Blogging about life in Minnesota, raising our six kids with Down syndrome while battling Breast Cancer.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor in the morning the devil says, "Oh shit! She's up!"

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Forward Thinking

We have a house full of short people. Angela is 15 now and 4 ft 8 1/2 in tall. (whenever people meet her in person for the first time they're always surprised at how tiny she is! LOL) She stopped growing about 3 years ago and since her growth plates are fused, she's now done.  Axel is 11 and the same height Angela was at the same age. Since I know his birth family (have met and am in contact with them) I don't expect he will be much taller than Angela.  And Asher? Who knows! Though I will eventually know, right now I don't know how tall his birth parents are. 

One of our jobs as parents of kids with Down syndrome is to teach them to be as independent as possible.

Enter our kitchen.

When Dean bought this house 10 years ago, the seller had just installed new cabinets. The seller was clueless. 

At first glance the kitchen doesn't look too bad. Once you start opening cabinets you quickly learn where the problems are. Approximately 30% of the cabinet space in our kitchen is unusable. Both upper and lower corners (the one you can see in the picture above, and the corner that's tucked off to the right that you can't see) are 100% in accessible.

Just before I left for Serbia to get Asher we decided to refinance the house and remodel the kitchen. We'd be doing it with little people in mind. All the cabinets in the picture above will be coming out.

Below are three views of the dining room. In this first one, this is the wall between the dining room and kitchen. It's gone!

This is looking from the kitchen out to the living room. This view will be changing!

We contacted Tim over Shafer Cabinets. Funny how things work. Tim has a niece who has Down syndrome who he adores. He totally understood the features we wanted in our kitchen!  He came to the house to get all the measurements, and over the course of a couple of meetings we've come up with a plan that will suit the needs of our growing family. Let me give you a pre-build tour.

These are the CAD computer generated images of our new kitchen. (no, these are NOT the colors we're using. LOL) This first view is looking from the dining room into the kitchen. The wall is gone and an island installed. Next to the refrigerator is where the microwave will be installed at counter height. Easily accessible to all the kids without pulling hot things down from over their heads. 

But it's inside the island that the kid-related changes will be happening. First the drawers. They will hold all the dish and glass wear. Right in front of these drawers is the dishwasher so emptying it will be a breeze for the kids. (you know, those important life skills!)

The stove is the main appliance we purchased with the kids in mind. I don't even like to cook and I'm excited about the new stove! It has an induction top. Induction heating significantly reduces the risks of burns to hands and any other material! The stove also has touch-screen controls that are flat on the surface, rather than on the front where small hands can reach them that shouldn't, or in back where one would have to reach over a hot pan. And for fun there is also a warming drawer which I doubt I will ever use but Dean swears he will. Also, you'll notice this drawing has a bar-height breakfast bar. This has been changed and it's now counter height. We remembered how much difficultly Angela has getting up onto a barstool so counter height it is!

So what's done so far? Well you've already seen these pictures:

All of the cabinets are out now. New insulation has been put in, all the wiring re-done, plumbing capped off. Next to get done: New header put up, floors patched and refinished, sheet rock installed/taped, paint. We don't expect this project to be done until the last week of February. Right now, having no kitchen and washing dishes in the bathroom, this seems forever away.

1 comment:

Imogen said...

You are an AMAZING mother.

Your new kitchen looks fantastic on the CG pictures. How exciting! I can just picture your three kiddos sitting at the counter eating breakfast :)