Aging in Place Kitchen Design

This guest blog was written by Lindus Construction. Lindus Construction  is proud to have served over 75,000 happy customers in Western Wisconsin and the Twin Cities since the company’s founding in 1979. One Call. One Contractor.

As the Baby Boomer generation retires, a consistent theme those in the home remodeling industry hear is their desire to age in place, rather than incur the expense of moving into a long-term care facility. Because the kitchen tends to be among the busiest areas of the home, clients often ask how to make it an accommodating place to cook and entertain as the homeowner continues to mature. Here’s what you need to know about aging in place kitchen design.

Doorways

kitchen with wide doorways

Older homes tend to have a more compartmentalized feel. At times, kitchen doorways may be too narrow to allow entry for wheelchair- or walker-users. It’s recommended that undersized doorways be widened to at least 36 inches for this reason. Pocket doors are also an optimal solution for the ease of which they can be opened and closed. This concept also applies to levered doorknobs.

Flooring

Excessive wax and polish on kitchen floors creates a falling hazard, so keep this chore to a minimum. Steer clear of rugs, which can also create the perfect environment for a fall. It’s worth noting that the smaller and closer together floor tiles are, the lesser chance there is of a tripping hazard being present. Linoleum, tile and wood are the easiest materials for a wheelchair to glide across.

Cabinetry

As homeowners age, retrieving items stored in upper cabinets becomes more tedious. For those embracing aging in place, it’s wise to install cabinets that have multiple drawers in the lower levels. This allows quick access to items used daily, like plates, bowls and dishes.

Pullout trays and garbage can dividers also prove convenient.

Faucet

Not only are touchless faucets advantageous from a cleanliness standpoint, but they’re easier for people with limited mobility to operate. Sinks should have a depth of no more than 6 inches and include a pullout sprayer to prevent straining the user’s back.  

Appliances

Side-by-side refrigerators are the friendliest to the aging in place movement. That’s because both sides can easily be opened, allowing for access to all compartments. Pullout shelving helps reduce back strain.

Microwave drawers are also becoming increasingly popular, because they eliminate the need to reach up for hot food. When shopping, ask for ADA-compliant appliances.

kitchen with pullout microwave drawer in island

Lighting

A brightly illuminated kitchen allows for easier food prep. Consider under-cabinet lighting to brighten an area that oftentimes is starved for light. Skylights and sun tunnels allow consistent natural light to filter into the kitchen. Many seniors opt for their lights to be on motion sensors.  

With a few modifications, people can continue to live comfortably at home into their senior years. What other kitchen considerations are there? Let us know in the comments!

Top 2019 Kitchen Trends to Consider

Planning a kitchen remodel this year? Before you spice things up, find out what’s cooking in kitchen design. Our trusted construction and design partners share hot 2019 kitchen trends to consider.

Countertop Trends

Photo via Lindus Construction

Homeowners are gravitating away from granite countertops and toward quartz, according to Lindus Construction COO Andy Lindus. “Quartz comes in an array of colors, allowing homeowners to customize the appearance of their kitchen,” he says. Quartz also requires less maintenance and has a smoother surface.

Cabinet Trends

Kirsten Erickson, principal designer and founder of Alma Homes, continues to see color sneak its way into cabinetry. “Islands have been a very popular location if clients are afraid to commit to a bold color throughout the entire kitchen,” she adds. “And we’ve been seeing a lot more navy, black and deep green.”

Beautiful Chaos Owner and Lead Designer Sarah Martin echoes the bold color trend. “We are so excited to see kitchen color palettes brightening up,” she says. “It’s so fun to incorporate a pop of color in the heart of the home!”

Tile Trends

While Erickson says clients tend to stick to more neutral tones in their tile selections, creativity sparks when it comes to tile shape. This allows homeowners to maintain a simple color scheme while still adding interest to their kitchen. “We’ve been incorporating everything from marble mosaics to hex tiles to fun arabesque shapes,” she says.

Katie Kath of Jkath Design Build + Reinvent sees more homeowners taking a unique approach to classic subway tile, which comes in the form of handmade or beveled tiles. She says square tiles are also having a resurgence.

Wood Trends

“Wood elements have also made a comeback, with all signs pointing to more and more of this in 2019,” Kath says, noting trends of wood cabinetry, floating shelves and accessories.

And when it comes to the type of wood, Erickson says white oak has exploded in popularity in what seems like overnight. “We have been using it on kitchen islands, floating shelves, and it (or European Oak) is almost always our clients’ go-to for their hardwood floors,” she adds.

Owner of Adorned Homes, Katie Kurtz, says wood in the kitchen is best incorporated into a space that has the white woodwork we’re used to seeing in kitchens now, like in this custom kitchen from her real estate client TJB Homes, which features a mix of white enamel and white oak.

kitchen with white enamel cabinets and a white oak hood and island

Photo via Adorned Homes

While these trends produce beautiful results, Kassina Folstad of olliePop Design says first spend time defining what you truly love and desire in your home. Your home is one of your biggest investments after all. It never hurts to have a good designer on your side and a kitchen full of beautiful appliances.

Featured image via Café

Colored Appliances that Trump Stainless Steel

In recent years, stainless steel appliances gained ubiquity in kitchens throughout Minnesota. Heck, I’ve switched out all of my outdated, white appliances from the last millennium to a stainless steel refrigerator, range and dishwasher.

