Universal makes kitchen and great~room
efficient, accessible, and comfortable for all, without
T he beauty of universal design is its intent to make housing usable
by everyone through all of life's stages and changes. If you're in
the early planning stages of building or renovating a house,
incorporating universal design is a wise long-term investment.
In most cases you won't need to make significant changes whatever the
circumstances: a family member becoming permanently or temporarily
disabled, an elderly parent in the home, a young child or a shorter-than-
average adult, or guests with disabilities. Free of obstacles, your home will be
enjoyable for all. And if you're planning to live there for many years, universal
design features will accommodate your own needs in the future, whether you
sprain a wrist, develop stiffjoints, or need assistance to move about.
CHAPTER 6 CONTENTS
SmartDesign Everyone. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 160
for CookingCenter. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 164
Food-Prep onvenience. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 162
C . People-Friendly
Center. . . . . . . . . . . . . 166
Storage. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163
left Craftsman style beautifully translates to the open, friendly
interior of this convenient 21 st-century kitchen and great-room.
Kitchen Design and Planning 159
Smart Design for Everyone
Universal design is now mainstream because of growing finishes. Anyone experiencing arthritis will appreciate the
awareness and changes in population demographics. action, which is easy on the wrist.
As baby boomers enter their 50s and 60s, many will be Making halls a little wider and installing doors at least
building or remodeling homes for when they retire. 32 inches wide is convenient for everyone. Wider doorways
Universal design will serve them well in preparing are a must for wheelchair users or those who use walkers,
a comfortable, safe environment for their later years. but spacious doorways also make movement throughout
Successful implementation of universal design does not the home easier. For instance, a 36-inch-wide door
produce a sterile, institutional look. Instead it results in simplifies tasks such as moving furniture in or out of the
a functional and attractive setting where your family and house or between rooms and lessens the likelihood of
friends can savor their surroundings, drawn by a pleasing damaging walls and doorjambs.
combination of colors, textures, and surfaces that is An entrance based on universal design eliminates steps,
heightened by engaging finishing touches. simplifying coming and going, especially if you're carrying
Universal design can be affordable. The 1,300-square- in groceries, rolling a suitcase, pushing a baby stroller, or
foot house highlighted in this chapter cost $130,000 to guiding a wheelchair. When bad weather causes wet or icy
build with all materials as stock. Universal design features conditions, more secure footing lessens the worry about
and products are almost undetectable and increase slipping on the walkway.
expenses no more than 3 percent if implemented as part To ensure safety and usability for anyone entering or
of the original design. leaving the house, follow these guidelines:
With particular attention to placement, shape, and size, II1II Plan for at least one level entrance with no steps into
universal design features make the house easier for all your home, eliminating raised sills on the exterior door.
family members and visitors, regardless of physical ability. II1II Ensure a flush threshold, with a maximum of
For instance, if you put light switches and electrical outlets Vz-inch rise.
between 44 and 48 inches from the floor, anyone who has II1II Use a beveled strip at the bottom door track of sliding
trouble bending over or reaching up will not struggle to glass doors to prevent tripping.
plug in an appliance or turn on a light. II1II Install a sidelight by the entrance door or dual peep
The shape of something as simple as a doorknob holes with one 42 to 48 inches high.
affects how easily someone can enter and leave a room. II1II Locate addressnumbers so they are visiblefrom
Comparably priced lever-style door handles are easier to the street.
turn than knobs and are available in a range of styles and
III Make sure walkways have a gentle slope of no
more than 5 percent.
III Provide an accessible route with no steps
from parking or vehicle drop-off.
III Light the exterior of the entry door with
motion sensor lights.
The seven basic principles of universal design:
III Cover the entryway for protection from
III Equitable Use: Making the design useful and marketable
weather, and provide a safe place to wait.
to people with diverse abilities.
III Allow a space of at least 18 inches on the
III Flexibility in Use: Accommodating the many differences in
latch side of the door.
III Push-button combination locks are easier to individual preferences and abilities.
III Simple and Intuitive Use: Making the design easy to
use than keys.
