How one woman's tragic injury inspired a new home that can influence how we live

In the fall, the public was invited to enter the Universal Design Living Laboratory, otherwise known as the home of Dr. Rosemarie Rossetti and her husband, Mark Leder. Tours of the northeast Columbus home, which ran $10, benefited spinal cord injury research at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, a place with which Rossetti is all too familiar. In the fall, the public was invited to enter the , otherwise known as the home of Dr. Rosemarie Rossetti and her husband, Mark Leder. Tours of the northeast Columbus home, which ran $10, benefited spinal cord injury research at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, a place with which Rossetti is all too familiar.

"I had an accident on June 13, 1998," Rossetti says. While riding her bicycle in Granville, a tree fell, crushing Rosetti and leaving her paralyzed from the waist down. "I went to Grant Medical Center and rehabbed at Ohio State for the summer of 1998. And then I came home to a 2-story home with steps."

Upon returning home, Rossetti was too weak to move her wheelchair inside. Her beloved gardens, of course, were totally inaccessible. What was once her cozy abode was now a place filled with obstacles. It wasn't simply a case of "something's gotta give." Everything had to change.

Ten years ago, the couple hired an architect to design a home in which Rossetti could live independently. In doing so, they developed the gold standard for a home in which a person can age gracefully.

The new build was designed using the concept of universal design-developing homes, work spaces and public buildings to benefit a range of people. It is the highest-rated universal design home in North America. Bonus: It's an incredible example of eco-friendly design, too. "It just got its gold rating from the National Association of Homebuilders," Rossetti says. "This is the final rating process for LEED for homes."

The home was built primarily by Leder and general contractors, with financial support from more than 200 sponsors from around the world. Construction began in 2009 and, in May 2012, the pair moved in. The most significant design elements include a single-floor layout, 36-inch doorways and lowered countertops and cabinets in the kitchen. Outdoors, there are no steps. In the garden, Rossetti planted low-maintenance perennials. Easy access is the theme throughout.

As for "going green," the home is heated with two furnaces and uses a gas stove. The basement is insulated with Superior Walls, while Marvin Windows and Doors donated casement windows Rossetti can easily open and close.

"This house is so much more than just a home for people with disabilities," Rossetti says. "The fear people have is a loss of independence; this is the fear of the aging population. The next fear is a nursing home-consider the cost of caring for someone outside the home! This (style of home) could be a solution to a nation's problem."