Kitchen & Bath Design News

JUL 2014

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July 2014 ForResidentialPros.com | 39 By Kim Berndtson Universal Design A growing number of families live in multi- generational homes. Combined with an increased desire by more people want- ing to live in their own homes longer, Universal Design – including its subset, aging in place – is becoming more common. Creating kitchen or bath spaces that can accom- modate wheelchairs, walkers and canes becomes more im- portant in these settings. However, one doesn't need to be physically challenged or even in their senior years to appreciate the benefts that Universal Design ofers. "Universal Design is really about creating spaces that everyone can use, regard- less of age or circumstance, without compromising aes- thetics," says Anne-Marie Brunet, interior designer, CKD, CBD, Sheridan Interiors, in Ottawa, Canada. "It promotes convenience, he a lt h a nd wel l- b ei ng , safety, fexibility and adapt- abilit y, while improv ing human performance and so- cial participation," adds Barb Mueller, Allied ASID, AKBD, CAPS, owner, Designs Anew Houston, in Houston, TX. "It's important that it's easy to understand and is comfort- able, without discriminating against anyone who might have diferent abilities." Sh aw n Mc Cu ne, CK D, owner, Kitchen Design Gallery, in Lenexa, KS, notes that the name says it all. "It's universal," he says. "It's about accessibil- ity for everybody…no matter a person's size or limitation." Transitions Remodeling, in Farmington, MI, has really taken the concept to heart by including an occupational therapist on its team. "Carol [Green] helps our designers, carpenters and installers better understand Universal Design concepts and how to incorporate them into resi- dential designs where, unlike ADA requirements, there are no real codes," says Tim Saling, partner. "She really adds a lot of credibility to our company and to our team." PROMOTING SAFETY With today's expanded prod- uct availability and current design trends toward cleaner spaces, it's easier than ever to mainstream Universal Design into kitchens and baths, mak- ing them look beautiful at the same time. "Many elements aren't noticeable unless you look for them," says Mueller. "That's the beauty of Univer- sal Design … it disappears into the design." In the bath, products such as grab bars are becoming nearly standard for everyone. At the very least, designers fre- quently add blocking so bars can easily be added at a later date. No longer institutional- looking, today's grab bars are often beautiful, pulling dou- ble-duty as towel bars, toilet paper holders and shelves. "I've discovered a company that makes really beautiful products that belie their in- tended use," says Brunet. Curbless showers are also fnding their way into more baths, from both style and ease of use perspectives. "I think everyone should have one because it just makes sense," says Mueller. "We en- courage a curbless shower almost all the time. It's cer- tainly easier if someone is in Designers are mainstreaming Universal Design elements into a growing number of kitchen and bath spaces, demonstrating that you don't need to be physically challenged or even in your senior years to appreciate their benefts. • Shawn McCune designed this kitchen for a paraplegic and his wife. Universal Design elements are infused throughout the space, including an accessible cofee station in the island and a cooktop that raises and lowers based on who is cooking. A wood-topped cart, which has drawers on one side and an open area for his wheelchair on the other, slides underneath. It can be rolled out to serve as a work station for him, giving access to the cooktop as well. 'One goal was to make the home look upscale, without looking utilitarian, yet still meet his needs, as well as hers,' he says. • When Anne-Marie Brunet meets with clients, she takes a 'not-one-size-fts-all' approach, considering, too, what elements will give them fexibility and accessibility in the future. 'Shower rails, where the showerhead can slide up and down based on height, are a popular choice,' she says. Photo: Bob Greenspan KBD_38-41_UniversalDesign.indd 39 6/16/14 2:31 PM

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