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Accessibility Bathroom Remodel in Fairfax
The city of Fairfax, which is naturally enough in the county of Fairfax and its county seat, is politically independent. It is referred to as Downtown Fairfax, Central Fairfax, or Historic Fairfax, about 17 miles west of Washington, D.C., and included in the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Named from the 6th Lord of Cameron Thomas Fairfax, who had been given rights over 5 million acres of Northern Virginia by King Charles, it was settled by Tidewater farmers in the first part of the 18th Century. The village as it was described back then was where the Battle of Fairfax Court House in 1861, first land battle of the Civil War, occurred, ending in a draw. A second Battle of Fairfax Court in 1863 ended in a Confederate Pyrrhic victory, as delayed the advance of the Confederate army to support Robert E. Lee at Gettysburg. Fairfax attained township status in 1874, and city status in 1961. In between those periods in 1904, Fairfax was connected to Washington, D.C. with a trolley line.
Up until 2005, Fairfax essentially had an old town character. The addition of the City of Fairfax Regional Library as well the construction of numerous retail establishments and upscale residential condominiums in the area signaled massive redevelopment. By 2009, Fairfax ranked third in the Forbes Magazine “Top 25 Places to Live Well” due to its significant public school presence and stable economy because of the high percentage of small businesses and startups in the area.
As of 2014, the city had 24,483 residents with a good mix of cultures, comprised of 58.9% white, 17.2 Hispanic, 16.1% Asian, and 4.7% African American. The median household income is nearly twice the state median at $107,317, but at a relatively high cost of living (135.8 as of March 2016, with the national average at 100).
Some celebrities hail from or lived in Fairfax at some point. These include actors Roxanne Barcello, Christina Hendricks, Courtney Jines, Sabrina Lloyd, Jason Sudeikis, and silent film actor Lamar Johnstone.
Renowned makeup artist Victoria Stiles and Darkest hour guitarist Mike Schleibaum called Fairfax home, as did a few famous South Koreans, namely actor brothers Yoochun and Park Yu-hwan, and rapper Kim Ji-Won. A number of sports figures pro wrestlers also hailed from Fairfax, such as pro wrestlers Adam Birch (aka Joey Mercury), Serena Deeb, and Brian Kendrick, and MBL player Michael Schwimer. Interestingly, Lorenzo Odone of the movie Lorenzo’s Oil was born in Washington, D.C., but lived a fair amount of his life until his death at age 30 in Fairfax.
Things to do in Fairfax
There are quite a few interesting places to visit in Historic Fairfax, such as the 29 Diner, established in 1947, the Old Fairfax Country Courthouse, now the Juvenile Court (built in 1800), and the Ratcliffe-Logan-Allison House, aka Earp’s Ordinary, which is two buildings in one built in 1810 and 1830.
If you’re there for the events, then you need to get your timing right. The Chocolate Lovers Festival (yum!) happens in March, followed by the Fairfax Spotlight on the Arts in April. The National Trails Day in June is a must-experience for nature lovers, while the Fairfax Civil War Day in spring and Independence Day Celebration Parade and Evening Show are a treat for history buffs.
Later in the year, you may want to have a drink at the Irish Festival help in September, and indulge your artsy side with the Fall Festival every second Saturday of October or The Holiday Craft Show every third weekend of November. Don’t miss the annual Festival of Lights & Carols in December, held on the first Saturday of that month.
The client had lived in this rambler-style 4-bedroom, 3-bathroom home built in the 1970s for many decades with his family, and had never felt the need to change anything. However, her husband was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis a year before, and it had advanced to the stage that he was no longer able to get about easily without a wheelchair, and could not stand for long periods. The house was one-story, which made it easy to install ramps and other disability aids around the house. However, the bathrooms were a little more difficult. The client wanted master bathroom renovation so that it would be easier for her to care for her husband, but didn’t want it to look too clinical. She called us in for a complete renovation.
The client wanted the bathroom doors wider, the shower larger and a roll-in to accommodate a shower chair, with a side-entry toilet, and accessible sinks. She wanted a spa-like environment that her husband would enjoy and not make the accessibility alterations too obvious. We brought our staff designer on the initial visit to discuss various layouts for the new bathroom as well as space considerations. At the end of the consultation, it was agreed that the part of the walk-in closet would be annexed to provide more space around the toilet, and that the bathtub would be removed to accommodate an industrial-sized shower enclosure.
Our staff designer gave the client two detailed layouts for the proposed remodel. The first one had the shower right in front of the bathroom door with the toilet on the right side. The second design put the shower next to the vanity occupying the left side of the bathroom relative to the door, directly across from the toilet. The client preferred the second design because it allowed more room to maneuver for either activity. In either design, grab bars was placed at strategic positions so the husband can negotiate the area in relative safety when needed. The ceramic floor would be replaced with honed granite tiles for to prevent slippage. Under the sink storage would be moved to the side and the vanity lowered to accommodate wheelchair use.
The client came down to the showroom to choose the materials for the remodel. Under the designer’s advice, she chose solid dark colors for the vanity top and shower surrounds, stainless steel bars, shower frame, fixtures, and other accessories, and gray floor tiles. The effect was sleek and modern, a good match for the white marble floor and contemporary look of the master bedroom. The bathroom door was to be replaced with accordion doors to make it easier to keep open and closed.
With the final details in place, we scheduled the start of the project in three days, advising the client to move to another bedroom for the duration. It would take five weeks to complete the renovation from demolition to finishing. We employed three crews for the project: demolition, tiling, and finishing. The client took an active part in the renovation, tweaking the design in small ways in a timely manner. We successfully completed to work within the time period.
The transformed bathroom was truly an excellent marriage of form and function. It managed to look beautiful and still provide the client with the accessibility she needed. We were very happy to have been part of this unique project.
If you need to make your kitchen design and bathroom design in Fairfax more accessible, or simply more beautiful, contact Fairfax Kitchen & Bath. We can guarantee 100% satisfaction.