Renovation Secrets

Catching up

February 07, 2021 Natalia Season 1 Episode 5
Renovation Secrets
Catching up
Show Notes Transcript

After a crazy busy fall I finally got episode 5 recorded.
Huge apologies for the delay. In this episode, we talk about CEDIA, the first-ever LivABLE Environment Conference, new NKBA certification, taking online classes, and the power of sleep!!
And we finally found our music! You can hear more of the artist Brad Hill or here
Our email address :
And the link for the the LivABLE Environment Conference here:

Episode 5


Welcome to the Renovation Secrets episode #5. I apologize for the long gap since our last episode. There has been a lot of things going on, and many challenges to face as we maneuver through this global pandemic! 

I am your host Natalia Pierce and I am so glad to be back into your listening space!

Music – 

I am so excited we have finally found the right intro music! It’s a little bit of an unconventional story of how we came across this amazing sound! I want to share this experience because if you are an artist you can totally appreciate the challenges you face to build an audience. I am a huge follower of Gary V (or if you are not familiar Gary Vaynerchuk) if you don’t follow him and are in business he is a must! Anyway, Gary created an IG post that encouraged everyone to reach out, share who you are, what you do, where you’re from. Then spend some time connecting with others who also commented on the post. It was here that I found Brad Hill of Hill music. Over several days we chatted through Instagram, he sent links and clips of a bunch of his work and after figuring out the sound I was looking for he sent me 3 clips that were more in the style of what I was looking and from there we found the piece you just heard! Super exciting as it has been a long journey to find the right music! I hope you like it, but honestly unless you can submit something better, my search is over!

The last several months have been so full of activity, including new certifications, many projects, new learning and growing opportunities. 

The fall began with working many many hours to put together all the drawings and documents for an upgrade on my NKBA certification!! Super excited to receive my results, which should be any second now!! 

With so many conferences and trade shows shifting into a virtual platform the experience has been a little different. CEDIA was the first all virtual conference to take place in September. It was a little more of a challenge to feel connected and participate in the various workshops. Exploring the vendors just didn’t seem the same.

The next major event was being part of the first ever LivABLE Environment Conference that went live in October last year. This was a completely virtual event and yet it felt so interactive, almost more so then in-person conferences! What was one of the most impactful elements of the conference was the collection of so many like-minded people in one place. 

I started my journey of discovery in the fall of 2019 after attending my first CEDIA conference in Denver Colorado. For those of you not familiar with the acronym CEDIA it stands for Custom Electronics Design and Installation Association. The whole experience was so mind blowing and was the introduction to terms like biophilia, circadian rhythm, and the connection between design and neuroscience. I felt the holistic elements of my designs now had a definition, deeper purpose and scientific validation. For me the Livable conference was a further extension to this learning path. Seeing how other sectors and countries are embracing the value and importance of adding wellness into the built environment is not just a passing fancy but a necessity to improving our health. 

Shocking statistics are coming out that the air we breath in our homes is often 2-5X more toxic than the air outside!! How is that possible?? But some of the things that influence our air quality are proper ventilation in damp areas, maintaining furnaces, fireplaces, and other fuel burning appliances. Managing moisture is another big influencer. Mold and mildew have extremely harmful health implications and are the primary cause of sick building syndrome. The products we use in our homes also have significant influence, cleaning products [ shower cleaning spray] , painting and storage of paints and solvents, new materials [unwrapping a product and experiencing the overwhelming odor], textiles and furniture, many of which give off VOC’s or (volatile organic compounds) that we breath. Even a car idling in an attached garage can cause harmful benzene levels to become elevated to unhealthy levels in the home. There are many influencing factors that we need to be aware of.

