Q&A / 

The kitchen is the heart and soul of a house. If you keep statistics of your waking hours when at home, you will likely find that you and many members of your family spend more time in this room than in any other in the house. Here are some things to consider about cabinets, islands and the function of your kitchen.

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The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) has numerous kitchen design books and manuals. The primary one is 340 pages long! It must have 200 or more design ideas. Here are 20 ideas when designing a kitchen that I think are important.

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If you are not currently disabled, but are past the age of 60, it might be a good idea to start thinking of what you would do in your kitchen in the event you start to lose your motor skills. The simplest tasks become tough or impossible! It will be worth your time and effort to explore all of the design options, called universal design, that will allow you to use a current kitchen if you are fully capable, but yet change it slightly to accommodate a person who becomes partially disabled.

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The key to building and or remodeling a kitchen that will be barrier free lies in the planning and design phase. You should attempt to talk with physical therapists and occupational therapists who work to rehabilitate people who become disabled. They can be found in almost every major hospital and can point you in the direction of people who work in this field each and every day. Often they will be more than happy to share with you tips and the latest barrier-free suggestions/products in the marketplace.

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Home design is one of the most important parts of home building. Design your home without all the errors that other homes have. Exterior home design includes things such as drive and walkways, air conditioner unit placement, porches. Interior design includes small things such as outlets, switches or large things such as traffic patterns.

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Kitchen design or redesign can be can be very exciting. Electric or gas utilities can be moved. Drainlines and water can be moved. Add pantry space. Go for the countertops and sink that you really want. Add natural and electrical lighting. Kitchen flooring ... the sky's the limit! Don't settle for less than you want.

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Disabilities may eventually make living in your home hard to accomplish. Kitchen design with barrier free planning will make things simpler. Make sure there is enough room to maneuver a wheelchair if necessary. Design heights of sinks and cabinets is important. Kitchen appliances should be user friendly for those with limited mobility.

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Kitchen design should include a work triangle and throughways that allow safe passage from one room, through the kitchen, to another room. You don't want a collision while carrying a pot of chili. Studies have been done that determine minimum standards regarding cabinetry, countertops and drawer space

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Interior design can add a lot to your home if you work with the right group of people. Interior designers, architects and contractors should be part of your team. Be ready to tell your interior design team what you like and want. Interior designers will know how to work with you if you pre-plan some of your likes and wants. Take pictures and make lists.

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