Future-proofed bathrooms

bi-folding shower doors

There is no denying that Kate Nash OBE is an incredibly determined woman.

Kate Nash OBE

Kate Nash OBE

She is best known for her work as a disability rights activist and her support for employers during their journey to becoming disability-confident.

She is also one of the 10 million living with arthritis in the UK.

Kate was diagnosed with juvenile chronic arthritis (JCA) at the age of 15, and despite the various joint replacements she has had over the past 30 years, the nature of her condition means that she does not expect to walk into old age.

While Kate’s work continues to challenge peoples’ perceptions of what can be achieved in the workplace, the inaccessible design of her old house meant that there were many barriers preventing her from having the independence and confidence she wanted at home.

In her old home even the most basic of movements – such as sitting down and getting up from low seats – were accompanied by excessive joint pain. As Kate says, “most homes are not designed for folks who need a bit of height”, and the obstacles she faced in the home were not dissimilar to the experiences of millions of others.

However, in true Kate Nash style, these difficulties were not something she was willing to settle for.

A friend suggested she speak to MotionSpot  a company specialising in designing future-proofed bathrooms, to see how they could help her create a home that met her needs for both now and the future.

The Motionspot design team worked closely with Kate to create a space that was accessible, but wouldn’t turn her house into a clinical, hospital-like environment.

She’s just moved into her new home and we caught with her to see how she’s finding it…

The bathroom is a stark contrast to the one in her old home, which was a room where she faced many of the obstacles.

Accessible toiletKate told us, “My toilet is set at a higher height than the average person’s, meaning it’s much less painful to sit down and get up from.”

accessible toiletAccessible toliet

The room also includes non-slip tiles, which are a refreshing alternative to the traditional vinyl flooring found in many accessible adaptations.

When looking around her home, the other accessible features are not always immediately obvious. Fixtures such as the bi-folding shower doors and supportive, contemporary looking basin would be welcome in anyone’s bathroom.

However, both have been designed with future-proofing in mind. The bi-folding doors can be folded back to the wall, which will provide her with enough space to comfortably use a wheelchair in the future. The basin is wheelchair accessible and the taps are easy to use for anyone with poor dexterity. As well as this, the hand towel rails can be used as hand grips for greater support when needed.

Accessible hand basin

Accessible handbasin

The impact the adaptation has had has been notable.

Kate told us, “being able to use my bathroom quickly and easily as well as safely is a joy. 

The thought that has been put into my access requirements means that I can continue to live my busy lifestyle in the city and not worry so much about needing the help of others.

Future proofing takes away the fear of tomorrow. It means I can nest and snuggle and enjoy every day without the niggling feeling that I’m not getting the best from life.”

For a woman so determined to not let arthritis limit what she can achieve, it is great to see the effect future-proofing has had on her well-being.