Many Sizes Fit All In the past, creating a universal-design kitchen typically required expensive custom-made cabinets. But today's "semicustom" stock cabinets are available to consumers with myriad options, many of which make a kitchen easier to use. Among the first manufacturers to develop stock cabinet designs specifically for accessibility is KraftMaid Cabinetry, of Middlefield, Ohio. Its Passport series is notable because it's not a line of specialized cabinets. Instead, it's a series of many options, sizes and accessories available throughout the company's regular cabinetry lines. In this show kitchen, KraftMaid exhibits some ideas that highlight the Passport series and others that are simply good design ideas. 1. This island has surfaces at two heights to allow people of different stature - a tall and short adult, or a standing and seated adult, or an adult and child, for example - to work together more comfortably. 2. Glass doors, clear-plastic shelving and low-voltage lighting reveal the contents of the cabinets on the corner wall and in the island.
3. The raised dishwasher requires little bending to load and unload. Above it, an open plate rack is a nice decorative feature and a real convenience. 4. Knee space makes the cooktop usable by someone in a wheelchair or on a stool. The wall oven is installed lower than usual, making it reachable for more people. 5. An extra-high toekick on all cabinets allows added turning space for those in a wheelchair. It also raises the bottom shelves and drawers. The result is less space, but less bending, too. 6. These full-extension drawer slides telescope so even the back of the drawer comes out. Extra heavy-duty slides were used so the drawer can function as an extra work surface at a lower height than the countertop. Regular full-extension slides used for standard drawers and shelves make contents obvious and require less bending. 7. A tambour door encloses a shelf under the counter between the cooktop and oven. In tight spots like this, a simple shelf can be more convenient than a swinging cabinet door or drawer. You'll also find tambour doors used on top of a counter, where they're called "appliance garages."
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