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As the Baby Boomers generation ages and consumers become more savvy about the vast array of kitchen and bath products available, the trend toward Universal Design continues to gain momentum. While the idea of Universal Design initially connotes design for the disabled and the elderly, it is truly reflective of its name – design that is functional for every member of the family. And, as more households in the U.S. become multi-generational, Universal Design and its ease-of-accessibility concepts become more popular.

Kitchen and bath designers are getting the word out that Universal Design doesn’t mean sterile or plain; nor does it mean that a design blatantly displays elements that are created for people with limited function. Instead, the design elements are subtle – elements that make everyday function easier yet will provide access should someone become impaired.

Universal Design elements seen in today’s kitchens include touchless faucets, swing-door and drop-door appliances, cabinet and appliance lifts and cabinet drawers. In the bath, curbless showers with seats and heat, easy-access tubs and ergonomic handshowers are among the offerings. These products feature design that is warm, aesthetically appealing and definitely upscale, shattering the old idea of the “institutional” look.

Here and on the next three pages, Kitchen & Bath Design News showcases a sampling of the wide scope of accessible products available in the kitchen and bath market today.

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