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Accessible Home Design: Making your Kitchen Accessible



This accessible kitchen has lowered countertops and kneespace for the sink and cooktop. Note that the dishwasher countertop can not be lowered. Carefully consider the safety implications before you elect to install a kneespace below your cooktop.
This accessible kitchen has lowered countertops and kneespace for the sink and cooktop. Note that the dishwasher countertop can not be lowered. Carefully consider the safety implications before you elect to install a kneespace below your cooktop.

An accessible kitchen should be individually tailored to your circumstances and should work within your home’s floor plan.

Counter configurations are based on room size and location of windows, doors, and passageways. Counters should allow for three activity (work) centers: (1) stove or cooktop, (2) refrigerator and freezer, and (3) sink and dishwasher. The distance between the centers should total from 12 to 26 feet.

The kitchen plan should provide appropriate countertop lengths next to work centers. Counter space is important for wheelchair users who must set items down each time they reposition themselves. As a general rule, counter arrangements should provide the following minimums:

  • Refrigerators should be located next an 18-inch counter
  • Sinks should have a 24-inch counter on both sides
  • Stoves or cooktops should have a 24-inch counter on both sides

Countertop height should be considered since you are designing for a wheelchair user as well as ambulatory family members. Standard counter heights in the United States is 36 inches. This height is functional for standing adults to perform most kitchen task. Countertops designed for wheelchair users are typically 34 inches high. To meet both users’ needs, one option is to provide lowered countertop sections at certain locations, such as the sink. Different levels in counter heights result in “stepped” counters that complicate workflow and cleaning, so consolidate lowered sections whenever possible.

Copyright Paralyzed Veterans of America





For more in-depth information on making your home accessible, follow this link to purchase the PVA’s second edition of Accessible Home Design: Architectural Solutions for the Wheelchair User or buy it directly from Amazon.