Mafe Maria: Personal stories by autism parent mentor, Maria Stultz

Home Reorg: The Bathroom / Laundry Room

Joaquin’s bathroom was one of the first rooms I targeted during the Home Reorg project I started this spring. The small bathroom holds a utility closet with laundry appliances, and the bathtub had a drainage problem we hadn’t fixed, so over time the laundry function had taken over this room. Kiki would use the sink and toilet, but the tub was a dust collector over which we would hang washed clothes to air dry. The whole thing looked depressing and I couldn’t take it anymore. This room needed a little makeover to recover the bath/shower functionality while keeping the ability to air dry clothes in there.

Bathroom before remodel with man's clothes hanging over the tubLaundry closet before remodel shows a shelf over the appliances
The bathroom we lived with until Feb, 2015

First step was to reorganize the cleaning supplies and other non-related items that had found a home in the closet, and replace the shelf with something that made better use of the vertical space above the appliances allowing me to hung wet clothes in there —behind doors— so the tub could be open again and ready for showers and baths. Of course I knew immediately what to use!… The baby gates I had saved for several years knowing they could be repurposed into something new.

Clothes hanging on baby gate rails installed above laundry appliancesLaundry closet with two wooden baby gates installed over the laundry appliancesCloseup of clothes hanging on baby gate rails installed inside the laundry closet

Then it was time to paint, and for economy I went with one of the same colors I used in Joaquins’ new bedroom. I knew that blue would make a beautiful contrast with the warm color of the wood.

Bathroom cleared and prepped for painting'Closed for reparations' sign on the wall of the freshly painted bathroomSelfie after applying the second coat of paint late after sunset, to the light of a table lamp

For this room, we limited our expenses to drain repair, paint, and a new lighting fixture. We refreshed the cabinet hardware with pieces I had saved from our master bathroom remodel a few years back, and hung the towels on Ikea hooks I had purchased years ago but never had used. The shower curtain I also made from a remnant of Ikea curtains I had once bought for another DIY project.

Kiki making silly faces on the mirror of the remodeled bathroom with the new light fixture hanging above the sinkRemodeled bathroom showing the new blue walls, hung towels and finished shower curtainKiki appreciating the refreshed cabinet hardware

Years ago we had also purchased a little gadget to lower the height of the shower head for little kids who didn’t like to be splashed above their heads. Since the tub didn’t drain properly, we had never installed it, but now it was time to pull it out and give Joaquin the chance to enjoy the pleasure of showers.

Kiki in the shower, with water pouring out comfortably on his back from a cute little blue whale shower head mounted on the tile

On this first shower in his newly renovated bathroom, Joaquin gave me one of the best payoffs I could think of for all the hard work done in this room. Visibly enjoying his experience, loving the warm water massaging and cleaning his body, he said This is the best gift you’ve ever given to me. Thank you for that, bollo mio.