How to Design a Healthy Home for the Mind + Body

A well-designed space should be beneficial to your health and wellness and make a positive impact on your life. Adam Gibson, principal of Adam Gibson Design, located at the Indiana Design Center, speaks across the country about how to design a healthy home. Gibson suggests the following design tips to help improve your overall well-being.

Healthy Home Tip #1: Bring Nature Inside

Being outdoors offers a sense of reprieve from our everyday, technologically over-connected lives, so using natural elements in your home helps achieve a calming design scheme. Accessorizing with greenery like a succulent garden or using materials from the earth, like natural stone or a grasscloth wallcovering, will heighten your connection to the outdoors.

healthy home adam gibson

An orchid lends a tranquil feel to this spa-like bathroom. From the portfolio of Adam Gibson Design.

Healthy Home Tip #2: Improve Indoor Air Quality

The industry term “off-gassing” is used to describe the release of chemicals known as VOCs (volatile organic compounds) by household products and is linked to serious health concerns. To reduce your exposure to VOCs and improve indoor air quality, always choose paint that qualifies as zero-VOC and be mindful of flooring selections, because carpet and hardwoods produce the most VOCs in the home. In the construction or remodeling phase of design, you can add air filter systems to provide cleaner “makeup air” which pulls air in your home from outside when using an exhaust fan, rather than pulling it from an attic or crawl space. When in doubt, ask a professional to guide you in making safer product and design selections.

healthy home adam gibson

Make careful product selections with zero or low VOC emissions to promote a healthy home environment. From the portfolio of Adam Gibson Design.

Healthy Home Tip #3: Embrace Natural Light

Nearly 50 percent of people in the U.S. are vitamin D deficient, which can trigger low serotonin levels related to depression and anxiety. Just as athletes achieve the “runners high” that results from serotonin released through exercise, serotonin levels can increase with exposure to natural sunlight. Consider window treatments such as sheers or adjustable shades that allow privacy but do not completely block sunlight. Well-appointed skylights, whether conventional or tubular, are also great options, and the infusion of natural light will cut down on your electricity bill.

Want to learn more? Contact Gibson with questions and visit the Indiana Design Center showrooms to see the products and resources that can help you to achieve a healthy home. The Indiana Design Center is located at 200 S. Rangeline Road in Carmel ( and Adam Gibson Design can be reached at [email protected] (

healthy home adam gibson

Allow natural light to infuse your living space for exposure to vitamin D. From the portfolio of Adam Gibson Design.

Ths article was originally written for Indianapolis’ Active Life Magazine.

About Adam Gibson Design: Warmth, Simplicity & Clarity in Design

Adam GibsonAdam Gibson is a design professional specializing in luxury home additions, kitchens and bathrooms, entertainments spaces, and commercial suites. Known for an infusion of clean lines, natural light, warmth, and efficient use of space, Adam brings an outside-the-box imagination, an ear attuned to his clients’ needs, eco-friendly technologies and the desire to create a healthy indoor environment to each of his designs.

Comprehensive construction documents along with color renderings, contractor-client liaison and construction management are all services available to clients. Adam is a Certified Master Kitchen and Bath Designer as designated by the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA).

“Mod Abode” Blogger Designs Rooms with Personality in Drapery Street

Modern style maven, Jamie Sangar, is the creator of Mod Abode, an online design haven curated by Jamie’s discerning eye for design. In this blog series, Jamie visits the IDC showrooms to photograph and tell us what inspires her and why.

A recent visit to Drapery Street in the Indiana Design Center, had me feeling like a kid in a candy store; staring at all the choices and putting my senses to the test, realizing I could never choose just one. There were so many textures, so many colors, so many styles. Ranging in products from wallpaper to textiles and varying trims, your design options are literally endless with the immense selection.

A bird’s-eye view of my room schemes designed at Drapery Street.

What I decided to do once I saw all of the choices available to me, was to really put my imagination to the test by coming up with a make-believe room in a home, one-by-one, and giving it a personality before picking out pieces and pairings that helped define that personality. Talk about tough choices–I was a little confused where to start.

For me, the easiest thing to do is to pick out a favorite piece for a room–a focal point, if you will, that functions as my inspiration for the room that I’m designing. Then based on that focal point or statement piece, add some flare with textures and contrasting patterns and colors.