III Exterior doors should be at least 36 inches understand, regardless of the user's experience, knowledge,
language skills, or current concentration level.
wide and interior doors 32 inches.
III Perceptible Information: Communicating information
III Ensure that no more than 5 pounds of force is
effectively to the user, regardless of the ambient conditions
needed to open doors.
or the user's sensory abilities.
III Replace standard hinges with swing-free
III Tolerance for Error: Minimizing hazards and adverse
hinges to increase the door opening.
consequences of accidental or unintended actions.
III Have a bench or package shelf available
III Low Physical Effort: Making the design easy and
beside the door to hold items you may bring
comfortable with minimum fatigue.
in from the car.
III Size and Space for Approach and Use: Providing
III Make circulation paths at least 3 feet wide.
appropriate size and space for approach, reach,
III Consider using pocket doors for the interior
manipulation, and use, regardless of user's body size,
when hall and room space is limited.
posture, or mobility.
III Fit interior doorways with lever-style
III Move all objects and furniture that can
III Install handrails at exterior steps for safer
travel up and down.
Kitchen Design and Planning 161
The L-shape kitchen's work triangle minimizes unnecessary .. At least one sink should provide clear knee space that
trips and reduces fatigue. Open space makes fixtures, measures at least 27 inches high, 30 inches wide, and
appliances, and workstations easy to reach and use by most 19 inches deep. (Wider is better.)
cooks. The sink and other work spaces are located within .. Sink basins should be no more than 6Yz inches deep
universal reach range, which means the cook, if seated, with a rear drain for people who prefer to sit or to allow
does not have to lean and strain to turn on the faucet or children to use a step stool.
pick up a heavy item from a high countertop. Keeping .. Insulate the bottom of the sink and the water pipes to
a basic set of cooking utensils at every workstation also protect any seated cook from bums and/or cuts.
saves steps. These guidelines also make the food-prep .. Make sure fixtures and other workstations are within
area more usable: universal reach range (15 to 48 inches).
.. If you install two sinks, mount them at two heights, with .. Install single-handle/lever faucets that can be operated
the edge of the highest no more than 34 inches. with a closed fist.
.. Choose a sprayer with an extra long hose.
.. Place the sink near the range so you can use the sprayer
to fill pots while on the burner.
.. Consider a garbage disposer at a double-basin sink
provided kneespace can be made under one sink.
right Beauty was not spared
on the island, as this
monochromatic tile pattern
shows. The island countertop,
where company is most
likely to sit, is made of
expensive laminate is used
on the other countertops.
above The Craftsman-style pendant, made of
formica and metal, directs light over the sink while
casting a glow throughout the kitchen.
162 Kitchen Design and Planning
Although this house is not large, every inch of space is II Choose cabinet components that facilitate access
used. A pullout pantry and pull-down shelves put items at to stored supplies and appliances, including larger,
the fingertips of short or seated cooks. Universally designed heavier items: rotating units, such as lazy Susans;
storage offers great options for all homeowners. Follow shelves that pull or roll out of base cabinets; and
these guidelines: full-extension drawers.
II Vary cabinet sizes for use by family members of different II Use a wide entry and storage units that rotate or pull out
heights and physical needs; consider children and tall for a walk-in pantry.
men or women. II Install pull-out shelves in base cabinets.
II Use lowered wall cabinets or pull-down storage units so II Consider loop handles on cabinet doors and drawers.
objects and supplies are within the universal reach range II Use shelves that are height adjustable in wall cabinets
requirements of 15 to 48 inches. or are just above countertops.
II Include cabinets that allow for knee space (at least II Install shelves that move up and down for maximum
27 inches high, 30 inches wide, and 19 inches deep). storage in full-height pantries.
II Consider cabinet doors that slide back into the cabinet. II Consider shelves 4 to 6 inches wide at the back of the
II Place magnetic latches on cabinets for easier closure. counter for convenient everyday storage.
The homeowners placed the refrigerator and pantry close
together to aid in food preparation and unloading groceries.
