August 2022

When it comes to remodeling, most of us think of the cosmetic upgrades that will make our homes look beautiful and reflect our tastes. You may be dreaming of marble countertops, a huge walk-in shower, or floor-to-ceiling windows, but did you know some upgrades can’t be seen that you may like just as much? Hidden upgrades may not be necessary, but once you include them in your home, it will be hard to do without them. These are some of our favorite hidden home upgrades to consider for your home renovation:
Photo credit: Warmly Yours
Heated Floors
Radiant floor heating can add comfort in the bathroom or bedroom – keeping your feet warm first thing in the morning and after your shower during colder months. Radiant heating can be installed under most flooring materials, including concrete, natural stone, ceramic, and porcelain tiles, but it is less effective under wood flooring. Radiant floor heating is convection heat – water or oil is contained in the tubing – so it is energy efficient.
Heated Countertops

Like heated flooring, heated countertops are a feature you didn’t know you needed. Countertop heating mats are usually only installed in specific locations in the kitchen since the mats aren’t large enough to cover the entire countertop. Mats will heat the counter to a comfortable temperature, so it does not feel cold.

Heated countertops will keep your morning coffee warm longer and make it more comfortable to place your hands or arms on the counters. They are especially beneficial for people who have arthritis or joint pain.

Photo credits: Home Innovations, Houzz
Central Vacuum

If vacuuming is one of your least favorite chores, consider installing a central vacuum system. Central vacuums are permanently installed, and suction dust and dirt into the main collection tank. Rather than moving a heavy vacuum throughout your home, you take just the hose to one of many outlets installed in convenient locations. Another fantastic option for central vacuum systems is a baseboard or under-cabinet dust pan – especially in the kitchen. With the touch of your foot, it suctions dirt and debris into the collection tank. Many homeowners with central vacuum systems report that their allergies had improved as the system picks up more dust and allergens than regular vacuums.

Photo credit: QuietCool
Whole House Fan

A whole house fan pulls air in from open windows and exhausts it through the attic and/or roof. It provides attic ventilation in addition to cooling your house. Whole house fans reduce the need for air conditioning, lower energy costs, and improve your home’s air quality. With the active ventilation of a whole house fan, the powerful breeze from the windows allows homeowners to feel 5 to 10 degrees cooler within seconds of turning on the fan.

When going to bed, especially in a two-story house, during summer, it can be sweltering and uncomfortable. You can direct cooling air into your bedroom by opening a window across your bed and turning on your whole house fan. A whole house fan can also quickly remove unpleasant cooking or pet odors and help rapidly dry newly-cleaned floors and carpeting.

What other upgrades would you like in your home? We have ideas! Call us to discuss all the features you’d like to see – and some that you can’t – when we plan your home remodel.

 

July 2022

Granite Composite Double-Basin Drop-In sink in Black

Guide to Kitchen Sinks
The kitchen sink probably isn’t the first thing you think about when designing your new kitchen. However, it is an item that can either complete the design or one that could undermine the look you want. Plus, considering the kitchen sink’s functionality, it is an essential part of a remodel and shouldn’t be treated as an afterthought.

Here are some things to consider when choosing a new kitchen sink.
Stainless-Steel Double-Basin Undermount Sink

Material

The material you choose for your kitchen sink plays a vital role in the sink’s maintenance and design style. These are some of the most commonly used kitchen sink materials:

Stainless Steel – The stainless-steel sink has been a long-time staple in the kitchen. They are lightweight, easy to clean, and heat resistant.

Cast Iron – Another popular choice is the cast iron sink. The enamel coating on cast iron sinks comes in various colors and styles, each long-lasting and easy to maintain. Metal cookware can leave “scratch” marks on the surface which can be removed with non-abrasive cleaners.

Granite Composite – If you’re looking for a sink that looks modern and is also durable and stain-resistant, consider a granite composite sink. Manufactured using a mix of granite stone dust and acrylic resins, granite composite sinks tend to be heavier than other kitchen sinks, which may eliminate some mounting style choices.

Fireclay – Fireclay sinks look the same as cast iron sinks but are made from clay and glaze fused at very high temperatures. Fireclay is an excellent material choice for a farmhouse sink. Metal cookware and grease can leave marks or stains on the sink that can be removed with non-abrasive cleaners.

