Universal design is rooted in the idea that homes should be constructed with an inclusive mentality. Kitchen spaces can be difficult to navigate with a wheelchair or walker, becoming an exclusionary space rather than the “heart of the home.”
A good universal kitchen design isn’t obvious at first glance, integrating accessible elements in such a way that they seem perfectly at home in the space. Consider these typical universal design elements and how they create a space where anyone can feel welcome.
Pedestal Table. By using a pedestal table in the eating area, there is plenty of knee space for everyone, and a wheelchair can easily maneuver into place.
Appliances. The appliances are all able to be operated with one hand. The buttons require gentle pressure and should be located between 15″-48″ from the floor. It should be easy to access trays and racks from the front as well as the sides.
Height. Height must be a consideration. Different wheelchairs and their users have different height requirements. However, by ensuring most cabinets and appliances can be reached easily, the kitchen remains operational for everyone.
Beyond the Home. There is no reason that universal design shouldn’t be used in public spaces as well. The increasing baby boomer population and educational mainstreaming mean that hotels, gyms, schools, playgrounds, and other spaces would all be improved by implementing universal design principles.
Our Boston architecture and design firm has extensive experience in designing senior care facilities and other accessible spaces. If you are interested in making your home or business more accessible, give us a call today to discuss universal design and our other remodeling and design services.
photo via Houzz