How to make bathrooms kid-friendly in D.C.

How to make bathrooms kid-friendly in D.C.

Dual sinks. Height-adjustable shower fixtures. Vanity stools. Easy-to-clean surfaces. D.C.-area bathroom remodelers hear requests like these when homeowners want to remodel bathrooms their children use.

Adem Sirage, owner of highly rated Globe Bath & Kitchen Remodeling in Falls Church, says his clients often request that they renovate their master and kids’ bathrooms at the same time, adding that his customers have requested kid-friendly bathroom remodels more frequently in the last year. “People go to websites, see ideas and decide they want what they see,” he says.

Remodelers say that permanent kid-friendly features, such as dual sinks for multi-child families, step stools and height-adjustable shower fixtures can be done despite the fact that children obviously will grow. While some homeowners choose to add decorative elements that appeal to kids, most choose kid-friendly amenities that won’t affect their home’s value. “Even if you’re going to live in a house forever, your kids are going to grow,” says Eric Shipe, Globe’s director of operations. “We suggest making it fun, exciting and easy to maintain.”

The latter suggestion dominated Oak Hill member Kathryn Thurston’s thoughts when she hired highly rated Rendon Remodeling & Design to remodel the bathroom used by her 13-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son. She made sure the remodelers included a cabinet large enough to hold a dirty laundry basket, so her kids could easily pick up their clothes. “The dirty clothes never touch the floor, nor do they ever get neglected,” says Thurston, who estimated she spent between $8,000 and $10,000 on the remodel.

She also added an outlet in the back of a drawer for her daughter’s hair dryer to hide the cord. The bathroom already had dual sinks, so Thurston requested a tilt-out drawer in front of each sink to hold toothbrushes and toothpaste. “For a boy and a girl, separation is key,” she says. “When they’re both using the bathroom, it’s adapted to both of their needs.”

Joe Santucci, owner of highly rated Construction Solutions, says his Leesburg-based company focuses on high-end, custom remodels, including some work on kids’ bathrooms. “We use porcelain tiles, which are very hard and include tight grout joints,” he says, adding that they’re easy to clean. “It gives you a great, hard surface that cleans well. Many of our cabinets are custom and can have built-in hampers.”

While homeowners can choose to install a smaller than standard size toilet, Santucci suggests a double toilet seat that has a removable smaller seat inside the larger one, which costs $35. He also suggests dual or adjustable shower heads, saying a lower shower head maintains its utility once the children outgrow it. “You use it to wash your hair, wash pets, clean gym equipment ... it becomes a life-cycle issue,” he says.

Shipe says a 5-foot-by-7-foot bathroom would typically cost between $10,000 and $15,000. Homeowners usually spend less on children’s bathroom remodels than they do on master bathrooms.

Ultimately, with so many options, Thurston suggests those who are contemplating renovating their kids’ bathrooms plan for practical needs rather than aesthetics. “Think about how you would want it to be used,” she says. “For me, it was just function.”

For those homeowners who want to incorporate design features that will appeal to the younger set, Ship recommends starting with a theme. “Base decisions for the color of the tile, vanity, backsplash paint around that theme, whether it be ocean creatures, flowers, cartoon characters or anything else.”


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