Good Feng Shui Qualities

Good Feng Shui Qualities
Good Feng Shui Qualities

Monday, July 27, 2015

Using Feng Shui to Buy Your Next Home- Part 1

In the market for a new home?  Have you ever considered the feng shui of a prospective home?  Some people get an immediate vibe or feel when they walk through the front door, and some people get that sense when they just drive up to the house.  Others aren’t that sensitive, or in some cases have just denied that sense even exists on earth, and have quelled the feelings so substantially that they don’t come up anymore.

Whatever category you fit into, I'm going to give you some practical advice on features that will bring positive energy to you and invite good things to happen once you’re living in the house. It should help you to select one home over another.  If you’re considering a “Fixer-Upper” then it would also be a good idea to consider these factors when re-designing your home to meet your needs. If you're planning on putting your home on the market, it will be helpful to you to know more about feng shui. And… if you’re just considering remodeling a portion of your home, you can use these factors as a guide.

First of all, what is Feng Shui? It’s best explained with an example. Most of us can recall a time when we walked into a room at our work or even our home and immediately knew there was something uncomfortable that had just happened in that space.  Sometimes people will use the old saying, “The atmosphere was so thick you could cut it with a knife.”  That is an example of Feng Shui, the invisible energy that affects every part of our lives.  Feng Shui, directly translated, means wind and water.  Throughout its 5,000 year history, the guiding principle remains the same: the pursuit of the most advantageous and harmonious place to live and work.  So, here goes nothin’.

Characteristics to Consider When Looking for a New Home:

The Neighborhood…

1. Should be a part of nature- greenery and wildlife should abound so that good Ch’i (energy) will flow easily to your home.













2. If there's an opportunity to purchase land adjacent to water, do it!  Water is associated with wealth. Need I say more?  

















3. Avoid a house at the end of a cul-de-sac or the end of a road.
4. As much as it seems romantic to own a house boat (I’m recalling the movie Sleepless in Seattle) don’t consider buying one.  Professor Grandmaster Lin Yun, would have said that you have no roots when you live and sleep on the water. There are cures for almost every problem except this one, so avoid needing one for this situation.

The House…

  1. Should have the front door facing the street, rather than leading to one side of the house or another.
  2. The front door should be elevated a bit, with a few steps up to a porch.
  3. Should have ample exterior lighting.
  4. Should have a colorful presence with lots of healthy plants. 

  5. Should not have a tree directly in front of the main entrance.
  6. Should have house numbers that are easy to read from the street.
  7. Ideally should be shaped in its overall footprint like a square or rectangle.  (Cures can be utilized by a feng shui consultant to fix this problem, as few homes on today’s market are actually these shapes.) 

Next Week...

I will write more about the interior of the house next week, or this will become a never-ending entry.  We'll discuss the interior entry, the kitchen, master bedroom, study/office, and more.

In Conclusion:

Questions?  Comments?  I’d love to hear from you.  Some of this might seem like basic good sense, and it is, but it’s a little more complex that it appears in this entry. If you think you’ve found the right house and want me to come see it to give you opinion from a feng shui perspective, contact me via my website, www.TransformationsforInteriors.com and we can set up an appointment.


Happy House Hunting!

Monday, July 20, 2015

French Country Design: Warm and Welcoming

French Country design style has a rustic appeal while maintaining old world sophistication, as its characteristics are drawn from the natural world of the French countryside.  It has two sides, sort of a Yin and Yang of décor: it can be stately and refined when you’re decorating a grand estate, or comfy and soothing when decorating a country cottage.  

Comfy & cozy French Country style
Stately and grand French Country Style

Even though French Country can result in vastly different looks, there are common characteristics that make it a design style people return to again and again.


 

 

 


Architectural Selections:



Natural materials, such as stone, wood, plaster, and brick play a very important role in French Country design.  Floors can be wood or natural stone, often covered with wool or cotton rugs for warmth and comfort under foot.  Walls can be plastered or faux finished to look like plaster.  Although ceilings often feature real or faux wood beams, my Feng Shui training could not recommend this particular choice.  Windows tend to be tall and narrow, with more deeply cut window sills than today’s standard windows.  Differences in texture and color are key to this look.  If you select dark wood floors and faux finished plastered walls, then you might consider soft fabric window treatments in a contrasting color and some curves to the furniture lines.


