More than three months ago, much of our world changed overnight.
Suddenly, people were encouraged to stay indoors, to limit their interactions with others – and wearing masks at the grocery store became commonplace.
While communities became more and more conscious of their environments – both interior and exterior – Olivette-based design-build firm Dana King, formerly known as Next Project Studio, continued its innovative work to improve its clients’ surroundings with a revolutionary approach to design.
“We’re in our homes more than our places of business,” says firm owner and lead designer Dana King. “As designers, we owe it to people to think about these things. Our business tagline is ‘Live better in your home.’ That’s not just about making spaces pretty – it’s about making them healthy.”
Over the last year, King and the firm’s design director, Michelle Banks, have implemented a residential-focused approach to the WELL Building Standard. The scale rating system was released in 2014 by the European-born International WELL Building Institute to advance the “health and well-being in buildings globally.”
Although popular in Europe, WELL hasn’t taken off yet stateside – and is currently used only for commercial spaces. But it is gaining traction, especially in the current pandemic. King and Banks first met at a WELL presentation and were joined at the hip by a common goal: to bring WELL to the residential industry. Banks, a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-certified residential designer, relocated from Chicago to implement the standards alongside King.
“People are thinking about their health and their environment and everything around them at this point,” says Banks, who points out the connection between COVID-19 and a renewed interest in healthy living spaces.
The team uses the WELL Building Standard to address these needs by identifying issues that clients face, whether allergies, poor sleep or constantly accumulating dust. They solve seemingly intractable problems by implementing science-based solutions that monitor and subsequently improve air quality, lighting, sound attenuation, off-gas and more.
“We create a master plan of phases for creating a healthy home,” King says. “We can start by some low-hanging fruit with low-cost things and have a phased approach with the most pressing needs.”
Inquiries are up more than ever for the Dana King team. If interested, potential clients are encouraged to schedule an in-person or virtual consultation.
“We want to be your chief advisor on healthy homes, ongoing, especially as situations change,” King says. “Having a WELL-certified designer is critical as you have ongoing needs.”
Dana King, 10405 Baur Blvd., Suite H, St. Louis, 314-914-2840, danaking.com
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