With most of us spending more time at home during these tough pandemic days, I’m excited about a beautiful new design book full of tips to refresh living spaces and encourage us to live healthier.
“Wellness by Design: A Room-By-Room Guide to Optimizing Your Home for Health, Fitness, and Happiness,” by design expert Jamie Gold, brings together ideas and photos on how small changes in a home can improve how we feel. Not only is this book helpful, but it is a fresh take on one of my favorite types of books—home decorating and design.
Gold has studied connections between where we live and our total well-being and offers ideas—and terrific photo illustrations—in her book coming out Sept.1. She knows of what she writes and used her discoveries while losing nearly 100 pounds and developing a healthier lifestyle.
She said that most of the many TV shows, magazines, books and websites on home design are about how to make houses prettier, better for entertaining or more valuable real estate assets. Her approach helps with those things but adds a dimension. “I wanted to share how they can be a ‘secret weapon’ in that other huge area of interest to people – their health and fitness,” Gold said. “I really wanted to share tips that had helped me in my health and fitness journey.”
I’ve followed Gold’s career since we were Shreveport newspaper colleagues many years ago and have enjoyed watching her become an early developer in the field of wellness design. She is a Mayo Clinic certified wellness coach, a wellness design consultant, a certified kitchen designer and a certified aging in place specialist.
Developing her expertise
“It was a second career, but a first love,” she said. “I grew up with parents who really appreciated great architecture and design. So I have always sought to make wherever I live — from dorm rooms on — look and feel like ‘me.’ Along the way, I realized how important that is to being relaxed, happy and comfortable. I also discovered other details about life at home that help with health, fitness, accessibility, functionality and safety. These, with the comfort and joy factors, evolved into my ‘Five Facets of Wellness Design.’”
The heart of a healthy home during COVID-19
“I had no idea there would be a pandemic that would keep millions of us at home for months at a time, but long before it struck, I was writing about how your home could enhance your health,” Gold said. “I was looking at it in broad terms, from your living space’s access to nature to having nontoxic materials inside to making it low maintenance so you could spend more time enjoying your family and recreation time.”
The concept is exceedingly timely. “Many of its ideas, including those about creating healthier work from home spaces, fitness areas, relaxation areas and improving your indoor air quality can be especially helpful in keeping up your health and lowering your stress levels during this extremely difficult time,” she said.
Simple steps to make home cozy during pandemic
“Create a ‘comfort and joy’ space for yourself with elements that make you smile and relax,” Gold said. “These could be a favorite cozy throw, a vase of fresh flowers, a calming lavender candle. It could be an indoor or outdoor space where you live, but it should be somewhere that lets you decompress even if just for a few minutes at a time.
Add plants to your space. They can help improve your indoor air quality, especially important right now, and they create a welcoming, relaxing feel. Have one in your comfort space and your work from home area. Orient your work space to give you a view of nature if you can.”
Gold’s inspiration at home
Her living room is her favorite spot at home. “It’s filled with sentimental pieces, like family photos on the mantel and a rocking chair my dad restored,” she said. “It also has a vintage poster of Mt. Whitney, the highest peak in the lower 48 states that I summited a few years ago. That reminds me to ‘get off the couch’ and train for my planned 60th birthday trek up Kilimanjaro in December — pandemic gods allowing!”
Other books she’s written
“Not counting the lost rock n’ roll novel I wrote as a teenager,” Gold said, “my first book was ‘New Kitchen Ideas That Work.’ My second was the ‘New Bathroom Idea Book,’ which came out in 2017. Both were informed by my work as a kitchen and bath designer and include practical tips for creating or improving these important rooms.”
Ahead of the curve
“Many of the elements I included in the up-and-coming trends for those books, like smart home technology, multi-functional appliances and porcelain slab as a surfacing material are well established today,” Gold said.
For more on the author
See jamiegold.net for information on upcoming events and Gold’s work. She writes a “Gold Notes” blog and is a wellness design contributor to Forbes.com. (Take a look at those posts; they’re engaging and interesting and free online.)
“Wellness by Design,” published by Tiller Press, an imprint of Simon and Schuster, releases Sept. 1 and is available for pre-orders from your favorite bookseller. The hardback retails for $21.99, and the book is also available in digital and audio formats.
Get ready for virtual book fun tonight with Shreveport novelists
If you’re looking for something fun to do tonight—for free—join Julie Miller Pennell, Liz Talley and me for a “Ladies Night Author Chat” at 7 p.m. (Aug. 6), livestreamed via Zoom and hosted by Shreve Memorial Library. We’ll discuss how life in Shreveport has influenced our books, answer reader questions and have a great time visiting.
Pennell’s new novel, “Louisiana Lucky,” released this week. Talley’s newest novel is “The Wedding War.” I’ll be talking about my novels and nonfiction book, “Before and After: The Incredible Real-Life Stories of Orphans Who Survived the Tennessee Children’s Home Society.”
The event is free and open to the public. To register, visit bit.ly/LadiesNightChat.
Book columnist Judy Christie is the author of 17 books and co-authored “Before and After: The Incredible Real-Life Stories of Orphans Who Survived the Tennessee Children’s Home Society,” the nonfiction sequel to the bestselling novel “Before We Were Yours” by Lisa Wingate. For more info, see: www.judychristie.com. Follow her on Facebook at JudyChristie/Author.
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