Wheelchair Accessible

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Universal Design

WHEELCHAIR KITCHEN – Washington, DC

Most of us know that conventional kitchen cabinets are not suitable for wheelchair users, without extensive modifications. ADA has been in effect for almost 2 decades, but it is still a challenge to make a completely accessible kitchen.

When my client contacted me to design a wheelchair kitchen, I was excited, since I have a nephew in a wheelchair and am familiar with the hardships he faces in daily chores.

Initially, I designed all the cabinets conforming to the ADA recommendations, such as lower counter height and 9” toe kicks, and modified them to suit my client’s special needs. All the cabinets in this kitchen were made by the contractor.

Space was limited in the old galley kitchen in an established high-rise condo. First, I reduced the depth of base cabinets on one run and recessed the refrigerator and wine cooler into the non-load-bearing wall to gain the extra 3 inches needed for the wheelchair to turn around. We picked an oven with a side-swing door, and installed a pull-out rack directly below it. A drawer dishwasher pulls out above her knees, and a side-by-side refrigerator is mostly accessible. Mechanical pull-down shelves in wall cabinets and sliding door storage increased the usable shelf capacity by 5 to 6 folds. The sliding door storage is conveniently located opposite the drawer dishwasher.

The sink bowl is shallow (6” deep), the faucet has a pull-out spray, the air switch for the disposer is at an easily reachable location, and both the sink and the cook top have knee spaces below. We hung the range hood lower so that she can reach the control. There are 2 trash drawers under the dishwasher. The roller shade on the window is motorized and operated with a remote control.

I believe the kitchen has to be comfortable and convenient for everyone, regardless the physical limitations. Happy cooking!!

Related Information : http://www.nobarriersusa.org

MATERIALS and SUPPLIERS

General contractor: Curt Cosgrave

Cabinets: Custom-made by contractor

Cabinet hardware and accessories: Häfele

Appliances

Refrigerator: JennAir

Wine refrigerator: U-Line

Cooktop: Bosch

Wall oven: Gaggenau

Range hood: Zephyr

Dishwasher: Fischer-Paykel

Microwave Oven: GE

Disposer: Insinkerator

Air Switch: Franke

Faucet: Grohe

Sink: Custom by AK Metal Fabricators

Counter tops: Granite by R. Bratti Associates

Back splash:         Rear-painted glass by Hutchison Glass and Mirror and

Stainless steel from AK Metal Fabricators

Floor: Porcelain tiles from Best Tile

Lighting fixtures: Maurice Electric Supply

Motorized shades: The Right Track

Photographer: Richard Nowitz

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