for their elderly parent

walk-in bathroom “After” photos by Miao Jiaxin for Sweeten

Before: An empty room becomes a handicap accessible bathroom

The family has lived in their colonial home in Saint Albans, Queens since 1975. The space was working for most of them, but the daughters’ aging mother needed a one-floor living situation so she wouldn’t have to go up and down the stairs to use the bathroom or kitchen.

That meant converting an extra room on the first floor into a senior-friendly bathroom adjacent to her bedroom. They posted their project on Sweeten and were matched with this general contractor.

Sweeten matches home renovation projects with vetted general contractors, offering advice, support, and up to $50,000 in renovation financial protection—for free.

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After: A walk-in shower and ADA-compliant toilet

After the room was demolished, reframed, and equipped for plumbing, the family worked together to choose materials and products for the bathroom. The biggest consideration was the glass-encased shower. In order to build the frame for the shower, it was initially discussed that one of the back windows would have to be blocked off. Their contractor found another solution, adding a tiled extension off the existing half wall to support the glass. The radiator had to move down closer to the toilet to make room, too. The contractor also ensured the shower entry was large enough to fit a shower chair and made the entry curbless.

sliding door, home, renovation, senior-friendly bathroom

Other accessible features included the disability bar inside, as well as the handle on the outside of the shower. The daughters wanted a convenient place for their mother to be able to hang her robe, so the contractor added a robe hook just outside the glass door.

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curbless shower
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As for the other details, they decided on a cabinet vanity instead of a pedestal sink to optimize storage, built a niche on the adjacent wall, and installed a higher, comfort-height 17-inch toilet that matches ADA-compliant standards. Accessibility was the most important consideration throughout the project and that need was definitely met. “Our contractor did a great job overall,” the family shared. “He came up with solutions and we worked through different ideas.”

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