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Hassle-Free Kitchen

OK, I suppose until a kitchen that cleans itself is invented none will be truly hassle free but what I'm about to describe is close. If life revolves around the kitchen, why not make it easy as pie?

Last time I described ideal space and height allowances and this post concerns function, the primary features to look for in major appliances and fixtures.

This is Delta's touch faucet but every manufacturer now makes both touch and motion activated, many offer both in the same fixture, and at a variety of prices.



Every appliance or fixture you put into your kitchen should cater to effortlessness. Each should promote user efficiency and ease. We want to minimize lifting in favor of sliding, avoid reaching, stooping or any potential off balance movement preferring instead everything close at hand or easily accessible.


All of the major brands carry a Universal Design (UD) line. They're not dummies, they've studied the demographic trends of our aging population and understand the need for low maintenance, efficient, convenient kitchenware. Really, that goes for everyone, including children who enjoy "helping", right?

While we don't have a relationship with or particular preference for one brand or another, I'll be a little lazy and link to General Electric's UD Kitchen Design Center because the page is so well designed with lots of pictures, FAQs, even a tutorial about the Seven Principles of Universal Design. I share this link regularly because it effectively shows what can be done. Regardless of whether you prefer GE's products, I recommend you spend time studying that page.

What's that? A faucet over a cooktop reduces transferring, much safer to fill in place than lugging a pot to and from the sink.

Here are some fundamentals to remember as you select your style of appliances and fixtures (and sorry for violating the cardinal sin of presenting with a zillion bullets):

  • Remember that raising the dishwasher is not necessarily convenient for a person in a chair so compare a side loading model.
  • Dishwasher should be located in space immediately adjacent to sink, and consider two dishwashers (you'll thank me later :>)
  • Avoid raised heating elements on ranges in favor of smooth glass surfaces (for sliding instead of lifting).
  • Although more expensive and requiring special cookware, consider magnetic induction cooktops to greatly reduce the danger of burns or fire, plus they save energy because they don't activate until you place cookware atop burner.
  • Ensure appliances have front mounted controls (to eliminate reaching over burners) with safety LEDs to show the burner is hot or active.
  • A side-by-side refrigerator/freezer ( particularly with gallon container storage inside the door) is most inclusive but remember the "universal reach range" of 15-inches to 54-inches when selecting.
  • Consider knee space under cooktops, sinks and prep area for seated option.
  • Install wall ovens to eliminate bending over
  • Don't forget proper lighting. Seeing what you're doing is obviously important so what's ideal is task and user specific.

Finally, a host of automatic features, regulators and lock-out mechanisms should be considered to facilitate ease and improve safety and control.

Bottom line, who wants to spend time lugging pots, pans and cleaning a kitchen? If you're going to splurge, make your home life enjoyable by starting in the kitchen where life seemingly revolves.

Next, the room you should make the safest.

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President Todd Hawkins preaches building science and Universal Design (UD) to teach the benefits of an efficient, convenient, comfortable and flexible Lifetime Home. Also follow him on Twitter @BuilderFish for short tips about how kid-friendly UD makes home life easier and more secure for any person of any age or ability.

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