We are providing cabinets for a new house being built for a very close friend of ours that was severely injured in a logging accident two years ago. He's 32 and totally wheel chair bound. I've done ADA spec'd things for commercial, but nothing on this more personal level. I'd really like some help to go above and beyond ADA.
From contributor D:
I've been a professional woodworker for 25 years, the last 18 of which I've been in a wheelchair, the result of a motorcycle accident. Since then I've built a new shop, a new house, and all the cabinets and furniture for it.
The main things for me that have made my house easy and comfortable to use are: lowering the counter heights wherever possible, making as many places open to rolling a wheelchair under as possible, an island in my kitchen with a section of countertop at 30" high that I can roll into, and a section of 36" high bar top so that my friends and family can hang out with me. I put a gas cooktop in a 32" high counter that I can roll under. My kitchen sink had to go into 36" high countertop because I couldn't find a dishwasher less than 34-1/2" high. It still works okay, but lower would have been better. There might be shorter dishwashers out there now - that might be worth looking for. I also built a desk into the kitchen that gets used quite a bit. My lower cabinets are all drawers, because it's difficult to reach into the back of shelves. My upper cabinets are about 16" above the countertops, so I can still easily reach the lower shelves.
It's a U shaped layout with 45 degree diagonal full round lazys in the corners. We're going to use a 32 1/2 high dishwasher and a drop-in range on 34" counters. (Can't juggle the separate oven/cook top setup.) Full access under the sink, almost all drawers and lower uppers, not sure how low yet - maybe 15" clearance. Have you seen any hardware that gives better access to uppers?