Historically, many architects have experimented on their own homes, pushing boundaries, or testing new ideas that set the stage for their career. 20 years ago, my wife Nancy and I set out to design our loft accommodating our newborn son Bo. The 800sf space located within the Hotel des Artistes on Central Park West is where we incorporated the maximum natural daylight and ventilation possible. We added biophilia, designed dual-use spaces, and incorporated a home office, thereby integrating early “wellness practices.” This toolbox of healthy-home criteria soon developed into our signature design style.
The House & Garden Network – HGTV (an early forerunner to shelter programming) found the loft so compelling that they aired it prime-time on a Sunday morning. It received 12m+ views and was syndicated internationally, resulting in a call from Hong Kong, where an excited viewer explained that he just saw the segment on the ‘morning show’ and he wanted Nancy to tune-up his apartment in HK.
As I re-watch the video today, what surprises me the most, are all the human-centric points that we thought about before “wellness design” was even a term and more importantly, the relevance of these design tools today — Post-COVID. The all-important natural light and operable windows, which increase the number of air-exchanges, durable natural materials like teak wood and slate stone, which are easily cleanable antimicrobial surfaces, and the physical and psychological well-being of biophilia — the bamboo planter, connecting us with nature.
What really tickles me though, is our son Bo, just 1-1/2 years old in the video, is now a senior at SUNY – Buffalo. He is pre-med and ‘walking the wellness talk.’ He tells me, he remembers shaking the hell-out-of his bamboo forest and watching leaves fall to the floor, providing hours of laughter and enjoyment.
So check out the video and let us know which of these wellness tips you plan incorporating into your new healthy-home!