One resource I found (came out of a webinar I attended through UCLA, I think) offers a free analysis of your homes health is HAYWORDSCORE DOT COM, The website will take you through a series of simple questions to assess the health of your home. Bill Hayward is the creator and founder of Hayward Score after a very personal experience with Sick Building Syndrome. His personal story is very compelling. But I digress…

During one of the LivAVBLE conference sessions, I was honored to be moderating, the presenter shared an astounding piece of information: THE design and construction industry has MORE impact on your health and well being then the entire medical community!  Let me repeat that: THE design and construction industry has MORE impact on your health and well being then the entire medical community!  This statement really resonated with me. It also gave me more fuel and motivation to keep trudging through the endless research for my Wellness in Design book and continue studying for the WELL AP certification… 

As I designer I feel an incredible responsibility when my clients look to me for design improvements to their home. It is my responsibility to have the hard conversation with the electrician who is set in his lighting choices to install fixtures that don’t provide optimal lighting quality, to ensure that the cabinet manufacturers I am working with are using low VOC products and are recycling off cut material in the responsible manner and more. If I am not advocating for my client am I really doing the best I can? If members of the renovation industry don’t shoulder the responsibility no one will. This is why major programs initially created for commercial spaces, like LEED, have developed and modified their criteria to suit the residential environment. The International WELL Building Institute is also in the process of developing a residential track too and same for the Rick Hansen Accessibility Foundation... Healthy spaces are no longer designated to commercial buildings and as we have spent a great deal more time at home in this past year it is time we take a deep look into how to make our HOMES healthier too.

My research has uncovered a few different programs o where new homes are designed and built to include better accessibility, but I think we need to take it even further. These programs are only focusing on the aspects of Universal Design and are missing vital design elements of improved lighting, better air and water quality.

Its long overdue for the construction industry to take the lead in this expansions by diving in deeper into knowing products and suppliers that provide and support elements of wellness, keeping up to date with advancements in technology and learning about new installation methods that are better for the environment, the people that install and our homeowners that use the finished space. All of these parts matter, never mind the impact our industry has on the environment, but that is a whole separate episode.

The conference left me feeling more connected to my wellness mission than ever. Sometimes its tough breaking into new territory. To be honest its not my clients that are asking for things to make their homes healthier. I don’t feel people want to think that their homes are unhealthy or a contributing factor to their wellness. Truth be told, often our homes are a major factor in our health. And I will dive into this more in coming episodes.

As I mentioned I have been doing a lot of learning and studying. And sometimes I get tired of the text book stuff (the WELL AP exam is a lot of material) so Over the holidays I invested in Masterclass which is an online collection of presentations by experts in their field. My first class was The Science of Better Sleep by Matthew Walker. We all know that sleep is important but do you really understand HOW important it truly is?? I was shocked to learn about the vital chemical processes that our bodies and brain undergo during sleep have significant impact on our health, wellbeing, cognitive function, emotional health. Without these critical functions we open ourselves up to increased risk of illness, lack of memory retention, higher risk of getting certain cancers and even Alzheimer’s!! The power of sleep is quite seriously a cure for almost everything. But don’t take my word for it, Matthew Walkers book: Why we sleep is available anywhere you buy your books and even in an audio version. Or you can always sign up for your own Masterclass membership and check out this incredibly informative narration and the many others. Sometimes it beats sitting on the couch watching Netflix. Its not like we can go out and do things (or at least not if you live in Ontario as we are into week 6 or 7 of lock down 2.0) Whether you want to dig in deeper or not know the one primary piece of information from Walkers class was this: absolutely no one can thrive on less than 7-9 hours A night of sleep. PERIOD. Not my words. But he offers an extremely compelling argument with significant evidence and research to prove his statement. Definitely a powerful experience where I felt I learned so much and will never take my sleep for granted!! Sleep is truly sacred!

I am so glad you joined us today, and I promise to not wait so long for the next episode. I am already thinking about topics for the next episode. With a completely virtual Kitchen and Bath Industry show  right around the corner there will all sorts of new products, discussions and workshops that come from the show I am certain there will a whole bag of new things to share. There is a reason why I try to never miss a show as there is ALWAYS one big ah ha moment, or connection. 

If you have a question or topic you would like us discuss on a future episode please leave a comment or sent us an email.

I am your host Natalia Pierce and this is Renovation Secrets Podcast. If you would like to reach out you can find us on Facebook at Renovation Secrets or Detail by design Ottawa, on Instagram at Detail by Design 15, Twitter and Pinterest at Detail by design and even on Houzz. As always send me an email to get your free copy of our Inside Renovations e-book. – MUSIC- 

Until next time!