Bocchi Vigneto StepRim Farmhouse Apron Front Fireclay Double Bowl Kitchen Sink in Biscuit, with Sink Racks, Strainers, Cutting Board, and Colander.

Basins

The number of basins in your sink is something else you should consider when choosing a kitchen sink— based on your personal preference as well as the style of your kitchen.

Single-Basin – For a farmhouse style or industrial style kitchen, a single basin kitchen sink is the way to go. One large bowl allows more space for soaking large items they frequently use.

Double-Basin – Considered the traditional style, double basin sinks have two bowls of equal size and depth. This style allows for multitasking. You can soak potatoes on one side while filling up a pot on the other or defrost dinner items on one side and clean the breakfast dishes simultaneously.

Triple-Basin or Double Plus Drainboard – Triple-basin sinks used to be the most sought-after sinks. They had two-large basins plus a small one in the middle for the garbage disposer. They’re not so common anymore. There are also sinks with a drainboard built-in.

Kohler Cast Iron Undermount Single-Bowl Farmhouse Workstation Kitchen Sink

Whatever style you like, we will help you plan your remodel and help you choose the best options to ensure you achieve the look and functionality you want for your home.

 

 

June 2022

Do you have a space in your home that is dark or gloomy? Have you already tried all the easy home decor ideas to help brighten the room, but it’s still too dark? If that’s the case and you want to make a more significant change, we have some ideas or you to consider.
Open It Up
The best way to add more light to a dark space is to add one or more windows or french doors. The larger the windows or doors, the better. While this may sound like a huge undertaking, it may not be as difficult as you think. If adding a window or door is not practical, consider adding clerestory windows higher up on the wall, allowing natural light to enter without disturbing your privacy.
You could also swap out interior doors for french doors to allow light to flow throughout the house. Adding a transom window above an interior or exterior door is also an option.
Get Help from the Ceiling

If your room doesn’t lend itself to adding windows or a french door, look up to the ceiling. You could add skylights to allow natural light to enter the room from above. Installing canned or recessed lighting and a fresh coat of light paint are other good ways to brighten a room.

Add Reflective Surfaces and Extra Lighting
You’ve heard of accent walls. You’ve also probably heard about the design trick of using mirrors to bring more light into a space. Consider combining the two to create a mirrored accent wall. Alternatively, glass mosaic tile reflects light beautifully and comes in numerous shapes, colors, and sizes. Adding extra recessed or under-cabinet lighting and/or larger and brighter light fixtures will also make your room feel brighter.
Lighten the Flooring
Replacing dark flooring with flooring in a lighter color will instantly add light to your space. Choose a light-colored wood floor, easy-care engineered flooring materials, or light-colored tile.
Paint
Lighter paint colors will brighten a room and make it look larger. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to have white walls. Lighter shades of just about any color will help to brighten a space.

Ready to brighten up your dark space? We are here to help. Whether you want to gut and remodel or add windows and lighting, we can help you decide the best options for your home. Give us a call to discuss your options.

May 2022

Is Your Home Ready for Outdoor Living?
Memorial Day is quickly approaching, marking the official beginning of summer relaxing and entertaining. The days get longer, which means it’s time to hang out with your friends and family while enjoying delicious food. If you plan to host family barbecues this summer, we put together a list of all the essentials you’ll need.

Grill

You could purchase an updated stand-alone grill or consider a built-in grill. The built-in option could be part of a simple outdoor kitchen with prep space and storage or a complete food prep and entertainment area, including refrigeration, plumbing, and bar seating.

An outdoor kitchen space will take your barbecues to the next level. Hot dogs and hamburgers are great, but what if you added an outdoor pizza oven or a smoker?

Seating Area

A comfortable seating area on your deck or patio is a must. Ideally, you’ll have two seating areas, one for relaxing and sharing a drink with family and friends and another for dining. And, if you want to take your outdoor seating area to the next level, build it around a water feature or a fire pit as a focal point.