Take a peek at the rooms I created below by giving each one its own personality.

Kitchen: “Saucy”

Please excuse my sense of humor for calling my make-believe kitchen “saucy!” What I mean by that is I wanted my kitchen to have a soft side to it, but at the same time have a bit of an attitude. This bold floral pattern (below) immediately caught my eye with its gorgeous color palette and graphics. Its sure to be the emphasis of any room that it’s placed in. And while I love the delicacy and the soft lines of the flowers, the tomboy in me added this bold bronze studded trim. And then to add a little dimension, I paired these two pieces with this white sheer that offers a lot of movement with the tiny cuts of fabric.

Kravet and Schumacher textiles from Drapery Street.

Kravet and Schumacher textiles from Drapery Street.

Tiny cuts of fabric add movement and soft detail to the space.

Master Bedroom: “Give and Take”

A good relationship is all about give and take, right? I gave my master bedroom this persona since this space in the home is equally shared by a couple. I wanted it to have both feminine and masculine attributes to it, as to not make one side feel uncomfortable in the room that should feel like a relaxing oasis. I was struck by the floral wallpaper, but what I specifically loved about it was the use of both feminine and masculine colors. It was the perfect focal point to set an even playing field. And then to pull in the hints of “his” side of the equation, I loved this deep, rich leather swatch paired with the grey suit pattern. And since I didn’t want “his” influence in the master bedroom to “one-up” mine, I added in a second slightly feminine touch with this beautiful fabric that adds some shimmer and sparkle to the room when it catches the light just right.

fabrics drapery street masculine

Grey and leather fabrics add a sense of masculinity to this master retreat.

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The bold floral print wallcovering presents a feminine side to the design scheme.

Living Room: “Softer Side”

Southwestern textiles are smokin’ hot! So naturally, it was the first thing I grabbed when I was imagining what would set the tone for my living room. In my opinion, living rooms are meant for snuggling, and what better way to find that comfort than with this grey southwestern fleece. And since I like to add little surprises when pairing pieces together, I thought these crystal trim pieces were a little unexpected, but at the same time, a beautiful contrast to the bold grey and hard lines of the geometric pattern in the fleece. Topped off with a warm, shimmery fabric and a beige burlap to add some warmth, this room has me ready to sit down and kick-up my feet.

drapery street fabrics southwestern glamor

Cozy Southwestern vibes contrast with soft glamor in this living room.

Unexpected crystal trim adds some sparkle to the decor.

Little Girl’s Bedroom: “Big Imagination”

This was the easiest room for me to dream-up! Perhaps that’s because I’ve always been a sucker for decorating with black and white and pops of color. This black and white bunny textile is the perfect amount of whimsy for a little girl’s room. The abstract nature of the bunny illustration allows any little girl’s mind to run wild. And while the rebel in me wanted to find something other than the cliche color “pink” for a girl’s room, I couldn’t help but fall in love with the grey, white and bright pink wall paper. The icing on the cake was finding two different trim pieces, varying in size and shape to put the final bedazzle on the room.

This edgey and bold little girl’s room finds a hint of whimsy with the Hunt Slonem “Bunnies” wallcovering for GroundWorks.

Home Office: “Confidence”

Lets face it…I work from home, and my husband has an “office job,” so that means I get to put a girly touch on this space. No one starts his or her own business being timid, so this room had to be designed with some confidence. I couldn’t think of a better, bolder option, than this poppy flower pattern. To me, this looks more like artwork than just a fabric. Not being shy, I wanted to add two more black and white patterns, drastically fluctuating in size to show my level of confidence. Since they are all two-dimensional though, I thought the braided black trim paired with a beaded trim and a polka dot accent gave the room the depth it needed.

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An office designed with confidence in mind.

Guest Bedroom: “In-Law Approved”

Since the guest bedroom isn’t used all that much, and the ones most likely to use that space in the home are the in-laws, I decided to come up with a slightly different palette that was a little on the “safer” side, just to keep the mother-in-law happy (ha!). I needed it to still show little signs of quirkiness though so that it flowed with the rest of my home. Blue seems like a safe color to me, so I actually pulled two different room options together below. The first blue option keeps with the floral theme that is sprinkled elsewhere throughout the home, while the second one gave me a more nautical feel. What I loved about the neutrality of all the “secondary” accent pieces that I chose for both options, was that if I ever felt like blue just wasn’t my thing anymore, I could easily swap that pattern out and introduce a new statement piece.

drapery street fabric

Blue florals are welcoming and also relate to other rooms in the home.

drapery street fabric trims nautical

Nautical themes always provide a sense of retreat perfect for a guest room.

