Listen: Feng Shui Considerations When Renovating a Kitchen

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From the leaky faucet upstairs, to an entire back yard overhaul, when it comes to projects around your home, the advice you need is heard weekly on Vancouver’s CKNW Home Discovery Show.

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Listen as we talk about Feng Shui considerations when renovating a kitchen.

Interview Transcript:

IP: Anjie Cho is a registered New York State architect and Feng Shui interior designer. For over 15 years, she’s been creating beautiful and nourishing environments throughout New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles and beyond. A graduate in architecture from the College of Environmental Design at the University of California at Berkeley, Anjie is a sought after expert in the fields of Feng Shui and Green Design. Anjie is also the founder of the online blog, Holistic Spaces, Integrating Beauty, Spirituality and Green Design. She creates and enhances balance and harmony by designing spaces with an understanding of sustainability and informed by the ancient practice of Feng Shui. Her focus is to create a nurturing and supportive environment for each of her clients, at whatever level they feel comfortable. Anjie is currently the co-chapter manager of the New York City chapter of the International Feng Shui Guild. She is a Feng Shui and Green Interiors blog contributor to inhabitat.com, which is a great site, and streeteasy.com’s blog on your home. Anjie is a LEED accredited professional and certified Feng Shui consultant from the BTB Feng Shui Masters Training Program. She’s also working on her forthcoming book: 108 Ways to Create Holistic Spaces: Feng Shui and Green Design for Healing and Organic Homes. Good morning and welcome, thank you for joining us.

AC: Good morning, good morning.

Nice to have you with us in New York City. What’s going on there, rain? Sun? Snow?

It’s actually sunny, it’s nice out. It’s a little bit cool. I was just out. It was about 50 degrees, but it’s really nice. It’s really beautiful, the leaves are just kind of starting to change.

Beautiful. Let’s start at the beginning, that’s always a good place to start. What is Feng Shui?

Feng Shui is an ancient art of placement that was developed thousands of years ago, and it seeks to enhance and improve the flow of energy through your home or workplace, or your environment in general, to maximize the positive potential in your life.

Now could anybody practice Feng Shui or do you have to be a certain ethnicity or do you have to be of a certain mindset?

Well, that’s an interesting question, because I think Feng Shui is very intuitive, and a lot of it is common sense, but I think where we are now in society, a lot of us have lost touch with our connection to nature and to our intuition. So ideally, yes anyone of any ethnicity could practice Feng Shui, but I actually studied in a 3 year master certification program, and I think it’s safe to say you should get somebody to help you out with Feng Shui that studied for at least 3 years. But that said, someone can just come to it naturally if you’re really in touch with your environment.

And would this apply to anybody in their home or in their office? Could I just suddenly decide I want to practice Feng Shui in my home?

Sure, you could, you absolutely could. Are you interested in becoming a Feng Shui practitioner?

Well not so much a practitioner per se, but I’m looking to find my chi in my home.

Well, I think anyone can do it, because it’s there, the energy is there. It’s just about recognizing it and being able to see beyond the superficial and being able to make a connection with your environment. Your environment is really a metaphor for you. Your home mirrors your inner self.

So what you’re saying then perhaps, if I could put it this way, I could be in fact practicing Feng Shui and not even know it.

Absolutely.

Yeah. So in effect it’s, if you’re in tune with the environment that you’re in and you’ve got the correct flow of energy then you are probably practicing some form of Feng Shui.

Yes, absolutely. There’s definitely people that I meet, clients I get, and I’ll tell them about certain Feng Shui principles and they’ll say, "oh, I’ve already been doing that," which is really great, because then you’re really listening to your intuition and seeing your connection to your environment. Then there’s other things that are not so easy to come up with on your own but they are practices that have been developed over thousands of years that have been passed down from teachers to student, teachers to students. Those things are harder to come by. But I think the principles of Feng Shui are really common, and I think that you can relate it to any culture.

How do we marry your architectural background and your LEED certification, that’s L – E – E – D certification, with Feng Shui? I imagine all those have something to do with one another, and how do you bring those elements together?

Well, I mean, I bring them together. It is challenging actually, because I get a lot of clients that want Feng Shui but aren’t necessarily doing any renovations in their home. And then I also get people who were doing renovations in their home and I can’t helpbut design with Feng Shui in mind and Green Design in mind, and I think it changes for each person but my main goal is to have people start to begin to see the relationship between their home and their workspace and how it makes them feel and how they are able to live their everyday lives. Hopefully, you want to create a space that’s nourishing, that’s beautiful that you want to go home to and supports you, right?

And does it have an effect on one’s, trying to think of a delicate way to put it, would it have a great effect on one’s wellbeing or their mental wellbeing?

Yes, absolutely. There’s something in Feng Shui we call the command position, and it really guides how you want to position yourself in your home or your workspace. This means where you would position your desk or your bed or where you want to sit in an interview even, and it’s about shifting the environment around you so you can actually be in a place where you are less stressed out and more relaxed and able to see what’s coming towards so you’re not in a precarious place where you can be surprised. And then if you’re relaxed and you’re feeling comfortable, then you can perform the best that you can.

Okay. Because we have a time constraint, let me, let’s see if we can get you to cite an example. Let’s take the kitchen for example because everybody can relate. The kitchen’s the social gathering spot for family and friends in most peoples’ homes. So if somebody’s thinking about a kitchen renovation right now and that’s really popular at all times, what are some of the things in terms of Feng Shui that somebody should consider when they are going about a kitchen renovation?

Yes, the kitchen is really important, because in Feng Shui, the kitchen represents how we nourish ourselves. This is where we cook, right? And the energy that you put in to your food while cooking is really important. It can add positive energy to your life or it could add negative energy. So when I was talking about the command position, the position of the stove is really important when you’re renovating a kitchen. Ideally, you want to have your stove located so you’re able to see the door and your back is not to the door or where people come in. So you want to be able to, when you’re standing at your stove cooking, be able to see the expanse of the room and see people come in. And at the same time, you don’t want to be in line with the door, so that’s really important. And there’s a few other things too that I always let my clients know about in terms of a kitchen renovation. One thing is having your cabinets go all the way up to the ceiling, your upper cabinets, and that just means if you’re going to get some custom cabinets, of course you can make them as high as you want, but adjusting the measurements and dimensions of it so you can have your ceiling all the way to the top or fill it up with crown or something.

Mmhm, okay.

But when you have that space between the top of your cabinet and the ceiling, that’s a place where stuck energy can collect and stagnant energy could collect, and you want to have that energy moving very smoothly in the kitchen, which represents how you nourish yourself and your wealth in the world. So that’s a really important thing too that people don’t think about. On a practical level, also you’ve maximized your storage, it looks better, you don’t have to clean up there as much, so there’s a lot of positive for doing that.

Sure. We’ve got to leave it there Anjie because we’re out of time I’m afraid. Clearly we need more time to talk about this so we would like to invite you back sometime soon.

Okay, it always go so fast.

Yeah, Anjie Cho is a registered New York State architect and Feng Shui interior designer. Her website is holisticspaces.com. Check it out, it’s a great website. Anjie’s a great writer and we really appreciate your time. Holisticspaces.com. We’re gonna take a quick break, we’ll come back in a moment, we’ve got lots of open house, open phones coming up next on The Home Discovery Show on the Corus Radio Network.

Click here to listen to my other interviews with the Home Discovery Show.

by Anjie Cho