HPAC Magazine

Beyond aesthetics: Accessibility at the forefront

May 17, 2018 | By Jillian Morgan

Accessible home design fuels an evolution of the kitchen for homeowners and of installation practices for plumbing contractors.

Delta Faucet black stainless steel finish

From Delta Faucet Canada, the black stainless steel finish is warmer and less reflective than traditional stainless steel. It is available for the company’s Trinsic Pro collection.

Universal design, accessible design, inclusive design and aging in place – it is not just a trend.

A barrier-free home goes beyond aesthetics. It accounts for age, ability and the diversity of each person in a home.

In the kitchen, efficiency and convenience is key. Demand for aging-in-place design goes hand-in-hand with new, smart technologies that simplify everyday tasks. Still, style should not be compromised.

With inclusivity comes personalization, and the future kitchen will do away with minimalist colour schemes. Tried and true favourites – gold, black and copper – emerge to elevate these trends.

For plumbing contractors, advances in installation, a wave of new technology and the growth of universal design introduce new opportunities on the job.

Kohler prolific undermount sink

Kohler’s Prolific under-mount single-bowl kitchen sink aims to enable multi-tasking, limit the amount of movement and lessen an arm’s reach.

Blanco accessible design quatrus sinks

Blanco’s Quatrus U 1 Medium ADA/CSA undermount stainless steel sink aims to combine accessibility, function and style.

Universal design

watermark designs elan pot filler

From Watermark Designs, the Elan Vital collection can be customized for any height or depth. Pictured is the collection’s pot filler. “Faucet handles already should adhere to ADA standards and be compliant; it’s not a trend now – it’s commonplace,” says Avi Abel, president of Watermark Designs.

Aging in place design incorporates long-term design elements, says Edyta Drutis, director of marketing for Blanco Canada. She says universal design allows all individuals in a home to “truly engage with their built environment.”

Moen motion sense essie faucet

Moen kitchen faucets, including Motion- Sense, feature the company’s Duralock quick-connect system, which aims to make the replacement process more efficient. It is designed for one-way installation, intended to prevent a backward or incorrect connection.

Appliances and fixtures that maximize comfort and accessibility in the kitchen, and incorporate the latest technology, are key to inclusive design, although that technology is continuously evolving.

Less than five years ago, hands-free faucets were a budding trend with some kinks. Now, touchless operation is commonplace.

Products, such as Moen’s MotionSense Wave faucets and Pfister’s Stellen faucets with React technology, focus on convenience and ease for homeowners.

Kohler’s touchless and lever faucet handles aim to allow the user to maintain a neutral body position, use reasonable operating forces and minimize repetitive actions and sustained physical effort.

“The next big evolution is voice command,” says Donna Church, marketing and communications manager of Kohler Canada.

Installation trends

Danze food caliente faucet

From Danze, the Foodie Caliente pre-rinse kitchen faucet features a spring-action wand and red hose. Twisting the spray head will alternate between single steady water flow to spray. The line is available in chrome, stainless steel and satin black.

To sustain universal design principles, plumbing contractors will be essential.

“The role of plumbing both in the design and installation of accessible products is very important,” says George Koutsokostas, product manager at Blanco Canada.

Manufacturers must design accessible products in accordance with federal, provincial and municipal standards. Plumbers have the added responsibility of being knowledgeable in the installation of these products, says Koutsokostas.

For example, according to the CSA Standards for Accessible design, both hot water and drainpipes are required to be offset towards to rear of a kitchen sink and not around the clear space.

An evolution of standards related to accessible design takes into account ease of installation. Kohler Canada offers two types of faucet installation that aim to simplify the process.

Franke Absinthe faucets

Franke Absinthe faucets are offered in polished chrome, polished nickel, satin nickel and matte black finishes. The line includes tall kitchen sink models, prep and bar faucet and wall mount pot fillers. The faucets are CSA approved and include dual spray/steam flow and a 180 or 360 degree swivel range.

Quick Faucet Installation features pre-attached supply lines that are included in all kitchen faucets. The lines are retrofitted to existing plumbing and come with pre-assembled handles, valves, mounting rings and brackets. Versatile Faucet Installation is compatible with one to four-hole sinks.

Cookie-cutter kitchens

“Consumers are no longer satisfied with cookie-cutter designs, they want personalization in both style and functionality,” says Garry Scott, vice president of marketing and e-commerce at Moen Canada. “We’re also seeing that more consumers are open to experimenting with colour, whether it be mixing the colours of their cabinetry or fixtures.”

Stone forest copper farmhouse sinks

Stone Forest copper sinks are hand patinated. The foam filled interior aims to reduce reverberation and enables mounting options, including under-mount, flush mount, partially elevated and above counter. One side of the sink is hammered and the other has a smooth front apron.


American standard ada compliant arch faucet

The ADA compliant Arch kitchen faucet from American Standard features a brass body, swivel spout and colour matched hand spray. It has a spout height of 13-1⁄4 inches with 9-1⁄4 inch clearance. Available in polished chrome or stainless steel (PVD) finishes.

THG paris collection O

From THG Paris, Collection O showcases the brand’s PVD matte bronze finish.

In regards to fixtures, matte black continues to be a popular option, as it works with just about every style and colour palette, according to Scott. Gold is also becoming a popular choice with homeowners and designers – but it is not just versatility in colour on the rise.

“As more people ask for ‘chefs kitchens,’ the role of the faucet becomes much more about dual-functionality and performance,” says Avi Abel, president of Watermark Designs. “Pull-down sprays and side sprays are being requested more often.”

According to Drutis, the forefront kitchen design trends are based on versatility of design and quality products that stand the test of time.

“Canadians are not afraid of modern and contemporary spaces,” says Drutis. “We are seeing the most popular kitchen cabinetry tones now being greys, deep blues, white oak, walnut and, of course, the timeless white.”


Pfister Stellen faucets

Motion-sensor Stellen faucets with React technology from Pfister allow the user to pre-set temperature. SmartStop automatically turns the water off after three minutes. A handle-forward design aims to allow installation in tight spaces.



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