Monday, June 11, 2012

Design Tips: Building a Healthy Home

How healthy is your house? You work hard to try to eat right and keep yourself healthy, it may be time to consider your castle. At least, pieces of it. Need to repaint? Consider low-VOC paints or wall finishes instead of standard paints. Carpet? think about wool, rather than nylon. Simple decisions, made one at a time, will lower the toxicity of your home.

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article online, "The Low-Emissions Estate" by Candace Jackson on June 7, 2012. The focus of the article is a Minneapolis couple, Brad and Kristin Greer, who decided their moldy old 1950s house was not a healthy environment. Kristin Greer fought ovarian cancer shortly after the couple's engagement, and the two wanted a toxin-free space to occupy.

The Greers did a lot of research, and along with architect Jack Snow of the Vail, Colorado- based firm RKD Architects, created their dream. Apparently, as the Greers found new materials that satisfied their stringent requirements, the architects sometimes had to rework the design to accommodate.

The Greers' choices are generally "green" too, but healthy materials had priority over just recycled or reused. Often, the materials they chose are both, such as recycled content countertops and low-toxicity finishes over salvaged wood.

Some of the home's features are examples of the latest electronic wizardry, such as windows that are electronically controlled to admit sunlight in the winter or reduce it in the summer and a high-tech water purification system. Old technology shows up too, including cast iron pipes more typically seen in much older homes.

The result is a beautiful home with extremely low toxicity. The Greers believe this may reduce their exposure to carcinogens and other less than healthy problems such as mold. While they had a nice budget and could afford all these products all at once, many of their discoveries can inspire us, too, as we need to replace or repair the systems and finishes in our own homes, one at a time.

Check out the article online for more information, resources and product ideas!

Until next time!
--Elaine Bothe

Article references and image courtesy of The Wall Street Journal. Photo is by David Bowman.

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posted by Jennifer Adams Design Group Blog @ 12:01 AM 

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