When Nicole Granato — an International Women’s Health Consultant — moved to Joshua Tree with her husband and child, she knew she wanted to extend her holistic practice to her homestead.
Aware of many of the environmental impacts of modern life she set out to consciously design a space that used sustainable materials and fostered clean living. However, it turns out sourcing 100% natural materials is not always entirely possible. We sat down with her to learn her process, experience and tools for building a true holistic home from the ground up.
Q. Can you share with us a little bit about the Holistic Ranch?
The Holistic Ranch is a space designed with the intention to inspire, heal and rejuvenate our guests. Our philosophy is deeply rooted in holistic healing and living on the earth as one and the same. There is so much knowledge around clean eating but not on clean living. How are our spaces affecting our health, our hormones, our nervous system and illnesses that we may encounter. It is almost impossible to create a clean home because everything is sprayed with chemicals from the paint we use on our walls, to the vinyl flooring we put in our homes, to the fire retardants on sofas and carpets — the list goes on. We are generally living in spaces that are off-gassing these chemicals into our homes and our environment which I believe leads to us being unwell. The homes that myself and my husband design, are done so with that in mind. We also feel a big part of holistic living includes colors, shapes and the types of things we tend to collect.
Living in a space consciously designed for your wellbeing makes a world of a difference to your everyday life. We are so highly stimulated out in the world and when we come home, many of our homes are so overly stimulating that our nervous system is on overdrive.
Q. What gave you the motivation to use sustainable building materials?
My drive really grew over time and was deeply inspired by my husband who grew up in Byron Bay, Australia. He came from a family who built their own homes and made their own furniture, gardens and more. I think growing up in that kind of environment, instills a desire to want to preserve your space and world in general. I learned a lot from him along the way and became really passionate about not contributing to waste and remodeling a home with that intention. Our biggest goal in our remodel is to waste as little as possible and reuse as much as possible. Many builders rip everything out and rebuild — and that in and of itself, is unsustainable and creates a lot more waste.
Q. Has the process been difficult in terms of finding like-minded contractors and suppliers?
I have always been really conscious about anything that comes into my home. Since my son was born, this has become even more important. We avoid plastic 98% of the time and are really conscious about where our toys are made and what kind of chemicals may be in the dyes. We lived LA in a rental apartment before we moved to Joshua Tree and we really were not feeling great in LA.
Q. What are some of the differences you’ve seen in your personal and family’s health since making the switch? Do you have any suggestions for someone looking to add more sustainable materials to their home?
Find clean brands. This usually leads to finding smaller brands and independent furniture designers! Make things yourself and source good wood and use natural finishes like beeswax. Another big one is look at paints you are using and consider moving towards lime washes and plasters as they are the cleanest option you can find and the most beautiful.
Q. What is your vision for the Holistic Ranch moving forward?
We would love to keep creating homes for people to enjoy and experience and hope to have a big farm stay one day that is fully sustainable and allows us to live off of our land. We want our structures to be holistically and sustainably designed from top to bottom. Although, that’s in the future, we are already taking steps towards that dream. We are about to launch a farm stay here in Joshua Tree where we will be doing a full service B&B. People will be able to stay on our farm with our rescue horses and have a full service menu catered to them. We are really passionate about showing the simplicity of simple holistic living and inspiring them to beging shifting their lifestyle.
Nicole Granato, is a holistic nutritionist and women’s health specialist who specializes in hormonal imbalances, PCOS, adrenal fatigue, eating disorders, and much more. She is also co-creator of @theholisticranch and is involved in rescuing and rehabilitating horses holistically from slaughter.