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Recession Remodel Room Makeover

Making Her Bathroom Safer for
Her Parents and Herself

Major accessibility concerns prompt a remodel.

Mary Waggoner, a single woman living in Snohomish, Wash., gets hardly a break from her full-time job with the Everett School District, as she cares for her parents, Clarence and Louise, when they visit her at her home on most weekends.

In fact, she was instrumental in helping her parents move from Montana to Washington state in 2006. Living on their remote Montana ranch had become too difficult and costly for her age-80+ parents, who in September will celebrate their 64th wedding anniversary.

More health challenges are setting in for Clarence and Louise, who both now have major difficulties using the features in the most accessible bathroom in Mary's home. Her makeshift "fixes" to address current concerns—such as safely stepping over the tub ledge and getting her Mom out of her wheelchair through the narrow doorway—could soon prevent her parents from visiting.

While Mary has her parents' needs at heart, worries about the looming danger every time her parents visit, and knows that a more user-friendly bathroom would ultimately benefit her, too, she can’t financially redo it by herself.

Editor's note: Mary's bathroom is under construction. Check back in the winter to see the dramatic before and after photos. In the meantime, visit our Universal Design expert's, Cynthia Leibrock, online profile to find out what low- to no-cost enhancements you can make to your bathroom. The Seattle-based design team is Mary Curley, ASID & Michelle Molloy,ASID. The general contractor is Howard Chermak.

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