Positive home flow: Top designers offer feng shui tips
By Diana Lamirand
Former fashion designer Brigitte Conti says her "house was a mess" before she sought advice from feng shui expert Stefania Masoni.
"I couldn't find myself anymore because I was too involved in everything else," says the 16-year Greenwich, Conn., resident.
Masoni, who operates highly rated Good Feng Shui in Greenwich helped Conti restore order to her home and life. "She put the balance back in my house," she says. "I could feel it right away."
Masoni added lights in dark corners, rearranged furniture, added metal elements to counter too many wood elements and added turquoise, bright greens and reds — Conti's favorite colors — to the decor. "When people come in now, they say, 'We feel so good in your house,' " Conti says.
While the ancient Chinese method of feng shui (pronounced "fung shway") can be complex, Masoni says it's really just common sense. "If something feels off, it's usually not good feng shui," she says. She's been practicing the art for more than 20 years, and typically charges $180 an hour for sessions that average 1 to 4 hours.
Louise Newsome, owner of highly rated interior design firm Newsome Color in Nyack, N.Y., says she's read about feng shui, but she doesn't use it for her clients. "I think there definitely is an innate feeling on how things should be placed, and if you want to call it feng shui, OK," she says. "It's all about creating a space that feels balanced."
Evelyn Seed, a 12-year feng shui practitioner in New York City, says applying feng shui to a home or office creates a positive flow of qi (pronounced "chee"), or energy. Numbers, colors, furniture arrangement and use of the five elements — wood, fire, earth, metal and water — impact how energy flows through a space. "If you trust your intuition, that will tell you what places feel comfortable, welcoming and have good energy," Seed says.
Good energy often translates to better profits, according to both feng shui experts. Seed, who charges $207 an hour, says she helped increase profits for a small, struggling Manhattan company by rigging mirrors so its chief executive officer could see anyone coming in the front door, and rearview mirrors in each of his employees' cubicles.
RAM Hart Construction owner Ralph Miriello says he built and sold homes in Fairfield County in recent years while other homebuilders struggled in a slow market. He credits Masoni, who feng shuied his designs. Early building techniques also focused on sun orientation and water placement, Miriello says. "By following principles that have been around a long time, you will actually remedy problems you didn't even know you had," he says.
Expert tips for good feng shui
• Fix whatever's broken or get rid of it.
• Provide adequate sunlight, or adequate lighting.
• Keep indoor plants healthy.
• Never sleep on red bed sheets; the color's energy competes with rest and rejuvenation.
• While in bed, you should be able to see the door but not be in its direct alignment.
• Wear red undergarments to work to empower yourself.
• Keep the toilet seat down; if it's left up, you'll lose money.
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