Home Improvement

8 Experts’ Hacks on Making Your Kitchen Accessible

Adaptive Living transforms your house into a home. We are experts on Adaptive Living, and allow us to provide you with pieces of advice to make your house truly your dream home.

In planning to design or remodel your home for adaptive living, especially for people with limited mobility, one of the important facilities to consider is the kitchen.

Did you know that the kitchen, aside from being essential to daily life at home, is also one of the most hazardous areas of the house? Yes, most accidents happen, if not in the bathroom, in the kitchen. Slippery floors, uncontrolled fire, falling utensils are some of the common hazards in the kitchen. With this, utmost consideration should be given when designing or remodeling this area. Though style and function should be present, safety and convenience must be the priority.

Here are practical tips on designing your kitchen for adaptive living.

  1. Hallways and Doorways

The hallways and doorways need to be wide enough for a wheelchair to fit. There should be at least a 5-inch clearance on both sides of a wheelchair or walker to ensure accessibility and easier mobility.

Besides the size of the door and hallways, the swing of the door should be considered as well. It is beneficial to swing the door out, rather than into the room, so as to provide adequate maneuvering space. Better yet, simply make it an open doorway or install sliding doors or pocket doors.

For someone on a wheelchair and those with diminished grasping abilities, installing a lever-typed handles, rather than door knobs, for opening doors is recommended. These handles are much easier to use than the latter. An alternative to this is remote-operated or switch-operated doors if budget allows.

  1. Surface

It is advisable to have a wooden, laminated or tiled flooring and never carpeted because they are easier to maintain and less hazardous. Just see to it that it is not too smooth leading to slippage.

  1. Counters

Counters of an inclusive kitchen are quite different from a regular kitchen. Ensure that there are no base cabinets so as to allow people with wheelchairs or walkers to do their task without obstruction.

The counter height must be based on the comfort range of the user/s. This will also direct the location of appliances and storage cabinets. Adjustable counters or tables prove to be beneficial and are space savers as well.

Installing pull-out shelves is another good way of creating accessible working space for preparing food, and these are space-savers as well.

  1. Appliances

Use appliances that are convenient to use, easy to reach and not heavy to move. Install appliances lower compared to the usual. Again, it must be based on the comfort range of the user/s.

For burners, controls must be in front for easy access. It would be better a choice to use electric cooktops rather than gas ranges. They are much safer and convenient.

The refrigerators should have the proper height. Use bottom-drawer freezer style refrigerators that would allow the user to access frozen goods with ease.

Place dishwashers to a level of comfort. Make it accessible to either side.

  1. Switches and Plugs

Electrical outlets and switches must be placed to a height accessible to the user. Switches and thermostats must be installed in multiple areas of the kitchen, and to the comfort range of the user, especially to wheelchair users. Use switches with light indicators for easy location. Remote operated devices are also preferred for convenience.

Outlets for other appliances and devices must be located in front of the counters for easy access as well.

  1. Sinks

For individuals using wheelchairs or walkers, kitchen sinks will be accessible if the base is open and free from cabinets. The height should be at the level and comfort of the user. Piping underneath must be at the rear of the sink so that it will not obstruct the individual with wheelchair from rolling underneath. Remember to insulate the pipes properly to protect the legs of the person.

Install the single lever faucets for convenience. If budget permits, a touch control faucet would be a better option to allow the user to turn on and off the faucet with a single touch.

  1. Cabinets

Lower the height of the cabinets depending on the needs of the user/s. Pull-out or down shelves and drawers are essential in the kitchen. This allows the user to access utensils, dishes, pans, etc. quickly and with ease.

Although more expensive, electric powered and remote controlled adjustable cabinets that lower and raise cabinet heights with one click provide more convenience to the user and make everything accessible.

Check cabinet designs suited to ones needs.

  1. Lighting

Lighting is very important in the kitchen. To increase visibility and to create a safe cooking environment, a glare-free lighting should be installed. In areas for food preparation, another set of lighting maybe provided. The better lighting there is, the safer the working area will be.