Color

French country decor reflects the hues of the countryside. Think green hills, stone buildings and structures, lavender fields and vineyards.  Those who haven’t had the opportunity to travel to France can think of Napa Valley.  Look for inspiration from lavender fields, outdoor stone, rustic buildings and the sun. Focus on warm colors like yellows and oranges. 

Bring in the outdoors by mixing these hues with deep wood tones.  White or grey painted furniture can also play its role in French Country décor.


Textures:

Toile (pronounced twäl) is a popular French Country textile, depicting serene, rural scenes.  It is printed in a single color on a solid background, often on heavy linen fabric or wallpaper.  

For those who spent hours in recent years removing wallpaper from their home, the new trend gives some beautiful options that you can see in several of these photographs, as well as the picture below.  


Checks, stripes and plaids are also often used in French Country design.



Furniture

A rustic look, with aged peeling paint and rusty metals make furniture look as though it’s a family heirloom when designing for a French Country décor.  Curved lines that are delicate and graceful embody both the more formal look for Estates as well as for comfy cottages.


Free-standing Furniture


A French country kitchen features armoires and hutches in the kitchen to store dishes, silverware, serving dishes, linens and sometimes even food.  Although built-in cabinets are standard and considered as imperative to a well-functioning kitchen as are state-of-the-art appliances, leave some space for these free standing pieces to create the look of French Country.  Armoires are also traditionally used in bedrooms (including hanging rods) and living rooms as well.





Regal and Refined 







Cozy and Comfy






Accessories:



Botanical prints are often featured in French Country Décor, as are old iron chandeliers, copper pots & pans, large woven or wire baskets, old books and bunches of lavender or wheat serve as wonderful accessories to complete this style.  
Traditional French Country products and motifs include roosters, olives, sunflowers, grapes, lavender, and beetles.  Lastly add fresh flowers everywhere, whether they’re in clear glass vases, old pitchers or copper pots.


Adding some of the ideas I’ve shared will bring you much joy and a real sense of charm to your home.  If you'd like more information, or some personal design expertise, please contact me at www.TransformationsforInteriors.com  Let me know your ideas as well as questions you might have about French Country style.  C'est bon!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Need a New Mattress?

A good mattress can help you sleep better, and that’s vital to your overall health. While it’s true that getting a good night’s sleep depends upon room temperature, your stress level, your bedding, and a comfortable bed, getting a quality mattress can give you an excellent basis from which to get a healthful night’s sleep.  It’s the one piece of furniture that you spend the most time on of all pieces in your home- ideally 1/3 of your life is spent sleeping. For those slumbering less than that, sleep deprivation can have serious health consequences, including a bad mood, lower immunity, and a slower metabolism.  “Bedding systems” (a fancy term for a box spring & mattress) that are uncomfortable hinder your ability to get rest, and those that feel comfortable give us a better chance of sleeping well, and therefore keep us heathy.



If you’re thinking about purchasing a new mattress, it can be a daunting task when one considers all the types and sizes from which to choose.  It’s a major purchase, so be prepared to learn more through blogs and articles like this one before you shop.  Selecting a mattress is to some extent an individual choice, so while I can help you with the research you really do need to be the one laying down to try out beds in showrooms.  I suggest you narrow down the vast array to two or three options in your first trip, and then go back two more times before making your final selection.