II Side-by-side refrigerators offer access at a variety of
heights usable by everyone.
II Icemakers and water dispensers in the refrigerator door
are convenient for everyone.
II The refrigerator/freezer is on a raised platform.
II Roll-out drawers ease access to food.
II Spill-proof shelves, container storage in the door, slide-out
shelves, and see-through vegetable bins ease access.
II Door handles require minimal effort and finger use.
Kitchen Design and Planning 163
Safety and comfort are paramount for anyone who cooks. II1II You won't need an overhead vent hood if you install
Oven controls should be easy to read and require little a downdraft venting system, which has vents at the
gripping to turn. Instead of the coil burners shown here, center or at the back of the cooktop. They are equipped
some homeowners prefer smooth glass tops so they can with high-power fans that pull heat away from the user.
slide heavy pots and pans to the countertop. However, II1II Alarms on the range must be both visual and audible.
smooth glass cooktops are not good for people with low II1II Allow sufficient room on both sides of the oven for
vision or who are blind. Here are other considerations easier access to the oven interior.
when shopping for a range. II1II Self-cleaning ovens are good timesavers.
II1II An indicator light on the range that warns if a burner II1II Place the microwave oven at counter height with
is hot helps prevent burns. a pull-out shelf in front and knee space below.
Countertops should have rounded edges and comers. There is plenty
of counter space beside the cooktop and oven, easing removal of hot
pots. These guidelines make countertops functional:
II Use a contrasting color for the border treatment on countertops
to enhance visibility.
II Install fold-down shelves or pull-out countertops to meet all family
members' size requirements.
II Install easy-clean surfaces.
II Have continuous countertop space to slide heavy objects.
II Plan a food-preparation countertop that is 30 to 32 inches high
with knee space below.
II Install a pull-out cutting board 30 inches high below
II Install heatproof surfaces, especially near cooking appliances. above A quick turn of the lazySusan in the corner
II A slightly lipped countertop edge minimizes spills running off cabinet makes contents visible at first glance and
onto the floor. handy at first reach.
Kitchen Design and Planning 165
Washing dishes or clothes may not be the high point of your day,
however, installation of a raised dishwasher and convenient laundry
center make these chores easier.
Raising the height of the washer and dryer also helps you avoid
excess bending. You can effortlessly toss clothes into a front-loading
washer, which uses less detergent, and a front-loading dryer. The tops
of both come in handy as counter space. Make sure the lint catcher is
in front for easier cleaning.
Extend convenience into your closets. Install adjustable-height
shelving (great for growing kids) and hang clothing on a motorized
clothing carousel. Double racks in closets allow for less reach and
more storage space.
Raise the height of the dishwasher 6 to 16 inches
to eliminate extra bending.
Look for a dishwasher with these features:
controls on the upper rim of the door; automatic
soil-content, water-temperature, and cycle-
selection sensors; flexible loading features such
as fold-down tines; a lockout switch to prevent
accidental operation; an easy-to-read display;
and electronic problem indicators. A dishwasher
drawer unit is another option, especially for
a household of one or two people. Also consider
high contrast lettering indicating function, and
large buttons (smooth control areas are difficult
for people with low vision).
This house uses matte ceramic tile and carpeting to
III To reduce bending, place electrical
prevent slipping. Here are some other ways to keep traffic outlets 1 8 to 24 inches above
moving smoothly through your home: the floor.
III Motion-sensitive lighting or touch
III Install level nonskid flooring (prefinished hardwood is lights are easier for everyone to use
a good choice). and especially helpful when a family
III Choose surfaces such as vinyl, wood, and low-pile member lacks dexterity.
carpeting, which do not impede the movement of wheels. III Light switches should be mounted
III Use different flooring for tactile clues for navigation, 44 to 48 inches above the floor.
such as tile in the entrance, carpet in the living room, III Light switches that slide up and down
and vinyl in the kitchen. are easier to turn on and off.
III Secure the edges of area rugs. III Glowing light switches can be seen
III Remove throw or scatter rugs to minimize tripping. in the dark.
