It has been a long process, but Jefferson Township residents Rosemarie Rossetti and Mark Leder finally are home.

It has been a long process, but Jefferson Township residents Rosemarie Rossetti and Mark Leder finally are home.

After more than 30 months of construction, the couple have moved into their residence at 6141 Clark State Road -- to a home that's also known as the Universal Design Living Laboratory.

The national demonstration home will help raise funds for spinal-cord injury research through tours tentatively planned for September. A grand-opening preview party hosted by Sleep Outfitters and the Junior League of Columbus that had been scheduled for later this month has been postponed, and no rescheduled date has been announced.

The mission of the UDLL is to bring about awareness of the quality of an indoor and outdoor lifestyle through universal design, green building, safety and healthy home construction practices to the public and to construction and design industries.

Leder and Rossetti previously built a home in Gahanna in 1995 that was supposed to be their last, but fate cast a new destiny three years later.

After celebrating their wedding anniversary with family on June 13, 1998, the couple decided to take a bike ride in Granville, where a tree suddenly fell, leaving her with a spinal-cord injury that confines her to a wheelchair.

"We started this quest and looked at homes around the region," Leder said. "We looked at access. Rather than retrofitting something, we decided to build new."

The Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired home is an approximately 3,500-square-foot ranch-style home on a 1.5-acre lot that had been a pasture.

With Rossetti's background as an educator at the Ohio State University (OSU) and his experience as a general contractor, the home has become a teaching tool to educate others about universal use, energy-efficient building methods and a healthy-home construction approach. It has the design principles of feng shui.

Rossetti said a revolution is occurring in home design to serve everyone for independence, maximum comfort and quality living.

"That's the main message -- the design of the house -- making the home energy efficient and a healthy environment," she said. "Sustainability is the one word that sums it up. The house is sustainable for multiple generations. It's designed to be socially sustainable."

Some of the universal design features include a step-free entrance, wide doors and hallways, varied kitchen counter heights, side-hinged microwave and oven doors at countertop height and open knee space under all sinks.

A few elements Rossetti calls wow factors include phantom retractable screens, controlled at the touch of a button, that enclose an outdoor patio and an appliance garage between his and her bathroom vanities for personal hygiene gadgets.

The home also features a combination clothes closet/laundry room with a custom countertop to fold clothes, an operable skylight and front-load washer and dryer.

"I have the upper closet, and she has the lower," Leder said. "It has been remarkable. I can find what I have."

Guests who tour the home will be welcomed at the grand front door that's made of fiberglass but has the appearance of oak. It features decorative glass that has clear circles at heights for Leder, who's 6 feet, 4 inches, for Rossetti, who's seated height is 4 feet, 2 inches, and for their cat, Boo, to see outside.

"We wanted to see people as they come in," Leder said.

Rossetti said the entire house is wonderful but that the kitchen is her favorite room.

"The kitchen gave me the most frustration before," Rossetti said.

High countertops had prevented her from turning on the garbage disposal and lights.

"Now I can do everything," she said. "Everything is at my level. Now I have full reach."

Leder said he knows every nut and bolt in the house, as he guided workers through the building's systems -- from the 1.8-kilowatt solar-panel system on the roof to the two furnaces in the basement.

He said materials with recyclable content were used in many areas of the home, including recycled rubber under the hardwood floors. The home also has energy-saving features, such as 90-percent LED lighting to ceiling fans.

"Green programs require fans," he said.

Several retractable hoses were installed throughout the residence and are part of a centralized vacuum system.

The living lab also features many pocket doors that slide with the soft touch of a finger. "We love them," Leder said. "We also have different styles of motion sensors. That was an important piece for us."

For Rossetti, total independence was the primary goal in creating the home's design.

"No one knows what will happen in the future," she said. "As we age, I'd rather stay here and age. We put thought into (the question): 'What if I can't get out of the wheelchair?'"

Leder said more and more baby boomers and others want to stay in their homes as they age, so people need to think about useful systems to assist them.

Although some might not be able to afford a home like the living lab, Leder said, people might find tools and systems within it that would be beneficial.

Several schools have been involved with hands-on experimental learning throughout the project, including Ohio State University, Hocking College and the Delaware Area Career Center. More than 183 companies also have participated, with some adjusting fees or donating goods and/or services.

"Some believed in the cause," Rossetti said.

She said assistance still is needed to lay pavers behind the home, where a 500-gallon rain exchange and 20-foot waterfall and stream were installed. Rain gardens also were incorporated outside the home to collect stormwater runoff.

The basement will feature a media room for training others about systems that are incorporated into the living lab.

The residence is Energy Star qualified, meaning it has met guidelines for energy efficiency set by the Environmental Protection Agency. Leder said he thinks the home could receive a silver rating from the U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) for Homes.

For more information, go online to