Mary Lou Graves knew her home needed more than a weekend makeover. Her son, 23-year-old Travis Graves, had been using his left arm and leg to pull himself from room-to-room for far too long.
Travis, paralyzed as a result of a head injury years earlier, needed more than newly painted walls or coordinating curtains. He needed a home with widened door frames, as well as an accessible shower, bedroom, office space, and lounge area – and a designer who wasn’t willing sacrifice function for style.
Enter Shelly Rogers of Interior Trends Inc. of Wichita to orchestrate the Graves’ remodeling project. Many of Rogers’ clients are facing issues similar to those in the Graves household, whether through a disability or a desire to age in place.
“Good design doesn’t only mean creating a beautiful space; it should be functional and make life easier,” says Rogers.
Every detail – from elevated chairs and pivoting mirrors to zero-entry showers and discreetly placed railings – serves a purpose in the type of forward-thinking design.
In the Graves’ ranch-style home, for example, Rogers designed on large bedroom and bath by combining two small bedrooms. The new space has a built-in desk topped with a flat-screen TV and computer.
A tight-looped, low-weave carpet makes an easy transition to a tiled bathroom floor, which is heated by radiant coils. A spacious shower with one-hand controls is the bathroom's centerpiece, outfitted in a reflective onyx material for showy yet functional appeal. A matching bench extends from the shower and has a nearby grab bar in a chick chrome finish.
Other innovative touches, such as a vanity with a rolling cabinet that houses Travis' shaving supplies, make everyday tasks easier. "That was our goal," says Rogers. "What made this project so much fun was finding out what Travis wanted. This is a space that will serve him long-term but that will work for anyone else, too."
And like most things that are more than the sum of its parts, Travis' new bedroom suite has given him something new: independence.
"They thought of everything." says Mary Lou. "We told them what Travis needed, and we got more than we imagined."