March 6, 2015

Check out our New Website + Blog

Thank you for visiting this blog, 
where I've recorded the learning and resources 
for building a healthy house.  

Since then, I have been busy building...

L I S A   T H A R P   D E S I G N

a firm committed to the principles of healthy design, 
and to creating interiors that embody 
a signature blend of luxury + simplicity.

I invite you to visit our new website

where I continue to blog about design inspiration and keeping life simple.  

I will keep this blog available for all those seeking help 
on their own quest for healthier living. 
[I apologize for any broken links, and hope 
that the substance of the many blog posts contained herein 
will still be of use.]

Thank you for accompanying me on this rewarding journey.  
I wish you joy in pursuit of your own endeavors.



May 9, 2014

Lisa Tharp Design to be featured in BOSTON HOME MAGAZINE

I was so pleased to learn that Boston Home magazine will be featuring one of our recent projects in their upcoming Fall issue.  We look forward to working with their editorial team to bring you the story of an old Victorian home that has been transformed with an eclectic and sumptuous palette of vintage to modern furnishings.

Thank you to all involved.

For more frequent updates, please check out my new blog, hosted at 

See you there!


February 1, 2014

5 Steps for Chemical Sensitivity Recovery

Chemical Sensitivity is the body's overreactive response to every day chemicals.  There are many theories as to the cause, which I will not cover here.  I am most interested in solutions.  I recommend a 5 Step approach to reduce or eliminate chemical sensitivity.  Everyone is different, but this protocol has produced tremendous results for folks severely impacted by chemical sensitivity.  It can also alleviate allergies, asthma and other chronic conditions.


Photo: K. Tharp Design, Eric Roth Photography

Create a healing living space that is free of allergens and toxins.  
(See many tips + resources on this blog.)



Sweat.  Oxygenate your blood with vigorous exercise in fresh air and sunshine.  You will be stronger, calmer and sleep better.  Start with walking.  Progress each day.  Even in winter... bundle up.  Pick your outdoor fun.


Photos: 123rf, Jarrow

Replace inflammatory dairy, gluten and processed foods with organic veggies; replace caffeine and alcohol with water; take a quality probiotic to restore gut health.  For more, watch Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride here


Test for and treat contributing factors, such as food allergies, leaky gut, Candida Albicans.


Photo: Gupta Programme

Retrain the brain's conditioned trigger of physical symptoms resulting from a prior toxic exposure.  I recommend this program.

Is it any wonder that these 5 steps represent a return to old wisdoms about health, with avoidance of new-fangled inventions like particle board furniture and genetically-modified food?  Fresh air.  Exercise.  Eat your veggies.  Smile.

Do all 5 steps.  Keep it simple.  Keep it healthy.  Cheers.


Disclaimer: The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content available through this blog is for general information purposes only.

January 15, 2012

The story behind the cover story...

Design New England magazine cover story.  Design by Lisa K. Tharp.  Photos by Eric Roth.

I have received a number of inquiries about my kitchen, bathrooms and interiors designs featured in this month's Design New England magazine's cover story.  So, I thought I would share more details about my design approach for this special home.  

December 22, 2011

We made the cover! Design New England Magazine

I was thrilled to learn that, not only would Design New England magazine be including a feature story on The Concord Green Healthy Home for its upcoming issue, the editors selected my European-style bath design for the cover.  

I think back to my plan for an open shower bath, with a wall mounted vanity and dual-flush toilet.  I used an unexpected mix of materials -- a pitched cobblestone-inspired floor tile, a wainscot of horizontal limestone plank reminiscent of weathered wood, upper walls tiled in classic white subway and punctuated with daylight-sharing clerestory windows, with a curved floating carrera marble vanity, all topped off with galvanized barn lights.  Part luxurious powder room, part outdoor shower, right?  Hmmm.  More than one person looked at me as if I was a bit crazy. :-)  I am happy to have held on to the vision.

Special thanks to Design New England's editor Gail Ravgiala, for believing in the project.   Can't wait to see Eric Roth's gorgeous photos of the rest of the interiors gracing the magazine's pages.

Look for the Jan/Feb 2012 issue the first week of January, available online (click "Current Issue") and in print.

Meanwhile, wishing you all a healthy and joyous holiday season, and a happy new year!


December 6, 2011

Earth-Friendly + Gorgeous Wallpapers

 Montague Grasscloth in Shower.  Interior design by Kimberly Ayers.

While working on a client's formal entry, I've happily discovered a new line of earth-friendly grasscloth wallpaper from the hip, creative team of Kyra and Robertson Hartnett at Twenty2.   I am pleased to report that Twenty2's wallpaper is hand screen-printed right here in the USA, so you can buy local too.