Shade
You will want a shaded area as part of your overall outdoor plan to enjoy sunny days comfortably without risking a sunburn. You could put up umbrellas around the deck and seating areas or opt for sunshades that can be easily installed when needed and removed and stored in the winter months. Sunshades can be found at home improvement stores, garden centers, and online, and they come in various shapes and sizes. A trellis, pergola, or covered deck creates a more permanent shade solution and provides ambiance to your outdoor area.
Think of your outdoor spaces as open-air extensions of the living area in your home. Depending on your needs, they can be large spaces fully equipped with misters, a television, and speakers. Or you can keep it simple with a dining table and chairs. Either way, it will make outdoor living much more enjoyable.
Temperature Control
A ceiling fan in your outdoor space will help you enjoy your deck or patio, even when the air is hot and humid. If you have a covered patio or pergola, you can install a ceiling fan to get air circulating when needed. If not, you can use stand-alone fans to help keep cool. Another option is to add misters to use on sweltering days.

Additionally, consider adding outdoor heaters so you can use your outdoor area on cool evenings.

There’s still time to get your backyard summer and barbecue ready. Give us a call so we can put together a plan and start building your outdoor spaces.

 

 

April   2022

Home technology has come a long way in recent years. New technologies can simplify your life by making it easier to be environmentally friendly, keeping you and your bathroom cleaner and your home entrance safer and more convenient. According to a study by Parks Associates, 25 percent of homeowners plan to incorporate smart technology into their homes in the next year. They are most interested in products that make things more convenient and reduce energy use.

If you’re not sure where to begin, we have found three new technological solutions for you to consider:

House with solar panels on roof and power storage system

Kohler Power Reserve

As homeowners become more conscious of energy conservation, they are looking for solutions that help reduce their carbon footprints. But they also don’t want to sacrifice having the power they need to run their homes.

Enter the Kohler Power Reserve. It’s an energy storage system that keeps your home powered during outages — while providing energy independence by storing excess solar energy for future use. Think of it as an energy bank account: you deposit solar energy and use it as you see fit.

The Kohler Power Reserve consists of a battery and an inverter, compatible with AC and DC input configurations. During installation, it is connected to your home’s solar array. The inverter converts solar energy into usable electricity for your home. Excess energy is stored in the battery for use when solar energy can’t be generated or when the grid is down. Compatible with any solar panel, it can be installed indoors or outdoors. It also has a mobile app that allows you to monitor and control your power system from anywhere, at any time.

By storing and using excess solar power, you can lower your reliance on the grid and lower your energy bills. The system can be personalized for each family member based on their power usage needs. And you can control the time of use by using your stored energy during peak usage. find out more at https://www.kohlerpowerreserve.com/

Modern home with solar panels and Kohler's Power Reserve technology
CLEANOVATION: Revolutionary Cleanliness Technologies

For the past 100 years, TOTO has been the recognized leader in innovation, technology, performance, and design with products that enhance the luxury bathroom experience. TOTO is the world’s largest manufacturer of bathroom fixtures and fittings, with $5.19 billion in annual sales. Their new CLEANOVATION – a combination of clean and innovation – technology helps promote peace of mind and wellness through cleanliness.

The Washlet bidet seat is one of the new items in the CLEANOVATION line that should appeal to many homeowners. It uses pure, clean water to leave you feeling fresher and cleaner than ever before. Once the cycle is activated, a wand with AIR-IN-WONDER-WAVE technology provides soothing warm aerated water. Once that cycle is complete, there is a drying cycle where warm air lightly dries the area.

Washlet bidet seats are environmentally friendly since they reduce the amount of toilet paper used and fit most standard American toilets. Additionally, TOTO has introduced CEFIONTECT glaze technology that prevents particulates from adhering to porous ceramic surfaces. The surface layer on TOTO toilets with the CEFIONTECT glaze is an incredibly smooth ion barrier that keeps the toilet cleaner longer. Less cleaning means fewer chemicals in the environment and less water used for cleaning.

Later this year, TOTO will also introduce a WELLNESS TOILET that incorporates multiple sensing technologies to support consumers’ wellness. Each time you sit on the WELLNESS TOILET, it scans your body and critical outputs then provides recommendations to improve your health. You can track all of the information on a mobile cell phone app. For more information, visit https://www.totousa.com/.

