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, 2022Grey 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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New research from Knight Frank’s International Waterfront Index shows waterfront properties are costing more than double their inland counterparts in Sydney while in Melbourne waterside properties attract a 40% premium.

Australia’s coastline attracts some of the highest waterfront premiums in the world with Sydney topping the index — an average premium of 121% — compared to an equivalent home set away from the water.

Auckland ranked second on the list of 17 international locations — a premium of 76%. The list saw Gold Coast (71%), Perth (69%) and the Cap d’Antibes (59%) on the French Riviera round out the top 5.

Australia continued to feature prominently in the research with Brisbane’s waterfront premium coming in at 55%, with Melbourne also in the top 10 at 39%.

According to Knight Frank Australia’s head of residential research, Michelle Ciesielski, there has always been strong appetite for Sydney’s waterfront homes.

Australia’s luxury residential market has advanced, it lacks the depth of prestige markets in more established global cities said Cieselski.

“As a result, our Australian cities can achieve a significantly higher premium on the waterfront compared to a similar property inland without access to, or a view of, water,” she said.

“Also, Australia is known for its balmy outdoor lifestyle, so many buyers in this super-prime space are willing to pay a premium to secure the ideal position along the waterfront.”

The data also suggests that beachfront homes were most desirable, commanding a premium of 63% compared to harbour locations fetching 62% premium and coastal homes with a 40% premium.