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Accessible Design in Seattle Kitchens

October 5, 2011 at 8:41 pm | Category: Remodeling

Many families find it necessary to consider accessibility in designing their kitchen because of a family member with a disability or because of aging family members who are experiencing some physical limitations. At this time, there is no code of accessible design for residential homes. There are, however, sets of guidelines for various levels of home accessibility. Many of the features needed by persons with disabilities are also attractive and useful to others.

If you want to make your remodeled kitchen more accessible, here are some of the basic steps you might take:

Raise Seattle electrical outlets from the standard height of 12 inches to 15 or 18 inches above the floor

Consider wider hallways and doors (34-36 inches)

Do not include interior steps

Color contrast between trim and surface of the floor

Lever door handles, loop handle pulls on drawers and cabinet doors, touch latches or magnetic latches on cabinets

Light switches at 36-44 inches above the floor

Single lever water controls

Pressure balanced anti-scald valve at sinks

Space between face of cabinets and walls of 48 inches or more

Clear knee space under sink

Adjustable-height work surfaces (28-42 inches)

Stretches of continuous counter tops for easy sliding of heavy items

Pantry storage with easy access pull-out or adjustable-height shelves

Front-mounted controls on appliances

Cook top with knee space below

Side-by-side refrigerator to allow easy access to all items

Built-in oven with knee space beside

Dishwasher raised on a platform or drawer unit so top rack is level with adjacent counter top

Crank operated windows

Design help is also available from organizations like the Arthritis Foundation, the MS Foundation, the Parkinson’s Foundation and agencies on Aging. These organizations can also help you find architects and certified kitchen designers in your area who have the knowledge and experience to help you make good choices in creating an accessible kitchen. These organizations can also help you find manufacturers who make the appropriate styles of appliances.

The primary considerations in kitchen accessibility are:

Space – enough open space in the appropriate parts of the kitchen to allow someone to turn a wheelchair or a scooter.

Access – counter height, appliance design and storage design that is accessible to someone with reaching, bending or standing limitations.

Safety – think about and plan for alternative ways to do things, such as moving heavy items, reaching across cook tops or ranges, ability to reach needed items from a wheelchair.

With some research and thought you can create an accessible and stylish Seattle kitchen remodeling design that will be fully accessible and safe for family members with mobility limitations.

For further inquires, please contact us at 425-444-2638 or complete our online request form.