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Home Healthy Home: Why Wellness is a Way of Life in Lake Nona

The WHIT House in Lake Nona Welcomes The Future of Wellness

How this “city within a city” focuses on ROW (Return on Wellness) rather than ROI

In our current cultural moment of wellness obsession and self-care, we expect all areas of our lives to enhance our sense of well being from the clothes we wear to the homes we live in.  Lake Nona in Orlando, Florida is built on this emerging concept of wellness communities. I recently attended a press tour of Lake Nona which led me to WHIT (Wellness Home Built on Innovation and Technology).

IMG 3662Created by The Lake Nona Institute along with its collaborative partners, WHIT offers a new lens of home design that prioritizes wellness both physically and mentally. WHIT is a test lab for the future of healthy homes with amenities, design features and technologies the Lake Nona Institute is researching to measurably improve health and well-being. It’s a concept whose time has arrived with a sense of urgency. 

IMG 3648The Global Wellness Institute in its recent landmark research report, “Build Well to Live Well” found that, “The way our homes have been built in the last century is reinforcing lifestyles that make us sick, stressed, alienated and unhappy.”

WHIT aims to set the bar for best practices creating a home that serves as a personal care center capable of monitoring the health of its inhabitants and connecting with health professionals via telemedicine.

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Serenity Cove in WHIT is a place for relaxation and meditation featuring technologies to clear your mind and refocus your brain. Photo Credit: The Design Tourist

WHIT also is an incubator for strategic partners to create new sustainable products.  The home’s healthy features include fresh air with a six-stage air filtration system, low voc paints and cork flooring, all aimed at enhancing air quality and eliminating gas offloading. 

IMG 3649 A water filtration system reduces impurities and consumption tracking devices work together to promote optimal hydration.  Living spaces are designed and outfitted with technology and design features including aromatherapy and biophilic sounds that promote relaxation, reduce stress and improve wellbeing 

Wellness Kitchen in Whit features a GE Innovative Cooktop embedded in the kitchen island that lets you cook and connect in one intelligent surface. Photo Credit: The Design Tourist
Wellness Kitchen in Whit features a GE Innovative Cooktop embedded in the kitchen island that lets you cook and connect in one intelligent surface. Photo Credit: The Design Tourist

The kitchen, designed by Vera Iconica Wellness Kitchen, is the wellness hub of the home. It features toxin free cookware of ceramic and cast iron and non-toxic cabinets that are free from dangerous chemicals including formaldehyde.

The Wellness Kitchen in WHIT uses UV germicidal lighting technology to deactivate the DNA of bacteria, virus and other pathogens on an object’s surface. Photo credit: The Design Tourist
The Wellness Kitchen in WHIT uses UV germicidal lighting technology to deactivate the DNA of bacteria, virus and other pathogens on an object’s surface. Photo credit: The Design Tourist

Wood doors and drawer fronts are from renewable resources with non-toxic sealers.  Food items are on full display to encourage creativity with cooking and healthy behaviors. 

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Natufia Hydroponic Kitchen Garden is a fully automated plant nursery that uses LED lighting and plays music emitting vibrations that help the plants grow. It delivers water and nutrients to grow organic edible plants. Photo Credit: The Design Tourist

A courtyard garden provides fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables as hyper-local sustainable and organic foods.

The courtyard garden in WHIT provides a source of organic edible plants for cooking. Photo Credit: The Design Tourist
The courtyard garden in WHIT provides a source of organic edible plants for cooking. Photo Credit: The Design Tourist
Window garden next to the Wellness Kitchen in WHIT grows herbs and fresh vegetables. Photo Credit: The Design Tourist
Window garden next to the Wellness Kitchen in WHIT grows herbs and fresh vegetables. Photo Credit: The Design Tourist

In the bedrooms, circadian lighting, long wave night lighting and blackout shades promote restful sleep. Sleep tracking and coaching apps and technologies such as mattress pads that monitor sleeping habits improve rest, assisted by ambient sound devices with soothing sounds. For tips on making your living spaces more restful, grounded and zen, check out this insightful article, 11 Tips to Inspire Mindfulness at Home. 

Sleep Sanctuary in the WHIT House is a partnership with SleepScore Labs and features products exclusively curated and validated by the sleep science team at SleepScore Labs. Photo Credit: The Design Tourist
Sleep Sanctuary in the WHIT House is a partnership with SleepScore Labs and features products exclusively curated and validated by the sleep science team at SleepScore Labs. Photo Credit: The Design Tourist

Lake Nona has differentiated itself as a neo-urban environment focused on wellbeing, sports and performance, education and technology.  The community functions as a “city within a city” spanning 17 square miles and 11 thousand acres within the city limits of Orlando in Orange County. It offers a geographic concentration of cutting-edge medical industry companies and research organizations, hospitals, clinics and health services near neighborhoods of wellness infused homes.

IMG 3676Anchoring Lake Nona is a mammoth Medical City that catalyzes medical industry clusters and health services. Medical City spans 650 acres with 2 million square feet of space and includes the UCF Cancer Research Center, previously known as the Sanford Burham Institute, the University of Central Florida Medical School, Nemours Children’s Hospital with a pediatric residency program, The University of Florida Research and Academic Center and College of Pharmacy, the Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute, and the Orlando VA Medical Center, one of the largest VA hospitals in the system, with 134 beds, 60 bedrooms and serves as the training epicenter for the entire VA system. A new UCF Lake Nona Medical Center opens 2020 with 100 beds as a teaching hospital. Medical City campus also includes The Guidewell Innovation Center, an incubator for the wellness industry. To learn more, go to Meetwhit.com

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Karen LeBlanc

Karen LeBlanc is a freelance writer living in Orlando, Florida with many published bylines in magazines, newspapers, and multimedia sites. As a professional lifestyle writer, Karen specializes in art, architecture, design, home interiors and personality profiles. Karen is the writer, producer and host of the streaming series, The Design Tourist (www.TheDesignTourist.com) that brings viewers a global dose of design inspiration with episodes featuring the latest looks and trends from the world’s premiere design events and shows. She also publishes a quarterly magazine on design travel that you can read by clicking the link: https://thedesigntourist.com/the-magazine/ Her journalism background includes seven years on-air experience as a TV news reporter and anchor covering a range of issues from education to politics. Her educational credentials include a Master of Arts in Mass Communications from Northeast Louisiana University and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Louisiana State University. Throughout her career, Karen has written and produced dozens of documentaries and videos for educational, commercial, corporate, and governmental clients and appeared in many TV and video productions as a professional host.

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Karen LeBlanc

Karen LeBlanc is a travel host and writer with a popular travel show, The Design Tourist, and a companion lifestyle blog. As a widely published travel journalist and content creator, Karen is a member of the North American Travel Journalists Association. She also serves as the Design and Travel editor of the national lifestyle magazine, LaPalme. Karen believes that every destination has a story to tell through its local art, architecture, culture, and craft. This immersive creative exploration begins with authentic accommodations where the narrative of place unfolds through art, accessories, accouterments, furnishings, fixtures, and food. 

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