Every week we showcase a beautiful yet accessible kitchen design to inspire you for your own home. This week’s pick is a gorgeous contemporary kitchen with high-end finishes that doesn’t compromise on accessibility and functionality.
An accessible kitchen design allows everyone, regardless of physical ability, to cook safely and comfortably. That said, accessible does not have to mean boring or unattractive. This week’s featured kitchen seamlessly blends stylish design with practical accessibility features.
From the open floor plan to the choice of materials and fixtures, every element was carefully considered for both aesthetics and accessibility. Clean lines, plenty of circulation space, lowered countertops, and thoughtful storage solutions together create an indoor retreat that is as lovely as it is livable. Read on for a closer look at what makes this Kitchen of the Week a stunner that is open to all.
An Open, Flowing Floor Plan
The starting point for an accessible kitchen design is an open, spacious layout. This provides ample room to maneuver a wheelchair or walker without bumping into obstacles. In this kitchen, knocking down walls created a flowing, uninterrupted space that joins the cooking area, dining room, and living room.
- Wide pathways between the kitchen, dining area, and adjacent rooms allow stress-free navigation no matter your mobility.
- Sightlines are also kept open from the kitchen to the dining and living spaces, making it easy to chat with family and guests as you cook.
- By opening up the space, it takes less effort to move hot food from the kitchen to the dining table. There is no need to pass through narrow doorways while carrying dishes.
Carefully Selected Surfaces and Materials
Another key element was choosing finishes and materials suitable for an accessible kitchen. The designers selected mainly smooth, durable options that are easy to grip and clean:
- Quartz countertops – sleek, non-porous, and ADA compliant with their lowered surface height and minimal seams. Quartz resists scratches, stains, and heat.
- Porcelain tile floors – slip-resistant with a non-glare finish. Durable, hygienic, and accessible for wheelchairs.
- Stainless steel appliances – fingerprint-proof with easy-to-clean and accessible controls.
- Custom wood cabinetry – maple cabinets finished with water-based paint for chemical-free durability.
By focusing on low-maintenance, non-toxic materials safe for everyone, they created a space that is worry-free and easy to use.
Optimized Storage Space
Thoughtful storage space makes everything easily accessible. Lowered shelves and drawers in base cabinets let you retrieve items while seated. Deep drawers roll out smoothly and accommodate bulky utensils.
- Lazy susans in corner cabinets spin supplies right to your fingertips.
- Pull-out vertical storage next to the cooktop keeps spices organized.
- Adjustable shelves allow customizing upper cabinets to your needs.
By planning where items will be kept and how you’ll access them, the designers ensured nothing gets buried out of reach. The kitchen stays decluttered and user-friendly.
Universal Height Design Elements
The kitchen features several universal design elements made for varying heights and abilities:
ADA guidelines recommend a maximum counter height of 34 inches. This kitchen’s quartz countertops measure a comfortable 32 inches. This brings prep areas and sinks down to a manageable level for seated users. The lowered countertop also allows comfortable interaction between standing and seated persons.
Adjustable-Height Stove and Sink
The wall-mounted induction cooktop adjusts between 28 and 36 inches high. This accommodates any chef. The kitchen sink can be raised and lowered between 29 and 43 inches. So whether washing dishes seated or standing, you can work at an optimal level.
Upper wall cabinets go right up to the 10-foot ceiling, but the lower shelves are 42 inches high or below. This puts everyday items conveniently within the grasp zone of both standing and seated users.
Seated Work Areas
In addition to the main countertops and sink, a lowered baking station and seated breakfast bar allow prepping ingredients while seated. This takes pressure off the back and legs.
Appliances and Fixtures Designed for Accessibility
The appliances and fixtures suit an accessible space:
- Front-mounted controls on the induction cooktop, wall oven, and dishwasher are easily accessed.
- Lever-style faucets don’t require tight grasping or twisting.
- An open undermount sink gives close access from a seated position.
- Side-by-side fridge organization avoids bending down.
- Microwave installed at seated height.
- Drawer dishwasher eliminates need to lift dishes.
- Pendant lights on dimmers reduce harsh glares.
Choosing appliances based on accessibility resulted in an inclusive kitchen any user can operate smoothly.
Stylish yet Practical Design Choices
While catering to accessibility, the kitchen retains a contemporary elegance through:
- White and grey color scheme – clean and bright without visual clutter. Crisp white cabinetry gets a modern touch from grey stone and metal accents.
- Modern materials – sleek surfaces like quartz and porcelain unify the contemporary aesthetic.
- ** Streamlined styling** – drawer pulls and fixtures have straight, minimalist lines complementing the modern finishes.
- ** Pops of warm wood** – wooden bar stools and accent shelves provide natural texture against the crisp white and grey.
- ** Statement lighting** – bold black pendant lights make a sophisticated style impact over the island.
Blending form and function results in a kitchen that feels upscale yet down-to-earth. It provides a nurturing environment accessible to family and friends with diverse needs.
Accessibility Features that Benefit All
Many features included for accessibility are helpful for anyone:
- Open floor plan minimizes clutter and closed-off spaces.
- Easy-grip cabinet pulls accommodate reduced hand strength.
- Pull-out shelving reduces bending and reaching.
- Seated prep areas take pressure off back and legs when prepping large meals.
- Appliances with front controls are easier for children to operate safely.
- Adjustable table and chairs accommodate varying heights.
So while designed for wheelchair access, the thoughtful layout truly creates a kitchen anyone can easily use.
What are the requirements for an accessible kitchen?
Some key requirements include:
- Minimum 32-34 inch high countertops with knee space below.
- Minimum 42-48 inches diameter turn radius for a wheelchair.
- Lever-handle faucets and easy-to-operate appliances.
- Accessible controls on front of appliances.
- Lowered cabinets and pull-out shelves for reachable storage.
- Slip-resistant flooring.
- Seated workspace and sink/cooktop height options.
What is the minimum clear floor space for a wheelchair in the kitchen?
ADA guidelines recommend a 60-inch diameter clear floor space for wheelchairs to maneuver comfortably with a 180-degree turn. A minimum 30×48 inch clear floor space is needed at each fixture or workspace.
How wide should doorways be for wheelchair access?
For wheelchair access, ADA recommends a minimum 32-inch wide clearance in doorways. Wider is better for easier navigation. Pocket doors can maximize usable doorway width.
Should accessible kitchens have open or closed floor plans?
Open floor plans are best to allow continuous pathways for wheelchair circulation throughout kitchen, dining, and living rooms. An open concept removes obstacles like narrow doorways.
What storage solutions work best for accessible kitchens?
Pull-out drawers, full-extension glide shelves, lazy susans in corner cabinets, and adjustable shelving allow easy access while seated or standing. Avoid high mounting heights.
How high should kitchen counters be for universal design?
For universal design suiting both seated and standing users, a counter height around 32 inches is optimal. Have some adjustable-height surfaces between 28-36 inches.
An accessible kitchen should empower independence and ease of use for all cooker and tastes. As this gorgeous kitchen shows, accessibility can be seamlessly blended with contemporary style and high-end finishes. The careful design ensures this kitchen functions beautifully and practically for any family’s needs.
Open concept spaces, durable finishes, customized storage solutions, and adjustability allow this kitchen to promote safety and connection for all. While specially designed for wheelchair users, the thoughtful details benefit users of all ages and mobility levels.
We hope this Kitchen of the Week inspires your own universal design dreams. An accessible kitchen not only removes barriers but builds community by welcoming everyone into the heart of the home. What accessible features would you love to incorporate into your ideal kitchen design?