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Lifetime Vanity

 What's the big deal about a vanity? This is another area of the home often overlooked as insignificant, but you rely upon it everyday to complete dressing and personal grooming. Therefore, assure comfortable use both standing and seated when planning the space and function of the vanity area. 

Aside from washing your hands, imagine your daily routine and position outlets, towel hooks/bars, medicine cabinet, etc. within easy reach, and don't forget about bathroom clean-up and plumbing maintenance. You should also be able to accomplish those tasks from a seated position in order to avoid stooping or getting on hands and knees to shut off the water for example.


                                                                                                                                               Kohler vanity closed
Kohler vanity open                                                                                                                                               Kohler vanity open

 The following features make life easier around the vanity:

  • European style vanity with Euro style hinges
  • Vanity back splashes for easy cleaning
  • Clearance under sink for seated user, extend flooring under open sink area, insulate pipes to avoid burns
  • Knee space or open storage underneath counter 30-inches wide by 30-inches high and 19-inches deep
  • Roll-out or pull-out storage shelves in cabinet to minimize kneeling or bending (half of storage should be located below 48 inches)
  • Medicine cabinet access from seated or standing (consider mounting "swing-up" hinges) located to side of vanity
  • Mirrors placed for either seated or standing user, such as tilting or full-length (extends 72 inches above floor)
  • Counters at two different levels or adjustable height surface (for kids or seated user)
  • Rounded corners, no sharp edges on counters
  • Large oval or round sink (consider two sinks, even at different levels)
  • Single lever handle, anti-scald, touch faucet (anti-scald valve set to 120 degree maximum, 100 degrees for people with spinal cord injuries)
  • Pull-out, arced faucet (for versatile option washing hair at sink if necessary or bathing babies)
  • Side mounted faucet, easier for child or seated user
  • Alternately, wall hung sink or counter top sink bowl close to front edge
  • Sink with drain placed toward back so that pipes below sink out of way for storage or seated user
  • Either in-wall plywood or blocking for future grab bars
  • Or install heavy duty towel bars supporting at least 250 lb. load (in case of sudden need to grasp)
  • Quality, non-glare lighting
  • Waste basket beneath or alongside vanity
  • Easy phone access (in case of emergency)

Position as much as possible at point of use to avoid reaching.

I've got some shower thoughts for you next.



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President Todd Hawkins preaches building science and Universal Design (UD) to teach the benefits of an efficient, convenient, comfortable and flexible Lifetime Home. Also follow him on Twitter @BuilderFish for short tips about how kid-friendly UD makes home life easier and more secure for any person of any age or ability.