The research that’s out there on which is the best mattress is conflicting.  Probably the main reason for all this controversy is that personal comfort is just that- personal.  Here are some general guidelines to use:
  • Replace both mattress and box spring about every ten years.  Keep it longer and the materials start to degrade, which will (probably) make it less comfortable. If you are sleeping poorly or in pain every day, then think about upgrading sooner.
  • “Test drive” different models by taking off your shoes and lying down on mattresses.  This will give you the ability to eliminate those that are too firm, too soft, etc.  (Did that sound like the story of the Three Bears to you?)
  • Test “sleep” by taking off your shoes and lying down on a mattress you think you might like for 15-20 minutes, laying in positions identical to the ones you actually sleep in most comfortably.
  • Find a mattress that fits your body- one that’s designed to fit your spine’s natural curve and distributes pressure evenly across your body, chiropractors say.
  • Ignore brand names.  Virtually all coil mattresses are made by the same manufacturer. Thicker doesn’t mean better, either.  A bigger price tag doesn’t necessarily mean higher quality.
  • If you have allergies to dust mites, mold or particular bacteria, be sure to read labels.  Make certain that the bed's materials don’t contain or attract these allergens.  You could invest in a hypoallergenic mattress like natural latex or wool. If these aren’t an option (as they are more costly), then get a cover that encircles the entire mattress.
  • Partners should test beds together.  If your partner likes a firmness that's dramatically different than yours, then consider a bed that can have two different levels within it.
  • Check the return policy- don’t get stuck with a bedding system that doesn’t provide you the good night’s sleep you deserve.  Try to make the first choice the right choice for you.  Often, a 100 day "satisfaction guarantee" means you’ll still have to pay return shipping, shipping of your new choice, and perhaps other fees to exchange a bed.

Types of Mattresses:

Innerspring Mattresses:
Innerspring close-up

 Individually enclosed coil springs, standing next to one another in a grid are covered with a variety of materials to add comfort, such as pillows, to latex, to memory foam.  You need a coil count of about 390 in a queen bed, according to experts, although some sales people may imply that more is better. There are lots of coil mattresses out there, at a variety of firmnesses, and at various price points to fit most budgets. People who are overweight may find it easier to get in and out of bed.  There is very little relationship between comfort and cost, but it is suggested to avoid the cheapest of these types of beds if you want it to be comfortable for ten years.

  Memory Foam Mattresses



Made of layers of different foam densities that respond to weight and temperature make up this type of mattress. They’re known for comfort because they conform to the specific shape of your body.  Memory foam toppers are also available for purchase. Memory foam reduces pressure points and relieves pain because as your body shifts throughout the night, it automatically adjusts itself.  Probably the major complaint is that because the foam softens and molds to your body, they can make you feel extremely hot at night.  It’s a great bed if you sleep with a partner, though because you’re less likely to be disturbed when your partner moves.

Latex Mattresses

Made from either natural or synthetic rubber, Latex mattresses are known for providing firm support that bounces back, providing great support.  That support is uniform throughout the bed, so is similar to memory foam in terms of comfort, although firmer.  It’s a great bed if you sleep with a partner, though because you’re less likely to be disturbed when your partner moves.  Latex toppers are also available for purchase.  These are great mattresses for relieving back pain.

Air Mattresses

Air beds look like standard innerspring mattresses, and use air-filled chambers instead of coils, covered with a foam layer on top. (These aren’t the blow-up mattresses you fill when you have a house full of guests who are attending a friend’s wedding.)  These beds are a good match for couples who prefer different levels of firmness and comfort, as each side can be adjusted to meet the individual’s needs.  Air beds have been used for patients with spinal cord injuries who must lay in bed for long periods of time.  These can be adjusted so that they don’t continually put pressure on the same areas of a body, which can avoid skin breakdown in patients who can’t move.  Lower quality air mattresses can have firmness problems, so you will want to do your research before shopping for this type of bed.

Adjustable Beds

The ability to elevate and bend at varying angles makes this mattress need to be flexible. Memory foam, latex and air beds can be used on an adjustable bed, but spring mattresses just don’t work.  These beds are great for people who:
  1. have trouble getting in or out of bed;
  2. enjoy watching T.V. in bed;
  3. suffer from sleep apnea;
  4. suffer from GERD;
  5. suffer from aching legs due to varicose veins.

