How to Bring Happiness To Your Home?
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How to Bring Happiness To Your Home?

Hire a Feng Shui expert.

By Michele Lerner
Tue, Feb 1, 2022 10:07amGrey Clock 5 min

Happiness and prosperity were on Tamara Meadow’s mind even before ground was broken on her custom home in Connecticut. So she brought in consultant Alex Stark, a feng shui expert based in Beverly Hills, California, who also provided advice to Ms. Meadow for two New York City apartments.

“We’re all masters of our own destiny, but there are things you can do such as feng shui that can help you on a level we’re not all aware of,” said Ms. Meadow, 54, principal of Tamara Meadow Interiors in New York City. “Besides, it can’t hurt.”

Feng shui, a traditional Chinese practice, is meant to bring positive energy into a space and remove negative energy, said Bree Long, senior vice president of sales and marketing for etco HOMES, developers of One Coast, a luxury townhouse community in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles. Etco HOMES worked with Feng Shui Master Zhi Wang, a global consultant with practices in Hong Kong, Macau and the U.S., to review the setting and architecture of the homes at One Coast to ensure they have good energy and will bring prosperity to the residents.

“Feng shui is about the flow within a space, which doesn’t necessarily mean an open floor plan,” Ms. Long said. “You want to have a seamless flow of energy from the public living areas to the private spaces. If there’s negative energy, you can create neutrality through the placement of furniture and by augmenting or editing items in the home.”

Incorporating elements such as earth, fire, water, wood and metal can create positive energy and harmony in the home, according to feng shui principles.

“When you optimize a home with feng shui, you want to focus on the individuals in the home and their priorities,” Mr. Stark said. “For some people we focus on wealth, careers and leadership. Other clients are more concerned with optimizing their health, family, relationships and community.”

In her New York apartment, Mr. Stark recommended that Ms. Meadow include lucky bamboo trees to help her husband’s business thrive.

“The building orientation wasn’t ideal, so Alex had me create a little altar in a niche to restore the balance of energy,” Ms. Meadow said. “It’s a way to connect with spiritual forces and to avoid stress. I have some family photos there plus incense to represent fire, a seashell to represent water and a rock to represent earth.”

Sadie Lake, owner of Sadie Lake Interior Design Studio in Spokane, Washington, uses feng shui as a way to understand the energy in a home.

“Feng shui can be used to enrich our ability to transform a space beyond looking beautiful,” Ms. Lake said. “Think of your house as holding a body of water and visualize where the water would flow and where it would stagnate. Think about how you want your space to flow and then use furniture, plants, mirrors and objects to transform it so your home feels like a respite from the world, a place where you feel protected and nurtured.”

Using the Natural Landscape for Good Energy

At One Coast, Mr. Wang found that the setting with the Santa Monica Mountain Range behind the homes and the Pacific Ocean in the front provides positive energy for residents.

“The mountains envelop and hug the community, which provides a sense of security,” Ms. Long said. “The shape of the mountains is like someone reclining, so that adds relaxation and serenity. The natural element of the ocean water is also positive feng shui.”

Individual buyers at One Coast can hire Mr. Wang for a private consultation if they wish. He also evaluated a model townhouse in the community which is now sold.

“Mr. Wang aligned the artwork along the hallway to the guest bedroom to provide good energy for guests,” Ms. Long said. “The back patio is oriented toward the mountains, which provides a fortress-like feeling of protection and privacy. This townhouse also has a roof deck which Mr. Wang said is oriented for positive energy with a view of the mountains on the left and the ocean on the right.”

Adapting to Individual Needs

While Mr. Stark provides feng shui consultations for developers, offices, schools and healthcare facilities, individual consultations for residences from city condos to custom estates offer the opportunity to provide an optimal living environment for the clients’ specific needs. He charges approximately $10,000 to $15,000 for a simple feng shui analysis on a home. Occasionally, Mr. Stark works on the same property several times for the same client and sometimes for different owners.

“There’s no such thing as generic feng shui,” he said. “I consulted on a home 15 years ago for an entrepreneur with a young family. The entrepreneur had a small workspace in the basement, so we moved his office to the ‘wealth corner’ of the house by replacing a guest suite with an office, a library and a separate entrance. We brought in a brassier feel with stone and metal and glass to give it a more powerful presence.”

Years later, the new owners of that house hired Mr. Stark.

“They are retired, so we converted the office suite back to a guest room and brought in wood and natural fibers and created a softer, plush area with several sitting areas,” Mr. Stark said. “Their priorities were relationships, health and serenity.”

Mr. Stark analyzes the orientations of a residence and the optimal compass directions for individual members of the household based on feng shui principles.

“The first couple needed southeastern energy, so we wanted the space to be as bright as possible, especially in the morning,” Mr. Stark said. “The second couple needed southwestern energy, so we closed off the space with trees and drapes.”

The traditional belief is that eastern energy is good for growth such as in business or for conception, while western energy is good for consolidation of the marriage and family, said Mr. Stark. Northern energy provides tranquility, while southern energy provides clarity, he said.

