I graduated with a Masters of Architecture in 2008 from the University of Adelaide and was registered as a licenced architect in 2010. I have been practicing in the field of architecture for over 10 years and in 2011, I relocated to NYC from Adelaide; at first working for a world class architect, and later; in 2016 starting my own Wellness Architecture firm Pip+Pencil.
It was that move to a new country, with a very fast paced yet sedentary, indoor and intense work environment - coupled with the different types of ingredients in foods that led me to look closer at what I was eating. In that search, I undertook and became a Certified Health Coach at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition as I was curious about exploring my passion for health and wellness and simply gaining a better understanding of ingredients in the food in America!
It was with all that training and background that I had my ah-ha moment during a cold, snowy New York winter. I realised that being indoors all the time was making me feel terrible (I was already quite sensitive to fragrance and chemical cleaners) and, as half the office was out sick, I realised as the air was recirculating, all it took to take down the entire staff was one sick person (because it spread so quickly through the HVAC systems). I was also always finding myself sleepy and unmotivated every day around 3pm as the indoor air quality took a dive and the fluorescent lighting started taking over as the day grew darker.
Backed with my newfound perspective of holistic wellbeing from my health coaching course, this was the moment I realised the importance of our indoor environments on our mental, physical and spiritual health. I did some searching online for healthy design, and / or wellness architects and found some small pockets of research or designers / building biologists and architects practicing sustainable or biophilic design, but it was still kind of seen as a niche ‘hippie’ area.
I decided (much like when you discover what harmful ingredients in your food do to your body) I couldn’t unlearn what I knew, and I was on a mission to create a healthy home environment for myself. Years (and a TON of research later) I created Pip+Pencil to save clients from that moment of helplessness that floods you when the shift to a non-toxic home seems overwhelming!