Goodness! I don’t mean to be so long-winded, but that’s just how amazing Drapery Street is. The team there does and amazing job at listening to your style preferences, and then coming up with a master plan for you and your home. Or if you are in the mood for a little play time like I displayed above, pay them a visit and start putting personalities and touches on your rooms.

About Mod Abode by Jamie Sangar:

Mod Abode was started out of a passion for three things; photography, architecture and design. A photographer by trade, I figured, what the heck–why 
not combine all of my passions into one. Thus, Mod Abode was born! For as long as I can remember, I have loved design. I’ve always been particularly drawn to modern design. It has always been a favorite pastime to pick up the latest issue of Dwell Magazine and gawk over the stunning modern architecture and clean, minimalist interiors. And every store catalog I receive in the mail containing simple yet bold interior accessories, has a rather long shelf life in my home, because I love to study the featured rooms photographed so beautifully inside the issue. Since starting my photography business in 2006, I’ve had many opportunities to photograph our travels, our home, and lots and lots of happy moments in peoples’ lives. After being a general contractor on the build of our own modern home here in Indianapolis, Indiana, I gained an even stronger appreciation of modern craftsmanship and functional homes built with form in mind. So here you have it, Mod Abode is a broad range of things that interest me, related to modern homes, for modern enthusiasts. 

Turn Your Outdoor Space Into an Oasis

Randy Sorrell, owner of Surroundings by Natureworks+ inspired attendees at the March Designer On Call workshop on how to design and execute an outdoor living oasis – outlining steps to visualize the plan, along with best outdoor materials and prominent design trends to get the space you desire.

Randy Sorrell, Surroundings by Natureworks+ located in the Indiana Design Center, suite 120-A.

Randy’s 5 steps to creating your ideal outdoor design:

  1. Pick Your Partner – In selecting an outdoor designer, the most important things are to set expectations early and communicate often with the team.
  2. Express Your Story – What is most important to you? How do you live? Do you have kids and want to hang out with them? It is important to express these things initially, as it drives the design of the entire space.
  3. Identify The Realities – Every person’s home and needs are different, therefore subject to unique challenges. Budget is one such consideration, but other real hurdles can be controlling the bug situation, knowing what plants would aggravate allergies, etc. Other things to consider, especially on a house by house basis: drainage issues, architectural style, easements, easy access to installation and transitions from indoor to outdoor spaces.
  4. Develop The Design – Once all of the necessary and sometimes logistical practicalities are conceptualized, one must actually make the design for the space, whether that be with pencil and paper, with a CAD program, or 3D renderings.
  5. Installing, Detailing, Enjoying – After the plans are set, then the installation can begin. Once the hardscape is put in, then the details can be added, like furnishings and other outdoor accessories. With all of the extras added, you can really enjoy comfort in your outdoor area.

BEFORE: Every space is different and can present unique design challenges.

surroundings by natureworks outdoor living

AFTER: Re-imagining your own backyard can be difficult to conceive. Working with a professional outdoor designer can cleverly blend your ideas with your desired functionality (from the design portfolio of Surroundings by Natureworks+).

When considering an outdoor space, materials are key, as they can make or break the space itself. If the materials don’t fit the needs of the family or the space, or if they aren’t durable enough for the purpose, then you won’t be able to fully enjoy the area. Randy shared some of his favorite go-to materials:

  • Limestone – the most frequently-used stone by national monuments. It is easy to use, timeless and readily available.
  • Travertine – a dense stone that is also very popular. It is a good choice for pool decks, as it does not get slippery when wet.
  • AZEK decking – a newcomer to the polymer decking market. It performs better and lasts longer than other, older composite materials. It is also a beautiful product; it looks like real wood.
  • Ipe wood decking – (pronounced EE-pay) is an exotic hardwood that is naturally resistant to rot and decay, is 8 times harder than California Redwood, and is guaranteed for 20 years without preservatives.

Flagstone, pavers and travertine patio combine seamlessly in this custom grill station to provide a long-lasting and quality space to enjoy for years to come (from the design portfolio of Surroundings by Natureworks+).

