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Age Gracefully by Having Your Kitchen Adapt to You

Jun 23, 2015 | by Carrie

Picture a kitchen that where efficiency and function is every bit as important as style. There is adequate flow, cabinets and drawer spaces are easy to access and organize, you never find the kitchen faucet dripping because the lever is so easy to operate your little ones can do it on their own, and all of the materials are easy to clean and maintain.

Do those ideas appeal to you? It sounds like you're interested in Livable kitchen design.

pullout cutting board

Think "Live-Ability" When Designing Your Kitchen Remodel or Renovation

Every year, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) hosts an international builder's show. Part of that show includes what is called a "Concept Kitchen" showing off the latest and greatest in kitchen design trends. This year's Concept Kitchen was designed and built by Carnemark and Konst. Owner and lead designer, Jonas Carnemark, put - what he deemed - Livability at the forefront of this design.

Says, Carnemark, "It is important for us to not only design a kitchen for the client, but for the client’s extended family – and this often includes multiple generations." Thus, he frowns on the terms, "Universal" or "Accessible" design because they are attached to idea of growing old, infirmity or disability. While Livable designs will, indeed, accommodate the old, the infirm and those with physical limitations, the ideas go well beyond that - creating a kitchen space that can be used comfortably and efficiently by occupants and guests of all ages.

Not only will livable designs appeal to current residents, they are likely to make your home more valuable and appealing to future homeowners. Design tenets comprising a livable kitchen design include things like:

Easy flow and maneuverability

Does the "flow" in your kitchen feel more "sluggish and sticky"? If so, a professional kitchen designer can help you design a new layout that accommodates better flow. In smaller kitchen spaces, this may mean skipping the idea of an island and using space-saving peninsula instead. You may find that using open shelving, rather than cabinets will expand your usable square footage while adding more accessible storage. Small changes like these can make a big difference in livability.

Space for mobility aids

Another aspect of the maneuverability idea is to allow enough space for those with mobility aids to get around comfortably. This isn't only about the old  - it's about your teenager with the broken leg and crutches, or the couple of months you or a partner may be unexpectedly wheelchair-bound - not to mention future guests with similar needs.

Pull-out cabinet shelves

Why not make every shelf a pull-out shelf. If you don't want to pull it out, fine, but if you're a little stiff, suffered a recent injury or a little person's arms aren't quite long enough, a pull-out shelf is a lifesaver.

liveable pullout shelving

Integrated media

Another sign that a livable kitchen isn't just for the old - media integration is a priority in most contemporary kitchens these days. Carnemark observes, "Integrating media is just part of a good kitchen design," and he also believes it should strike a balance between "luxury and utility," since technology is used in multiple aspects of a kitchen from smart refrigerators and recipes for meal prep, to music playlists and streaming TV shows.

Work with Kitchen Magic to make your kitchen a livable one.

Topics: Accessories

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