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  • Writer's pictureAdam Thomas

A Closer Look At the Freedom by Symphony Show Kitchen

Finalist in the KBB Products category of the SBID 2022 Awards

I'm delighted to share more extensive pictures of the show kitchen at Freedom by Symphony HQ. This kitchen was installed after extensive research and development as we worked to come up with a range of furniture that could be distributed nationally by Symphony, one of the UK's most successful kitchen furniture manufacturers.

Pictures help tell the story of this wheelchair accessible space, but it's still important to highlight some of the features that are less obvious. For example, in the picture above, the kitchen user is accessing a long rise and fall unit with a raised lip on all four edges.

  • The raised lip means that if she spills anything, the liquid will be contained on the worktop and not pour onto her lap.

  • She has excellent access to the sink and domino hob, because the worktop is deeper than standard. So she can get close to the food preparation that she is carrying out,

  • She can lower the height of the worktop to find the most comfortable working position. The services below worktop height are beautifully concealed behind a decor panel, so that there are no tangles with the water or electricity supply.

  • The controls for the rise and fall worktop, and tap are front-mounted for ease of access.

  • The extractor hood is also remote-controlled.

The picture below features a rise and fall kitchen table, which serves as extra prep space, and even a desk for people who work from home. The table is mounted with lockable castors, so that it can be moved around and positioned exactly where required.

As an alternative to a full-sized rise and fall table, this pull-out worksurface can be pulled out in seconds and used for food preparation, as a breakfast bar, or as a quick and easy place to sit and enjoy a coffee with a friend.

In an inclusive, wheelchair accessible kitchen, clever storage space is a must. The magic corner pictured below is an old favourite, bringing the contents of the cupboard towards the kitchen user, and making a corner cupboard fully accessible.

Pull out base units (below) offer similarly excellent access to storage space. We often locate them next to the sink or hob so that cleaning materials or food ingredients are quickly to hand, reducing the need for repositioning.

Pull-down shelves in wall units can be activated at the pull of a handle, so that taller cupboards can be used even in wheelchair accessible kitchen designs. They are finely balanced and work best with heavier ingredients such as tinned goods. At a gentle push upwards they return to place.

The Neff Slide & Hide oven is probably my favourite appliance. The door slips into a cavity in the base of the oven, so that this hot surface is safely out of the way while the oven is being accessed. I always add a steel-clad pull-out surface below the oven so that hot pots and baking trays can be transitioned from oven to worktop safely. The steel cladding protects the kitchen furniture and means that users with poor grip can move items to and from the oven in incremental steps. Or even remove a pot to stir and check seasoning. The Neff Slide & Hide has an optional extending rail pack for the shelves, so that shelves can be extended without dropping and allowing hot liquids to splash onto the kitchen user. In my opinion this is the safest oven on the market, and an absolute must for wheelchair users.

The clever device below brings electrical sockets to be accessed closer to the front of the worktop than standard sockets. The sockets close neatly when not in use, and open with a simple press of the hand.

The Freedom by Symphony kitchen offers a very neat under sink waste. When access is so critical to the safe use of a kitchen, this part of the kitchen design has to be right. In fact you could say it has been my life's work! The base of the sink has been insulated to ensure that the kitchen user's legs are not injured by excessive heat. In addition, there's a safety strip on the underside of the sink fascia, so that it stops and raises slightly should it come into contact with anything.

As we mention in another Blog post, this kitchen is a finalist in the SBID 2022 Awards, in the KBB Products category. Voting continues until 27 August 2022 and the awards ceremony will take place in October.

Do use your vote and support this outstanding collection which is available nationally from Freedom by Symphony kitchen dealers.

To see a recent project that I designed with Tara Neil Ltd, a Freedom by Symphony dealer, use this link to the Matt Indigo Wheelchair Accessible Kitchen.

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