16 July 2012

Four Favorite Adaptable Kitchen Design Use Tips – Pat Caulfield of The Core of the Kitchen Blog

Welcome to Kitchen Week on Gold Notes! Pat Caulfield, AKBD, CAPS, author of The "Core" of the Kitchen blog, shares her own from-the-field take on aging in place and accessible design today. This is an area I’ve long been interested in and frequently incorporate into my own projects. Pat’s ideas are brilliant and I’m happy to be able to share them with you as part of Gold Notes’ month-long Fourth Anniversary celebration.


At the NeoCon Convention in Chicago this year the focus was on ergonomic design in the workplace. While the term “ergonomic” has been replaced by “adaptability,” there is no question that comfort and ease of use will be in vogue for many years to come. As buying power bends to the Boomers, aging in place and ease of use move front and center in design, especially in the kitchen. Here are just four of my faves from a recent remodel.

Dishwasher dilemma

The open door of a standard dishwasher is approximately 10” off the floor, making loading it like toe touches. This is fine if your back is still supple. By incorporating two dishwasher drawers to the left and right of the main sink, the reach can be greatly reduced, giving your aching back a break.

A pair of dishwashers at an ergonomic height meet this kitchen's clean-up needs

Morning Joe goes ergonomic 

While a built-in coffee maker is a caffeinated dream for some, using lift doors in what was once called an appliance garage transforms this formerly cumbersome space. Hafele offers a streamlined unit complete with a stabilizing bar for a sweet lift. The Strato system allows the door to stop when you let it go – i.e., no flyaways and minimal effort keep everything in its place quietly and comfortably.

A lift door makes an appliance garage more accessible and stylish

Paper towel trick 

By removing a drawer front and bringing up the back wall of the drawer interior, a convenient storage solution becomes highly functional. Routing out the internal sides of the cabinet and installing a spring-loaded holder gave the paper towels a permanent home – right where everyone can easily reach them.

Clever paper towel holder means no one has to lean across a deep countertop ever again

Pet Adaptability

Even our canine companions have aches and pains. In this space a dog-friendly dinner bar was designed to include a self-filling water trough. Bowls are elevated off the floor to a comfortable height of 6” for two large dogs. And yes, I did measure their reach! Dog food was stored to the right in covered bins using a smooth pull-out glide, making it easy for the homeowner to open and close. Toys stored in an open basket kept them from being underfoot and easy to trip over, another human aging in place strategy. 

Even the pet feeder is ergonomic -- and great-looking!

More Images

Here are some more photos of this handsome kitchen Pat designed for one of her clients.  I love 'em so had to share them with you, too!

Photos:  All provided by Pat Caulfield, AKBD, CAPS.


Pat Caulfield, AKBD, CAPS is an Independent Design Consultant working in the fields of kitchen and bath, residential construction, project management, space planning, cabinet manufacturing and custom cabinet design for more than 15 years. 


  1. Smart and gorgeous!

  2. Gorgeous kitchen photos. And great ideas. But (isn't there always a but) why would any aging person want such a large kitchen (and the large house that would be attached to it)?

  3. Those are good questions, Jean. Two possible answers include (a) they're planning ahead and aren't in their golden years yet (b) they love their house and neighborhood and want to stay there as long as they can.

  4. Wonderful designs Thanks for sharing the pictures it will definitely helpful in my kitchen renovation next week.

  5. Wonderful design! Next home is a reno and gonna flip it, is in Western NC Mtns and has a view, and outdated kitchen. THIS FITS perfectly! Thanks, Cliff H.

  6. It's a gorgeous project with great ideas, isn't it, Cliff? Thanks for stopping by and taking time to share your sweet words.


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