For a man in a wheelchair, accessibility is a necessity. The main reason he had his Belleville, Illinois townhouse built new in 2002 was so accessible features could be installed in the entries, bathrooms and kitchen before moving in.
While the rest of the home works well for him and his service dog, the kitchen never really worked properly. It was hard to get into the refrigerator, there was not enough useful storage, the transition from the kitchen ceramic tile floor to the family room wood floor was awkward, and he longed for an island that could be used for cooking, eating and as a work station. Also, he wanted a truly attractive kitchen, with the accessible features being a part of good design rather than dictating the design.
Mosby Building Arts architect, Brian Yount, AIA, and Home Consultant Rich Layton worked with the homeowner to understand the details of his needs, daily habits and preferences. Based on the way he actually lives, the homeowner needs kitchen features that go beyond standard ADA counter heights, sink depths and knee space. There’s no need for a conventional oven so a Sharp convection microwave and a Jenn-Air induction range (with a Viking pop-up exhaust vent) are embedded in the island. The base cabinets have roll-out shelves with built-in electrical outlets for appliances like a crock pot. The Fisher & Paykel dishwasher is a single, deep drawer, which is easier to load and unload.
There is a need for more surface space, so a worktop counter with open space below extends toward the family room. The large island is bi-level for prep and eating purposes with a Silestone countertop, and has a retractable butcher block cutting board (shown below) next to the range for an additional, convenient work surface.
Storage needs to be plentiful but reachable. The base cabinets have pull-out trays so everything is easily seen and accessible. The wall cabinets are custom maple Wellborn cabinets mounted to electronic diagonal lifts that raise and lower the units to counter height with the push of a button (see a video of how they operate).
The original ceramic tile kitchen floor created an awkward bump onto the wood floors. A thinner, durable laminate tile in the kitchen and new perimeter strips to the wood floor creates a seamless transition.
All pendant and canister lights have LED lighting so bulbs seldom need to be changed, and the Kohler faucet is motion-sensitive, triggered by hand movements.
The homeowner lives alone, so Mosby tailors the design to his exact needs, and creates a balance between high function and high style. This is achieved and surpassed by applying the same detailed carpentry to toe kicks and knee wells as to the island and cabinets. As much care is taken with lighting, hardware and tile selections as having it be ADA-compliant, and it shows.
This accessible kitchen recently won a Chrysalis Award in the Residential Universal Design category. Accessible and universal design share common goals of enacting design that promotes comfort, safety and accessibility for every one of all capabilities. Mosby Building Arts, with Certified Aging In-Place Specialists and Universal Design Certified Professionals on staff, is honored to win the award, but even better is the positive difference it makes on their client’s lifestyle.
See a portfolio of accessible design projects from Mosby Building Arts. To get started with making your home more accessible, call the Mosby office at 314.909.1800 or contact them here.