As we strive to make our environments more accessible and easier to use, we have found that careful planning can help to create solutions that are not just fully workable but also beautiful.  I don’t think that I am unique in wanting to live in the home that does not scream “this is for a disabled person!”    Yet often the accommodations we find  available for purchase do exactly that.

For  years I resisted  redesigning our kitchen because I didn’t want it to look like a “handicapped kitchen”.  But this year in time for Christmas, we talked about what was actually needed and how to make our available space work better.

My husband took measurements and set about to design and plan   Key parts of our decision-making were to let go of old ideas and old furniture.  I had to say “That table was right for me once, but not anymore.”  He accepted the fact that standard cabinet heights, widths and depth wouldn’t work for us.

He found a company that makes custom cabinets and countertops in the sizes we needed ( The adjustments we wanted were not major and are hardly noticeable as out-of-the-ordinary when compared to other kitchens. But these modifications make all the difference in how I can use the space.  We organized our pantry inventory to make sure that we could have and reach what we use frequently.  And then we “beta tested” the whole unit before it was all fastened together.

This kitchen modification works perfectly for me in my wheelchair but is no less convenient for anyone else.  Any tired cook can pull up a chair to sit while chopping, mixing or decorating.  Guests to our kitchen have started wondering if this might not work better for their own kitchens too!

Accessible can both feel good and look good if we let go of old ideas and take the time to design and seek out what we need!