Kitchen display of Imperial Kitchens and Baths, Inc. of Brookfield, IL features ideas on creating a space that is accessible for both able-bodied and physically limited cooks.
Online PR News – 27-January-2011 – – Imperial Kitchens and Baths, Inc. of Brookfield, IL features a “Universally Designed” kitchen in their showroom to help clients with physical needs or limitations rethink organizing their home for maximum comfort when cooking.
The aesthically pleasing theory of Universal Design, emerged from the concept of “barrier-free building” and refers to a broad-spectrum of ideas meant to produce buildings, products and environments that are accessible to both the able-bodied and the physically disabled.
“Kitchen Design is never one-size-fits-all. But there have been standard practices in place that are not necessarily friendly to people with height challenges, back issues, arthritis, etc. ’Universal Design’ and its guidelines gives designers a place to start when working with a client with specific physical needs.” Says Larry Rych, President of Imperial Kitchens and Baths. "I would recommend anyone who is looking to stay in their home through the retirement years to seriously consider involving the theory of Universal Design when renovating their home."
People are strongest toward the core of their body, shoulder to hip. Imperial’s “Universally Designed” display concentrates keeping the majority of kitchen activities within this zone.
The dishwasher is placed in a cabinet and raised off the floor approximately 12 inches, lessening strain on the back when loading and unloading dishes. The microwave is placed over the dishwasher (with landing space to the right) at a height in line with an average woman’s shoulders; eliminating several hazards when you compare it with the common “over the range” arrangement. The lower height allows for viewing and stirring. Removing hot food from the appliance is at a height of minimal exertion by the cook; less opportunity for a dish to slip, spill and cause burns. No longer reaching over a range also eliminates the risk of burns.
The vent hood over the range is integrated into the cabinet, creating a seamless cabinet line. The vent is activated by extending a glass splash panel, giving cooks of all heights an unobstructed view of their activities.
The sink base, taking its cue from the dishwasher, has a drawer at the bottom of the cabinet – this raises the base of the cabinet so less bending is involved in reaching for cleaning supplies and has the added benefit of providing more storage for light items like cookie sheets, dish towels or place mats.
The bank of drawers to the right of the sink base features a deep drawer as the second drawer, instead of the standard arrangement of having the deep drawer at the bottom. Typically, cooks will put heavier items in the deeper drawer, by bringing this drawer up the cook does less bending and lifting of these objects.
Interior pull-out shelves in base cabinets keep the cook from having to pull out items or climb inside a cabinet when reaching for what they need.
“This kitchen design is really adapted for less bending and lifting by the client. I would recommend these placements for anyone with a back issue, but it works for everyone in the home.” Says Stephanie Bullwinkel, an NKBA Certified Designer with Imperial Kitchens and Baths, “If I had a client who was taller than average then I would work with them to create work areas where the countertop could be raised up for less lower back strain. If I had a shorter client, then we would be looking at lowering the upper cabinets a few inches or perhaps adding pull-downs to the interiors of the upper cabinets.”
“This display gives our clients who have limitations the opportunity to see and feel how a few small changes to their kitchen may give them the comfort they need when in the kitchen. The hope is that if they enjoy being in the kitchen, then they may find themselves cooking rewarding and nutritional meals more often. The better you eat, the better you feel – it’s all cyclical. But that’s not going to happen if you are uncomfortable working in the room because it doesn’t meet your physical needs.” Explains Rych.
As Universal Design becomes more mainstream, more cabinet manufacturer are including Universally Designed cabinets in their stock cabinet lines. With less retrofitting of cabinets on the jobsite by the Kitchen Remodeling Contractor, the cost to the client for this customization is significantly reduced.
Once the appropriate amenities have been installed, it is up to the homeowner to fill their cabinets with plates, glassware, and cooking tools. Placement of these items is important to the comfort level of the family cook.
“Regardless of whether you have a back issue or not, taking good care of your back is essential. It’s like brushing your teeth; you do it regardless of whether you have a cavity or not.” Says Dr. Russ Manney of IRC Chiropractic & Physical Therapy in Westmont, “Store your lighter items, like Tupperware, in the lowest or highest points of your kitchen cabinets. As you move closer to your body’s core that is where you want to store your heavier items.”
Imperial Kitchens and Baths, Inc., established in 1966, is a family owned and operated full-service home renovation business. Its focus is kitchens, bathrooms and custom cabinetry and counters. Imperial is a certified Corian fabricator and is US EPA RRP Lead Certified. Its showroom is located at 8918 W. Ogden Ave, Brookfield, IL 60513. They can be reached by phone at 708-485-0020.
IRC Chiropractic & Physical Therapy uses a "whole person approach" with their patients; looking for underlying causes of any disturbance or disruption (which may or may not be causing symptoms at the time) and make whatever interventions and lifestyle adjustments that would optimize the conditions for normal function. Their offices are located at 812 E Ogden Ave, Westmont, IL 60559. They can be reached by phone at (630) 655-9380.