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The Elegant Result of a Lifelong Commitment to Universal Design - Part 2

Updated: Nov 27, 2020


By Dallas Adams, Starkloff Disability Institute


The island is affixed with built-in bookcases and a charging station for phones and tablets. A KitchenAid mixer sits inside a base cabinet on a mechanism that lifts it into position, level with the countertop, by simply pinching two levers. Electrical sockets are embedded into the countertop near where the KitchenAid stand mixer comes up so plugging it in is hassle-free. Controls for the island sink and garbage disposal are located near the front edge of the counter in easy reach of a seated cook. The cabinet doors, floor and toe kick are easily removed for someone using a wheelchair to pull underneath the island sink.



The buffet offers another flexible workspace. Equipped with an office desk-type mount, the food-prep surface can be raised or lowered according to the cook’s preference. A beverage center is conveniently located under one side of the flexible workspace, and an oven is strategically positioned on the other side, allowing the easy transfer of hot items onto the buffet counter.

Colleen brags that everyone who sees the adjustable-height buffet station is immediately impressed, but the grandkids are especially fond of it, particularly at breakfast time. “My grandchildren love this because we can lower the surface to their height, and they get to pour the waffle batter into the waffle iron all by themselves.”

Innovative new takes on traditional appliances certainly make a remodeling project like this easier, and Colleen’s kitchen boasts some remarkable features. The heating coils of an induction cooktop only activate when they sense the presence of a pan, safeguarding against accidental burns.


Pot fillers have become popular accessories in modern kitchens and are typically mounted in the wall at the rear of the stove. For optimum convenience and safety, the freestanding pot filler in Colleen’s kitchen is installed to the side and near the front of the cooktop, eliminating the need to reach over other steaming pans.


Like all of the cabinetry in Colleen’s kitchen, the cabinet floor below the cooktop can be easily removed for someone who is seated to pull under and cook on the cooktop. A separate wall oven is installed so that, when open, the door falls to a height of 30 inches, perfect for a seated cook to pull underneath, slide out the lower rack (which is set on rollers for ease of access), and place the hot item onto the door before transferring to a countertop.


A microwave drawer below the wall oven rolls out automatically with a tap of the touchpad, adding one more stroke of ingenuity to a meticulously planned space for food preparation. Lowered microwave drawers are within the reach range of a seated cook.



Tune in for the final part next week!

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