Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 26, 2000
L'Arche home wins accessibility award
By ANH HOANG
WCR Staff Writer
What's 40 feet wide, has 5,000 square feet of living space and would probably keep its residents dry in case of a flood?
Why, it's Noah House of course. And it probably has more natural light and comforts of home than the ark did.
Noah's House, the newest L'Arche Association of Edmonton's home, was recently awarded the Mayor's Award for accessibility.
"If you walk through the house, you can see how really accessible it is to all our clients," said executive director Grant Kaminski. "There's lots of room for everyone to move around - if they're in a wheelchair or not."
The Bonnie Doon area home boasts 10 bedrooms, two baths upstairs, two on the main floor and another in the basement. All this enclosed in beige siding with teal trimmings.
"It was paramount that it fit within the community," said Bob Sevigny, a board member. "We knocked on doors of people in the neighbourhood and talked with them about it. We got in touch with them ahead of time. They were very cooperative."
Started in 1964 in France by Canadian Jean Vanier, L'Arche is an ecumenical Christian community where people with disabilities and those who assist them live, work and share their lives together. The local L'Arche community includes four homes in Edmonton and two in Sherwood Park.
L'Arche's homes coordinator, Linda Lobitz, decorated Noah House. Her bold taste in colour brought life into what could have been drab white walls. It's most apparent in her choice of colours for the upstairs bathrooms, one in a deep hunter green, the other a warm cranberry.
The main floor core of the home is a pastel mint green with an ivy theme inspired by the dining room chandelier. Lobitz coordinated the kitchenware in the same ivy motif.
"We wanted this home-style feel to it," she said. "We didn't want it to be like an institute."
Built in April 1999 by RCG Developments Inc., the home cost almost $280,000.
Most homes for disabled residents are often signified by a handicap ramp jutting from the front door. The ramp at Noah House blends in so smoothly with the landscaping that one could mistake it for the walkway leading up to the house.
There is also a prayer room upstairs with windows on the south and east walls providing floods of light. Windows are abundant throughout the house.
The home was also praised for its additional features that complemented the standard ones required for homes of this nature.
Special features of the home include a wood railing along the wider than usual hallway that blends into the decor. The garage is wheelchair accessible where a slightly raised platform on one side allows wheelchair bound residents to easily wheel themselves into the house.
A little more than a year old, the home is already considered a leader in design and L'Arche communities in other parts of Canada have requested the plans.
"We're sending the plans to our community in Sudbury," Kaminski said. "We're very proud of this house."