Lisa and Art’s Story

In 1985, Lisa became ill with unbearable headaches, nausea, and dizziness after a pesticide was sprayed in her home. At the time, she did not know that the seemingly inconsequential pesticide had actually led to a toxic overload of multiple poisons and allergens and triggered a severe immune response to almost everything in her environment. For months after being exposed to the pesticide, Lisa was bedridden, though her symptoms continued for years. During that difficult period in her life, Lisa wrestled with feelings that ranged from frustration to hopelessness, yet she was determined to find a cure to her illness. She spent the next eight years visiting more than 30 physicians, including psychiatrists, neurologists, allergists, endocrinologists and a multitude of other doctors – none of whom were able to help.

Lisa’s husband Art, an accountant with experience in Forensic Fraud Auditing, was determined to find the source of Lisa’s ailment. Lisa and Art immersed themselves in researching the possible causes for her symptoms. They concluded that environmental intolerances were the likely root of Lisa’s illness.

Having believed they had finally identified the source of Lisa’s illness, in January 1992, Art and Lisa flew to Texas, where Lisa stayed at the Environmental Health Center of Dallas for four months. With the help of William J. Rea, MD, a prominent specialist in environmental health, Lisa was diagnosed with Multiple Chemical Intolerance (MCI), an extreme variation of chemical sensitivities and allergies in which patients have prolonged, heightened, and often incapacitating reactions after exposure to a number of common substances.

During Lisa’s stay at the Environmental Health Center, Art was hard at work looking for a safe home for Lisa. To ensure that their next house was free of toxins and allergens, he searched for homes that were free of molds, mildew, lead, bacteria, formaldehyde, water damage, and etc. – in essence, a chemical-free, allergy-free home built prior to the 1960s, when some homes were still built with natural materials.

At last, Art found the right home: an older ranch house that had been well maintained and could be converted to a healthy living space for Lisa and their family. Lisa and Art proceeded to have the forced air duct work torn out and the wallpaper and carpeting removed. They applied formaldehyde-free paint to the walls and ceilings, had ceramic radiant electric heat installed, sanded and finished the wood floors with formaldehyde-free, water-based stain sealant. They installed a whole house water system, a reverse osmosis system, a dry poplar wood sauna and a radon mitigation system. They also purchased environmentally friendly products, including HEPA air purifiers, an organic cotton mattress, and all organic cotton bedding, towels, vapor barriers, etc. Finally, they had a safe home that allowed Lisa to begin to rebuild her immune system. 

Ten years after the purchase of their home, Lisa and Art embarked on one of the most intimidating tasks of their lives, building a safe addition to their already safe home. The exterior walls were made with exterior wood boarding instead of pressed wood. The interior woodwork was made of poplar wood, the wall boards were treatment-free, and the skim coat was made with the lowest VOC product on the market. The kitchen was entirely replaced with safe material, including red birch exterior cabinetry and a wheat board interior to the cabinets sealed with latex free grout and safe glues, pre-finished UV treated wood flooring, formaldehyde-free insulation, and low VOC formaldehyde free paint.

In the years since returning from the Dallas clinic, Lisa, an interior decorator who owns her own interior design company,
I Design for Less, has continued educating herself about allergies and sensitivities. Through her experience and research she has transformed her experience with chemical sensitivity into an adjunct service to bring healing environments to others. If the client wishes, she incorporates healthy planning into her interior designs by using healthy, hypo-allergenic products.

Lisa and Art are passionate about sharing their experience and hard-earned knowledge. They are committed to making environments more natural and livable for society. Through educational consultations, evaluations, and resources to help mitigate or eliminate toxins and allergens, they are dedicated to transform homes and workplaces into safe, healthy environments.

In addition, Lisa and Art are the parents of a son with special needs and a daughter with food allergies. They believe there is no higher calling than to enhance safety and well-being for one’s self and loved ones.

With 25 years of research experience, the design and renovation of their home, a team of trusted advisors, and a deep commitment to helping others; Art and Lisa are excited to share their experience.