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Custom Kitchens for the Disabled: Nine Ways to Think Outside the Box

by Susanne Clemenz

The kitchen is the busiest room in most homes, but can be the last place you want to be if counter heights, space and appliances reduce the accessibility of the room. If it is time for a custom kitchen remodel in order to improve your kitchen's accessibility, consider how these factors can work for the entire family.

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Factors in Custom Kitchen Remodeling for the Disabled

  1. Space: Push out the walls. Leave enough room to easily turn around in a scooter or wheelchair. This will also allow other family members to easily walk by appliances when someone has a door open.
  2. Counter height: Choose countertops, including the sink, that can be raised and lowered as needed to accommodate wheelchairs.
  3. Cabinet height: Install lift systems that bring overhead cabinets down to counter height.
  4. Lower cupboards: Choose lower cabinets and counter-height appliances with roll-out drawers for easy access.
  5. Hardware: D-shaped pulls work best for disabled hands and fingers.
  6. Small appliance lifts: Store microwaves, food processors, toasters, and other small appliances on open, push-button lift shelves under the counter. This will also work to reduce clutter.
  7. Flooring: Choose a beautiful flooring material, such as ceramic tile, that prevents skidding as well as marks from wheels and walkers.
  8. Visual aids: Use high-intensity lighting over task areas, such as the sink, and near operating buttons on appliances. Baseboard rope lights can outline traffic patterns.
  9. Colors: Lighter colors help bounce light around and create a safer environment for working and navigating around your kitchen.

Kitchen designers keep current on the latest products and layouts for the disabled. Hire one to help create a beautiful, accessible custom kitchen to enhance everyone's kitchen work and socializing.

 



About the Author

Suzanne Clemenz designed her passive solar home and interacted with the contractors every day of the 6-month project. She started drawing floor plans and making models in the early '70s after purchasing several building lots. Recently she expanded and

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