Your House -Universal Design

Your House -Universal Design

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Universal Design



Universal Design in the Kitchen


is Universal Design?

design, also called barrier-free design, focuses on making the
house safe and accessible for everyone, regardless of age, physical
ability, or stature. Most of us think immediately of ramps and
grab bars when we think of accessible housing, but universal design
goes far beyond that while remaining largely invisible to the
casual observer. In fact, applying universal design concepts such
as wider doors and hallways makes a house feel more spacious.
Here are some steps you can take to make your house more user-friendly.

the Kitchen

  • Use
    pulls instead of knobs on cabinets and drawers. These are much
    easier on arthritic hands.

  • Install
    a contrasting edge-band on countertops. This makes it easier
    for someone with failing eyesight to see the edge of the countertop.
    Anyone navigating a dimly lit kitchen for a middle-of-the-night
    snack will also appreciate this touch.

  • Install
    varied-height cabinets and countertops. This is particularly
    appreciated in multi-cook families where, say, a very tall parent
    and a child may be working together to prepare a meal. Countertop
    heights can also be varied to accommodate particular tasks.
    For example, bakers value lower countertops for rolling out
    pastry and kneading dough.

  • Consider
    flexible appliances. Items such as under-the-counter refrigerator
    drawers make a kitchen more accessible for someone in a wheelchair.
    They are still pretty expensive, but the price is certain to
    drop over time. Elevating the dishwasher accommodates people
    in wheelchairs as well as people who may not be able to bend
    easily. You can even get a sink that raises or lowers at the
    touch of a button.

  • To
    accommodate a cook who uses a wheelchair, leave open space under
    the sink, cooktop, and prep counter, opt for higher toekicks
    on the base cabinets, install pull-down shelves in the upper
    cabinets, and choose a range with controls at the front or to
    the side of the cooktop (choose a model with a safety lock-out
    option if there are also young children in the house).


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