But despite — or perhaps because of — stainless steel’s popularity, not everyone is looking to replace colored appliances with stainless.

In fact, some publications hint that white is the new stainless, bolstered by manufacturers’ efforts to modernize a color recently associated with outmoded kitchens.

Whichever camp you fall into, here’s a selection of neutrally colored appliances that no one will call mundane.

GE Slate

GE Slate looks similar to stainless steel, but is darker and more matte. Not only is it a visually a departure, but hey, fewer fingerprints to clean off!

geslatekitchenset

Because I appreciate using a thesaurus to cure writer’s block as much as GE’s writers apparently do, I’ll re-publish the official copywriting about Slate:

Welcome GE’s new fashion-forward finish, Slate: a color that is just as stylish and sophisticated as stainless steel but with a strong, earthy feel. Sophisticated, modern with a twist of verve, and a dose of stunning. It’s a timeless new finish that beautifully blends in, to help you truly stand out.

I don’t know about you, but that sure inspires some design FOMO in me. My kitchen certainly lacks earthy, twisted verve. To Warner Stellian I go!

Jenn-Air Oiled Bronze

Personally, the first time I saw Oiled Bronze in a showroom, I thought that someone ironically paneled the fridge using plywood found on 1970’s basement walls. But in the right application, as you’ll see below, it’s truly something.

cJennAirOiledBronzeAppliances

Jenn-Air’s Oil Rubbed finish, featured in the hood, ovens and refrigerator.

GE Artistry

GE Artistry Series Black

GE Artistry Series Black

Though they look like a throwback, GE Artistry appliances were designed for the millennials, specifically first-time home buyers. GE said it felt this modern generation (my generation) would appreciate the reinvented retro look and the “entry-level” price tag of mid $2000s.

geartistrywhitekitchen

GE Artistry also comes in white with stainless steel accents.

Whirlpool Ice Collection

WhirlpoolIceBlackAppliances

Whirlpool Ice Collection in Black

Whirlpool modernized its colors from textured white or textured black that was so bumpy, you could cover imperfections with glorified nail polish known as “touch-up paint.” Whirlpool Ice Collection however, is impeccably sleek.

From Whirlpool: “Our contemporary form flows into modern colors elegantly energized with metallic finishes and subtle textures.” So, supposedly the handles are energized but I think they just mean “shiny.” Oooh pretty! Whirlpool Ice comes in White Ice, Black Ice appliances and yes, Stainless.

whirlpool-ice-white

Whirlpool Ice Collection in White

South Minneapolis Kitchen on DIY Network

Months ago, we helped the super cool, Minneapolis foodies Carrie and Robert Shidla create a cook’s kitchen for their episode of DIY Network’s “I Hate My Kitchen.”

Warners' Stellian delivery truck
Magnetic Productions’ videographer shoots our pink truck during the delivery of the Shidlas’ appliances. Remember all that snow? Ick.
Delivery guys Dave and Brian navigate the range into the living room, where it lived during the remodeling.

Our episode finally aired last Tuesday, Sept. 20, so we can finally share the photos.

Carrie is such a doll; she happily posed with her new LG fridge. She LOVES to cook, so she was so excited to have a beautiful, functional kitchen.

And now for the big reveal (drumroll, please?)…

Photo courtesy of DIY Network

We chose all LG appliances. Click on the image for more information on the specific product.

LG Stainless Steel Gas Range
Photo courtesy of DIY Network

LG Stainless Steel Refrigerator with Exterior Ice Maker
Photo courtesy of DIY Network

Stainless Steel LG Dishwasher
Photo courtesy of DIY Network
DIY Network Kitchen with Stainless Steel LG Appliances
Photo courtesy of DIY Network

If you missed the episode (I can’t post it online, unfortunately), you can catch it when it replays on DIY Network (ch. 121 on Twin Cities Comcast). Here’s the schedule (all times in CST):

Sept. 27, 7:30 p.m. & 2:30 a.m.

Sept. 29, 4 p.m.

Oct. 11, 9 a.m.

Oct. 16, 1 p.m

Vintage refrigerator for the modern retro kitchen

Move over Big Chill. There’s another brand of retro fridges called Northstar (part of Elmira Stoveworks, which also makes antique appliances).

Those decorating their houses in midcentury modern style want to continue the retro look into the kitchen. But it’s not the best idea to use actual retro appliances.

Why? They’re extremely inefficient, offer smaller capacity than conventional appliances and often run loudly. Plus, if it breaks, good luck finding decades-old parts.

Luckily, Northstar makes retro refrigerators with all the modern features:

  • Modern configurations like bottom freezer style, which keep the food you need most often in easy reach
  • Energy Star rating saves you money on your utility bill
  • 19 cubic feet accommodates way more food than an antique refrigerator
  • Comes in your choice of colors (shown – Cherry Red, White, Bisque, Flamingo Pink, Robin’s Egg Blue, Buttercup Yellow, Textured Black, Mint Green and Quick Silver)
  • Interior lights and freezer baskets
  • See more features and benefits

We’re showing this model, the 1950 in Cherry Red, at our appliance store in Edina across from the Galleria if you want to take a peek. And we deliver and install these for free to our local customers 🙂