Older adults and people with physical limitations will get to see how design might provide independent and quality living during tours of the Universal Design Living Laboratory, 6141 Clark State Road, from noon to 6 p.m. daily through Sunday, Nov. 23.

Older adults and people with physical limitations will get to see how design might provide independent and quality living during tours of the Universal Design Living Laboratory, 6141 Clark State Road, from noon to 6 p.m. daily through Sunday, Nov. 23.

The self-guided audio public tours of the 3,500-square-foot ranch-style Jefferson Township home cost $10, with all proceeds benefiting spinal-cord-injury research at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

The living laboratory is the residence of Rosemarie Rossetti, Ph.D., an internationally known speaker and advocate for people with disabilities, and her husband, Mark Leder, the builder of the home.

The residence features universal design and was conceived and built after Rossetti was paralyzed from the waist down in 1998, when she was crushed by a large tree while riding a bicycle.

The couple worked together to rebuild their lives and build their new home with a focus on accessibility and sustainability.

Their goal with the open house is to showcase to the public, as well as to builders, architects and designers, how universal design and environment-friendly building are elements that could be included in all new homes and remodeling projects.

The tour highlights how people could live in a comfortable environment that would enhance their quality of life regardless of their circumstance, age or abilities.

"A spinal-cord injury left me paralyzed from the waist down," Rossetti said. "I came home from the hospital in a wheelchair and realized just how unaccommodating my two-story home was to me.

"My life change was sudden. For others, life changes more gradually," she said. "I learned how fully accessible home design can provide independence for people with disabilities, as well as those who would like to stay in their homes while they age."

Universal design features include a step-free entrance, wide doors and hallways, low door thresholds, curbless showers, varied kitchen-counter heights, side-hinged microwave and oven doors at countertop height and open knee space under all sinks.

The outdoor landscape, which is a certified wildlife habitat, features a four-level waterfall that serves as a rain-harvesting system, a wheelchair-accessible pathway to the upper-level patio and native plants.

During an Oct. 29 tour of the home, Blacklick resident Jill Sarina said she was looking for a home that's more accommodating for the wheelchair she has been in for seven years.

"What I'm in isn't feasible for a wheelchair," she said. "I like the kitchen of this home because I can get my knees underneath (areas). When I open my stove to put something in, I have to make sure my legs are covered so I don't burn myself."

Carol Hostetter, Rossetti's former family physician, is volunteering as a tour guide at the residence.

"People who have been on the tour have a need for this information," Hostetter said. "One lady's husband couldn't transfer (from a wheelchair). Most people have found it valuable and understand the limitations of living in a wheelchair."

The 68-year-old said the home provides features that would be helpful to her.

"Most people in wheelchairs have liked the kitchen," Hostetter said.

Another popular room is a combination clothes closet and laundry room with a custom countertop to fold clothes, an operable skylight and front-load washer and dryer.

Rossetti told ThisWeek the home's design makes it energy-efficient and provides a healthy environment.

"Sustainability is the one word that sums it up," she said. "The house is sustainable for multiple generations. It's designed to be socially sustainable."

For more information about the residence, go online to UDLL.com.