In conclusion:

Often times, salespeople will say that your mattress is “made to last a lifetime,” but as previously stated, you really shouldn’t keep it that long.  Our bodies and needs change over time, so the mattress that you loved in your last decade just isn’t as comfortable as it once was.  
Experts say that the best bed for you is the one that feels most comfortable. If a new bedding system is in your near future, but you're still not certain where or how to start, give me a call/contact me through my website, http://TransformationsforInteriors.com   I alway make time for my readers.


...SLEEP WELL TONIGHT...










Monday, July 6, 2015

Could You Love Scandinavian Design?

Well known for their purity, utility and beauty, Scandinavian homes are functional with amazing attention paid to craftsmanship using simple materials and clean lines.  Scandinavia is North of Europe, consisting of the countries Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Faroe Islands and Iceland.  Emerging in the 1950s, Scandinavian Design became popular again in the 1990s.  The use of light is important to a continent that gets little during its Winter months.  You will note a lot of white, as well as soft neutrals in much of their design. 

When I decided to write an article on Scandinavian Design, I decided to do so because much of my heritage is from Sweden and Finland.  After all, my name is Nordlund (meaning North land or North grove.) My dad worked for the Post Office, initially as a mail deliverer and later as a supervisor, but took early retirement to give his real love, cabinet making more time.  To this day, when I smell freshly cut wood in a shop, I think immediately of my dad, and mom saying “You can always tell a Swede, but you can’t tell him much.”

Scandinavian Climate
Denmark and Iceland’s average temperature in Winter is 32° F, but can dip to -22° F.  In Norway, coastal regions have mild winters, but inland temperatures range from 21-37° F in Winter.  Sweden’s temperatures averages between 21-37° F, but can dip to 5°F.

Be Environmentally Friendly
Swedes include such items as triple-glazing, proper insulation for walls and roofs, ground source heat pumps, etc. in new builds.



Form and Function
Clean lines are used from architecture to furniture.  A truly Scandinavian interior is very livable and functional.

Floors
Scandinavian interiors will all have wood floors, preferably stained light in all rooms except bathrooms.  Unlike the U.S., where wood floors have come into vogue in the past 20 years, wall to wall carpeting never gained popularity in Scandinavian interiors. A solid, floral or striped area rug can also help soften the starkness and also add warmth to your floors.




Color
White, beige, cool grey and soft blue provide the right environment of a Scandinavian interior.  More recently, however, injections of intense color such as ones offered by Josef Frank and Marimekko have become popular.  It works because of the simplicity of the design, fitting beautifully into the Scandinavian feeling.












Josef Frank fabric

Marimekko Fabric


















Lighting
Lighting is very important to the design of Scandinavian homes.  Use lots of sources for ambient, task, and accent light at different height and brightness levels.  Why, you ask? Because lighting is a vital yet often overlooked element to consider in any good design.  Denmark gets 7-8 hours per day of sunlight in Winter.  Southern areas of Norway get 5-6 hours of sunlight a day.  Swedish areas north of the Arctic Circle seldom see sunlight in January, but Northern Sweden gets 4-6 hours of daylight per day in the rest of Winter.
Window coverings remain minimal, using pale colors and sheer fabrics.  



Furniture
Wood: plain and simple.  The furniture is simple, and minimal without ornamentation.  This led the way in mid-century designs, influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement.  Pieces found throughout the home include cupboards, wardrobes, beds, tables, and chairs.  Pieces often are light-wood, but sometimes painted in light colors.  Influential designers such as Hans Wegner, Arne Jacobsen and Alvar Aalto’s designs are as often used today as they were back in mid-century when they were conceptualized.
Alvar Aalto design

Arne Jacobsen design: Egg Chair

Hans Wegner design

Add a Fireplace
Unlike fireplaces in the U.S. that are usually the focal point of a grand room, these are often very simple columns and are located in the corner of the room.



Accessories
Less is more in Scandinavian Design.  Declutter and display less in this minimalist decor.

In conclusion:
If Scandinavian Design appeals to you, but you're still not certain where or how to start, give me a call/contact me through my website, http://TransformationsforInteriors.com   I alway make time for my readers.