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Aging in place takes some getting used to; one must adjust to new limitations in mobility, especially in navigating household fixtures and fittings, such as showers and wastebaskets. While common solutions often include unsightly grab bars and the like, there is another way. In Kerhonkson, New York, BAAB Architecture and Buildings (BAAB) recently completed the Inside-Out Bath, which, in its open layout, allows for seamless movement throughout the space.

The clients are former residents of the Bronx who purchased their Catskills home in 2016. Over the succeeding half decade, BAAB has completed several interventions on the small property, such as the reconfiguration of the kitchen and living space and the installation of a deck. But the 75-square-foot primary bathroom remained a quandary for the clients; it is located deep within the house, without direct daylight. The aim for BAAB was not only to open the space, to ease a feeling of claustrophobia, but to render it suitable for the clients, who are in their late 70s and early 80s.

Inside-Out Bath.

The “totem” consolidates bathroom functions. Photo © Gabriel Zimmer Studio, click to enlarge.

The Inside-Out Bath achieves this goal through clever design decisions, the most conspicuous being the “totem,” placed centrally in the room, which consolidates the sink, medicine cabinet, shower, and toilet in a single 7-foot-tall monolith. That move not only frees up precious square footage but makes for a completely barrier-free bathroom, where the users are less likely to slip and fall; a shower bench and a turquoise-colored steel grab bar provide additional safety. The sink and toilet are designed for ease of use in a wheelchair, should the clients require it in the future.

For BAAB founder Ted Baab, it was also important to incorporate lifestyle details from the old bathroom into the new. “It is not trying to tell someone that they must live differently or get rid of stuff for a particular aesthetic, but to find a way to fit all those things into some sort of playful purpose,” he explains. To that end, a magazine rack is tucked away above the toilet, which also provides sufficient room for a night-light. The room itself is, for the most part, inlaid with iridescent, pearl-like tile that catches the light of a hallway-facing clerestory window, a choice that brings the outside into this formerly dark space.

Inside-Out Bath.
Inside-Out Bath.

The bathroom includes a fixed and handheld showerhead (1). Fittings, such as a toilet paper holder, are embedded in the totem (2). Photos © Gabriel Zimmer Studio

Click drawings to enlarge

Inside-Out Bath.


BAAB Architecture and Buildings — Ted Baab, principal

General Contractor:
Feinberg Construction


75 square feet


Completion Date:
December 2023




Floor and Wall Tile:
Ocean Mosaics

WAC Lighting

Kohler Verticyl (sink); Duravit (toilet); Hansgrohe Raindance (shower)