The Ulrich Residence

Featured on Bath Crashers!

In February 2011, Accessibility Design participated in an episode of Bath Crashers, a series on DIY Network. The filming took place in Eden Prairie, MN.

The problem: A large, poorly configured, and ugly pink-and-taupe bathroom, made small by a clunky glass block shower, a huge whirlpool lounging tub and the need for some accessible space for a disabled son.

The solution: Rip everything out and make it a fashionable, functional space for Mom, Dad and son.

Imagine: It’s just another weekend, and you head down to Lowe’s in search of an adjustable showerhead that makes showering easier for your stepson, who uses a wheelchair.

Out of nowhere, a guy with a camera crew approaches you, asking what you’re working on. You explain the complexities involved with your stepson accessing the shower at home and your desire to rig something up to increase his independence in showering. The next thing you know, this guy is following you home to check out the space and proposes a knock-down, drag-out, full-blown remodel! Oh, and it won’t cost you a dime. (Forget about that adjustable showerhead!)

This is exactly what happened to the Ulrich family, and Accessibility Design was brought in to help out. Taylor Ulrich’s family had already made some changes to their home to accommodate his needs, but the bathroom was a huge problem. He could barely get his wheelchair through the narrow door, and there was no room to turn around. He had to be helped into a collapsible shower chair kept in the shower. Essentially, he required assistance with every activity that takes place in the bathroom.

A "Jack and Jill" solution for a small area

The existing master bathroom, a closet, and two feet of bedroom area were sacrificed to create a new bathroom with Taylor’s needs in mind, as well as an overall reconfiguration. What made the design even more unique was that it was an adaptation of a “Jack & Jill” bathroom design that provided both child and adults with some private space – separated by a huge walk-through shower.

You will note the transformation did not sacrifice aesthetics. The finishes and fixtures were beautiful. Accessible spaces can look amazing!

Accessibility Design's solution included:

  • Adding an automatic opening pocket door from the hallway, allowing direct access to Taylor’s side of the bathroom
  • Providing a vanity with adequate storage that allows for knee space when seated
  • Installing a sink that extends beyond the vanity top, allowing for ease of approach
  • Tiled floors and abundant open floor space, for ease in transfer in/out of the wheelchair and general maneuverability
  • A custom teak fold-down, wall-mount shower seat for Taylor to use when showering
  • Handheld shower with anti-scald features to allow Taylor to bathe more independently
  • Attractive, customized placement of grab bars for to minimize Taylor’s risk of falling

"The biggest difference is going to be [Taylor] will be able to come in here and brush his own teeth. He’ll be able to do all kinds of things that he couldn’t do in this house, because this house wasn’t designed for it. So now it is absolutely unbelievable."

- Dave Ulrich
The Ulrich ResidenceThe Ulrich Residence

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