Home Is Where the Kitchen Is

By former Hammer DSP Elspeth Lucas

Kitchen 3

The current kitchen at Merrimac

When I was growing up, I spent a fair amount of time in the kitchen- climbing the doorjambs, looking for the cookie jar, and repetitively asking my mother what she was making for dinner. In high school, my best friend’s family life revolved around the kitchen in their home. Cooking was done there, cleaning was done there, cat birthing was done there- but most importantly, communing was done there. It was in that kitchen that I learned to truly love and enjoy the company of others and what each person had to offer.

This hasn’t changed as I’ve grown older. It has even carried through to my professional life. Every Hammer home has a kitchen, some big and some small, some red and some white, but the common denominator is the communal meal that takes place once everyone has returned from their busy day. Cooking the family meal, preparing the dinner table and catching up on the day’s events has become a ritual in almost all of our home and apartment programs, a routine that everyone can participate in and enjoy.

Merrimac ladies

Currently, counters are not low enough and the cabinets are too high, but thus far the ladies have been able to adapt.

Unfortunately, that routine can be interrupted simply by the layout of the kitchen. When I had the pleasure of working at the Merrimac home in Plymouth with four fantastic ladies I grew to love and respect, that kitchen was designed for what I would call ‘slim giants.’ It was definitely not designed for the access and mobility of the women who call Merrimac home, and who experience a range of differing capabilities – from using wheelchairs to being vision-impaired. While not ideal, we made it work.


Over this past summer, two Hammer homes have been the subject of a $140,000 grant received from the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation. This grant was used to install an elevator at our Lakeside home in Minnetonka and now, we are getting the much-needed kitchen remodel at Merrimac.

The Lakeside elevator greatly improved safety and independence for the individuals served in this home in light of recent illness and aging. The Merrimac kitchen remodel will allow all the ladies to get in the kitchen at once to make healthy meals they can then sit down and enjoy together. I’m so thrilled to know they will now have a space they can make memories in, and one in which I can sit down to visit with them!

Kitchen 1

One last look at the entire kitchen/dining room before the welcomed and needed remodel!

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