Feng Shui & Safety, Part One

outdoor shower with detachable shower head fixture

Our shower is outside the bathroom, not inside. The simple light fixture came from that fabulous store, City Lights in San Francisco, and it’s truly bug-tight. The shower hose came from that ritzy store, Ace Hardware.

Two of my latest consultations have been for existing homes that are being altered. One is a Hawaii client who is significantly expanding her small home. The other is for a say-something midcentury California beach house. In both cases the issue of safety came up.

The Hawaii client was going to put a tub faucet on the shower wall, rather low for rinsing sandy feet from the beach. She also wondered about having shower heads at multiple levels. Here’s what I said “If life has taught me anything, it’s that simple means less to go wrong. A wall shower with a sprayer might be all you need. That’s what I use to clean my feet. I just detach the sprayer first, aim it at my feet then turn the water on. Adding a tub spigot down low could be something to trip on. The only extra thing I’d consider adding in a shower would be a grab bar. When thinking about “aging-in-place” and realizing that bathrooms are where lots of accidents happen—I recommend that you build in safety that looks nice.”

She liked my advice, but asked, “How do you make a grab bar look nice?” I said, “I suppose the only way to make a safety bar look good is to make sure the tile looks as flawless as possible right where the bar is attached. A good tile person should be able to do that.”

shower with wooden grab bars

This shower has grab bars in very handy places. But I wish one of the vertical grabs went lower down, and I wonder how practical wooden bars are in a shower. They look good when they’re brand new, but how will they look in a few years in a shower that’s well used? Photo by Bestbath via Houzz.

I also recommended that the bar be vertical. “I’m thinking of a vertical bar near a back corner so that it’s out of the way. Make it go low enough so that if someone fell, they could reach it from the floor. But don’t put it so close to a corner that it’s hard to clean between the corner & the bar.”

The moral of this story and also in my next post, the story of California beach house, is the same. In feng shui, when safety is a factor, then it automatically becomes the deciding factor. If something about a building is not safe for people, it does not have good feng shui.

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