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Designer's Tips for Kitchen Remodeling for Accessibility

Remodeling a home is expensive. In addition, it can cause significant disruption to the household going through even a small project. One way to get the most payback for your money, time and psychological investment is to choose design solutions now that you will appreciate for decades.


Designing for Long Life


I spoke with San Francisco-based interior architect Lucy Junus to get some tips for creating a safe and functional living situation for decades to come. Lucy generously shared recommendations and photographs from her projects, so I will be focusing on one room at a time in a series of posts here on AyaPlaces.

Reduce the Need to Bend and Reach


Lucy says, "One thing I hate is to be on my hands and knees to look for something in my lower cabinet. The best solution is to have pull-out shelves in all lower cabinets. By doing so, you can see everything at one time, and items are easily accessible."


Even if you are not remodeling your kitchen now, you may be able to make this modification to your current kitchen. Here are some pull-out shelf inserts at Home Depot.


Home Depot actually has a range of pull-out storage selves, including for your garbage and recycling containers.


I think all of us would find these solutions convenient, but people who have developed balance issues definitely should not lift items out of low cabinets from awkward angles.


Lucy recommends that you make use of to the hard-to-reach corners of your cabinetry. To utilize that space, you can add blind corner cabinet pull-outs. This photo is of a "pull-out and slide" unit one of many options.


Mobility and Agility Aids


Lucy recommends you plan for as much open floor space as possible. If you can maintain 42 inches of clear aisle space, you will enable wheelchair or walker mobility for yourself or a visitor, without blocking access to cabinets, drawers and appliances.


And to get the cabinets and drawers open easily, Lucy says, "Wire pulls are the most versatile and popular pulls used in cabinets. Aside from being affordable, wire pulls come in many sizes to accommodate a variety of cabinets and drawers.


You can mount the pulls vertically or horizontally. Opening cabinets with wire pulls is easier than using knobs especially for people with arthritis or other limitations with their hands."


Save Money, Be Safe and Love Life by Planning Ahead


You may not be facing issues of mobility, balance and strength now, but planning for the future in any remodel you do when you are younger will help you keep cooking and entertaining for as long as it brings you joy. Thank you again, Lucy Junus.