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  • Emily’s Kitchen

    A Mother – Daughter Design

    Emily was excited to see her new kitchen for the first time when she came home for spring break from Adelphi University.  She is really enjoying being able to cook on her own. Her mother , Ellen says “our dream kitchen is finally a reality” !

    Both Emily and her mother have  limited mobility due to Larsen’s Syndrome, a rare congenital disorder that affects bones and joints.   Volunteer Architect, Mark Wittenberg and Vita Burdi of DJ’s Home Improvements,  designed a kitchen especially adapted to meet the abilities of  mother and daughter.

    Architect, Mark Wittenberg has designed a new “ mother – daughter “ kitchen for them.  It includes two prep areas one with a counters slightly lower than regular height with a open spaces under the sink and the cook top,  On the other side of the kitchen is a space for Emily.  It has countertop that is shallow ( 20”) and low ( 30”) .  It has a small sink with an single lever faucet.  A side by side refrigerator will allow Emily to reach the freezer.  Other details include: pull out drawers for pots, easy to reach outlets and light switches and an under counter  microwave.

    Emily’s space has a countertop that is low with open space to wheel-in underneath.  It has a small sink with an easy to use single lever faucet. The low profile induction cook top lets her slide pots on and off . The side by side refrigerator allows Emily to reach the freezer.  Other details include: pull out drawers for pots, easy to reach outlets and light switches.

    The construction went very smoothly and the Ladau’s say that Vita and Jerry Burdi of DJ’s construction “have been an absolute pleasure to work with”. A special thanks to the following for the generous discounts and timely help with this project; Appliance World, All Island Countertop Fabrication, Consumers Kitchens and Baths, and JP Painting.


    emily reaching for refrigerator









    Emily’s mother, Ellen, is 49 and has the same disorder and she too has had many surgical procedures.   She uses a walker or power wheelchair depending on whether she is wearing her leg brace or the distances needed to be traveled.  Ellen, her husband Marc, and Emily have lived in a two bedroom 1950’s ranch style house on Long Island since 1996.   Over the years they added a ramp and an accessible bathroom, with the generous help of their family. As these “BEFORE” photos show, the  old original kitchen was a source of daily frustration for them. Many high and low areas could not be accessed. Carrying pots and pans to and  from the stove was difficult because their hands are either on walker handles or their wheelchairs. Many kitchen  tasks just had to be postponed until Marc was home from work. Since Emily is quite  petite she could not reach the sink or countertop and can not prepare even the simplest of meals for herself.

    Volunteer Architect Mark Wittenberg and the Ladau family


    The Ladau family is thrilled with the design and Emily says ” I can’t wait to cook my own full course meal.”  And Ellen is looking forward to more independence in her kitchen and teaching her daughter the skills she will need to live a more independent life. “We are so grateful to have found Home Free Home and know that with their guidance we will finally get a functional kitchen.”