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11 September 2010 @ 02:52 pm
Engineers, I'm Giving This Idea Away  
In my dreams someone invents the hydraulic, adjustable kitchen. I can imagine it but I'm not an engineer. I got the idea from watching Pimp my Ride where they often used hydraulics to make some cool addition to the trunk come up to a usable height. I thought, "why can't kitchens do this?" Imagine a kitchen that can adjust to different sized family members with the push of a button! What if you could cook as easily from a wheelchair as you did when you were ambulatory? What if people with back problems didn't have to stoop to see things in lower cupboards and short people didn't have to run and get a step stool? :) What if the counter could always be at each household member's perfect height?

I picture the lower cupboards on a base that sinks into the floor as needed to lower the counter top, upper cabinets on a track that come down as you need to reach something or see what's stored there. Obviously above-the-fridge space isn't going to move but all of the major counters and cabinets ought to. I don't know about the sink--I can't picture what's possible in terms of the pipes. Perhaps the sink would have to be a stand-alone exception and simply a second, lower sink would be available for wheelchair/little people use. Stoves might also be on a platform that can rise or sink as needed.

I doubt I could afford such a system even if I had a house to put it in but new homes should just be built this way. No one knows whether they will be in a wheelchair or develop a painful back problem. Similarly, homes should just come with ramps rather than steps, and wide doorways should be the norm. Then no one has to scramble to adjust to a future disability. When my son was in a wheelchair we had to move to a different apartment entirely!

And hey, if you make some money and want to kick me a donation, the paypal button is to the right of this post. :)

ETA: I used to just squat for lower shelves but then I fucked up my knee. Oh and while I'm dreaming, all cabinets should have lights you can turn on--especially lower ones.

ETA2: http://barrierfree-px.rtrk.ca/wheelchair-accessible-kitchen

Some of what I'm talking about but only marketed/for wheelchair users. I'd think bigger than that! It should be part of home construction, especially homes where different-sized people are expected to use the kitchen regularly.
The Scottish Guythescottishguy on September 11th, 2010 10:02 pm (UTC)
The plumbing is doable with flexible pipes. The rest of the gear is all totally doable, Upper cabinets could be on individual worm drive rails, lowered on command, maybe a single universal remote. An iPad would make the perfect control system for a kitchen like this.

The whole thing would need some major subfloor work, you'd essentially have a main catwalk where the floor is.

it might actually be easier to have a rising floor for this. with the touch of a button the entire kitchen floor could rise up predetermined heights.
Tapatitapati on September 12th, 2010 12:11 am (UTC)
I know there is a market for this. Watch any episode of Little People, Big World on TLC. There are lots of families like this with Little People and average sized people in one household, all trying to cook or use the same kitchen. Or think of Alex and Kathy using the same kitchen.

I don't know why no one has done this--or perhaps they have, but not on a large enough scale so that everybody knows about it.
Tapatitapati on September 12th, 2010 12:15 am (UTC)
Oh, and it has applications for bathrooms, too, I suppose.
Christinekisekileia on September 12th, 2010 12:50 am (UTC)
That sounds wonderful. I'm 5'0" and have cupboards I can barely use.