The Washlet bidet seat from TOTO
Masonite M-Pwr Smart Doors
Masonite, one of the leading interior and exterior doors brands, recently introduced its new M-Pwr door. This door comes pre-wired to accommodate technology to make your front entrance secure and convenient. The door is integrated with a Yale smart lock you can control with your phone or home assistant, a Ring Video Doorbell, and motion-sensing LED lighting to illuminate the entryway. It also connects to your home’s power supply and has an emergency battery backup.

Smart front door being locked with phone
These are just a few examples of how technology makes the home a better, safer, more convenient place. Have any questions? We’d be glad to answer them and help you integrate new technology into your home to make it energy-efficient, clean, and safe.

 

March 2022

These days, people spend more time at home, so they need the space to work, play, and pursue their interests. But most people don’t have unlimited space –especially in the Bay Area. Here are a few ideas to help you think through how to create multi-functional spaces in your home.

Home Office/Guest Space

How many of us scrambled to find a space inside our homes to set up a home office when the COVID-19 pandemic made working from home the norm?

Home office uses closet space to keep spare room usable
The rarely used guest room was the most logical place for many home-based employees, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have family and friends visit us anymore. To have a space that allows you to have a productive workday while also accommodating occasional out-of-town visitors, you need a plan. You’ll want plenty of desk space integrated into the room, but you also need to preserve floor space for a guest bed. You could consider converting the closet into a desk area, so you don’t take away any square footage. This space would also allow for storage and organization of equipment and files that can be hidden when you have visitors.

The office/guest room should have sufficient electrical connections for computers, phone chargers, and any equipment you need. Make sure you also have a strong internet connection in any room you will be using for work. However, you don’t need to worry about the bed being in the background for Zoom calls, as you can easily install a range of virtual backgrounds or blur the background in your Zoom settings.

Parent helping child with homework at kitchen counter
Kitchen/Homework Area
Online school might be a thing of the past, but many parents are taking a more prominent role in their kid’s schooling. These families need a room where parents can easily supervise and assist with schoolwork.


The kitchen and family room areas are often utilized for this purpose. You can set up the island for a spot where kids can eat quick snacks or meals and do their homework. If you don’t already have electrical outlets installed on your island, it makes sense to install them now so laptops can be easily plugged in.

You can also dedicate one of the kitchen cabinets as a storage space for school supplies. If you have an island with cabinets on both sides, the overhang side of the island is a perfect place for them. Worst case, if your kitchen is big enough, you could replace your current island with one that has additional cabinets configured to your needs. Having your kids in or near the kitchen also makes it easier to keep them on task while you’re cooking dinner.

Luxury home gym in basement with TV and seating area.
Gym/Recreation Room
A basement or bonus room is a great place to watch movies and relax, but it’s also an excellent place for a home gym. For this space to work, you could create “zones” for seating, exercise equipment, and a television.

Installing a surround sound system will create a real cinematic experience and uplift your workout routine. However, you’ll also want to add soundproofing and acoustics to the room, so you don’t hear loud movies or workout music in the rest of the house.

Ventilation is also essential, so the room smells fresh when you are not using it to work out.

If you need inspiration for creating multiple-purpose rooms in your home, check out The Not So Big House website and books. Since 1998, architect and author Sarah Susanka has been helping people create houses for “The way we truly live.” As she states, “A Not So Big House feels more spacious than many of its oversized neighbors because it is space with substance, all of it in use every day.” And, if you need help turning your inspiration into reality, give us a call, and we can help you develop a solution that will make the rooms in your home multi-functional.

 

February  2022

Do you love your home? It’s February, and Valentine’s Day is here, so it’s a good time to remember how much your home does for you.

If you have fallen out of love with your home, it might be time for a remodeling project that will help you remember what attracted you to it:

Make it More ‘You’
Your home should be a reflection of your individuality and style. But personal tastes change over time, along with home design trends.

If your home doesn’t reflect your current tastes and lifestyle needs, it would be a good time to plan an update.

You might have loved ornate styling in your kitchen and dining room a few years ago, but now you want a cleaner, more modern design.

Modern and traditional style kitchens by Hammerschmidt Construction
The master bath that’s original to the home might be functional, but now you need a place to relax.

Making your home fit your personality might be as simple as changing the furniture and updating the paint colors. But with remodeling, you can make it look – and function – the way you want.

