signature design + studio
Health & Wellness Designer
Story by Carol Cisco | Sponsored Content
I N T E R I O R D E S I G N I S M O R E T H A N A E S T H E T I C S
In Carol’s world; the design of your home has a direct impact on your health & well being. And while aesthetics can impact how you sense your environment there are other elements impacting your happiness. It is often subtle without your knowledge or understanding. Often the trigger is then assigned to something else.
For example, your headache is often assigned to stress in your life and that might be the case. However, when Carol assesses your home and discovers you have florescent lighting, that changes everything. Unbeknownst to many, they flicker. Even when it cannot be visibly detected they are flickering at a rate you can not see. This has been proven by the medical profession as well as Nueroscientists for Design to cause headaches.
It is her research and application of these various design elements over her extensive career that has earned her our Health and Wellness Designer Star award in this issue. Additionally, last month her work was recognized by the American Society of Interior Designers at their national conference with the presentation of their Focus Award in the category of Health & Wellness Design.
The project featured here is what prompted this award. It is about a veteran who three days after his retirement found his wife was diagnosed with terminal cancer. It was several years after before Carol learned about this. He was on a downward spiral. He lost all hope and did not socialize. He became a hoarder; every room top to bottom.
Taking a holistic and therapeutic approach to the project she compassionately worked with the veteran to purge and organize his home. In doing so, black mold was discovered in the ventilation system. The air quality in his home was slowly killing him. Carol knew because of her training that air samples were needed to identify the extent of contamination. The laboratory results revealed a red alert condition needing immediate remediation.
To make matters worse, it meant that every particle in the house had to be reviewed, handled and either undergo remediation or purged. Due to the extreme cost both Carol and the veteran donned hazmat suits and remediated the entire home. She knew she had to be sensitive to the emotional strain this placed on the vet bringing up memories of his deceased wife.
Working seven days a week and six months later and six dumpsters, it was only then they could embark on foundation and electrical repairs, new paint and carpet throughout. Due to financial constraints any new furnishings were either from “antique stores”, or consignment – thrift shops.
By taking a holistic design approach to his surroundings, specifically and individually addressing the design impact on his health and wellbeing his life was completely changed. The veteran’s home is now beautifully designed within his means. He socializes and has regained his sense of worth. Recently, he picked up his trumpet, formed a Jazz Band for Seniors and is playing again.
And traveling to his favorite places. In summary, he is happy and enjoying life.
As Carol describes it, “This project is the essence of human-centered design. It is the epitome of just how interior design can impact the physical, emotional and mental health of any individual. It is health and wellness design at its “beating heart”.
M O R E A B O U T
Carol is an international and award winning designer recently relocated from Aspen, Colorado where she worked extensively designing high end luxury homes. She is the owner of Signature Design + Studio with offices in Lawrence, Kansas and Avon,Colorado. With over 30 years of professional experience she has designed most anything you can think of including hospitality, commercial and residential. She is a graduate of the Illinois Institute of Art Chicago with a BFA in Interior Design. And in the coming 2023-2024 year will be serving on the ASID Board for the West Missouri/Kansas Chapter as their president-elect.
Her current project is a book covering her research on the design elements that impact you, your home and life. Her book, Interior Design | Your Guide to Health & Wellness | A Therapeutic Approach to Interior Design | Bringing Joy to Your Home will be released early next year. It is Carol’s hope that this guide will be of use by everyone: the homeowner, student, teacher and other professional designers.
Carol Way Cisco
Allied ASID | LEED + WELL AP