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Feng Shui Design Cure: How to hide a bathroom door

Can you find the bathroom in this picture?

As part of  a recent apartment renovation, I was asked to create a dining room out of an area that was almost unusable, because a bathroom door pointed directly into the space.  The door was not only unsightly, it made the small space feel like nothing more than a path to the bath!

I wanted to create an elegant looking dining area, and essentially make the bathroom disappear. The solution: hang a curtain that would hide the bathroom door and create the effect of a solid wall.

This is a simple remedy that anyone can do – the key is to tie it into the design of the space.  The way that I did that was to paint the wall a rich cinnamon color and hang a curtain that matched the color of the wall exactly. This meant that when the curtain is closed, the effect is one of a “solid” wall.  The color of the wall and curtain were selected based on the best Feng Shui colors for the room.

The bathroom is the white door behind the curtain.

I found this silk curtain at Restoration Hardware. I liked the contrasting cream color that peeks out from inside the pleats. I chose a curtain rod that matched the iron hardware on the light fixtures that  I had selected for the over the dining table and the bar. I also painted the walls around the bathroom door the same color as the dining room wall, and placed a light fixture over the bathroom door that tied in with the bar lights. So in rare cases when the curtain is open, it all works together.

My work is often about creating solutions to those aspects of a space that have frustrated clients and drained their energy. (I love finding a way to make a home work –  it’s kind of like solving a puzzle.) In this case, the clients were very happy to finally have a dining room where they could enjoy meals together and entertain friends and family.

November 4, 2010   4 Comments

Green Design Update: 10 New Products to Watch


Part of creating More Than Just a Pretty Space is finding ways to incorporate green products into each design. A healthier home and office is integral to the Feng Shui philosophy of living in harmony with our environment.

 So I was thrilled by the current exhibit at New York’s Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum, called Why Design Now?  It was a beautiful and far reaching collection of some of the most cutting edge innovations that could change our lives and protect our planet.

 From the program: “This exhibit explores the work of designers addressing human and environmental problems across many fields of the design practice, from architecture and products to fashion, graphics, new media, and landscapes.”

 As a designer, it also turned me onto several fantastic new products that I look forward to incorporating into upcoming design jobs. (And in a few cases, they highlighted products I already use and love.)

 Here are 10 cutting edge green products to watch:

  1. Wood Notes fabrics (above)

This gorgeous fabric is made of paper! I can see using this to make subtle dividers in a large open space, such as a loft. From the museum program: “Environmental concerns play a central role in the production of Woodnotes’s paper-yarn products, which range from elegant room dividers to scarves, rugs, and furniture.”

 2. Ice Stone (above)

This attractive surface material is a mix of recycled glass and cement. From the museum program: “It’s a highly versatile, nontoxic, sustainable alternative to mined or engineered stone. In 2008, IceStone achieved cradle-to-cradle gold certification due to its use of recycled and VOC-free content.” It would make a gorgeous kitchen counter top, and I would also consider making a parsons table or desk out of it.

 3. Greensulate insulation (above)

Can you believe this insulation is made from mushrooms!

From the museum program: “Greensulate is an organic, fire-retardant board made from mycelium, the “roots” of a mushroom, and other natural byproducts such as buckwheat and rice hulls and cotton burrs. It is an affordable and environmentally friendly replacement for structural insulating panels.” I look forward to using this insulation in a new home or office construction!

4. Heath Ceramics (above)

I was glad to see Heath in the exhibit. From the museum program: “Heath creates simple, timeless tableware with a commitment to local manufacturing and handcraft technique, showing a reverence for materials and engaging in eco-friendly and socially minded practices” …oh yeah, and their pottery is simply gorgeous.

5. Te 83 lamp (above)

From the museum program: “Inspired by the traditional Dutch rope-making industry. Designer Meindertsma conceived a rich line of objects using flax, a versatile fiber derived from a plant that grows plentifully in the Netherlands. Collaborating with a master rope maker, she used flax harvested from a local Dutch farm to create simple objects for contemporary life. In a series of hanging lights, the rope maker wound strands of flax around the electrical supply cord, combining power delivery and functional support into a single element.”

This would be perfect in a beach house!  

