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Creating a handicap accessible kitchen that works!

How do you create a handicapped accessible kitchen that works for you? Focus on three things. First, focus on accessibility to storage spaces, pantries, and cabinets. Second, prioritize wheelchair mobility. Space in front of and next to appliances is essential. And third, organize your workspace by coordinating utensils, pull out the shelves of trash cans, frequently used dishes, etc.

Wheelchair accessible sinks and ovens on wheels are also advantageous for long-term independent living. Updating or simply making some home modifications may be just what you need to gain mobility, comfort and security in your home.

Your home modification design should include ample floor space for mobility, ADA handicap accessible kitchen appliance access spaces, accessible cabinet doors, drawers, and shelves, and a functional “work triangle.” The work triangle refers to the comfortable workspace area created between the stove, refrigerator, and sink. The sides of the triangle must be greater than four feet and less than nine feet, with the outer limits of the triangle a maximum of 26 feet.

When designing a spacious, open kitchen area is your design goal, it may be necessary to consider removing or replacing a wall or moving counters. If your current kitchen layout makes you feel restricted or constantly struggling with counters and cabinets, you may want to consider remodeling. Modifying one aspect of your kitchen can often make the kitchen significantly easier to use. Changing an island or peninsula counter, or relocating an appliance, can make all the difference.

Does your home have a “zero step entrance” – an entry point with a flat, easy-to-pass threshold? Every home should have at least one zero-step entrance for grandchildren taking their first steps and for the visiting family member who may be using a cane or walker, or recovering from illness. Is it difficult to get groceries in the car? Possibly a small ramp and cart between the garage and the kitchen would be useful to facilitate the entry of packages.

If you need help designing your kitchen, you’ll find a directory of Certified Weather-In-Place Specialists (CAPS) on the NAHB website, or by visiting the Atlanta Home Modifications website on the Internet. Your CAPS specialist will schedule an in-home consultation to observe and evaluate your current living arrangement and help you create a more pleasant and affordable home.

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