Make Room for Gathering

If it’s been a few years since you moved into your home, chances are the people in your life have changed. Maybe you’ve started a family or are soon to have an empty next. Or maybe your circle of friends has grown.

Nothing fills a house with life like getting together with your friends and family. If your home doesn’t easily accommodate large get-togethers, reconfiguring your space will make having company more enjoyable.

Often the place to start updating is the kitchen. It’s the heart of the home and a natural gathering place. Ideally, your kitchen should allow you to interact with people when prepping food and allow traffic to flow around you but not directly in your path.

Another popular relaxation area is your outdoor space. Your deck, patio, or backyard can be configured to make your outdoor space attractive and welcoming.

Projects you might consider this year could be a new deck or patio with zones for seating and conversation, for kids to play, and for grilling and cooking. If your space and budget allow, consider installing an outdoor kitchen.

Outdoor kitchen under pergola with view of covered patio.
Take Care of You

Finally, your home should be your sanctuary – a place to rest and rejuvenate from the stress of the day. A master suite can be a tranquil, comfortable place where you can enjoy some quiet time to soothe your body and maintain your health. Having a home that makes it easy for you to care for yourself and your family is a sure way to fall in love with your home again.

Give us a call, and we’ll help you design and build the projects that will make your love your home.

January  2022

Are you making New Year’s Resolutions this year? If so, an excellent way to help you stay on track is to start at home. Let’s look at some projects you can do around your house to help you stick with your 2022 goals.
Resolution: Get Healthy
Health and fitness goals are usually the most popular and the hardest to keep. Having space in your home to work on these goals will make it much easier to prioritize your health. These are a few ways you can do that:
Create A Workout Studio/Gym In An Extra Room

Having exercise equipment inside your home makes it much easier to squeeze in a workout. The process is pretty straightforward. You’ll want to add rubberized floors and full-length mirrors to this space. Then bring in the equipment you’d like, such as an elliptical trainer,  treadmill, weights, a weight bench, or a stationary bike. It’s also helpful to have a large screen TV to watch workout videos, listen to music, or for meditation applications.

Build An Outdoor Kitchen & Recreation Areas

Being outside improves our mental and physical health, so why not build an outdoor kitchen. You can include a built-in grill to cook meals centered on lean proteins and vegetables. You could also install outdoor recreation equipment nearby, such as a putting green, badminton or volleyball court, or horseshoe pit if you have the space.

Remodel Your Bath Into A Relaxing Sanctuary

Having a place in your home to relax can improve your overall health and mindset. Many people find that the perfect spot for this is the bathroom. You can include a large soaking tub where you can unwind with a book. A large, walk-in shower, and if you have the space and the budget, a sauna or steam room.

Resolution: Get Organized

Having an organized home can improve the overall quality of your life. You’ll find that you will have less stressful mornings and more time to relax throughout the day when you can find things when you need them, and your house is uncluttered. Here are some ideas of how to get started on your organization project:

Add Smart Storage To Your Kitchen
Adding shelving or pull-out drawers to your cabinets will make organizing your kitchen more effortless. You’ll be amazed at how big of a difference that small change can make. Cleaning out your pantry and all of your cabinets and drawers to eliminate outdated food and unused dinnerwear and cooking utensils will also streamline organization.
Remodel Your Garage
If your garage is full of stuff, start by separating the items you want to keep from unused items that you can give away or donate. Once you have only things you want to keep and use, install shelving or overhead storage to keep everything organized and off the floor and maintain space for your cars (you know, the things the garage was meant for).
Build A Walk-In Closet

Figure out a way to build a walk-in closet. Having extra space to store all of your clothes and shoes in a way where you can easily find them will make it easier to select an outfit in the morning and to keep everything organized over time.

Resolution: Save Money
Another popular New Year resolution is to save money. This one will be a challenge since the cost of everything has increased so much lately, but we have some ideas for you:
Create An Energy-Efficient Laundry Room
If you’re after long-term savings, upgrading to an Energy Star-certified washer and dryer is a great way to do so. Not only will you be saving money, but you’ll be helping the environment!
Install Low-E Windows
If your home is feeling colder than usual, you should look into getting new windows or having your HVAC system evaluated. Low-E windows will help you save on energy costs by keeping UV light out of your home.