There are so many other accessories and appliances you can still install in your kitchen to make more accessible and adaptive to your kind of living. Remember, choose accessories that will provide safety and convenience for you.  It’s our honor to partner with HÄFELE, an international company based in Germany, which has been helping people in different parts of the world in making their dream homes a reality. Their fittings, hardware and systems can help you improve the way your kitchen suit your needs, and supply you with essential resources for Adaptive Living. Please visit their website to know more about their business and products.

Click to DOWNLOAD HÄFELE Kitchen for Adaptive Living Brochure

Save on Your Summer Cooling Bills

It’s not just cold w inters that cause our energy bills to skyrocket. Australia is known for its scorching summers, so on hot days it’s important to stay cool – but having the air conditioning blasting 24/7 can send your home’s running costs soaring.

According to the Department of Environment and Energy, 40% of the energy used by the average Australian home is for heating and cooling1. As the days grow w armer, here are some easy things you can do to stay comfortable while keeping your power bill down.

Do a spring clean
Make sure your cooling system is in good shape by cleaning out the filters, keeping the outdoor equipment free of dirt and leaves, and getting the unit serviced if needed. This w ill help ensure your cooling system works well, reduces energy consumption and improves air quality.

Get smart about cooling
Experts recommend setting your air conditioner at 24 degrees or warmer so it runs most efficiently: every degree cooler uses more energy. It also helps to run Source: air conditioning only in the parts of your house that are being used.

Before you turn on the air conditioning, cool yourself by taking off any extra layers of clothing and try using a fan, as these consume a fraction of the energy. Sitting a bowl of water in front of the fan increases its cooling effect.

Keep the heat out
When you know it’s going to be a hot one, close your windows and curtains or blinds early in the day. You can shade the outside of your home with awnings, a shade sail or trees.

Throughout the day, don’t add any unnecessary heat. Turn off lights and appliances you’re not using, and enjoy a barbecue outside rather than using the oven.

Be window-wise
When the day starts to cool down, turn off your cooling system and open up windows or doors on both sides of your house. This will allow the hot air to escape and a cool breeze to flow through. If you can, keep some windows open overnight. You could also install w indow coverings, glazing or tinting.

The best way to use less energy7 Head outside and make the most of those bright summer days!

Source:
1 http://yourenergysavings.gov.au/energy/heating-cooling/understand-heating-cooling

 

Author:  Alan Faint, http://www.hfcahobart.com.au/

Accessible Bathroom Doesn’t Have To Be Hard

As more and more seniors are keen to aging in the comforts of their own homes independently, rather than in home care institutions, accessible homes have become popular. As a result, home renovations among elderly and even young ones have focused on accessibility and not just on style.

Many have already realized that as they age, there is a need to make their home as accessible and safe as possible suited to their needs.

Almost the entire fixtures of the house need to be remodeled when re-redesigning an accessible home. This is to ensure that all areas of the house are adaptable to the needs of the individuals who will live there. However, due attention should be given when designing or remodeling the bathroom because this is one of the most critical areas, and more prone to accidents.

Here are 4 tips on designing or remodeling the bathroom for accessibility:

  1. Safety
    This is the main reason for designing and remodeling a house, especially a bathroom, built for accessibility. Safety in every angle is very critical.Spacing in the doorways should be adequate enough especially for wheelchair and walker users. Doors should have lever-type handles for easier grip.Switches and outlets are to be located at the comfort range of the user/s. Switches and plugs with light indicators are a necessity for this will ensure visibility to the user.For the flooring options, non-slip tiles are to be used to provide proper footing. Accidents in the bathroom usually happen because of slippage.

    Install grab bars and handrails for additional assistance and support in the bathroom. It is best to make the bars and handrails easy to grip by covering them with rubbers. This will aid individuals in standing and sitting down.

