The new kitchen at Harbor House of Louisville features a wheelchair accessible sink and shelves that pull out for easier access. | Photo courtesy of Harbor House

Harbor House of Louisville now has a new kitchen to host cooking classes and lunchtime for special needs citizens thanks to the Building Industry Charitable Foundation, the charitable arm of the Building Industry Association of Greater Louisville.

The foundation helped Harbor House remodel its existing kitchen, the results of which were debuted Friday at its property at 2231 Lower Hunters Trace. 

“They saw our kitchen, which was in dire need of repair,” Sarah McIntee, strategic partnership manager for Harbor House, said of the BICF. “It hadn’t been improved since we built the building in 2003. It wasn’t quite as accessible as we needed it to be for our participants in wheelchairs.”

Harbor House provides job and life-skills training for adults with physical and mental disabilities. The kitchen is a space where Harbor House provides cooking classes for participants. There is a raised-bed garden on the premises where participants grow vegetables in that they later to cook with, McIntee said.

The induction cook-top helps prevent burns. | Photo courtesy of Harbor House

The BICF was more than happy to do the job, said Martha Jones, staff liaison to the foundation.

“We use the talents and resources in our industry to help families and children with special needs in Louisville,” Jones said. “So obviously, it fit like a glove to our mission. We reached out to our board of directors and members, and literally, someone raised his hands immediately. Don Wirtzberger of Sierra Design and Construction said he would manage the project.”

The renovation took about a year of planning, Jones said. Harbor House worked to acquire grants, including one from the interdenominational Christian organization King’s Daughters and Sons. GE Appliances helped outfit the kitchen with new equipment, including an induction stove-top that helps prevent burns.

Carrie Morgeson, an occupational therapist with CapABLE Living, designed the space to be accessible to those who use wheelchairs, and Stansbury Electric did the electrical work, which was substantial, Jones said, because the space went from having two microwaves to six. Rev-a-Shelf provided pull-out kitchen shelves for easier access, and Closets by Design designed a pantry with better organization.

“A lot of community partners came together to make this project happen, and we are thrilled,” McIntee said. “The Harbor House participants are excited to use their kitchen. It is now completely ADA compliant. We are happy.”

An overview of the new kitchen at Harbor House of Louisville. | Photo courtesy of Harbor House

Jones said she hopes the BICF can do more for Harbor House in the future.

It’s a beautiful thing, really,” she said. “It allows them to have the ability to live independently one day and have skills in the kitchen and understand safety in the kitchen.”