Friday, December 29, 2006, 01:57 AM
The pictures above are from a Redesign I did today... I'll let them tell the story of the incredible feeling a room gets as soon as it has a place to gather, a "conversation area".
Tuesday, December 19, 2006, 02:15 AMWhen the topic of Feng Shui comes up, people inevitably think of mirrors. It is indeed true that mirrors are very powerful, and that they can be used to a great advantage or a great disadvantage in a space, depending on their placement. But additionally, many popular Feng Shui guides utilize mirrors as quick-fix remedies for all manners of problems, and some clever marketers even label and sell small mirrors for this specific purpose.
It is important to keep in mind that authentic Feng Shui is not about products, it is about principles. It is also not about seemingly arbitrary remedies. Feng Shui makes sense, it is intuitive, and it is practical.
So what does that mean for mirror placement? For the most part, mirrors are appropriate under four conditions:
1. To see yourself for grooming and dressing. Of course!
2. To artificially extend a space, to make it feel larger.
3. To create more light.
4. To reflect something beautiful.
Be sure that when hanging a mirror you do so with intention and purpose, and know which of these conditions you're satisfying. I also always try to satisfy #4, regardless of the original purpose of a mirror. That is because mirrors are essentially amplifying whatever they reflect -- why give yourself two of an unattractive area of your home when you could double the effect of something beautiful instead?
It is also important to use extra care when placing mirrors in bedrooms and at entrances. Mirrors are dynamic and create some chaotic energy, so in bedrooms they need to be used sparingly (or large ones covered at night), and placed in such a way that we're not forced to look at them as soon as we get out of bed. And at our front entrances we want to draw the energy and attention into our homes rather than reflect it back out, so that means that mirrors should not directly face the front door.
In other words: What do you want to see?
Friday, December 15, 2006, 02:44 AMIn Feng Shui the bedroom is one of the most important considerations in the home. After all, it is where most of us spend roughly 1/3 of our lives. It is where we go to rest, nourish, and revitalize our bodies and our minds. It is where we go to spend intimate time with our partners, safe and away from the rest of the world. And it is where we go to dream...
It makes sense, then, that our bedroom would affect us significantly. And it does -- it sets the tone for the end and start of our days, and directly contributes to the degree to which we're nourished by the nights in between. That impacts our physical and mental health, our energy level, our relationships -- everything.
It is therefore very beneficial to arrange our bedrooms in accordance with some basic principles of Feng Shui.
The first is that the bedroom is essentially a Yin room, as opposed to a Yang room. Yin is the quiet, calm aspect relative to the bright, dynamic Yang. We should do our best to create a room that is tranquil and nourishing at night by covering up large windows and mirrors, keeping the lights low, and decorating simply and subtly with soothing objects and colors.
The other basic consideration in the bedroom is that of the bed placement. It is important that the head of the bed is against a solid wall, not against a window or floating in the room. If possible the bed should be placed such that the entrance to the room is visible across the room, but not directly in front of the feet -- ideally at a diagonal. This placement makes us feel the most supported and safe and comfortable in our rooms.
Try it and you'll see!
Tuesday, December 12, 2006, 08:08 PMThe underlying dynamic in nature is that of the continual search for balance. Think of the way that branches sprout from a tree, the course a meandering river takes, the rhythms of the season, of your breath, and of each and every day. We simply cannot exist outside of this dynamic energy play -- it infuses every thing, and every action in the world.
It is this universal concept of balance that is at the heart of good Feng Shui practice.
It is also at the heart of good Life practice.
I am reading an amazing book right now which deals with this very subject. It is called "Living in Balance: A Dynamic Approach for Creating Harmony & Wholeness in a Chaotic World". It was written by Joel and Michelle Levey, two highly-respected spiritual teachers who I've been lucky enough to meet. Their authentic presence and sweetness carries over into their writings, which are incredibly accessible and warm.
This book is a powerful yet simple guide for gaining personal insight, growth, and empowerment. By showing us how to honor our place in the natural rhythms of life it teaches us skills to increase our ability to make our journey harmonious. I highly recommend it for a winter read...
Monday, December 11, 2006, 02:07 AMTo be sure, I am typically a buyer of stuff during the holidays. These days, however, I am trying to be more conscious of how and to what degree. I've grown more cautious of practicing consumerism for environmental and other reasons. 'Environmental' as in I care about conserving the earth's resources and producing less waste. But also 'environmental' as in I care about protecting people's homes from meaningless clutter. I'm very aware of how hard it is to keep a home clear and peaceful in this age of too-much-stuff...
Thankfully there are ways to give gifts that aren't stuff and that don't come with all that baggage: giving experiences. Experiences shared or given can come in any form... a special meal, a visit to a museum or concert, a gift certificate to a class or a performance or for a service, a massage, tickets to a sporting event, a donation to charity in someone's name, even home-made coupons for home-made events. Giving experiences can support local arts and services, and/or encourage spending time with the people we care about, which is truly a meaningful gift to us all.
I recently discovered that King County is running a program called Waste Free Holidays which has a web site listing discount offers on experiences from 140 participating businesses and organizations. There are a lot of great options at great discounts -- and ideas to build on.
In our modern world of marketing and retail we are constantly bombarded by messages to buy stuff, and that pressure is particularly intense over the holiday season. Be careful out there! And be strong, and be thoughtful, and be inspired...
