Aging In Place: Kitchen Function, Improved Usability Part 1

Usually, clients who update their bathrooms are the first to look at Design for Aging In Place, but in the next month or two, we’ll be renewing kitchens for two new clients. They both want to incorporate the latest ideas technologies for Aging In Place, while keeping costs down as we go. One will be a complete remodel, the other, a modification.

So, I set out to check in with some of my CKD friends, others in the know, on exactly what parts will keep our new designs Accessible, with Water Sense EPA plumbing, the latest Title 24 Energy Stards, as ‘green’ as possible (without simply ‘greenwashing*’).

Pullouts Drawers:  If you reface, replace base cabinet shelving with roll-outs. If you are putting in new cabinets, make sure to put in as many pullouts drawers on the bottom as possible. This also will also maximize your storage capacity. Susan Serra at suggests using sliding wall doors rather than flip ups on upper cabinets for seniors.

Add a swing-out or Lazy Susan:   Accessorize any un-fitted corner cabinets. Corner cabinets can be hard to access, especially those “blind corner cabinets” that are a black hole into nowhere. Both Rev-a-Shelf Hafele make wonderful, well-priced after-market parts that can be used in upper lower corner cabinets to make them more accessible. I love the “Le Mans” Blind Corner Cabinet from Hafele. Check out how it uses space!


Use Drawer Pulls, not Knobs. If you take your client shopping, let them hle the different types of knobs pulls, you will see them start to naturally defer to the easier-to-grip pull. Sometimes the drawer or door will have to be fixed with putty painted, or maybe the pull will have a nice back plate. If your client has arthritis or another debilitating illness that effects the use of their h movement, this will be a real contribution toward a successful remodel.

Next: Part 2: Appliances, Faucets, Sinks More.