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Harmonious Pool Design Part 1

I’m planning to build a pool at my Amagansett home soon, and I have been doing a lot of thinking about how to integrate good feng shui into the design. Here are some guidelines that I am following in my pool design, and hopefully they will help you create a harmonious oasis of your own…


A pool is a body of water (obviously), and in the five-element cycle of Feng Shui, the “water” element works best when it is near the “wood” element. So a pool surrounded by trees, plants, and flowers creates a harmonious environment that is pleasant to be around. Conversely, a pool surrounded by concrete does not feel as inviting.

...this is the 5 Element Cycle of Feng Shui

Also, in the five-element cycle of Feng Shui, water and fire do not mix (since water puts out fire). Therefore, I do not advocate having fire too close to a pool. However, it is absolutely fine to have a fireplace in the same landscape, but there should be distance between the two elements.

...here you see a nice separation between the pool and fireplace.


Feng Shui is all about finding ways to live in harmony with our environment. When designing a pool, make sure there are strong visual and physical links between this wonderful natural feature and the interior of your home. You might ask yourself the following questions:

– From how many rooms can I see the pool?

– From how many places in the house can I easily walk to the pool?

– How will the pool look in the winter? (If you close your pool in the colder months, how can your landscape remain inviting?)

– Can I see the pool at night? How will the pool be lit?

...good lighting lets you enjoy the pool well into the night.



 Even in a small space, it is important to make sure that your pool has enough room for lounge chairs, greenery, and ease of movement around the water’s edge.

 To create the best dimensions for your pool, consider using the Golden Measure, which is 1.618 to 1. So a pool that is 18 feet wide would be about 29 feet long. The Golden Measure (also called the Golden Ratio or Golden Mean) is believed to be most aesthetically pleasing proportion, and is found throughout nature.

This is me at one of my favorite pools  –  at the home of my husband’s parents in East Hampton, New York. It was built using the Golden Ratio, and has a natural elegance:

Check back soon for Part 2 – and please share any of your pool design tips!


July 29, 2013   No Comments

Feng Shui Home Staging results in Full Price Sale

A few months ago I was asked to stage a Brooklyn townhouse that my clients wanted to sell. Within 6 weeks of this makeover, I’m happy to report that the house was sold for full asking price! 

Here are some of the ways that I used Feng Shui staging principles to transform the townhouse into a selling machine:

 1. Repaint all the public rooms one calming, and cohesive color.

 In this house I used Benjamin Moore Silver Cloud, a pale gray with blue undertones. In today’s housing market, it seems like pale gray paint colors are very popular with potential buyers.

2. Remove all the clutter and let potential buyers see open space.

I rented an outside storage space and put about one-third of my client’s items in storage.

The result is a space that could boarder on stark. But by adding tactile furnishings and cozy rugs, along with the addition of plants and flowers, I was still able to give the house a feeling of warmth and life. (It’s a big change from what it looked like before.)

Before: the room felt dark and heavy.

 3. Create a “formal” dining room, even if you don’t use it in your daily life.

Potential buyers need to see the place where they could have family meals, celebrate a holiday, etc. Since the owners of this house only had a kitchen table, I purchased an inexpensive Ikea dining table and chairs, and turned one corner of the living room into the “formal dining area.”

 For the kitchen, I added a light and airy table and chairs (also from Ikea) and created a cheerful breakfast room, making sure that the two dining areas looked distinctly different.

Construction tip: I also removed the wallpaper in the kitchen niche. It was pretty, but could distract potential buyers from focusing on the great kitchen.

Before: The kitchen wallpaper, table and chairs were all replaced.

4. The Master Bedroom should be light, bright, pretty…and depersonalized

In this bedroom, I removed the rug to expose the original wood floors. I replaced heavy looking bedside tables with bright (and budget friendly) West Elm tables, and added pretty bed linens.

Construction tip: I altered an oddly placed bump in the wall behind the bed, extending it to perfectly fit the size of the headboard. Now it looks like a deliberate design detail.

Before: the original master bedroom.


5. Baths and kitchens sell homes – but you don’t need a major renovation to make them look great.

In the kid’s bathroom, I replaced a single sink with a sleek double vanity and hung a large mirror above. Just that, and a fresh coat of white paint on the walls, made the bathroom look twice as large.


Before: the kids bathroom

6. Unusual or bold paint colors are not good for home sales. Keep walls simple, and bring in bold accessories.

I loved the deep turquoise walls that had been in this guest room, but when staging the house, I painted the room a pale cream. For a splash of color, I added a red light fixture to tie in with the exciting rug. (The light wall color also makes the room look bigger, always good when selling!)

Before: the guest room with its bold walls

The charming back yard.

7. Feng Shui Colors and Elements for Wealth

By doing an advanced Feng Shui analysis of the house, I was able to see the best colors and natural elements to attract good buyers and a great sale price. It seems to have worked!

 A special thank you to a wonderful Real Estate agent, Phyllis Norton-Towers at Brown Harris Stevens, for her expertise, and her “after” photos.

January 17, 2013   2 Comments

Before and After Brooklyn Loft Renovation Part 1


The loft After - like the design gods intended!

Our client had a simple request: make her loft feel like a loft again.

As so often happens in Brooklyn, a beautiful old warehouse had been poorly chopped up into a bunch of “spec” lofts. The developer had covered old brick walls and gorgeous beamed ceilings with sheet rock, removing all of the character and history.

The loft before - hiding its greatness

Our client was longing to have an authentic loft lifestyle, and wanted to incorporate good Feng Shui energy into the renovation of her home. She was an amazing collaborator with a wonderful sense of style, and is a big reason why this loft turned out so beautifully!

 One of the key things we did was take down a wall between the living room and the master bedroom to create one open space.

Before - The wall on the left made the space narrow and dark.


After - Removing the wall made this space feel huge.

We also removed the dropped ceilings, exposed and refinished the original beams, and installed recessed lighting to bring light throughout the space while keeping a warm, rustic feeling. As an added effect, I found two pairs of 19th century French doors that we used to line the closets  (shown on the left side of the photo).

The daughters’ room, located behind the kitchen, had been a windowless space…

Before - the girls' bedroom longed for sunlight.

By installing high transom windows around the perimeter of the room, we brought in light and increased the air circulation.

After - the cheerful girls room has windows along two sides for sunlight and air flow. (Yes - that is the same corner of the room!)

 To keep within the client’s budget, we made minimal changes to the kitchen and bathrooms – with one key exception:

Before - the original kitchen went from blah to wow, with one key change...

The important addition of a custom concrete island brought great “bang for the buck.” With it as the centerpiece of the kitchen, the original cabinets and appliances instantly looked as good as new.

After - the custom concrete kitchen counter transformed the original kitchen.

Check back soon for Part 2: Design Details and Feng Shui tips for your home!

November 15, 2012   4 Comments