Feng Shui

Feng shui pronounced "fehng-shway" literally mean "wind" and "water" refer to the flowing of motion of chi, the energy that exists throughout the universe. Feng shui involves assessing and adjusting the energies in each part of your environment, in order to enhance the flow of chi around and within you. The principles of feng shui is about using well thought out arrangements of spaces and objects to produce a flow of natural energy that feel right.

photo of dwelling before added

photo of dwelling afetr porch added
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We had the privilege of working with a client who wanted to extend his dwelling, although the extensions were not purely to enhance the flow of chi and reduce harmful chi, the principles of feng shui were incorporated into the design of the extensions to help enhance this dwellings energy paths.

The original brief was to design a better entrance and provide a new lounge as an extension to the dwelling. As the design process developed and the principles of feng shui were applied, the brief was changed to include a new porch, a garage conversion and a new double garage. I will explain later why the brief was changed.

As we discuss the project in detail, I will highlight what design changes were made to enhance the flow of chi through the dwelling.

phopograph of porch steps

porch steps handrail
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The Porch

The front door (kou) connects the dwelling to the outside world. The front door is vital because it lets chi into the dwelling, so you have to feed it well.

The problem with the existing entrance, although functional, were with the steps being at right angles to the front door, no natural flow to the dwelling was presented. Had the existing steps also sloped away from the front door a more natural flow would have been provided. However, the front door is also positioned against an internal corner, also making the entrance uninviting.

The dwelling is also located at the end of a cul-de-sac, feng shui suggests that this is an area of stagnant or very slow moving flow of chi.

A more inviting entrance to the dwelling was created with the formation of a new porch linking the existing hallway to the garage conversion. The new entrance door is now located centrally and the steps sloping away from the door. The steps are also splayed so that they are wider at the bottom than at the top.

The double doors and splayed steps increases the flow of chi into the dwelling, at the same time the stainless steel handrails and glass infill panels help to deflect any harmful chi pointing to the dwelling.The use of spot lights in the eaves of the porch above the entrance door attracts the good chi to the dwelling.

the use of natural light in a hall way
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The Hallway

The ideal blend of chi in a hallway should be slightly balanced toward yang, to promote strength, protection and activity in the dwelling. To stimulate yang chi use lots of natural light, good lighting and bright or neutral colours rather than pastel. If the hallway is dark, then chi will be yen sluggish. Keeping the hallway free of furniture and clutter to let chi flow freely. The low windows cills and full width glazing to the porch lets natural light flow into the dwelling.

The front door should ideally be solid or have small glass panes to stop chi leaking out of the dwelling. The doors chosen on this project have small glass panes due to the curved shape of the design.


photograph of natural light in hallway
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As mentioned earlier the design brief was changed to include a garage conversion. A number of reasons for this became apparent as the design process unfolded. A car has strong fire and metal energies so if a car is kept in the garage the chi in any room above will be enhanced and stabilized. Unfortunately the room above this garage is the master bedroom of the dwelling. Bedrooms should be a place of sanctuary, The Chinese called it 'the snake's nest, the sun's rest'. The snake is a symbol of health and energy and nests in safe, secluded places. The "sun's rest" is night, when yin chi reaches its peak. You need to create a blend of strong yin with some yang, to recharge your inner chi. With the garage under the master bedroom too much chi is generated within the bedroom.

garage conversion before
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The Garage Conversion

The existing double garage was only 5 meters wide, this is tight when two cars are parked side by side. The client was never happy with the size of the garage and wanted something larger. By providing a garage conversion and substituting the proposed lounge extension with a new double garage a couple of problems were solved, the chi in the master bedroom was reduced, the new lounge is more integrated into the dwelling as it would not have been otherwise, and the new garage width was increased to 6.5 meters.

garage conversion after
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inset fire
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Feature Staircase

As always new problems can be created that were not there before as a result of a change, in this case the floor level of the existing garage was about 1200mm below the floor level of the dwelling. This necessitated that short staircases where provided to enter the new lounge. Stairs can be a challenge in feng shui because chi flows down them like water. Spindles on the side of the staircase lets chi spill over the sides. The final design of the stairs provided a solid wall to the side and a large landing. To reduce the downward flow of chi an inset gas fire was placed into the wall of the stairs. The upward energy from the fire helps to reduce the downward flow of chi.

photograph of porch lights at night
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External Lights

Bright lights just inside and outside the front door are an excellent way to attract good chi. The lights should be constant to be of any effect, ideally they should be on all night but considering the effects of global warming and the cost of power, the lights should only be on when energy levels in the home are low.

external lights to porch
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photo of dwelling afetr porch added
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The Driveway

Think of your garden and the driveway as an extension to your home. By using feng shui, you can connect the energies of the indoors and the outdoors. The chi from the garden will flow through your house, complementing the energies within your home.

Paths and driveways should be curved towards the house, curved lines let chi circulate gently, without rushing through and are more pleasing to the eye.

By slowing the passage of chi within the driveway and increasing the front door entrance to the dwelling more chi will be captured and enter the dwelling.

garden landscape

garden landscape
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The rear garden

This is a north east facing garden and chi in the north east supports spiritually, so this is a good site for a quite area, you can enhance the chi with lights. A northeast garden is ruled by earth, so is ideal for terracotta pots, pebbles, gravel rockeries or stone buildings. The colours of finishes should be oranges and reds (fire) or pinks and yellows (earth). Metallic colours as in golden and silver thymes also work well.

In the feng shui garden "less is more". The garden should be feel spacious and not overcrowded. The different spaces within the garden should compliment each other and no one item should dominate or overwhelm the space. The centre of the garden should be left clear, with no large plants, ornaments of sheds. To promote good chi, one needs to include a variety of textures, heights and shapes. It is also good practice to place key shrubs and bushed asymmetrically.

Patio areas are an ideal way of connecting the energy of the garden to the house. The tree's to the rear of the dwelling that existed before the project started, protect the rear of the dwelling.

The site

The ancient masters of feng shui picked out certain features in landscapes that would support people living there and enhance the "dragon's breath", or the ideal form of chi. Two examples are rounded hills or mountains that wrap around the site to protect it, and waterfalls and streams, which represent progress, growth and travel. In the ideal site, the dragon's side should be on the right hand side of the dwelling (as you look from outside towards the front of the dwelling) and higher than the left hand side. The back of the house should be protected by hills, tall buildings or even tall trees.

This site benefited from all of these, tall trees and a stream to the rear of the dwelling protected the rear of the dwelling and promoted progress, growth and travel. The site is also located at the bottom right hand side of a sloping cul-de-sac.

General Contractor
Damien Ward, Crossgar Tel: 07808797990