With more than 30 million Americans relying on wheelchairs to move throughout their lives, the need for accessibility at home continues to grow. Making the entrance to your home accessible and your bathroom seems obvious, but what about your kitchen? Creating a kitchen that is accommodating and free of barriers can be accomplished by utilizing specialty products and remodeling your kitchen with ease of access in mind. Whether you find cooking relaxing or you are in charge of all of the big family meals, being able to prepare food for yourself at home is one of life’s simple luxuries. When it comes time to redesign your kitchen with accessibility in mind, here are a few things to consider:
Pull Down Shelves
Making use of your upper cabinets becomes possible with the installation of moveable shelves in your cabinets. No more waiting for a friend or loved one to help you reach what you need, these shelves stay down until you push them back up. Both manual and electric powered versions are available.
Large Storage Drawers
While it is common to store your plates and other dishes in upper cabinets, lower, ample storage drawers can help keep plates and glassware within easy reach. Eliminate the worry of breakage and accessibility by changing how you think about where items could be stored in the kitchen.
Drawer-Style and Under Counter Appliances
Moving your microwave down to the top of the counter may seem like it will be accessible enough, but the reach over the counter to access it may be prohibitive. Instead, consider installing a microwave under the countertop or on a separate, more accessible cart. Drawer-style dishwashers are built into your cabinets but offer an easier way to load and unload your dishes than a traditional dishwasher. No unsafe bending and reaching with a drawer dishwasher.
Typically the counter height in standard kitchens is 36″. For countertops and sinks to be accessible, the height of the countertops should be set at 34″. An accessible workspace is 30″ wide with countertops that range from 28″- 34″ above the floor. Adjustable counters are available and should have a range of 28″ to 36″ in height. The countertop design in an accessible kitchen often dictates where appliance and storage cabinets will be.
Handheld sink nozzles with water control options make it easy to wash plates or vegetables. A single lever faucet is the easiest way to make the faucet accessible. Ensure that there is space under the sink that will accommodate a wheelchair or walker and allow users access to the sink. Ample knee clearance under the sink is an important design consideration and should be at least 27″ high and 11″ deep. Installing the faucet and plumbing to the side of the sink may make it easier to access for some. Pipes should be well insulated to protect against burns from legs against hot water pipes.
Pull out pantries, pull out shelves, lazy Susan’s and pull out cutting boards all make meal prep easier. A wide variety of options are available and configuring the cupboards to your needs, and the needs of other family members is a crucial design consideration.
Accessibility remodeling doesn’t have to be a challenging or worrisome process. Our professional design team, project liaisons and our licensed and insured general contractors make your project come to life. Ready to start your kitchen or bathroom remodel? Send us a message today and have one of our remodeling professionals to your home for a free consultation today!