Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Everybody Is For Universal Design, but "not at our house right now"

There's a country song (or maybe several) on the theme: Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven, just not right now.  

And we're on record pro-universal design, but later, after we pay for our photo-op tub that is not non-skid, pay for our nostalgic faucet handles like the ones Granny had that she couldn't turn when arthritis struck, after we pay for our sport coupe that we couldn't get into or out of without help when we hurt our back.  

As far as getting out of that tall, tall, clawfoot tub when pregnant, I wish I could show a video of that here.

I worked for nine years in a business that also sold bath and kitchen equipment.  For every starry-eyed prosperous young couple who bought kitchens and baths there, there seemed to be several couples long into middle age.  Sometimes really long. . .

I sold some pots and pans to a woman in her eighties who told me she still skied.  She may be okay in the trendy bathrooms, but I remember snow as a lot softer than ceramic tile when  you fall down.

Pretty and and elegant, maybe even nostalgic, can be useful, safe, and universally right.  Bathrooms, kitchens, halls, and entries safe for any age and any state of athletic readiness (or lack of it) don't need to shout "old, pitiful, and crippled."  And don't get me started on hospital design. . .

Picture your favorite romantic, perhaps French, apartment building or town house.  If the guy who designed those lacy, intricate rails were alive today, couldn't he design a grab bar that doesn't look like it came off an eighteen-wheeler?  

It's just cheaper to manufacture a one institutional-looking grab bar that shouts "hospital," get it approved for use, and sell a billion of 'em.  It's the modern way, right?  

And after all, we're not sick right now.  We're not old.

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