I attended a meeting at someone’s house last week and kept my lips tightly zipped while everyone was gushing over the recent kitchen remodel. Don’t get me wrong, the kitchen is beautiful, from the custom kitchen cabinets, quartz countertops, high quality stainless steel appliances and elegant Brazilian cherry floors. So what is there to criticize?
Our hostess and her husband are in their mid-to-late sixties and plan on staying in their home for the rest of their lives. As a specialist in accessibility and a strong proponent of universal design, I was struck by the lack of forethought in the planning and use of the space which won’t accommodate a person with special needs. Whether due to aging or accidents, most of us have to face physical limitations at some point in our lives.
It wouldn’t have cost anything more to have countertops at different heights, appliances that could safely be used by a seated person, install the appliances at proper heights and allow enough floor space for wheelchair manoeuverability. Assuming no accidents, that gorgeous kitchen has a limited usability lifespan. It will take nothing short of a complete and very expensive remodel to make that kitchen usable by a person with physical limitations.
We all want to age in place but this will only be possible with good interior design by a professional who has in-depth knowledge of accessible and universal design.
Good Design Today, Better Living Tomorrow.
I wrote The Residential Universal Design Guide, A Standards Manual for Architects, Interior Designers, and Builders as an easy-to-use time-saver checklist to help in the planning, evaluation, and implementation of universal design. The Guide is a checklist of 285 design standards that can be applied to residential construction. The Guide is not a code book and the user needs to check all applicable building codes.
The Guide is available in PDF format for $24.95 and allows the original purchaser to print copies as needed. To purchase, click the ADD TO CART button below.
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