Designing Homes with Feng Shui (Wind & Water)
Feng Shui is a topic that rarely enters contemporary architectural discourse although many Architects will have had Clients where designing their home in consideration of the principles of Feng Shui was important to them in one way or another. We have had a steady increase in enquiries about Feng Shui over the past few years and had even included some of these principles in the Project Brief sections of recent Fee Agreements.
To put it very simply, Feng Shui aims to align earth and life with the cosmos in order to receive positive energy. Whilst this may sound a little L. Ron Hubbard it’s by no means a stretch to consider the core principles and outcomes of great architecture on the same basis. The Feng Shui method of organisation covers all aspects of living and working spaces, from interiors, bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchens, to gardens and outdoor living spaces. The fundamental aspects of Feng Shui are simple and rational, and can be applied very easily to planning a home or workspace. In the most part they are common sense principles most Architects would adhere to in a general sense, particularly the aspects of Feng Shui that relates to cross ventilation, light and generosity of space. I have outlined a handful of Feng Shui principles below and have suggested how they can be applied to the design of a home and have highlighted how a good Architect may already be following these principles in their work, possibly without even knowing it.
The basic principles of Feng Shui are to design spaces which permit the clear, unobstructed flow of energy that is also warm and harmonious. High ceilings and generous spaces that are well-lit with good air flow and lighting are great foundations for a Feng Shui home.
Entrance to Home
The main entrance into your home should be easily accessible from the road, and should be the largest entrance in the house in order to welcome the most positive energy.
This is particularly relevant in the context of on-site garages which can dominate the street elevation if care is not taken in the design. Obviously overcompensating the pedestrian entrance with fake columns is not really a great alternative either. A sensitive design approach to entry paths, gates, intercoms, property numbers, letterboxes, planting and lighting can provide a sense of importance over the vehicular entry to the site. It’s interesting to know that most architecturally designed projects can be spotted on the basis of the attention to detail of these elements. These elements are mostly neglected in the average home where an Architect is not involved and as much as I don’t mind the odd wander through big chain hardware stores I hardly think a Brunswick Green colonial letterbox says much about the modern era Australians living inside.
The kitchen is central to nourishment and sustenance. It is important not to have the kitchen too close to the entrance or the back door as it allows energy to easily escape. Position water elements (sinks, dishwashers) separate to fire elements (stove/oven). Happy chefs in turn create nourishing meals for a happy family.
In addition to these principles the Kitchen should be the command centre of the social spaces of the home allowing families to interact during meal preparation time and to ensure children can be supervised. All of our projects which have included a swimming pool in the design ensure the Kitchen planning and location allows for full supervision of the pool and its surrounds.
Getting good quality sleep is crucial to your wellbeing. The principles of Feng Shui suggest good access to natural light and cross ventilation as well as a solid timber bed as opposed to a metal bed are important. Avoid a television, visible exercise equipment or loud colours in the bedroom to ensure the sleeping spaces are harmonious and relaxing
I personally find brightly painted coloured walls in children’s bedrooms quite patronising. Most kids these days have more toys than they can poke a paint stirring stick at so turning their room into another large toy is completely unnecessary. Letting children explore their senses and experience sunlight, breezes, shrubs and trees, bugs and birds outside their bedroom windows without the distraction of bright patterns and wall colours allows you child to experience the world more deeply when they are in that calm (yet very short) moment when they wake, fall asleep or daydream during playtime in these spaces.
As for commercial televisions idea of how to ‘give a room a facelift’ I am sure you would not be on our website if you took any of that nonsense seriously and trust me, none of these TV hosts would dare do any of these things to their own homes.
The living room should be a sanctuary that retains the most energy, and thus is best located centrally to the home. Feng Shui principles suggest orientation of lounge suites and furniture in south and west corners, and avoidance of furniture at the north and east sectors.
Obviously these principles are a little rigid but they do make sense in terms of having furniture face the direction of the sun. Most Living spaces will connect with outdoor gardens, lawns and courtyards to ensure this most utilised space of the home enjoys great sunlight all year round so it makes sense that furniture also connects with these indoor outdoor spaces.
The bathroom should be located away from central areas like the kitchen and living areas, as the energies of these spaces are incompatible. Employ organisational strategies such as neat, accessible cabinets that will keep this area clean and clutter free.
I have built a handful of projects for other Architects, one of which had a bathroom door opening directly onto the Dining space. I raised this is a serious concern with the Architect and as often occurs in these instances, they reminded me I was just there to detail and build the project. I am seen as ‘just a Builder’ when it suits some but that’s another story for another blog post. Whilst the finishes and detailing of the project were exceptional the direct connection between the Bathroom and Dining room was, well, quite ridiculous. It’s tough to enjoy a meal when you catch a glimpse of the Bathroom dunny between entre and main.
Feng Shui specialists claim that following these basic principles can have an amazing impact on your everyday life. In general though what they are really getting at is not so different to the thought process a good Architect will follow when designing a home – listening to your instincts and designing spaces that will make your Clients feel the most comfortable. Avoiding cramped rooms with little light, awkward unused spaces and lengthy corridors which rush energy through your home.
CplusC homes are designed to suit our Clients’ needs with sustainability at the core of our decision making process. Our projects have positive effects on lifestyle, environment and relationships. We create healthy, harmonious living and working environments that change lives for the better and we love what we do!
Of all the projects I have been involved as both the Architect and the Builder only three have been put on the market. One of those Clients returned for a second project and another was purchased by a Client that was about to sign us up for their project (so they got their CplusC home without using our services). Perhaps it is some of principles of Feng Shui in CplusC projects that create such a positive environment in our Clients homes that they never leave?
Here are a couple of Feng Shui links. I cannot confirm that the amulets work!