Edmonds-based Chermak Construction has earned a prestigious national award for its volunteer makeover of an inadequate 1960s bathroom, turning two cramped bathrooms into a spacious master bath through a national contest sponsored by AARP.
For the bathroom’s user-friendly design and volunteered services, both Chermak (a My Edmonds News sponsor) and the interior design firms of Penates Design and IDI were named 2010 Dream Home Award Winners for Community Service.
AARP established the contest and funded construction of the Snohomish remodel to showcase universal design, the design approach that invisibly eliminates impediments and arranges a home’s features to be easier to reach, see and use by everyone from toddlers to elders.
Mary Waggoner, the Snohomish homeowner and room makeover winner, is a full time public relations professional who cares for her elderly parents on weekends. Her original bathroom could not fit her mother’s wheelchair and prevented her from bathing when she visited. Its traditional shower/tub combination posed a safety hazard for her father who uses a walker and has low-vision.
Volunteer designers Michelle Molloy of Penates Design and Mary Curley of IDI, llc, and volunteer General Contractor Howard Chermak of Chermak Construction, Inc. remodeled the bathrooms to both update it and remove barriers by adding a wider, angled doorway, a curbless walk-in shower, an automated lighting control system that provides ambient and task lighting, a state-of-the-art ‘hands free’ toilet/bidet, heated slip resistant flooring and custom mosaic tile walls.
“Penates Design, IDI and Chermak Construction worked to the highest standards of their professions on this pro bono project and AARP is proud to have been associated with them on it,” said Elinor Ginzler, AARP Senior Vice President for Livable Communities. “Their final product is as beautiful as it is user friendly.”
Nine out of ten older Americans want to stay in their homes for as long as possible and census data shows that they do what they say. As boomers like Mary Waggoner have begun to recognize from caring for their elderly parents, a few important changes can make their homes much more comfortable and convenient for everyone in the family regardless of age or ability.
Chermak said he hopes this project will bring attention to needs in our local communities that can only be served by volunteerism. “I was amazed at the generous response from contractors who were willing to give their time and money in such a tough economic environment,” he said.