David’s House Ministries was founded in 1987 by Pastor Jay and Lois DeBoer, whose son was born with significant disabilities. Recognizing that there might come a day when they would no longer be able to care for their son, and recognizing that others in the community were likely facing similar challenges, they decided to create a group home where their son and others in similar situations could live independently while receiving the care and support they needed.
David’s House Ministries opened its first adult foster care home for 10 men with varying disabilities and a small handful of staff in Wyoming, Mich. It has since grown to encompass five homes with 52 residents and more than 70 staff members. The homes provide residents with opportunities to work jobs in the community, take college courses and visit new and exciting places. They also allow families to have peace of mind as they enter new stages of life.
The group homes are invaluable to the communities they serve, but like all homes, they need upkeep. So when one of the homes, built in the 1970s, needed a new kitchen, Todd Wilde of Ascent Fine Cabinetry reached out to REHAU to help with the project. Known as a highly durable surface that exudes the calming elements of nature, RAUVISIO terra soft, textured high pressure laminate (HPL) was a perfect fit for the project, and REHAU was delighted to donate the necessary product to allow for the much-needed kitchen update.
Inspired by the forest and part of the surface line’s Midday collection, RAUVISIO terra Harvest Walnut was selected for the kitchen doors and drawer fronts because “We wanted a REHAU laminated product in lieu of real wood for the durability factor,” Wilde says. With their authentic wood look and feel, the double-sided and seamless engineered wood cabinet doors weave the softness of the forest floor with the resilience of an ancient tree, adding a calming ambiance that meshes well with David’s House Ministries’ mission of providing homes that bring peace and joy to their residents.
Kristie Koning of Kristie Koning Design was called in to update and rework the kitchen design, with Dan Vos Construction serving as the contractor for the project. Koning notes that the primary goal was to make the space work better for the residents and staff, recognizing that the kitchen would need to be used by multiple people, some with limited mobility.
“We opened up the kitchen by removing the existing partial wall and doorway,” Koning explains. “This allows more people to use the kitchen at the same time. We also redesigned the kitchen to function more efficiently for the residents and caregivers by relocating the refrigerator, range and dishwashers for a better workflow.”
She says when she first visited the home to get a feel for the space, she noticed how important the interaction was between the residents and their caregivers. “So creating a space that allowed for more time in community together was really important to my vision for the design. Now, while someone is working at the range, there is a view of the dining area, which allows caregivers to engage with residents while preparing meals.”
The design is clean and simple – no glass or wire mesh – and Wilde feels this clean-lined look is well-suited for a hard-working kitchen. “The old space was very tight in general, which made it difficult to get residents in the kitchen in a wheelchair or walker. The new space is much more open and accessible,” Wilde says.
He points out that designing for a special needs population means special considerations must be taken. For instance, an LVT product that is specially designed to withstand the weight of wheelchairs was chosen for the flooring. “This prevents wheelchairs from leaving ‘crush marks’ or ‘trail marks,’ he notes.
But while functionality was at the top of the kitchen wish list, aesthetics weren’t forgotten either, with the rich walnut look and texture of the vertical grain making a stylish statement in the space. Wilde says, “We appreciate the realistic appearance of the Harvest Walnut. As custom cabinet makers, having a durable product that is also visually pleasing is very important to us.”
Koning adds, “I wanted the space to have depth and warmth, which is why we chose the Harvest Walnut color. We kept the counters and backsplash tile light to complement and contrast with the wood-look cabinets. I’m proud of this kitchen design; it elevates the home and will provide a timeless and functional space for years to come.”
The countertops are a durable, low-maintenance quartz that holds up to heavy-duty use, resisting heat, stains and scratching. As a non-porous material, it’s also hygienic, which is increasingly important in the wake of the pandemic. Wilde also commented on how well the REHAU product complements the beautiful countertops.
Wilde is excited to have been part of this important project, noting, “The caregivers who will be using this kitchen to help prepare meals for the residents at David’s House are truly special people. They have such compassionate hearts and really care for the residents. We are thrilled to be able to help them make a difference.”