Known for their hand-colored wall coverings, fabrics, carpets and accessories, Twenty2's signature is "a unique blend of classic modernism and punchy contemporary styling".   Let's check out some of their glorious product, "fresh from Litchfield, CT".

Here's their Neptunian Grasscloth in a funky foyer, also by Kimberly Ayers:

Sherwood Grasscloth (custom color), House + Garden Hamptons Showhouse 2006, by Michael Rosenberg + Associates:

Maxwell Fabric in Ruby + Cacao, Half Max Wallpaper in Silt:

 Twenty2's website even has video and still photography of their hand screen production process, if you are interested in seeing how local artisans craft their product.

Hope you check them out.  I've already ordered memo samples - process was speedy and Kyra kindly called me personally to let me know they were shipping.  Can't wait for the package of goodies to arrive.



November 21, 2011

Ultra Compact Lego-Inspired Apartment

Just had to share this hip, ultra compact apartment.  A true study in low impact living.

"When Christian Schallert isn't cooking, dressing, sleeping or eating, his 24 square meter (258 square feet) apartment looks like an empty cube. To use a piece of furniture, he has to build it.

Located in Barcelona's hip Born district, the tiny apartment is a remodeled pigeon loft. Christian says its design was inspired by the space-saving furniture aboard boats, as well as the clean lines of a small Japanese home."

Find of the day...

Love the cremone casement hardware and screened doors on this Pine 4 Door Bookcase from Halo Styles.   This company has a gorgeous line of casegoods and upholstery.  Please inquire at for purchase.

October 6, 2011

Conservatories: Not Just A Luxury

Okay, this elaborate, award-winning two-story example does seem rather like a big old luxury.  Photo: Town and Country
I was recently asked by one of my interior design clients to update her home's conservatory.  She marveled at my unabashed enthusiasm for the task.  I understood.  Working on the interior rooms of her grand home was enjoyable enough.  But what I didn't fully communicate was the depth of my admiration for these incredible spaces, whose beauty runs far deeper than their luxurious "to the manor born" heritage. 

Glengariffe Solar House's south-facing Conservatory supplies 45% of annual heating requirement.  Photo: Viking House.
Conservatories, or sun spaces, have glass roof and walls and are typically attached to a house only on one side.  They originated in sun-starved parts of 16th century Europe, and afforded wealthy landowners the ability to cultivate citrus plants from the Mediterranean.  Now, they are a passive heating engineer's trump card, the sunniest indoor/outdoor connection in which to soak up some vitamin D, a greenhouse for oxygen-generating plants, and a place to grow your own organic food year-round.  Seems to me that the cost per square foot to build vs. traditional interior space may be a logical swap.  Now I really want one...   :)

Oh happy days.  How would your kids like to run around the house here? Source: unknown (from my image archive)

But let's get back to this special space's ability to passively heat your home.  In fact, it can even actively maintain comfortable temperatures, as Viking House's Active Solar House demonstrates:

Photo:  Viking House

While the conservatory's dark floor tiles passively absorb and store solar heat, this sun space actively maintains comfortable temperatures on both hot and cold days with its ventilation and shading system.

"Convector ventilation: The cooling of the Sunspace during warm weather is facilitated through a convection system, facilitated by creating a channel between the insulated aluminum blinds and the glazed roof in combination with opening flaps on the very bottom and very top of the construction."  Courtesy: Viking House.

"Hot vent: On sunny, but cold days, the blinds are rolled up and sun light enters the space. Here it heats the air which begins to move upwards. Ducts that connect the inside of the building with the conservatory are opened by the BMS and the warm air travels through to the inner rooms, being moved by the convection motion. Cold air from inside the house is brought back to the sunspace at ground floor level, thus creating a circulation of ever warmer air."  Courtesy: Viking House.


Now for a little conservatory design inspiration...  

(Apologies to architects, designers, photographers, and homeowners.  I have been saving these images in my design files since before I noted sources.  Please email me at with credit information and I will happily update this post.)

September 27, 2011

Pushing the Envelope on Healthy Home Design

The first Hempcrete and Purepanel home built in North America, by Push Design, epitomizes building principles that are healthy for people and the planet.

One terrific outcome of being featured on the DIY Network's show This NEW House is connecting with others who are seeking a healthier way to design and build homes.  I was thrilled to be contacted by Anthony Brenner, the visionary behind Push Design, who was inspired by his daughter Bailey's struggle with severe Environmental and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS).  Brenner tirelessly researched building materials to create the safest, non-toxic "recipe" for the homes his company now builds.

Interiors can be healthy AND beautiful.  Photo: Push Design

Brenner's philosophy is that "the current industry standard of ultra-tight, chemical and petroleum-based building strategies is, by nature, inherently flawed. We are confident that high thermal mass, breathable and naturally-based building systems can not only achieve the same or better energy efficiency, but also eliminate any Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) concerns and are truly sustainable."

