In honor of the 30th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), PRODUCTS scoured the design world for the coolest kitchen and bath products that are designed to make life easier for individuals.
Signed into law in 1990, ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public. The purpose of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.
The ADA gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications. The ADA is divided into five titles (or sections) that relate to different areas of public life.
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But the act’s influence on society goes beyond protection for people with disabilities; it help influence and usher in other related disciplines such as accessible design, universal design, inclusive design, and human-centered design. As a result, architects and designers strive to create spaces, homes, and environments that are easy for everyone to use.
For example, we now know that simple things such as lever handles, rocker switches, and wider doorways help those who might be weaker, in a wheelchair, or older, but they are also easier for children, someone who may have to use crutches temporarily, or a homeowner holding a bag of groceries.
Today, because of the ADA, all of these various movements are converging (or have converged) into hot kitchen and bath trends, says the National Kitchen + Bath Association. In recently released data on a study that examines the outside influences transforming how kitchens and baths will be designed over the next three years, the association found that living in place is one of the hottest trends driving design.
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“Multiple generations are living together under the same roof, so there is an increased need for spaces that work for all, no matter their age, ability or physical challenges,” NKBA says in the study. “67% surveyed have a desire to age in place, and more than 60% want kitchens and baths that are easily used for all ages and skills.”
The ADA also helped push manufacturers to develop more products that make life easier for people of all abilities. While earlier attempts at these product designs were highly institutional looking, manufacturers have stepped up their game. Today, kitchen and bath products that are ADA compliant are hardly distinguishable from non-ADA products. In some cases, the ADA-compliant is even preferable.
In honor of the ADA, we did some digging to find products that meet the guidelines but also exhibit good design. Here’s what we found.
The Veil Intelligent wall-hung toilet offers integrated personal cleansing while saving up to 8 inches of precious bathroom space compared to a floor-mount unit, the company says. It offers personal cleansing, LED nightlight, and hands-free opening, closing and flushing, among other features.
The HV1E os a sleek bath lav faucet that looks like any other product on the market. Hands-free and ADA-compliant, each unit has a standard flow of 1.2 gallons per minute and has adjustable time settings for the cycles from 3 seconds to 20 seconds.
Grab bars, such as these products from the Kubic line, have come full circle. Once clunky and ininstitutional looking, they are now given the attention they deserve. These are constructed from solid brass and feature softened, square-angled corners and rounded, sleek edges. Circular escutcheons conceal the mounting hardware.
Part of the brand’s Studio collection, this acrylic shower base extra low threshold that’s easy to roll over in a wheelchair or to step over. The unit is made of durable acrylic with fiberglass reinforcement, and has a built-in, three-sided tiling/water flange. It comes with a brushed stainless steel drain cover.
This ADA-compliant shower features a fold-down seat with stainless steel support, grab bars, and a low-profile threshold for easy wheelchair access. Made of solid Vikrell composite, it delivers strength, durability and lasting beauty, the company says. The three-piece, tongue-and-groove walls offers snap-together installation.
The MH wall-hung toilet and in-wall tank system uses a Dual-Max flushing system that lets users choose either 1.28 gallons or 0.9 gallons per flush. Because it's wall-mounted, the toilet takes up less floor space, giving your bathroom a more open feeling and making it easier to clean. More over, the unit is height adjustable 15 between 15 inches and 19 inches to suit owner needs.
The ADA stainless steel farmhouse sink offers a raised work shelf at the front of the sink allows for kitchen tasks to be completed while seated, but the thoughtfully designed unit also meet the needs of all users, the brand says. It has an extra-deep 9½-inch back bowl that offers more room inside for stacking and soaking dishes and optional accessories, such as cutting board and colanders.