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House in the Estates of Chancellorsville was custom built to fit Sgt. John Peck.
LEFT: With the touch of a button or iPad, shelves slide down from the kitchen cabinets.
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American Heritage Homes co-owner Kristen Pruitt welcomed the opportunity to build the house, though it was unlike the luxury homes she's accustomed to building for her clients. She gave Spotsylvania code compliance officials credit for their cooperation and working through the learning curve that everyone shared.
"This house was built specifically for John," she said. "He has more of his left arm, so the faucets are to the left of the sink where he can reach them."
The kitchen looks like any nice, new kitchen, with granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. But consider the typical-looking contemporary-style, dark-finished kitchen cabinets. They have motorized shelves that are lowered from within the cabinets to reachable countertop height, activated either by a hard-wired switch or a tap on Peck's iPad. They retract out of sight with another touch.
Other kitchen features follow universal design methods in line with Americans With Disabilities Act guidelines, with roll-under sink, range and counter space, and an elevated dishwasher that's easy to load and unload.
Peck is aided by the prostheses for which he was fitted, but they're not comfortable enough to wear all the time.
"John's needs are so individual. The house is designed to meet those needs and help him live independently," said Pruitt. "The house needs to help him, and we needed to think through the day that way."
The house is built on a slab, and totally free of steps or other barriers. Hardwood flooring is used throughout, making it easier for Peck to move about in his chair.
The master suite, even more than the kitchen, is designed to serve him and his needs. It has a separate HVAC zone, Pruitt explained, because Peck lacks the surface area of arms and legs that help keep the body cool. So the indoor environment needs to be kept generally cool, especially for sleeping.
As a backup in the event of a power outage, a natural gas whole-house generator is ready to kick in.
Between the master bathroom and bedroom are a doorless roll-in closet and separate shelving area for easy access. This and other shelving were built after measuring and observing Peck's reach from his chair.
Here are the trade partners and vendors that worked with American Heritage Homes in building Sgt. John Peck's home: