The “winkel” (wet room)

This project was to renovate our utility room on the ground floor that we call the "winkel" (the shop) into an accesible wet room. I started it when Rob was in ICU, against all advice from many who had no right giving advice about it. I can't say that was the easiest time to do a big building project, but on the other hand, it was also a good diversion for me, and something I felt I could do to help him.

It had always been a multi-use room for pet feeding along with housing our heating and water system, recyclables and "stuff". It was also a place Rob liked to go to get away from it all. Although the room was in a bad state to begin with, Rob had already started the renovations by fixing the door, window, wall and painting on one side. In keeping with the feeling with our very old house, I wanted to keep the colours as Rob had chosen, which are similar to it's orignal colours going back a few hundred years. I also wanted to make it not feel too "handicapped", which I knew Rob would not like.

Gratefully, our family and friends helped by funding the building work after I had bought most of the materials (see below). In Holland you can get funding from the government with renovations like this, but it is a long drawn out process. We never received any compensation from the government, even though I had them inspect the room beforehand. That was because they said it was already done, and therefore they did not need to do it (strange logic!). In some ways that was frustrating, but on the other hand, we did not need to do it in the way that they do things: it would have taken about 1 year with a lot of organising, and would have been done with very basic ugly materials and been very handicapped looking.

There are a few things I would have done differently, like lower tipping mirror and under-floor heating (I think there was a technical difficulty, but can't remember in the chaos). Otherwise, it has worked out very well. The room is still used as multi-use room for pet feeding, etc., and it's great to have a room we can just hose down to clean. Other than a shower chair, there is not one piece of handicapped equipment in it! Below are some pictures. The final pictures were taken the day I presented it to Rob. We have since taken off the bows and added a shower chair and nice stainless grab bars mounted on the floor by the toilet and shower.

I don't know what we would have done without it. On his first visit home, Rob could have a hot shower with all of the necessities -- I can't tell you how important that was. Overall, we are really happy about it and use it daily.

With all of our thanks...

We want to thank all of you for helping us to renovate Rob's "winkel". It has really helped for Rob to be more comfortable.

Rob's wonderful sister Anne helped me start out the project by buying Rob a really cool shower with water jets. From there it has become a real project with my brother Santi helping me pick out tiles and our good friend Peter who is a builder who helped me to lay it all out along with doing almost all of the work on it.

I want to especially thank Dave and Ruth (Ellyn's parents) for giving us the money to do the building work for this project. I'll be trying to pay them back as I can, but I absolutely know this would not have been possible without their help. Just buying all the materials broke my piggy bank!

  • Dave & Ruth Larson
  • Anne & Mick Struebel
  • Santikaro Larson & Jo Marie Thompson
  • Tom, Luke & Oliver Struebel
  • Sue Bender
  • Joost & Marja Verhoof
  • Dave & Sandy Bender
  • Mike Larson & Linda Schwartz
  • Peter Kaagman & Bea Oostens (for all the extra's Peter is doing while building the "winkel")
  • Paul & Jean Bender
  • Dorette, Joost, Kiki, & Jimmy Dings
  • Caro, Martin, Jacques & Max-Martin Wenger-Sherrie
  • Jimmy Toohey
  • Claire & Simon Quinn and Martin Rees
  • Anneloes (for help in placing things), Rob & Koen Vermeer (for all the help with Jansen and many other things to make this all a bit easier)