Better the Second Time Around

A lot of care and attention to detail went into the first kitchen we designed for this wheelchair bound gourmet cook and his wife. After fifteen years, they were ready for a new look. Experience dictated some changes as well.

The design leaves plenty of clear wall space for the owner’s rotating wall art. The tall pantries on the refrigerator oven wall had worked well and were expanded in the new kitchen using a combination of shelves and rollouts to maximize storage and assure convenience.

A two-island arrangement allows easier access to the outdoor grill area. The cooktop island includes a microwave drawer and specialty pullouts for cookware and frequently used oils and vinegars. The other island features a wide prep space where waste is whisked into the narrow trough sink. Utensils, knives, mixing bowls and spices are close at hand. Both islands are reduced in height and set on pedestals to allow for seated use with plenty of leg clearance. They’re wrapped in granite yielding an interesting sculptural effect.

Refrigerated food storage convenient to the island is concealed in adjacent mid-height cabinetry next to deep drawers. This elevation also features doors bar storage behind illuminated, obscured glass inserts and a deep wall cabinet that houses small appliances. A coffee station is tucked into the side below open cubbies displaying favorite mugs. Filtered water is available at the nearby clean-up sink fronted by an angled apron that safely covers and conceals hot water and waste lines.


Project Highlights


  • Clean, contemporary styling
  • Gain convenient access to outdoor grill area
  • Minimize small appliance counter clutter
  • Convenient, efficient plan for meal prep from wheelchair to include cooking, food and equipment storage

Design Challenges

  • Provide convenient storage accessible from wheelchair
  • Plan for access and use of all major appliance from wheelchair
  • Wheelchair bound client requires more generous clearances and modifications to permit appliance access & use
  • No wall cabinets

Design Solutions

  • Parallel task islands allow access to patio doors
  • Reduced height and pedestal installation allowing toe clearance accommodate wheelchair use
  • Selection & placement of appliances to facilitate from seated position (refrigerator, dishwasher and microwave drawers, front controls on cooktops, recessed panel at sink, height of wall oven and warming drawer)
  • Pantry wall and extensive use of drawers, pullouts and organizational accessories provide ample conveniently accessed storage
  • Mid height cabinet w/ partially concealed coffee station and electrical outlets for small appliance storage/use
  • Warm, neutral colors don’t fight with art in adjacent areas

Design Features

  • Sculptural quality of stone clad islands
  • Convenient, attractive appliance/coffee station
  • Unique, “fun” sink on prep island accessible from both sides