“About 60% of the time the home is already built, so we analyze the floor plan and the site plan to see where the energy comes from and manipulate it to match our clients’ priorities,” Mr. Stark said. “When we work with an architect at the schematic stage, we can do more to hold onto the positive energy and get rid of the negative energy.”

At Ms. Meadow’s Connecticut home, which is still under construction, Mr. Stark found that while most of the site and design were positive for feng shui, a U-shaped entry courtyard created diminished potential for partnerships that could have a negative impact on the family’s relationships.

“We buried quartz crystals along the perimeter of the site and hung wind chimes inside the walls to offset the negative energy,” said Ms. Meadow. “Alex was concerned that the direct alignment of the front door with these massive tall windows at the back of the house would accelerate the passage of energy through the space, which would lead to stress, constant activity and struggle.”

The solution is to place an oval table with flowers or a plant with round leaves to disperse the energy before it reaches the back of the house.

Correcting Dysfunction

Ms. Lake has redesigned kitchens that feel cold and lack the right energy to encourage family and friends to gather.

“An all-white kitchen can feel austere, so we bring in plants, colors and texture or change the stone from one that feels cold to one that adds warmth,” said Ms. Lake. “In one home, the range was placed in the natural pathway people would use to move around the kitchen. Once it was moved, the energy and flow in the kitchen changed completely.”

The stove, primary bed and desk are important power centers for every household, which makes positioning those items important.

“You don’t want the desk to be placed so that your back is to the entrance to the room because that sets you up for lies and deceit,” Ms. Meadow said.

Placing the bed, desk and stove in the “command position” can bring greater success and strength to the heads of the household, according to feng shui principles.

Traditional feng shui also relies on numerology, color schemes and cleansing rituals to create a positive environment for every member of the family.

Reprinted by permission of Penta. Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Original date of publication: January 31, 2022


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The city’s real-estate market has been hurt by high interest rates and mainland China’s economic slowdown

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Hong Kong has taken a bold step to ease a real-estate slump, scrapping a series of property taxes in an effort to turn around a market that is often seen as a proxy for the city’s beleaguered economy.

The government has removed longstanding property taxes that were imposed on nonpermanent residents, those buying a second home, or people reselling a property within two years after buying, Financial Secretary Paul Chan said in his annual budget speech on Wednesday.

The move is an attempt to revive a property market that is still one of the most expensive in the world, but that has been badly shaken by social unrest, the fallout of the government’s strict approach to containing Covid-19 and the slowdown of China’s economy . Hong Kong’s high interest rates, which track U.S. rates due to its currency peg,  have increased the pressure .

The decision to ease the tax burden could encourage more buying from people in mainland China, who have been a driving force in Hong Kong’s property market for years. Chinese tycoons, squeezed by problems at home, have  in some cases become forced sellers  of Hong Kong real estate—dealing major damage to the luxury segment.

Hong Kong’s super luxury homes  have lost more than a quarter of their value  since the middle of 2022.

The additional taxes were introduced in a series of announcements starting in 2010, when the government was focused on cooling down soaring home prices that had made Hong Kong one of the world’s least affordable property markets. They are all in the form of stamp duty, a tax imposed on property sales.

“The relevant measures are no longer necessary amidst the current economic and market conditions,” Chan said.

The tax cuts will lead to more buying and support prices in the coming months, said Eddie Kwok, senior director of valuation and advisory services at CBRE Hong Kong, a property consultant. But in the longer term, the market will remain sensitive to the level of interest rates and developers may still need to lower their prices to attract demand thanks to a stockpile of new homes, he said.

Hong Kong’s authorities had already relaxed rules last year to help revive the market, allowing home buyers to pay less upfront when buying certain properties, and cutting by half the taxes for those buying a second property and for home purchases by foreigners. By the end of 2023, the price index for private homes reached a seven-year low, according to Hong Kong’s Rating and Valuation Department.

The city’s monetary authority relaxed mortgage rules further on Wednesday, allowing potential buyers to borrow more for homes valued at around $4 million.

The shares of Hong Kong’s property developers jumped after the announcement, defying a selloff in the wider market. New World Development , Sun Hung Kai Properties and Henderson Land Development were higher in afternoon trading, clawing back some of their losses from a slide in their stock prices this year.

The city’s budget deficit will widen to about $13 billion in the coming fiscal year, which starts on April 1. That is larger than expected, Chan said. Revenues from land sales and leases, an important source of government income, will fall to about $2.5 billion, about $8.4 billion lower than the original estimate and far lower than the previous year, according to Chan.

The sweeping property measures are part of broader plans by Hong Kong’s government to prop up the city amid competition from Singapore and elsewhere. Stringent pandemic controls and anxieties about Beijing’s political crackdown led to  an exodus of local residents and foreigners  from the Asian financial centre.

But tens of thousands of Chinese nationals have arrived in the past year, the result of Hong Kong  rolling out new visa rules aimed at luring talent in 2022.


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