Welcome to all-things-building, materials-and-inspiration for individuals who need an allergy-free, eco-friendly, clean-living environment:

I’m not really into the toxin mentality; I’m more of a chemical-irritant kind of gal. So my choices are evidence-based on what my immune system reacts to, and what evidence-based medical testing has shown for my particular allergies and sensitivities, not what the media or wellness inc, or anti-wellness brigade are flapping on about this week. I’m also environmentally conscious, so products and services least harmful to the planet are of paramount importance, as are products causing the least or no impact whatsoever on animal, reptile and aquatic welfare. Because. Vegan. Compassion. Health. Ethics.


I will aim to review all books and products sent to here. Please don’t send products containing volatile chemicals including but not limited to petrochemicals, solvents or fragrance and overt scents. Please take into consideration our environment when using packaging; and also take into consideration that I’m chemically sensitive and not at all well: If your product is not healthy, I can’t review it; if I can’t breathe properly around it… Or you think I might be, don’t send it. I am also sensitive to ink. It takes me at least one Australian summer to air out a brand new printed book. Full colour, glossy books and other literature, do not air out for me and I won’t have them in the house. I also ask for people to wrap items in aluminium foil and to keep them seperate from advertising literature, invoices, and printed papers. Feel free to contact me before sending anything, my details can be found here.

I give honest reviews and full disclosure.

Building Pages

Freedom: An Allergy-Free, Eco-Friendly Home‘ is located under the tab for this page you’re on now, ‘Building‘, there, you’ll find our blog page for everything and anything to do with the Build an Eco-Friendly, Allergy-Free House project. It’s where we’ll be posting the complete steps to building and an eco-friendly home suitable for a person with mould allergies and/or solvent and petrochemical sensitivities. The forthcoming book, Build an Eco-Friendly, Allergy-Free House, may be suitable for people suffering with inhalant allergies, chemical sensitivities, respiratory inflammation, Toxic Encephalopathy, Asthma, Occupational Asthma, Irritant-associated Vocal Cord Dysfunction, Reactive Airways Dysfunction Syndrome (RADS), Irritant-induced Asthma, Small Airways Disease and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS); I also hope to include information about modifying homes for people with Electrical Sensitivity when I’ve completed my research (I don’t have ES but fully support and believe people who suffer with this!).

Renovating for People with Chemical Sensitivities‘ contains some of the same posts as ‘Freedom: An Allergy-Free, Eco-Friendly House‘ page; however, only the posts that relate to people who are renting or attempting to modify an existing home are filed there.

Building Tradespeople Reviews‘ speaks for itself. However, if you would like to submit a review submit it in the body of an email or the contact form.  Most tradies go by word of mouth, so hey, jump on the soap box!

Sustainability‘, my favourite page; and only for true-blue-natural-dinkie-dye-environmental warriors—of the building/eco-products/tradespeople kind! Submit your suggestions here, via the contact form

Other housework, ‘Reuse/Recycle‘ has been moved over to Environmental Issues (both topics that, in this time of mass-consumption, need to be close to our hearts and purse strings! I truly believe that by showing financial support for companies who chose to do the right thing, is the only way.)

Building a home safe for yourself or a family member can be fraught with difficulty. Even more so if you are building for a child or someone who’s obviously sick with respiratory illness, exacerbated by proven chemical irritants. How do you know which chemicals to avoid? What materials to use? I can’t help you with that part. Only a doctor experienced in allergies and chemical sensitivities can assist you in making those important decisions. Sure, many times we can identify what’s impacting our health and when, but it’s often a doctor or specialist who can point you in the right direction to make the changes that will help you the most. It’s not always what we can smell that’s the problem; food intolerance, general allergies, genealogy, these can all be huge factors. And besides, it’s no fun avoiding chemicals you don’t actually need to avoid! (And, it’s not possible unless you actually live in a bubble of controlled air, which, if you’re reading this, it’s entirely possible that you are. If so, I am with you brothers and sisters!)

Regrowth, Renewal. We are not all Canaries. Some of us are Phoenixes: we rise from the ashes

In celebration, and to start this ‘Building’ section off, I’d like to share something that, not long ago, was shared with me via one of my social online ‘canary’ hubs I hang out at:

Chris Clarke, a construction manager, was one of many who lost his home at Callignee in Gippsland, Victoria, Australia during the tragic 2009  Victorian, Black Saturday bush fires. Callignee 1, an “art-style treehouse” was a minimalist-style timber-and-steel structure that Clarke lovingly designed himself, spending two years building it with his now-deceased father. Just one week after completion, his safe home was gone: burnt to cinders and wreckage. Temperatures on the day were over 1000 degrees Celsius—if you can imagine that—so it’s no wonder that he lost in flames succeeding anything ever found. More from Complete Home:

“After the Black Saturday fires, Callignee 1 stood there in her glory—a skeleton of twisted, oversized portal frames; broken brick blade walls; and debris-covered slabs in a haunting black-and-white setting,” Chris remembers. “Every bit I loved was gone.”

Fascinating and inspiring on so many levels, Chris has Chronic Fatigue and MCS, and this house Callignee 2 (and the old (only one-week old) house, Callignee 1) were designed and built especially with his chemical sensitivities and CFS in mind. I love that he describes the building process of this new house as a “Phoenix rising from the ashes”. A comment indicative of the fortitude and resilience needed when rebuilding from the ground up, resulting in: “a house that’s gained body and strength from adversity.”

It could also be used as a metaphor for those of us who have to re-build our health from the ground up; and this could include actually building, or modifying an already existing home as, low-toxic accommodation.

(Sorry, this is a paid video (no affiliation); I’ll post a free one when I find it. Go here, for a great (free) photo journal of the house.)

Of Note: I did notice that when this story hit the media via Grand Designs, MCS was mentioned and written about in the news articles relating to this. Most articles now just mention the CFS.


Fact Sheet: List of Suppliers

Survival: Build it Back Green

Lifestyle: Bushfire House, Before and After

Michellina Van Loder is a Professional Writer, Journalist and Blogger. This is where she shares her tales about trail blazing her way out of the Labyrinth of Chemical Sensitivities and Mould. This is also where you will find the latest Research on related topics.

Information, products and views presented by guest bloggers @The Labyrinth are not necessarily the same as those held by this blog's author, Michellina van Loder. Reviews are my own personal opinions (unless stated otherwise); and satire is used throughout personal posts. Any health topics discussed are not to be taken as medical advice. Seek out medical attention if needed and do your own research; however, you're welcome to use mine as a start.
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