Ashville, NC's first non-toxic home, in progress.  Photo: Push Design
Brenner is pioneering the use of revolutionary materials, such as Tradical Hemcrete, made from hemp, one of the most sustainable crops on earth, in order to create truly non-toxic homes. 

Check back for more updates on Push Design soon.

Cheers, and good health.


September 20, 2011

Concord Green on TV

Join This NEW House tv host Kevin O'Connor and me as we tour The Concord Green Healthy Home and discuss some of its healthy and sustainable features.  Included in the episode entitled "Back To The Woods", the segment is the last of four during the half hour program.  Produced by the creators of This Old House, the show airs on The DIY Network, this Friday, September 23 at 11 am ET.

Would love to have you tune in.



August 28, 2011

Houzz features The Concord Green Healthy Home

The Concord Green Healthy Home on Houzz today

Today finds The Concord Green Healthy Home on the front page of, an online magazine that provides inspiration for design and remodeling.  Expertly written by Becky Harris, the feature provides a detailed tour of the home, with commentary from ZeroEnergy Design architect, Stephanie Horowitz and myself.

Thank you, Becky!  And to Adam Prince, of ZeroEnergy Design, for continuing to spread the word about our project.

August 4, 2011

One grand gesture...

Large scale pendants grace the kitchen of The Concord Green Healthy Home.  Photo:  Eric Roth
Sometimes, one grand gesture can pull an entire room together.  I designed these oversize pendants, hung from the ridge beam of the gable roof 16' up, to make a bold statement in the Concord Green Healthy Home's kitchen.  Crafted by Carol Collord of Creations by Carol, the 100% linen shades with exposed twine stitching provide a soft, Belgian farmhouse accent to the light and airy space.

The pendants frame the symmetry of the kitchen beautifully.  In the evenings, pools of light on the island's concrete countertop set the mood.    Photo: Allegra Anderson Photography

Photo: Allegra Anderson Photography

A huge thank you to Carol for her incredible work and meticulous attention to detail.

July 8, 2011

Healthy House on Wheels

Vintage Airstream from Taylor Design Healthy Homes
Dreaming of vacationing with one of these babies.   Cool Vermont firm, Taylor Design Healthy Homes, retrofits vintage Airstreams to make them healthy for people with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS), as well as for anyone seeking healthy materials in their living environment.

Airstream interiors are gutted and then completely rebuilt with people-friendly materials.

Now, if only I could figure out a way to haul it behind the Prius.   :)

May 23, 2011

Reclaimed Lighting for a Beach House

Just ordered one of these gorgeous pendants for the beach house dining nook - Oversized Whitewashed Pendant from Vagabond Vintage.

I am happily working on interior design for a beach house renovation on the Maine coast.  Great way to get in the summer spirit.  Reclaimed lighting is the perfect fit for what will be a casually elegant atmosphere -- just add sandy feet, mix in stylish family entertaining, and stir.
A pair of these beauties will flank the master bed - Reclaimed Wood and Chrome Sconce Light from Clayton Gray Home
Three of any of these Vintage Metal Steel Funnel lamps would lend a cool industrial vibe over a kitchen island - also from Vagabond Vintage.

May 5, 2011

Art-Inspired Interiors

Learn how to build beautiful interiors around inspiring works of art.  Reception on May 7, from 4-7pm at Powers Gallery in Acton, MA

April 20, 2011

Cool New Magazine features Concord Green

New England Finery Magazine's current issue is devoted to green living, in honor of Earth Day, April 22, 2011.  Thanks for the mention!
I was delighted to learn that this blog would be featured in the upcoming issue of New England Finery Magazine's Propagating Green section.  This new online magazine's second edition covers many aspects of green living in New England, including shopping vintage, building green, growing a garden and finding eco-friendly furnishings and finishes.

I encourage you to check it out!


Inaugural Issue

April 18, 2011

Double Duty Rooms: Dining Room / Library

Dining Room / Library of THE CONCORD GREEN HEALTHY HOME  Design by Lisa Kauffman Tharp.  Photo: Eric Roth
A core strategy in building with a lighter footprint on the planet is to build smaller.  Assigning double duty to the traditionally under-utilized rooms in the American home is a perfect way to achieve the goal.  One of my favorite examples is the dining room that doubles as a library.  Key elements include a large table, comfy chairs (non-matched seating is like a good party that mixes different personalities), storage for books (displayed or hidden is up to you), and lots of sunshine during the day.  At night, dimmer switches and candle lanterns completely transform the mood.

A different daytime view of the Dining Room / Library.  Design and photo: Lisa Kauffman Tharp

Here are some of my favorite inspirations for the "Eat In Library":

Design by Diane Bergeron

Design by Miles Redd

Design by Darryl Carter, as featured in O at Home
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