Category Archives: Kitchen & Bath

Universal Design Kitchen: Luxurious and Accessible

2012 NW Regional CotY Award Winner: Kitchen before universal design makeover
2012 NW Regional CotY Award Winner: Kitchen before universal design makeover.

Luxurious should – and can – be a word used to describe a Universal Design home. That’s what Builder Russell Long, president of Aloha Home Builders based in Eugene, Ore., thinks who remodeled his home to fit the accessibility needs of his 16-year-old son who was born with cerebral palsy. He also adds a big misconception of universal design is that it looks institutional.

Long believes many of the design elements incorporated into his project, which won a 2012 Northwest Regional CotY Award in the Entire House $500,000 to $1,000,000 category with Universal Design Project Recognition, are convenient and luxurious, as well as functional and wheelchair accessible.

For example, the universal design features in his home include: Zero barriers, which mean there are no steps in the home, especially for entryways. All living quarters are on the first floor, with the exception of an upstairs area that was converted into an apartment with the purpose of housing a caregiver at some point. Wide hallways, open living spaces and dual entries in all rooms are common design elements used in wheelchair accessibility.

2012 NW Regional CotY Award Winner: Kitchen After universal design makeover
2012 NW Regional CotY Award Winner: Kitchen After universal design makeover

The Kitchen After

The hallways are more than 5 feet wide, and living spaces are expanded so wheelchairs can move around furniture easily. Also, having two entryways in all rooms-including the living room, dining room and kitchen-allows for ample traffic flow throughout the house.

Microwave and/or refrigeration drawers are also common in universal design, but Long says it is also a stylistic feature for those who prefer to showcase beautiful cabinetry and granite countertops rather than the eye-sore of a microwave taking up counter space.

High Style, High Function, High Accesibility

Thanks to our good friends at we were introduced to the gorgeous work of the Italian furniture company Snaidero. Snaidero has designed a fully customizable, modular, wheelchair accessible kitchen called Skyline Lab. It’s available in a variety of colors, shapes, sizes, and configurations to suit your style and meet your needs. “The ergonomic design of… Continue Reading

Raising The Bar, err, The Wall

Like the idea of walk-in bath tub but hate the look? Fret no more! Kohler has raised the bar (so to speak) for accessible bathing with their Elevance™ rising wall bath. It’s designed so that you can easily sit down as soon as you enter the bath. It has a chair height seat, integrated grab… Continue Reading

According to Wikipedia an induction cooker uses induction heat which means heat is generated directly in the pot rather than by the stove top. Faster heating, means less energy. It’s safer because there are no open flames. And more accessible because the cooktop is shallow and can be placed at counter height with open space… Continue Reading

There are toilets and then there are toilets. And then, there are TOILETS. After that there are Numis. This is something you think to yourself “exactly why do I need an MP3 player connection, FM radio and footwarmer with my toilet?” And the answer is you don’t. But….   But, what if you did have… Continue Reading

Accessible Master Bathroom with Universal Design features Designed to accommodate persons with reduced ambulatory mobility and for changing needs over time this is the master bathroom of the Green Mountain Ranch. Comfort Height Toilet, Fold Down Grab Bars and more Recessed track with a removable plate on one end to add the lift if needed.… Continue Reading

Before: this bathroom layout meant Katie needed assistance. Ken Bryan owner of KBC, Inc. did the design and remodel of this bathroom to allow their client’s daughter, Katie,  greater accessibility and privacy.  Her bedroom was an addition to the house done by by her father when she was 12. Over the years, Katie desired more privacy… Continue Reading

Warner McConaughey, is a certified remodeler who witnessed first hand the need for early planning in his parents’ home. “My parents talked for a long time that they want to stay in their current house forever, but my mom broke her ankle about three years ago, and that’s when she realized how hard it was to get around,” McConaughey said. “Universal design isn’t for an old person. It’s for anybody.”

Continue Reading Age in place at home, it's where you want to be.