    The bathroom should be provided with proper lighting in the shower area and even in the vanity area to aid in brushing teeth, shaving, make-up application, and to see clearly the labels of medications and other health or beauty supplies.

    Shower seats may be added for further assistance when taking a shower. You may opt to construct a seat not higher than 2 feet. You may also consider a folding seat but make sure not to install it with legs to avoid tripping inside the shower area.

    Edges of the surfaces and fixtures must be round to avoid injuries caused by bumps.

  2. Convenience and Function
    In constructing or remodeling a bathroom, it should be convenient and functional as well. What good can the fixtures bring you if they are not convenient and functional enough! Right?The sinks should have a clear base and without cabinets underneath. This will allow wheelchair users to move forward and use the faucet with ease.Pull-out cabinets are beneficial as well. This provides easy storage and accessibility to towels, soaps and shampoos, special equipment, beauty products and other accessories used in the bathroom. Keep them low and easy to reach so supplies can easily be accessed.Plan to make storage areas adjustable as the need arises. This would allow user/s to accommodate larger amounts of supplies in the future.

    Height of countertops and sinks must be at the comfort range of the user/s. Before adding some vanity fixtures, the convenience of the user/s in using the counters must be the priority.

  3. Adaptability
    As you remodel the perfect bathroom for all your needs, consider all the members of the family who are going to use it as well.Fixtures must be adaptable to all the members of the family to ensure accessibility. Spaces must meet the needs of all the users and not just one.Switches must be at a proper height or range for everyone to see and reach easily.If space permits, you may want to install two sets for each fixture such as the showerhead and controls, sinks and toilet bowl. If you have both children and elderly at home, this bathroom will be a perfect fit for them.

    Pull-out cabinets and shelves must be adjustable and easy to push and pull for both kids and seniors. In so doing, users will have more comfort in using every fixture and equipment in the bathroom.

  4. Longevity and Style
    The bathroom design should be able to not only adapt to your needs at present, but must be able to grow with you as time passes by. Though you may update the décor such as curtains and other accessories, it should last for many years, as renovation is costly.Therefore, design your bathroom the way you want to see it for at least the next ten years. You wouldn’t want to remodel it over and over again simply because it has lost style.Choose designs and colors that suit your personality but at the same time with that of your family, besides you will be seeing the bathroom everyday! Why not make it stylish yet functional as possible?

Before starting with the construction of an accessible bathroom, every detail of the design must be carefully scrutinized. It’s best to choose first all the needed fixtures, equipment, and finishes before diving in the project. This way, you will have a true feel, idea and cost of the bathroom remodeling.

Make sure you have chosen all the needed materials suited to you and your family’s needs because if you don’t, additional expenses will surprise you.

If you need professional help in designing and remodeling your home, we are here to help you. It’s our honor to partner with HÄFELE, an international company based in Germany, which has been helping people in different parts of the world in making their dream homes a reality. Their fittings, hardware and systems can help you improve the way your bathroom suit your needs, and supply you with essential resources for Adaptive Living. Please visit their website to know more about their business and products.

Five Ways to Make Your Courtyard Feel Like a Backyard

Having a tiny courtyard or balcony doesn’t mean missing out on the enjoyment of a garden. Here are five tips to help make your outdoor area feel bigger.

1. Plan
Start by deciding what the area is for, whether it’s entertaining, having a quiet space, a kids’ play zone, or maybe your own little garden. Once you know what you want, it’s easier to make the most out of the space.

2. Choose furniture wisely
Don’t f ill the courtyard with furniture if you’re creating a fun play area. Alternatively, if you’re hosting dinners for friends you’ll need more than just a small table for two. Measure out how much space you have so that when you’re shopping for furniture you buy something that actually fits.

3. Add greenery
Make a garden out of your courtyard with some garden boxes to keep everything contained – then you can enjoy lush greenery without t he courtyard looking like an abandoned forest. Lining walls with potted plants can also bring some life to the area while keeping it tidy.

