Strasser Woodenworks Helps Transform Life in the Bathroom for a Special Needs Child

April 3, 2017

Strasser Woodenworks recently partnered with Schloegal Design & Remodeling in its Big Splash Custom Bath Giveaway contest, designed to benefit a special needs child. Amy Boeshaar, AKBD, who was tasked with designing a new bathroom for a child with dwarfism, selected Strasser Woodenworks for its Shaker style Montlake vanity. The Montlake was easily adaptable, and once customized, allowed the child full accessibility to the sink. As a result, the Strasser vanity played a central role in transforming a bathroom full of obstacles and challenges into a safe and comfortable, yet stylish space for the Kansas City boy.

Four-year-old Tristan Ramirez and his family were the lucky recipients of this year’s sixth-annual contest giveaway. By choosing a special needs child and family to receive a fully remodeled bathroom, the program allowed the Schloegal Design & Remodeling firm and its employees to use their unique talents to give back to the community. Ramirez was in dire need of a new bathroom. Born with a form of dwarfism called Achondroplasia and standing 31-in. tall, he struggles to perform everyday tasks in a world that’s not designed for his size.

“Like any young child, Tristan wants to be independent, but the height of every element in the bathroom made that a real challenge and a safety hazard for him,” said Boeshaar. “From the vanity, sink, and towel bars to the tub, showerhead and toilet, everything was just too tall for him.”

To create a vanity better suited to Ramirez’s needs, Boeshaar began with cabinet elements from Strasser Woodenworks’ Montlake Collection. She and her team used these elements as the “bones” to create a bathroom vanity that is fully accessible for Ramirez, yet usable by other members of the family as well. By selecting a Shaker door style in Satin White, Boeshaar ensured it would contribute to a space that is as timeless and attractive as it is accessible. Boeshaar says they also needed a quick turn-around time and they knew Strasser could deliver.

The vanity presented the biggest challenge in the remodel of the space, notes Boeshaar.

“We wanted to create a ‘step-out’ design to make the vanity top and sink accessible for Tristan, but we also wanted it to be concealed when the steps weren’t pulled out,” she explained. “So Strasser’s toe-kick drawers were the perfect choice.” According to Boeshaar, they selected different length drawer glides to make the stairs work. They also removed the bottom rail of the drawer and built each step inside to be sure they fit when folded up and closed. Casters were used under the steps to help them roll out with ease. “And when the stairs are not in use, they appear just like a regular toe-kick,” she said.

Another unique feature of the vanity is a storage area next to the toilet, specially designed just for Ramirez. To create this element, Boeshaar incorporated a Strasser Woodenworks medicine cabinet that would normally be mounted on the wall. By installing it on the side of the vanity, it is the ideal height for Ramirez and gives him an increased sense of autonomy.

The end result was a fully functional bathroom that has allowed Ramirez more freedom and privacy, which will serve him well as he gets older and becomes more independent.