Home After Your Move Wellness By Design with Jamie Gold

Wellness By Design with Jamie Gold

by Ali Wenzke

I had the great pleasure of interviewing Jamie Gold, author of Wellness by Design: A Room-by-Room Guide to Optimizing Your Health, Fitness, and Happiness.  To watch the full interview or to listen while you set up your home for optimal happiness, watch here.  Jamie Gold is a Wellness Design Consultant, Certified Kitchen Designer, a Certified Aging in Place Specialist, and a Mayo Clinic Certified Wellness Coach. She is also the author of The New Bathroom Idea Book and New Kitchen Ideas That Work.

Q: What is wellness design?

A: Wellness Design is the practice of creating spaces that support the physical and emotional well-being of its occupants. There are 5 facets of wellness design:

(1) health and fitness

(2) safety and security

(3) accessibility

(4) functionality

and everyone’s favorite (5) comfort and joy.

Photo credit: Wellness by Design, (Tiller Press), Jamie Gold // Blanco

Q: What is a space we often overlook in our homes?

A: The space that people overlook the most is the one we enter our homes through the most, and that’s our garage. For suburbanites like myself, you are driving into your garage more than you are walking through your front door. You might be greeting guests when you have company through that front door, but every day, maybe multiple times a day, you are coming in through the garage.

I bet a lot of people have garages that they are not all that happy to go through. Sometimes they aren’t even necessarily safe places to come through, because it tends to be the spot where everything clumps into. Things you can’t fit in your house, but you don’t want to get rid of, end up in the garage. It’s cold and it’s gray and it’s unpleasant, and that’s the first spot that greets you when you come home. The garage is an overlooked spot that can definitely be improved upon.

So much potential in your garage

Photo credit: Wellness by Design, (Tiller Press), Jamie Gold

Q: How can we improve our garage through wellness design?

A: What I have done in my own home is I posted a cute welcome sign that I love. I spotted it somewhere and said, “I have to have that.” So, it’s right on my front wall when I drive in. I also hung up my medal rack from my races, so that greets me, too, when I come home. When I see the medals I think, “I ran all those races. That’s pretty cool.” Those are my little elements of comfort and joy.

In terms of safety, a lot of household chemicals end up getting stored there. Whether it’s old paint or things you use to clean periodically, make sure that they are stored safely. You don’t want the chemicals going out into your garage.

Look at organizers. I put in three sets of shelving in my garage, and they are organized by section.  So, it’s easy for me to find things. These items are not falling out onto my foot when I open the car door too aggressively. You want to make sure there are clear walk paths from your car to your garage entry. You want to make sure any chemicals are safely stored.

Make it a welcoming place. I have neighbors who are using their garages for fitness right now. You want it to feel private and comfortable as well. If you are going to be doing high-impact workouts, put cushioning on the floor so you aren’t doing high-impact workouts on the concrete floor. There is a lot of potential in your garage.

Headshot photo credit: Brent Haywood Photography

Q: What can we do to change our kitchen space to maximize our happiness over the holidays?

A: The first thing is you should not plan to start a complete kitchen renovation. What you can do that is the simple, most effective thing is to declutter the kitchen. Take a critical eye and say, “This does not need to be in here. I don’t use this for my cooking. It can move to another part of my home.”

If you have things that you use sometimes in the kitchen, look at storing them in spots you don’t need to access like the cabinet above the fridge that is hard to get into. That’s a good spot for things you only need every once in a while. You want your work zones to be as clutter-free as you can. The first thing is to clear out things that you are not using, and donate anything you have extras of.

Once you declutter, you can think in terms of how you use the space. I call that zoning. Your kitchen has 3 primary zones: There is the prep cleaning zone, food storage zone (that is your pantry or your fridge) and your cooking zone. Place items that need to be in or near those zones in the proper zone. Your zones you can also be enhanced with organizers. The easier it is to find what you want, the less time, the less stress, and the fewer germs you will be spreading among family members who are also grabbing things they need.

The last tip is that if you are spending a lot of time in the kitchen and you have tile floors, put down an anti-fatigue mat. It will cushion your joints for all that standing. Find one that is the largest that will fit in your space, so you get the most coverage. You will love standing on it.

An anti-fatigue mat will make you feel good

Photo credit: Wellness by Design, (Tiller Press), Jamie Gold

Q: How can we improve our workspaces to maximize our health and happiness?

A: If you will be working indefinitely from home, you really want an ergonomic desk chair. That can be a sizeable investment. You can get a desk chair that has been refurbished with great performance and a bit more savings. But, you want to buy something that will fit your body correctly.

If working from home will be a more temporary situation, look at adding some cushions for your back. I also like desk risers that will bring your computer to the most ergonomic level. You can use desk risers at a kitchen countertop, at a table, or at a desk. Desk risers also give you the opportunity to stand, which is way better than sitting for hours.

Desk risers can improve your health

Photo credit: Wellness by Design, (Tiller Press), Jamie Gold

Thank you for your helpful advice, Jamie. Where can readers find you?

Thank you for having me, Ali. Readers can find me at JamieGold.net, and my book is available wherever books are sold.

This interview has been abbreviated. To watch the full interview, check it out here.

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