4. Keep it simple
Small spaces and clutter don’t mix. Try having just one focus of attention: a small water feature mixed in-between some plants can help balance out the space, while a mirror can reflect light to maximise the natural sunlight. 5. Get creative Your courtyard or balcony might offer limited ground space, but when you consider what you can put on walls or hang from above your options grow. Pot plants, lights and small decorations al l work well.

Designing an outdoor space doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Focus on what you enjoy, and you’ll be enjoying your new, improved courtyard in no time.

 

Author:  Alan Faint, http://www.hfcahobart.com.au/

How to Host a Summer House Party

The party season is hotting up, but can your home handle the heat?

Summer can be a tricky month for entertaining at home. With the sun blazing down, it can get too hot to host. On the other hand, long days and good friends make wonderful memories. Here are some tips to help you make sure your home can handle the heat.

Prepare the venue
Are you hosting people inside, outside or both? Set up your entertainment zone for immediate comfort. If your place will be heating up before the party’s even started, turn on the fans or air conditioning beforehand.

Hydrate
There’s nothing like a nice cold drink to keep cool. Arrange to have chilled water freely available. Consider having drink stations in a couple of locations, with bottles of water in buckets of ice and plenty of cups or glasses. Make sure to keep replenishing the water supply throughout your event.

Choose your moment
Identify the best time of day for your party. If your home becomes unbearably hot in the afternoon, for example, consider hosting breakfast or brunch instead of lunch or dinner. Also, it may be that it gets stuffy indoors but the patio remains cool, which might dictate where to host your event.

Create comfort
Pre-empt possible sources of guest discomfort. Outdoors in the day? Provide sunscreen and shade – perhaps a large umbrella or a bunch of cheap paper parasols. In the evening, remember mozzie repellent. Regulate the temperature using shade, fans and – if you’ve got it – air conditioning.

Match guest numbers to the size of your property. Unless you’re hosting a sweaty rave, a crowded house is not recommended for summer. If you want to keep everyone around the barbecue in the courtyard, for example, make sure they all fit comfortably.

House rules

Don’t forget that the venue is your home. When the guests leave, you don’t want a house full of insects or stuffy rooms when you head off to bed. Write some polite signs to ensure guests heed rules like closing the screen doors to keep flies out and shutting windows if the air conditioning is on (or opening them for airflow if it isn’t).

Summertime means a few extra considerations for party hosts, but the warmer weather shouldn’t stop you from having a season of socialising at home.

 

Author:  Alan Faint, http://www.hfcahobart.com.au/

Tips On Maintaining Your Deck

Do you own a house with a deck? Decks are really cool places to relax, enjoy the morning sun, entertain guests or to enjoy good weather. When properly maintained, it could be an area that attracts people to your home. However, you need to take care to ensure your deck is clean and well-maintained.
Here are some of the tips to keep your deck clean and looking lovely

  1. Carefully examine your deck every year. Check for things like missing or loose boards, protruding nails, and dirt in between and under boards.  You may need to replace screws or nails in your deck if it is lifting.  Your handyman or builder can do this type of work for you.
  2. Thoroughly clean the deck from dust and dirt. Blast out debris between the boards using a power washer. Make sure to use a hose that allows you to adjust the water pressure.
  3. Be sure to seal your deck a few weeks after its completion. Sealing the deck can enhance its look and contribute to its durability. There are some great products available at your local hardware store and various types of deck tints that look great.
  4. If you are considering painting your deck with solid colors, you must understand that it will not provide the same level of protection as using clear sealants. However, solid color paint can be good on vertical surfaces such as hand railings or balusters.  Colored decks will need to be maintained and take more time to look after.

Maintaining your deck is a commitment, but you can get your local handyman or builder to do the work for you.

If you have questions regarding deck maintenance or looking to build a deck for your home, please contact Platinum Home Builders and Renovation Services at 0400 904 873 or send us a message.

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