Feng Shui – One Agent’s Perspective

A few weeks ago I was walking along Osborne Street near my home in Brookline. I looked up and noticed this large house facing me from the end of Osborne Street.

While the house itself looks great, I particularly noticed how amazing it felt to look down Osborne and see this magnificent house sitting handsomely at the end. It occurred to me that having one’s entrance looking down the street would be considered excellent Feng Shui. I remembered that the developers of the Mandarin Hotel and Residences in the Back Bay had, at great expense and at the last minute, situated the Hotel entrance to look down Fairfield Street in order to improve its Feng Shui.  They even had to move the street lights to make it all work. See this Boston.com article to read the full story.

Feng Shui, literally translated as “wind-water” is an ancient Chinese system of aesthetics  that uses various principles of energy, design, architecture, and other disciplines that work together to improve life. In the context of residential real estate, it is mostly an art related to improving design and function. It is not really about aesthetics (although aesthetics still play a role), but rather about energy and balance so that one’s life works better. In my experience selling homes, I have had clients with varying degrees of concern for and knowledge about how a potential home measures up according to Feng Shui principles. I have also had a couple of clients hire Feng Shui consultants to evaluate their potential home, and I hired one myself to suggest improvements to my last home. I have learned a few things in this process. These are NOT in any way any kind of basic principles but rather just some interesting odds and ends I have picked up.

  1. Real estate agents are generally not that happy when their clients want to evaluate a home’s Feng Shui. They often see it as just another obstacle that may have to be overcome. Fortunately, this is not my perspective.
  2. Rectangular construction is good.  Corners are good. Anything curvy can be problematic. The reasons for this are somewhat complicated and are related to energy and balance.
  3. When you are considering a condo or apartment on more than one floor you should be concerned if your upper floor is not situated entirely over your lower floor. A floor plan that falls into this category is known as the “Philly Duplex.”  These homes occupy half of one floor and then all of an adjacent floor.  The reason for this concern relates again to balance and also to healthy boundaries between your home and your neighbor’s.
  4. Bed placement is crucial. Make sure you place the bed so that you can see the entrance to the bedroom from the bed, but it is not directly in front of you. I did not adhere to this principle at one point and my bedroom always felt wrong – now I know why.
  5. Many, if not most, “problems” can be mitigated enough to alleviate major concerns without reconstruction or spending a great deal of money. You can vastly improve the Feng Shui of your home working with the right colors, proper furniture placement, plants, screens and mirrors, as well as just de-cluttering. There is also a huge amount of information out there and it is fairly easy to find and understand.

Do you have any good Feng Shui stories or principles you would like to share?
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  1. Heather says

    In accordance with your observation in point #4, I have always felt that most people experience bad feng shui by a room’s arrangement just not feeling right. We don’t always know what the problem is or how to fix it – those people you know who always seem to know where the new painting or side table is going to look best probably have a good sense of style and spacial balance, but also a good feng shui instinct, as those things all seem to go hand in hand. If it feels good, you have probably acheived good balance in the room, and you also more likely than not have good feng shui. Or so I choose to believe. That said, I do love a curved wall!

  2. says

    Ilene Stahl shared this with me – I’ve been interested in the ideas outlined in A Pattern Language for many years now, but have been dismayed at how little currency those ideas seem to have in various sectors of the building/housing industry. Feng Shui and Pattern Language seem to reach a lot of the same conclusions; the people who are not receptive to Feng Shui (if they think of it as New-Agey or what have you) would probably feel differently about the whole conversation if it was framed in the terminology of a group of architects having travelled around and studied which ideas emerge over and over in different cultures and across different continents. If you’re unfamiliar with it, the website http://www.patternlanguage.com/picturegallery/pictureframe.htm?/picturegallery/../houses/houses.htm
    is worth a look.

    The original book is a wonderful resource as well, containing a wealth of enlightening ideas at all levels of building and planning, complemented by beautiful photographic illustrations. I press a copy into the hands of anybody I meet who is thinking of building a house.