Pete Sucheski

Universal design (UD) can serve as a key differentiator for new homes. Far from seeming industrial or clinical, new UD kitchen designs can look conventional while also accommodating a variety of needs.

  1. Right-Height Installing a microwave oven just below a 36-inch counter enables access not only for a wheelchair but kids, as well. Consider a pullout model, and provide shelves or a work surface adjacent to the oven to place, store, or stage items.
  2. Drive-In Cooking Keep the space below a cooktop open but concealed with false or removable shelves for conventional appeal and wheelchair use. Spec the cooktop at 30 inches or offer an adjustable-height counter for future needs.
  3. Handy Shelf A pullout shelf under a wall oven (ideally mounted 24 inches off the floor) enables safe transfer of food and provides an extra staging area. Consider adding pullout shelves below for easy access to cooking containers and utensils.