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Designing Barrier-free Bathrooms Combining utility and modern design by Sean Gerolimatos All images courtesy Schluter-Systems THE WAY WE BUILD BATHROOMS IS CHANGING. OWNERS OF HOMES, CONDOMINIUMS, HOTELS, AND SPAS WANT MORE THAN JUST UTILITY—THEY ARE SEEKING A RETREAT-LIKE ATMOSPHERE WITH THE LATEST DESIGN ELEMENTS, WHILE STILL REQUIRING RELIABILITY AND DURABILITY. AT THE SAME TIME, MANY WANT THEIR BATHROOMS TO BE BARRIER-FREE. These latest bathroom designs include curb-free showers, along with large-format tiles extending from the floor into the shower, and custom building elements like shower seats and vanities. Offering design flexibility and enduring performance, these applications continue to grow in popularity for various reasons. For some, limited mobility due to disability or age makes barrier-free showers a necessity for access. Other owners simply want to plan for the future, ensuring they have an accessible bathroom that allows them to age in their home with security and independence. According to a report from the Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-related Statistics, the number of Americans over the age of 65 will increase from 40 million in 2010 (13 percent of the population) to an estimated 72 million in 2030 (20 percent of the population)—this represents an 82 percent increase in total and a 47 percent increase in share. 1 58 the construction specifier | february 2013 CS_Feb2013.indd 58 1/17/13 11:10:11 AM