Also trending at the moment alongside limestone patios are fire features and mixing of materials.  Pergolas are still very popular among homeowners. Almost every outdoor area can benefit from a pergola, which is a trending detail, and a very functional one as it offers semi-permanent shade to the area.

Pergolas come in all shapes and sizes. Everything from a do-it-yourself kit to a fully custom design. This custom pergola by Surroundings by Natureworks+  incorporates the home’s classic Italianate architecture while enhancing the transition from indoor to outdoor space beautifully.

Mixed materials in patios is another trend that has gained favor recently. Rock mixed with pavers lends visual and textural interest to the design lending itself to an Asian-inspired or Zen feeling space.

Custom firepit and mixed rock media patio from the design portfolio of Surroundings by Natureworks+.

Surroundings by Natureworks

Dreaming of re-creating your outdoor space into an oasis? Turn to the pros at Surroundings. Open Monday – Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and by appointment, Indiana Design Center, suite 120-A.

NEW @ THE IDC: Mitsch Design Expands Studio

Highlights include furniture showroom and virtual reality design studio

Mitsch Design’s consistent growth, and the desire to offer clients more turnkey services and advanced technology, has prompted the firm to open an Atlanta office and triple the size of its headquarters office in the Indiana Design Center. The $2 million expansion will create up to 43 jobs in Hamilton County by 2021.

The One–Stop Source for Clients

Founded nearly thirty years ago by Jeryl Mitsch, Mitsch Design is one of Indiana’s largest firms in its field. They have a staff that includes nearly thirty accredited designers and architects, focusing on multifamily, senior care, corporate, healthcare and education projects. “We are anything but typical; we are a one-stop source for our clients,” says Mitsch. “We offer innovative interior design and architecture services, we are also a furniture dealer with over one hundred fifty lines, plus we offer branding and marketing expertise,” she adds.

Mitsch Design: Indiana residential design project.

This simpler, more efficient turnkey business model has helped the firm expand its national market reach with multiple projects underway in nearly twenty states. Local projects have been completed for Angie’s List, Dow Agro Sciences, Citizens Energy, Eskenazi Health, Delta Faucet, Flaherty & Collins, Indianapolis Museum of Art and many others.

“Here in Indianapolis and across the nation, our clients value spaces that encourage face-to-face interaction and green space that creates a connection to the outdoors. The workday can be stressful, so like in a home, we aim to create spaces where people can find a sense of retreat or personal connection,” says Mitsch.

Mitsch Design: Lakes of Valparaiso multi-family project – outdoor space.

Efficiency, Collaboration and Amazement

“We are in a creative, technology-driven business and our headquarters are designed to reflect that,” says Keith Cole, principal at Mitsch Design. Mitsch Design staff members will enjoy the high-tech efficiency and ergonomics of the latest work stations at the newly-designed office.

Mitsch Design: portfolio – commercial project.

In addition to the expansive corporate furniture showroom, the new headquarters will include a space not found everywhere—a Virtual Reality (VR) Studio. With the use of special design processes, software and goggles, Mitsch Design clients will be able to visually and functionally immerse themselves into design options. This ability helps with decision-making and eliminates costly errors. “Virtual Reality is a leading-edge service, and that’s what Mitsch Design is all about,” Cole states.

Local news sources have reported on the Mitsch expansion, including Indiana Economic Development CorporationIndianapolis Star, and Inside Indiana Business.

“Indiana has an abundance of talented and knowledgeable individuals graduating from its universities, so it makes sense for Mitsch Design to attract and hire forward-thinking individuals from our own state to maintain our leadership as innovators in our field,” said Mitsch. “Working with the city and the state will help us to hire and train the high caliber talent that our clients deserve.”

The IEDC has offered the firm up to $75,000 in training grants and up to $225,000 in conditional, performance-based tax credits.

VIDEO: See Inside the Indiana Design Center

The showrooms and professionals located at the Indiana Design Center bring together a premier collection of resources and experts to help you build, remodel, or redecorate your home. The IDC is Open to the Public and showrooms feature national brands and products made locally by Indiana-based companies.

Watch the video below for a tour inside the IDC and introduction to the resources available to the public and design professionals. Call the IDC Concierge desk at 317-569-5976 to schedule your personal tour or send your questions to [email protected]. See you at the IDC!