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The Accessible Kitchen
Making kitchens accessible - Page 2

 

by Leon A. Frechette

Kitchens have three special considerations in barrier-free design: wheelchair mobility, work space comfort, and accessibility to cabinets and storage spaces

When planning a kitchen for a wheelchair user, be sure you know the wheelchair's measurements. Of special importance is the front-to-back measurement—including footrests—because this measurement determines the turning radius your customer will need. The turning radius is normally 60" (25 square feet) for a full 360° turn. Other measurements that are important to know include:

1. Entry doors should have a 32" net opening measured from the doorstop to the door's face when the door is in a 90° open position. The installation of "swing clear" hinges will create a completely clear door opening and may save you from completely replacing the door and door frame. Use a lever-style door handle and remember that the force required to push or pull interior doors open cannot exceed five pounds.

2. The usual height at the top of a wheelchair armrest is approximately 29". This measurement is important so you can customize countertop height. The recommended countertop height is a minimum of 28" and should be no higher than 34" (32" is preferred). The counter thickness and supporting structure must be 2" maximum over the required clear space (opening).

3. For a 24" standard countertop depth, the first 16" is considered to be easy access for the user—the remainder is useful for storage.

4. Breadboards are functional when installed 27" off the floor.

5. Space for knees requires at least a 24" height from the floor and approximately 30" in width.

In the clean-up area, the sink should be shallow, only 5" to 6 1/2" deep. Consider ASSURE, an oversized (36" x 25-1/2") ADA-compliant kitchen sink from Kohler Co. (www.kohler.com) that allows the cook to sit or stand while working. ASSURE features a large, comfortably deep work basin and a small disposal/prep basin in a modified apron-front design. The optional polyethylene cutting board and colander increase the sink's versatility.

The faucet should be a loop or single lever for easy operation. One faucet worth investigating is "Coralais" by Kohler, a faucet with an integral pull-out spray head. The single-handle model comes with a standard 9 1/2" spout and a push button control on the head for easy one-touch switching from stream to spray.

Locate the sink's drain at the rear, especially if a garbage disposal is used, to keep the knee space clear. Insulate the hot water pipes in the open area under the sink to prevent burns.




Click to Purchase

Barrier-free is here to stay. Increase your knowledge, skills, and confidence by learning all you can about the subject. One way is to order Accessible Housing; click on puchase button to the left!

Copyright © 1994, 1998, 2006, & 2011 LAF/C.R.S., Inc. All rights reserved. The previous article,
in whole or in part, appeared in the December 1994 issue of Building & Remodeling News.



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