Install Better Insulation
You’ll save money on heating and cooling costs if you install better insulation since warm air won’t be escaping through any holes or cracks in the winter, and cool air will remain inside during the summer.

Whatever projects you decide to tackle in the new year, we are here to help!

Visit the Hammerschmidt Construction website for more information.

Contact
1574 Country Club Dr.
Los Altos, CA 94024
Tel: 650.948.4200
Fax: 650.948.5222
About Us

Since 1996, Hammerschmidt Construction has provided award-winning design and remodeling services to homeowners in the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as in the surrounding Silicon Valley. Our proven design+build process will help you envision new possibilities for improving the function, beauty and value of your home. We are also one of the area’s first Certified Green Builders (CGB) and are EPA lead certified.

 

November 2021
Creative Ways to Add Color in Your Next Home Remodel

When you remodel your home, why not look for ways to add interest with color? Bold statements and small splashes of color are on trend this year, and it’s expected that this will continue into 2022.

Kitchen
There
 are many options for adding a bold color to the kitchen. Here are some ideas to consider:

  • Appliances – For something a little unexpected, steer away from stainless steel and instead go for a matte gray for a high-tech look. Or, pick a range in a fabulous color like cobalt blue or copper to build your room around.
  • Cabinets – One of the main focal points of kitchens is cabinetry. You can find cabinets in many colors and mix and match them for an eclectic look. Dark woods provide a rich, refined look, while muted blues and greens make kitchens feel serene and welcoming.
  • Backsplash –Installing a colorful backsplash or one with metal or glass tile can give your kitchen a personality when surrounded by a plain, white background. Just make sure that the undertones of any colors you choose for your kitchen – in tile, countertops, cabinetry, and flooring- are all the same.

Bathroom

Since they are usually smaller spaces, you might try out a bold color in a bathroom that doesn’t need to match the rest of your home. Here are some ways to think about using color in your bathroom:

  • Floors – A bathroom is a perfect place to install flooring in an exciting shade or pattern. A black and white checkered tile floor is a classic look; in fact, evidence of checkered floor patterns has been discovered in artifacts as far back as 1,500 BC. Or, you could incorporate colorful geometric tiles to give your bathroom an Art Deco look. Use them for your floor tile to offset your otherwise all-white bathroom or as a starting point for introducing other colors.
  • Lighting – For a small pop of color, install colorful lighting over your sink – perhaps in shades of black or gray or something more unexpected like yellow or blue. If you’re looking for a luxury look, install a crystal chandelier in glittering gold or silver.
  • Unexpected Tub – Imagine how much your bathroom space would be transformed if you installed a free-standing bathtub with a black exterior and used that to set the design for the rest of the room.
Living Room
A living room remodel can be a huge undertaking. While you’re working on your design theme, make sure to think about how you’ll use color in this room. 

  • Fireplace –The tiling around your fireplace can set the tone for your décor. Imagine opalescent pearl-white glass tiles that take on different colors depending on the time of day and room lighting, or sepia-toned fire-clay tiles that give the fireplace an old-world look and how that would set the tone for the rest of the room.
  • Painted woodwork –If you want to incite a riot, bring up the topic of painting woodwork. The “painting wood is a crime” cult will defend it with religious fervor – often falling along gender lines. Fans of painted millwork have an “anything is okay as long as you like it” attitude. In any case, you might consider (if your relationship can handle it) painting oversize molding an intense color like black or dark grey with taupe walls to give your space an elegant and atmospheric feel.
  • Furniture – Adding a striking sofa or patterned rug may be a safe way to incorporate vivid colors in your room without making a permanent commitment.
Short of a remodel, striking wall and/or trim colors are an appealing, lower-cost way to add depth, excitement, and personality to a room. If you’d like more ideas on incorporating colors in your home remodel, please give us a call.

October 2021

Remodeling Tips to Make Your Home More Accessible

Approximately 26% of Americans live with a disability, a majority requiring the use of a wheelchair or other mobility device. As the population ages, that number will increase. The ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) attempts to ensure that persons with disabilities have equal access to — and convenience in — public spaces. Unfortunately, many private homes lack basic accessibility features.

