… and where does collaboration get you?

Methvin-Kids-Bath-3D-coloredInterior designer Faith Cosgrove and I have collaborated before, and we will likely do it again.  She came to me recently with a unique challenge.  Her clients have young kids, a 4 year old and a 1 year old.  The problem that faced them as they planned to remodel the kids bathroom was clear.  It would be many years before the youngest one would be able to reach a standard height vanity, but, of course, that was still a very short time in terms of how soon you would consider remodeling your house again.  They wanted a solution that would give immediate access for the young ones, but still allow adult usage, and maintain the value of the home without future modification.

After the first client meeting Faith came to me with ideas.  They had already developed the look of the piece to go with the modern styling of the existing residence, and had conceived of a sliding shelf that would act as a step for the children to climb up to the sink.  When the step was not in use it would slide in and store towels.  This concept had me worried, how would one keep the shelf absolutely stable when it was stepped on, but still make it easy to move when you wanted it to go in.  Certainly you could not count on the kids to make sure it was locked out before stepping on it.  I had used drawer guides before that were rated at 500 Lbs, so I thought the cantilever and slide aspects of the engineering were good, and the only question was how to lock it out.

When It comes to collaboration, one of my biggest partners is Artie, the buyer at Wink’s Hardware.  Barely a day goes by that he doesn’t help me solve some problem or other.  Not only is the store handy (only a few blocks away) and carry stuff that no one else would bother with,  but Artie is one of those people that knows everything about everything.  For instance, he knew instantly that for a body in motion, 500 lbs was nowhere near enough (the acceleration of gravity being more than enough to overcome what seems like a pretty decent margin of failure). Methvin-Kids-Bath-3D-with-stool In fact (he also knew) the manufacturer of that 500 lb drawer guide specifically warned against using it as a step.  Okay… so it seems like a good starting point for this solution is that the step needs to be supported directly on the floor.

I wanted to ask, how often in, in real life, would this stool actually get folded up?  In some households the answer would be: once, when the youngest child is about 7, in others may be whenever there are guests.  Because I did not have the opportunity to ask, I decided it was a reasonable assumption to make,  and if true it means that making it as easy to open as drawer just isn’t necessary.  I proposed instead that the stool flip out on a piano hinge.

The client loved it, bought it, and that’s why Faith and I will probably continue to collaborate.


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