ANOTHER LOST OPPORTUNITY FOR INTERIOR DESIGNERS…or is it?

Okay off of my legislation/regulation high horse for a moment….”whoaaa Nellie…somebody get me a step stool…”  Even PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER missed this trend when it first became public over a year ago.  Seems some entrepreneurial real estate developers are trying to weasel in our Health Safety and Welfare trifecta by creating residential real estate that literally improves your HEALTH subsequently improving one’s WELFARE.  If we assume the residences to be SAFE you have to admit that they have a runner on all three of our bases….and these are real estate people…..people.

So maybe I am jealous I did not think of this first…my hats off to the folks at Delos.  First published in the Daily Beast here;

http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/05/13/wellness-real-estate-for-the-green-1-percent.html

And then more widely publicized this past weekend in the New York Times here;

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/30/realestate/health-centric-homes-for-a-price.html?_r=0&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1372771662-R3dJ91MTLtIa9m7apiBTLg

Why don’t we own this? This is all about interior space right?

Yes there is a bit of hucksterism and elitist sales pitching going on here, fortunately aimed at the uber-rich, but you have to admire the concept.  Who would not want to live in a house that does not merely keep them healthy it actually improves their health.  Granted most of the elements of Delos’ “health-centric” residences have been around for a couple of years…if not more. Anti-microbial self-cleaning ceramics, HEPA/Ultra-Violet filtration systems, Bio-Rhythmic LED lighting, and my favorite walls and windows -that attenuate outside sounds (duh!), are all tools that have been available to us (thanks mostly to USGBC). However, Mr. Scialla and his partners were the first to package it and they have even trademarked the concept.  Not sure how that works but I am sure we’ll find out when another less ambitious developer or one of our interior design brethren decides to mimic the idea.

I do think ID educators and researchers have an opportunity here to fully investigate this new marketing approach to validate its effectiveness….it seems to ring true but what is the evidence and how can we help make the concept more affordable.  I won’t get into the whole socio-economic bias here but let’s face it…eating healthy is more expensive than eating junk food or non- “organic” vegetables…so maybe this living healthy is a similar paradigm….another research topic no doubt.

This reminds me of the ” trend du’  2006 “aging in place” in which the National Association of Home builders capitalized on the benefits of our tried and true “Universal Design” and packaged that knowledge and skill sets in appeal to the obvious demographic opportunity in a credential known as Certified Aging In Place Specialist or CAPS http://www.nahb.org/category.aspx?sectionID=686 .

Again we, as a professional domain should own this concept…nay many ASID’ers also claim the CAPS credential due to its marketing potential- kudos to the NAHB

So yes it is easy for me to pontificate to the drivers of this profession from the proverbial back seat but I have to say for creative problem solvers we sure miss some golden opportunities to advance the professional domain…and these opportunities don’t involve a bunch of political and legal drama.

It simply is what we do.  Fail to define what we do and others will do it for us.

Carry on.

It was pointed out that the Delos health centric homes may in fact be too clean. Our ability to fend off certain diseases depends on the health of our immune system. Rob it of its exercise and one might actually find themselves more prone to illness…..crazy huh?

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