These features can be added to an existing home or included in building plans to allow those with varying levels of mobility to live as independently and safely as possible without sacrificing style. It makes sense to consider and plan for these possibilities now and make your home more accessible. We’ve put together a list of ideas to get you started thinking:

Accessible Kitchen
One of the most vital areas of any home is the kitchen. It might also appear to be a daunting task to update it into an accessible space while maintaining the look and functionality you want. A few simple changes can make your kitchen much more accessible without creating an institutional feel.

Lowering one or more countertops to wheelchair-accessible heights is a good place to start. New refrigerator and freezer drawers can be placed in base cabinets to allow frequently used items to remain visible and accessible at all times.

Reaching deep inside a base cabinet can be problematic for many, and the cabinet door can quickly get in the way. Replacing them with storage drawers for cookware and dinnerware can make these items easier to reach.

For cooking, changing out a traditional stove with an induction cooktop that stays cool to the touch can reduce the possibility of injury from burns. An under-counter microwave drawer with touchpad operation allows for use from a seated position.

Installing an oven with French Doors at an accessible-height can make lifting heavy cookware in and out more manageable and avoid having a hot door in the way of a wheelchair or walker.

Bathroom Accessibility

Another part of the home that you need to think about is the bathroom. Bathrooms can be not only inaccessible but also dangerous for people with mobility issues. Many household injuries happen because of slip-and-fall accidents in the bathroom.

Barrier-free (curbless) showers provide a smooth transition from the bathroom floor to the shower, eliminating a tripping hazard while keeping the water contained. They also allow a person using a walker or a wheelchair easy access. Slip-resistant flooring is also imperative.

Grab bars are another must and can be helpful for everyone. You can integrate them into the shower design to avoid them giving your bathroom an industrial feel.

Select a comfort-height or chair-height model toilet as they are taller than regular toilets making it easier for people with limited mobility and strength. You should also install handrails to help people balance while sitting and standing up.

There are some stylish options available for wheelchair-accessible vanities, providing easy access to the sink. These may include easy-access storage for everything from towels to hair-driers and other daily-use items.

Mobility Inside Your Home
Many homes, specifically older homes, are not ideal for individuals with mobility challenges. Many have too many doors, and it may make sense to remove some of them. Often, the doorways are not wide enough to easily navigate with a wheelchair or walker.

Ideally, your openings should be at least 36” wide to make them accessible. It is also helpful to replace round doorknobs with lever-style hardware to make them easier for people with arthritis or limited hand strength to operate. An excellent way to determine if a doorknob is accessible is if you can use it with a closed fist.

Flooring Options for Easy Mobility
When thinking of flooring, making sure they are not slippery is a good start. However, standard carpeting can make getting around difficult for people with wheelchairs, walkers, or fundamental mobility issues.

The best flooring choices are hardened materials that are relatively smooth yet slip-resistant. Ceramic tile, laminate, or hardwood floors are some excellent options for mobility-friendly floors. These surfaces are durable and allow more free movement for people with wheelchairs and walkers.

If you have different types of flooring throughout the house, make sure the transition treatment works well for wheels, and the change in height is 1/4 inch or less. And, make sure you carry this practice into your outdoor spaces, so patios and decks are accessible.

Technology That Improves Accessibility
Smart technology can often make things easier for everyone. Having voice-activated, touchless operations on appliances and systems can help in many situations. Voice-activated kitchen faucets can not only turn on and off but allow you to select the temperature of the water and even the amount of water, such as filling a pot with exactly 2 cups.

These are just a few changes to consider, and many of them would be helpful for everyone, young or old. Whether you have been planning a kitchen or bathroom remodel for other reasons or you’ve recently started considering accessibility in your home, we’re happy to discuss ways to integrate these disability-friendly upgrades into your home. The best home improvements always begin with a complete understanding of the options available. Give us a call today to find out how we can help.

Visit the Hammerschmidt Construction website for more information.

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1574 Country Club Dr.

Los Altos, CA 94024

Tel: 650.948.4200

Fax: 650.948.5222

info@hammerschmidtinc.com

About Us

Since 1996, Hammerschmidt Construction has provided award-winning design and remodeling services to homeowners in the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as in the surrounding Silicon Valley. Our proven design+build process will help you envision new possibilities for improving the function, beauty and value of your home. We are also one of the area’s first Certified Green Builders (CGB) and are EPA lead certified.


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