Universal Appeal

A great kitchen isn’t simply about looks
Image courtesy of Atlas Homeware

Increasingly, products engineered to accommodate all kinds of people, at all stages of life, are setting the pace in the best home plans. People come in all shapes, heights, ages and abilities. Thanks to universal design, more homes will be equipped to accommodate them, abandoning one-size-fits-all standards for more flexible approaches.
Universal design is based on the common-sense idea that kitchen and home design should adapt to fit people, rather than requiring people to adapt to the design. The goal is to increase the efficiency, convenience and safety features of a room, taking into consideration the widest range of people and recognizing that their needs are likely to change over time.
At work in the kitchen, universal design can be as subtle as a floor plan. Workspaces in front of each appliance and counter should be generously sized, 30 inches x 48 inches, and islands should be positioned so as not to interfere with traffic and work flow. More obvious aspects of universal design include countertops at various heights (42 45 for standing work; the standard 36, and 30 32 to accommodate seated cooks and children); microwave ovens installed at counter height; ovens and dishwashers with large, easy-to-read graphics; electronic faucets.
Here are some additional universal design ideas for efficient kitchens:
-Additional knee space beneath work stations kitchen counter, island, sink and stove to allow for seated or wheelchair users.
-Roll-out trays, drawers divided with solid wood partitions, pull-out towel bars and pull-out cutting boards that make the most efficient use of storage and work surfaces.
-Staggered-height cabinets that ensue storage is within reach for a variety of users.
-Pull-down cabinets that make wall storage more accessible for all.
-Pull-out shelves near ovens and microwaves to make the removal of hot foods safer.
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