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Kitchen remodeling for wheelchair independence and convenience.

Kitchen remodeling for wheelchair independence and convenience The absence of steps indoors and few elevation changes outdoors was what attracted Barbara Allan to this 1950s ranch-style house in North Seattle. But its succession of small rooms with narrow doors made wheelchair maneuvering tricky. Remodeling the kitchen was the most pressing need. "I want something esthetically pleasing and not too different-looking, but convenient for me," Ms. Allan told architect Carolyn Geise. By enlarging doorways and windows and adding a new sunroom as transition space between house and garden, Geise's remodel made the entire house seem lighter and larger, as well as less inhibiting for its owner. But the most impressive changes were in the kitchen.

Lower-than-average counters, toe spaces that are high and deep For anyone using a wheelchair, it's essential that rooms have at least a 5- by 5-foot open space so the chair can be turned. To accomplish this, the remodel incorporated space from what had been a separate dining area. Now the kitchen is arranged along three walls; the stove lines up with a kneehole sink. At 33 inches high, most counters in this kitchen are a few inches lower than standard height (the dishwasher is under a regular 36-inch counter). Toe space under all cabinets is an extra-generous 7 1/2 inches high and 8 1/2 inches deep. Next to the ovens, a baking center-pantry can be closed off by doors that slide back into the walls. Open, it has a sturdy pullout maple board at the right height for mixing up a cake or rolling out biscuits. Pots, pans, and some dishes are stored in drawers below the counter. Adjoining the pantry is a built-in wall oven with a microwave underneath. The built-in 47-inch-diameter dining table is 27 inches high. With only a center pedestal, it's easy to roll up to. The only space added during the remodel is a 6 1/2- by 12-foot sunroom with double glass doors that slide open to the garden. A long 19-inch-high built-in bench on one wall of the sunroom has a 4-inch foam pad that makes it a great spot for sunny catnaps.

PHOTO : Remodeled kitchen works hard for wheelchair independence. It has space for chair to turn,

PHOTO : lower-than-standard countertops, kneehole sink, and many small adjustments for the cook

PHOTO : on wheels. And it's a kitchen any cook would be proud of

PHOTO : Before, narrow door provided the only access from house to back garden

PHOTO : Now, 3-foot-wide paved path curves from extended patio to planting beds, where some

PHOTO : wheelchair gardening is possible

PHOTO : Built-in table is the right height for chair, and pedestal base leaves lots of room

PHOTO : underneath. Dishes can go quickly from oven or microwave (under oven) to table

PHOTO : Waste can pivots from kneehole under sink
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Date:Jun 1, 1988
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