Wanda Chronicles: Universal Design Kitchen

A well-designed kitchen can last a lifetime.  While Wanda’s kitchen was designed to meet her needs, it works equally well for her family and friends.  She created a Universal design kitchen that is vibrant, accessible and beautiful.  Every detail of the kitchen was envisioned and planned carefully to meet her needs.


Cramped, tiny kitchen made navigating the space in a wheelchair a chore:

  • Accessibility was minimal
  • Space was small and compact
  • Counter space was too high
  • Cabinets were difficult to use; unable to reach inside
  • Lighting was minimal


Kitchen area was expanded to three times its original size:

  • Added a 17-foot island with four workstations for cooking, food prep, and dining for six
  • Installed accessible drawer cabinets and appliances at a comfortable height so everyone in the home may use them
  • Added multiple layers of lighting to accommodate the high ceiling and large space: natural light and beautiful views from new windows, task lighting, mood lighting and a solar tube in the walk-in pantry
  • Replaced flooring with material that could withstand heavy motorized wheel chair use
  • Converted old kitchen into a walk-in pantry for storage and easy access to large and less frequently used items


  • Granite counter top
  • Porcelain tile flooring that looks like wood
  • LG French-door refrigerator
  • Double Viking oven, microwave, cook stove top and induction cook top stove 
  • Farmers sink
  • Bosch dishwasher
  • Kitchen Aid beverage center
  • Pendant lights and halogen track lighting
  • Under cabinet lights
  • Tubular Daylighting Device for the pantry
  • Ice dispenser


  • Nine-inch (normally 6-inch) toe kick and kick-space drawer allows wheelchair to pass under cabinets without obstruction
  • Island height at 34 inches provides a comfortable work area for all family members
  • Cabinet pulls make it possible to open drawers
  • Drawer organizers make finding and retrieving items easier
  • Integrated cabinetry design includes desk and with handy computer tablet holder
  • Pull-out spice drawers on both sides of the cooktop are convenient for cooking
  • Pot filler makes adding water to heave containers easier and minimizes heavy lifting

Kitchen Gizmos and Gadgets

Convenience gadgets to help with food preparation and serving:

Tour the Kitchen


This is part of a series about Wanda Chenier’s remarkable universal design home makeover. The series covers how Wanda remodeled for accessibility and visit ability; technology and products she selected for safety; details about how she solved the bathroom and bedroom challenges in the original home and how she built her dream kitchen.