Country Kitchen Offers Accessible Aesthetics

ATLANTIC CITY, NJCharged with creating an attractive country kitchen while subtly incorporating Universal Design elements, the design team of John Kelly, ASID, Dan Parks and Rex Pace had to become flexible. In fact, an adaptable design approach was essential to creating a kitchen that would be flexible enough to serve a wide variety of specified client needs.

Designed for the Universal Design Demonstration Home as part of the 2002 Showhouse at the Shore, based here, the project called for a highly functional layout that would also provide superior aesthetics. To begin with, the trio chose a rich blend of colors, including beige, taupe and white to be presented on the cabinetry, softly patterned wall coverings, basket weave tile backsplash and tile flooring. The goal was to emulate the look of the early 20th Century summer cottages which frequented the area.

But, while the design's aesthetic appeal is clearly evident, specific universal design elements such as an open-seat workspace, specialized cabinets and conveniently placed appliances easily accommodate the special needs of people of all ages and abilities, allowing them to easily and comfortably perform daily living activities at home, according to Dorothea Meltzer, general chairman of showhouse sponsor, Ruth Newman Shapiro Cancer and Heart Fund, based in Ventnor, NJ.

Top-of-the-line appliances were also integrated into the space including a GE Profile Arctica Stainless Side-by-Side Refrigerator; GE Triton XL dishwasher; GE Monogram bar icemaker; GE Profile five-burner cooktop; GE Advantium convention oven with halogen speed cook; Gaggenau side-opening convection oven; Sub-Zero drawer refrigerator, and Fisher & Paykel double-drawer dishwasher.

The details are key to this eclectic design's appeal, according to Meltzer, as evident in the octagonal island, which complements the overall shape of the kitchen. The island is supported by carved mouldings, finished in Wood-Mode Burnished Bronze to add to the traditional charm of the space. The island is topped with Zodiaq by DuPont, and the dramatic red of the island top contrasts strikingly with the black wrought iron chandelier placed above it, Meltzer points out.

In keeping with the overall style of the home, Wood-Mode's Galleria door style in maple with both recessed and beaded detailing was chosen, adding a warm flourish to the space, Meltzer notes. The cabinetry also features a Vintage White finish, complete with discreet distressing, and the detailing offers a rich complement to the combination of modified standard and custom-based cabinetry, provided to meet the specifications for open-sitting workspaces, she adds.

The cabinetry was also adapted with pull-out shelves, sliding doors and tilt-out drawers for added convenience to the user. Open knee space under the sink offers a seated workspace, which was achieved by fitting the base cabinets with adaptable doors, rolling carts and removable shelves, she notes.

"Plenty of the base cabinetry storage space [in the kitchen] offers easy reach pull-out drawers, shelves and racks," Meltzer explains.

Additional storage is also found in the pantry cabinet, which features easy access pull-out and/or adjustable height shelves for easy reaching, she continues.

The Sierra Magna countertops from DuPont Corian (with Pompeii Red inserts) also feature universal design applications, such as motorized and manually adjustable counter segments and several different fixed-height countertop areas to offer work options for people of all heights, including children even while working in a seated position as well as for those with back problems.

Furthermore, contrasting color border treatments allow for easy recognition of the counter edges and different heights to avoid accidental spills. Meltzer also notes that there is a stretch of continuous countertop for easy sliding of heavy items, particularly between the refrigerator, sink and cooktop, for one-level food flow making both food preparation and cleanup one step easier.

Meltzer points out that the cooktop also adds to the accessible function of the space, featuring staggered burners and front-mounted controls to eliminate the danger of clients reaching over hot burners while cooking.

Other universal design elements integrated into the design are featured in the lower-scaled island, which doubles as a dining area complete with three high-back burgundy and black plaid upholstered arm chairs and ample space for wheelchair accessibility. The island also offers various general functional aspects, such as a back-up sink and garbage disposal unit for additional convenience and accessibility, Meltzer continues.

Three Blanco sinks and Blanco faucets add elegant styling to the space, while glare-free task lighting from Performance Lighting Group caps off the space, offering strong illumination for all work areas without harsh reflections, Meltzer concludes.