III Install lighting at floor level and along stairs to III Provide ambient lighting for overall
enhance vision. room illumination, task lighting over
III Leave a clear, unobstructed 30x48-inch floor space in work areas, and accent lighting to
front of the refrigerator, range, microwave, sink, focus on art and objects.
countertops, and dishwasher. III Reduce glare with window treatments,
III Leave a minimum of 60 inches in diameter in the kitchen textured wallpaper, matte wall paint, or
to allow a wheelchair to turn 360 degrees. low-gloss floors.
Kitchen Design and Planning 167
Special Thanks to: Interior Decorating: Kathy Mitchell Plumbing: Keyes & Sons Plumbing
Tom and Lorena Ament Menasha, Wisconsin & Heating, Inc.
John and Lisa Egan (920) 729-6006 Appleton, Wisconsin
Paul and Jan Grant firstname.lastname@example.org 920/725-2494
Emily and Chris Kearns
Bonnie and David Krill Page 68
Lynn Mann-Hallmark and Don Hallmark Power Access Automatic Door Opener
The Mantey Family by Power Access Corporation
Doug Scheffler 170 Main Street Want to do it yourself?
If you're interested in renovating or remodeling
New Hartford, CT
your kitchen on your own The Home Depot@
National Kitchen & Bath Association 06057
1-2-3 library offers clear and concise step-by-
687 Willow Grove Street
step, project-driven books to help you through
Hackettstown, NJ 07840
877/NKBA-PRO (877/652-2776) 6
Titles include: Home Improvement 1-2-3,
Decorating 1-2-3, Decorative Painting 1-2-3,
The Center for Universal Design Architect/Project Manager: Rosemann &
Wiring 1-2-3, Plumbing 1-2-3, Flooring 1-2-3,
North Carolina State University Associates, Eddie Tapper
and Tiling 1-2-3. These books are available at
Campus Box 8613 Kansas City, Missouri
The Home Depot and at bookstores
Raleigh, NC 27695-8613 816/472-1448
throughout North America
Property Owner/Executive Director:
Chapter 2 Universal Design Housing Network
Pages 34-41 Paul Levy
Decorative Painting: Don Soderberg Painting Kansas City, MO
Mike Rowlings, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 816/751-7898
Furnishings: Peabody's Interiors
Lisa Minneti, Whitefish Bay,Wisconsin Interior Design: American Society of Interior
414/962-4550 Designers, Missouri-West/Kansas Chapter
Interior Decorator: Emily Kearns Carolyn Wear,ASID
Mequon, Wisconsin 91 3/268-9126
Doreen Gregory, ASID
Pages 42-47 91 3/341 -591 7
Decorator: Lynn Mann-Hallmark Sallie Kytt Redd, ASID
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 913/492-3158
Sheryl Koch, ASID
Pages 48-53 816/537-0133
Flooring and Countertops: Total Floor Kelly Stewart
Covering, Appleton, Wisconsin 816/803-0036
800/236-2275 Deborah Cook
E-mail: email@example.com 816/313-8104
Interior Design Consultant: Cynthia Mantey Suzette Burton
Green Bay,Wisconsin 888/471-1715
Designer/Decorator: Bonnie Krill Pages 168-187
Cedar Grove,Wisconsin Kitchen and Bath Design Center:
Beth Loerke, Home Depot #4903
Pages 62-67 Electrical: Team Services
Architect: Jeff Hibbard Design Services, Inc. Appleton, Wisconsin
(920) 731-7365 920/738-5885
firstname.lastname@example.org E-mail: email@example.com
Builder: Tom Ament Tile Backsplash: Total Floor Covering,
Kaukauna, Wisconsin Appleton, Wisconsin
(920) 766-7900 800/236-2275
tja@wiscobuilds,com E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Interior Design: Elite Home Creations Painting: Gregg J. Kranzusch Painting
Deb Van Straten Neenah, Wisconsin
(920) 419-1789 Plastering: Uitenbroek Plastering Inc.
email@example.com Appleton, Wisconsin
190 Kitchen Design and Planning