From the August/September 2013 Issue:

ADA-Compliant, Sustainable & Serene

    Writer: Lisa Rackley | Photographer: Paul S. Bartholomew | Architect: Douglas R. Schotland, AIA, NCARB, CPHC |

A Somerset bathroom undergoes a transformation

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enlarge | The bathroom’s Asian theme is captured with elements such as the walnut and tiger maple cabinetry and operable shoji screens that bring light into the room while still allowing privacy. The screens are white but appear green because of the trees outside, adding another soothing color to the room.
The challenge for Douglas R. Schotland: design and build a master bathroom that is ADA compliant, energy efficient, luxurious and serene. His clients, a senior couple in Somerset, also wanted spa amenities. Those requirements were met with an Asian-inspired design, says Schotland, a Pennington-based architect, licensed general contractor, member of the American Institute of Architects, member of The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards and certified passive house consultant.

Article Photo
enlarge | The vanity countertop is coffee-colored Italian marble with delicate veining.
Safety First
The bathroom is fully wheelchair-accessible without appearing institutional. The shower, for example, has grab bars, an extra-wide rolling door, fold-down bench and curbless entrance, all of which make it easy for a person in a wheelchair to use safely with or without assistance. Toe kicks around the room conceal sensor-controlled night lighting that turns on when someone enters the room. A storage cabinet beside the vanity features an ADA-compliant pullout laundry drawer.

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enlarge | The shower has grab bars, an extra-wide rolling door, fold-down bench and curbless entrance. The shower has wood-like tile walls with bands of limestone accents and a river rock tile floor. The main floor is wood-like porcelain tile.
Luxurious & Serene
Custom walnut cabinetry with tiger maple trim and shoji screens on the window establish the Asian ambience. Schotland also had the tub wrapped with solid walnut clapboards and added lighting underneath so it appears to float above the floor.

Coffee-colored Italian marble with delicate veining graces the tub surround and double vanity. A deep blue vaulted ceiling is accented by cove lighting. The layers of lighting serve a functional purpose but also contribute to the soothing aura the clients desired.

Additional spa-like features include a six-head, computer-controlled shower system with multiple-setting body sprays as well as a whirlpool tub, hand shower, heated floor and heated towel racks.

Sustainable & Efficient
Schotland worked to make the room energy efficient with passive house design, which aims to make the most of natural light, ventilation and even temperatures. In the master bathroom wing of this home, for example, he super-insulated the walls to create an air seal, eliminating thermal bridges. A heat recovery ventilator replaces stale air with fresh air, losing very little energy in the process. And all lighting is energy-efficient LED. These improvements yield greater comfort, healthier air and drastically reduced energy use. The space is one of a few in the United States that is designed and built to Passive House Standards, Schotland says.

Schotland is proud of his efforts. “I feel good knowing that the homeowners love the space and can enjoy it as they age with peace of mind.”

What is Passive Design?
Passive house design is considered the most rigorous standard for energy efficiency, comfort and air quality.

A passive house ...
... is super insulated to reduce heating and cooling demand and eliminate cold surfaces where moisture condenses and mold flourishes.

... is virtually air-tight to reduce drafts and energy consumption and to prevent moist indoor air from penetrating the building envelope, which can cause premature decay and mold growth.

... is free of thermal bridges ( pathways for energy loss created by conductive material in the building envelope).

... is heated mainly by the sun, occupants and equipment.

... has a high-efficiency heat recovery ventilator that replaces "used" interior air with fresh outside air.



architect and interior design, Douglas R. Schotland in Pennington; porcelain floor tile, wall tile, shower tile, Darlene Flood of A Step in Stone in Skillman; whirlpool tub, Aquatic Infinity at aquatic; vanity, cabinetry, clapboards around tub and operable shoji screens, Fine Woodworking by Kyle E. Martin Sr. in Belle Mead; vanity mirrors, Robern; vanity lights, Tech Lighting in Skokie, Illinois; Italian marble countertop and tub surround, Diano Real Stone through European Marble & Granite in Jamesburg; sink faucets, American Standard; shower and tub system, Moen; mini LZF Mikado chandelier, Lumens in Sacramento; shower bench seat, Serina Seat Healthcraft Products in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; ceiling, Rick Fisher in Abingdon, Pennsylvania, using Benjamin Moore paint; carpentry, Kyle E. Martin Jr. of KEM Home Improvements in Easton, Pennsylvania; heat recovery ventilator, Zehnder in Ward Hill, Massachusetts.

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