 6. Odegard Rugs (above)

Again, from the museum program: “Stephanie Odegard carpet maker Odegard, began working with exiled Tibetan carpet weavers in Nepal that they gained popularity in the West. Over twenty years ago, the designer guided the restructuring of wool trading lines and provided weavers with necessary market development and innovative designs, which helped the carpet trade become one of the leading industries in Nepal.” I am truly inspired by Stephanie. She is a pioneer in green design, and she creates truly beautiful rugs.  My clients cherish them like family heirlooms.


7. Wasara paper plates (above)

God, I love these plates! They are works of art. The museum program states: “The phrase “paper plate” usually conjures images of haste and waste, not spiritual enrichment and ecological awareness. The Wasara collection of disposable tableware speaks to traditional Japanese hospitality. Their serene, inventive forms enhance the sensual experience of dining while offering the convenience of disposability.”

8. Trove Wall covering (Photo at top of this post)

From the museum program: “In the current wallcoverings market, environmentally friendly examples are extremely limited, and papers made with toxic inks, vinyl, and other noxious elements still plague the industry. In 2006, artists Jee Levin and Randall Buck founded Trove, a New York–based company that designs and manufactures commercially rated, environmentally responsible wallcoverings. Trove’s products are recyclable, use nontoxic and archival inks, and have a wax-based coating that is washable and durable. All papers are printed to the specific wall height to eliminate waste. Combining digital working methods with imagery inspired from nature.” I like the ethereal images and nature imagery. In my designs I often use images of trees, water, or other elements as Feng Shui cures. A wallpaper with images of these things is a wonderful option.

9. Nuno Fabrics (above)

I love Nuno and have used them in several designs. Their fabrics are totally unique, and I now realize, completely green!

From the museum program: “NUNO combines the best of past and present; drawing on traditional aesthetics and attention to creative processes to inspire today’s fashions, while enlisting modern technologies to make Japan’s “lost art” more accessible to textile lovers worldwide.”

10.  Invisible Street Lamps (above)

The museum program reads: “Imagine walking through a forest at night and seeing small bursts of light, like fireflies, magically scintillating among the branches. Such is the concept behind Korean designer Jongoh Lee’s Invisible Streetlight: artificial leaves that can be wrapped around tree branches and other natural surroundings. During the day, these thin, delicate leaf structures, invisible as they mingle with the tree’s natural leaves, harness and store sunlight. At night, they provide a poetic alternative to most streetlights, which are strictly functional and designed for fixed, pre-determined heights.” Ingenious! What a treat it would be to see these lights incorporated into trees as I walk down the streets of New York.

I hope this has inspired you to explore how you can use some of the new gorgeous green products that are now available!

October 26, 2010   No Comments

Feng Shui Bedroom Design


Before – bland and lacking privacy

 After – a romantic retreat with good Feng Shui

 A woman recently contacted me for feng shui interior design services. Her apartment was an exciting triplex in Manhattan with a breathtaking view of the Empire State Building.

Among the areas I was to focus on was feng shui for love. Looking at the bedroom, it was clear that that the space was romantically challenged. The bedroom was in a loft-like area above the living room, with only a half wall separating it from the rest of the space. So basically, her bedroom was on display to everyone who enters the house. This is not good feng shui for love, since a feng shui bedroom is a space that feels romantic, cozy, and private.

However, the client did not want to close off her bedroom from the rest of the space, since it didn’t get much natural light. So my solution was to add a wall of sheer draperies. This accomplished several things: it made the room much more private, while allowing soft light to filter through. It also created a dreamy feeling in the bedroom, which is good love feng shui. Furthermore, as I did the advanced flying star feng shui compass analysis of the home, it was clear that the feng shui cure for her bedroom was the Water element. Based on her home’s specific feng shui (each home is different) water would enhance romance.

Water element can be added by using an actual water feature (such as a fountain or aquarium) or using the colors associated with water, which are blue or black. I decided on a large, custom tufted blue upholsterd headboard to draw romance to the bed!

The finished space feels sexy, cozy, and elegant. Good feng shui is present in the selection of colors, furnishings, even position of the bed. Now, the stage is set for Mr. Right…


Before – view towards bedroom loft

After – view of bedroom is hidden from view

August 9, 2010   9 Comments