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The Elegant Result of a Lifelong Commitment to Universal Design - Part 3

By Dallas Adams, Starkloff Disability Institute

Electrical outlets are embedded seamlessly in the countertops, ready to pop up conveniently at the press of a button. These pop-up receptacles are built into the island and there is a second one at a workspace in the main kitchen.

Finally, remote-control options for the ovens, exhaust hood, wall cabinet lighting and counter lights add one more layer of accessibility and beauty Jennifer, the interior design expert and co-owner of Compass Design | Build, says UD has progressed significantly in recent years, as evidenced by Colleen’s new kitchen.

“Twenty-five years ago, an accessible home looked like an accessible home,” Jennifer observes. “Now we have more options through the advent of smart technology for the home. Plus, manufacturers are starting to put out some esthetically pleasing grab bars and different furnishings that are attractive as well as functional, the things we need to bring universal design to any room in the house.”

The principles of UD admittedly set a high standard for architects and designers, and Colleen enjoys watching her team rise to the challenge.

“Every detail is well thought out,” Colleen concludes. “Universal design is a concept that is beautiful, accessible and easily adaptable to everyone’s needs when it’s done right, and I think we’ve accomplished that with my kitchen.”

In many ways, the charismatic and determined spirit of Colleen’s late husband served as inspiration for this ambitious project. Colleen imagines Max looking on approvingly at the universal design masterpiece now prominently displayed in their family home.

“Max would be very proud of this kitchen, and I know he would be proud of me for never giving up on this idea,” Colleen reflects. “He would want me to share it with others so they can see the beauty and the function that universal design brings to a home.”

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