Tuesday, December 5, 2006, 12:57 PMI stumbled upon an artist's web site a few days ago and I haven't been able to get the images out of my head. Chris Booth is a New Zealand sculptor whose medium is rocks. Rocks, slabs, boulders, pebbles... I'm sure he has many more terms for the materials he magically stacks and sculpts and balances into towers and arches and tunnels and totems. Sometimes installed outdoors, sometimes in a gallery. But always telling an environmental story specific to place, and with deep reverence to nature and to its underlying principle of balance. Stunning and graceful and poetic -- check them out...
Friday, December 1, 2006, 08:29 PMA client today asked me why I decided to go into Interior Redesign instead of Interior Design. An excellent question; are you wondering too?
Interior Redesign utilizes Interior Design concepts, but approaches projects attempting to use only the client's existing furniture, art and accessories. This puts the focus on the Redesigner creatively and powerfully arranging those items, whatever they are. The end result is balanced, beautiful, and comfortable -- and because it is made up of the client's beloved items, it is always the perfect style for them.
I chose to start a business focused on Redesign for several reasons:
* I feel it's a necessary alternative to Interior Design. Everyone wants a home that looks and feels amazing. But not everyone is interested in hiring an Interior Designer for a more involved and more expensive makeover. There are many excellent Interior Designers in the area, so I wanted to offer a different service for people who'd rather try to work with what they have and see how great that can be before buying anything new. I get to make their things look fresh and fabulous!
* I also feel really good standing up for the idea that having a nice home doesn't have to be about the stuff that's in it. By using Interior Design and Feng Shui principles to rearrange what people already have, I can turn rooms into spaces they'll love without them needing to buy more stuff. This feels good from an economic and an environmental standpoint. It's not about more stuff!
* I've always been "in my zone" when i'm massaging a space into harmony. By concentrating on doing this I've been able to become an expert at finding creative solutions to make even challenging spaces work and feel great. I really enjoy what I do.
* I love how instantaneous the transformation is. Traditional Interior Design can be a bit of a long process of planning and shopping and implementing. With Redesign I give people fabulously designed rooms in a day or less -- wheee!
* It's very hands-on. I show up to a job with furniture-sliders and tools and get to work moving everything, bringing a room into harmony. Since I'm very kinesthetic, and sensitive to spaces and energy, it's really satisfying to work this way.
* My services make a profound difference in people's lives! I have been overwhelmed and touched by my client's appreciation for my services. People tell me they love their homes after I do my magic. I am grateful for the opportunity to help transform their lives by transforming their spaces.
So THAT'S why. Now don't you think Redesign is cool?
Thursday, November 30, 2006, 04:39 PMYou're confused about Feng Shui, you say? You're not alone. There is a lot of perplexing and conflicting information out there on this topic. But authentic Feng Shui in its essence is actually very simple, intuitive, even common-sense. So in the hopes of clarifying your understanding of this powerful philosophy I'm going to talk a bit about what Feng Shui is and why it's so important.
To begin with, let's make sure we can all pronounce it. To say "Feng Shui", say "fung shway".
The words "Feng Shui" literally mean "Wind and Water". Wind and water are two of the most dynamic forces in nature which are constantly changing and in search of balance. Therefore, the words Feng Shui refer to this universal quality of dynamic balance. And Feng Shui as a philosophy deals with how we as humans live in balance with our environment.
Feng Shui states that we are significantly affected not just by the visible "form" aspect of our environment, but also by an invisible "energetic" aspect. This invisible energetic aspect is known as "Chi", which is a concept used throughout Chinese culture to refer to the life force constantly flowing through us and around us. In Feng Shui practice we aim to create and arrange environments for an optimal flow of Chi, which nourishes our spaces and ultimately our lives.
For guidance as to the optimal flow of Chi we need only to look to nature. Authentic Feng Shui is based on observations of nature, and human's relationship to nature, over thousands of years. It is the body of knowledge which describes how, and how well, humans live amidst particular configurations of their land, cities, homes, and rooms, and it provides guidance for creating and arranging our living environments in ways that are in harmony with universal laws of balance. Being in harmony with nature in this way, we feel more peace and vitality in our lives.
Therefore, at its essence Feng Shui simply aims to help us live better by acknowledging our relationship to our environments. Stay tuned as I build on this basis with more concepts...
Wednesday, November 29, 2006, 06:18 PMThe icy road conditions here in the Seattle area prevented me from doing my previously scheduled Redesign today. So what did I do instead? Aside from drink tea and look out at the cold winter sky? I started this blog; welcome! I plan to use this as a forum for discussing my thoughts and observations on the world of interior design, redesign, feng shui, and probably also on balanced, inspired living in general. I appreciate you reading and will always welcome any comments.
Today I have also been having fun playing with my newly-arrived Designer's Kit from Yolo Colorhouse. Yolo Colorhouse (www.yolocolorhouse.com) is a company based in Portland that offers a line of premium interior paints in warm, livable colors inspired by nature. The paints are also environmentally friendly in that they have zero VOCs (VOC stands for volatile organic compounds, which are the stinky solvents in most paints that evaporate and contribute poor air quality and also to the depletion of the ozone). I am excited to use this paint palette in my color consultations with clients who are interested in Green materials.