Q&A Sunday: Feng Shui for a Garage and Second Level

Feng Shui for a Garage and Second Level.jpg

My garage is located at the center, beside the house with a door linked to the house. The house is longer than the garage. Is the garage included in the bagua? If so, the second level, will have a huge missing spot.

Earl, on Q&A Sunday: BTB and Flying Star Bagua Layouts

Feng Shui for Garage and Second Level - Floor Plan.jpg

Hi Earl,

Thank you for commenting on our blog post: Q&A Sunday: BTB and Flying Star Bagua Layouts, and this is a great question!

To provide a specific, personalized answer to your questions we need to see your floor plan, but since you haven’t sent one in, I can answer more generally.

Yes, the garage is typically included in the feng shui bagua layout if it’s connected to the house. The layout will depend on the entire floor plan, and remember the bagua is aligned at the front door. The image to the right is an example of a floor plan with an attached garage with the bagua overlaid. You can find more information on the bagua here.

Your second question concerns using the same bagua and bringing it up on the second level. In your case, if you do that, you’d have a large missing area. But there's good news! Each level of a home has a different bagua based on how you are positioned when you step foot on that floor from the stairs. So there may or may not be a missing area, but again this depends on your floor plan.

Of course, my recommendation is to send in a floor plan so that I can address your specific situation. If that isn't an option, remember these two points:

  • Align the feng shui bagua with the front door
  • You can work with multiple baguas based on each level.

Many of our readers have sent in specific bagua questions, so I encourage you to take a look at those Q&As for more advice! I've included a few below:

Q&A Sunday: Laying a Bagua with Unusual Door Placement
Q&A Sunday: Does the Feng Shui Bagua Map Include the Garage?
Q&A Sunday: Bagua Layout Basics

by Anjie Cho

Thanks for reading our "Q&A Sunday".  We will be answering questions submitted by our readers. Click here to submit any Feng Shui or Green Design questions!

Visit the Holistic Spaces Store

Buried in Paperwork

featured this month in The New York Times by Ronda Kaysen

  image credit: Trisha Krauss via  The New York Times

image credit: Trisha Krauss via The New York Times

The little round dining table in LaToya and Robert Jordan’s Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, two-bedroom apartment would make for a great place to eat if only its white lacquered top were not perpetually buried under a pile of bills, unopened mail and paperwork.

“It really becomes clutter, and it becomes this area in your home that tends to hold a lot of guilt,” said Anjie Cho, an architect and feng shui consultant. “It’s an energy drain, even just sitting there, because your subconscious mind knows that it’s there.”

...read full article

Q&A Sunday: Mirrors in the Bedroom

Is it bad feng shui to put a mirror in the bedroom?

Angela M., Los Angeles, CA

Hi Angela,

I often am asked this question about mirrors in the bedroom. In BTB Feng Shui, we believe that there are no issues with having mirrors in the bedroom. In fact, we recommend mirrors in two situations. 

The first situation is if you cannot put your bed in the commanding position, located in such a way that you can clearly see the door while not being in line with the door. If this is not achievable in your bedroom, you can adjust this with the use of a mirror. I often recommend that my clients purchase a new standing mirror and position it so that when you are lying in bed, you can clearly see the door in the mirror.  The command position is absolutely critical in the bedroom because this is where you spend many YIN, or passive, time and you are more susceptible to the energies around you.  

In BTB Feng Shui, we also suggest a round or oval mirror above the bed for couples like in the photo above. The round shape symbolizes unity and wholeness within the relationship. The couple can see their reflection together within this circular shape, without any hard or sharp corners. This adjustment promotes continuity and togetherness in a relationship. Since this is above the headboard, be sure to fasten anything that goes above your head securely for safety. I would also recommend checking out our post on feng shui and headboards.

Note: There are other schools of feng shui that teach that mirrors add too much energy in the bedroom, or that mirrors should not face the bed. In BTB Feng Shui we respect and honor all other schools of feng shui. In fact, I agree that it may be startling to see your reflection while in bed in the middle of the night. If you use mirrors in the two ways I've suggested above, you can't see your own reflection while laying in bed. Remember, the goal is to create a relaxing and conscious environment that supports you and your needs.

by Anjie Cho

Thanks for reading our "Q&A Sunday".  We will be answering questions submitted by our readers. Click here to submit any Feng Shui or Green Design questions!

CURERS - Healers and Practices

featured this month on Free & Native

We were inspired to start our Saturday IG Story CURER series to highlight some of our favorite healers teachers, expanders, and thinkers. We asked some of our CURERS to now share their own go-to healers and healing practices with all of you. Stay tuned Saturdays on @freeandnative IG for a new CURER each week!

So honored to be featured among Katie Dalebout's healing practices! 

iii. Katie Dalebout • Let it Out

Feng Shui consultant Anjie Cho of Holistic Spaces (NYC + LA)-- has designed and cleared every space I've ever lived in which as helped so much. I wouldn't live anywhere without first having Anjie clear it and set it up optimally according to Feng Shui principles.

Sacha Jones, Stiggly’s Holistics NYC, Sacha is one of the coolest, smartest, women I’ve ever met. She’s an herbalist, holistic health counselor, and officiates weddings. I don’t know where I’d be without her wellness and life guidance.

...read full article

Q&A Sunday: What about Goldfish?

What About Goldfish?.jpg

For improved wealth, is it better to have three, six, or nine goldfish? And where would you put the aquarium/bowl in your apartment/house?

Keith G., New York, NY

Hi Keith, 

Thanks for your great question! 

I remember reading my first feng shui book many years ago. It was a bit overwhelming, but one thing I got from it was that I should have a living goldfish somewhere! So, I purchased a black Betta fish (close enough, right?) and located the fish in the living room. Soon after, I went through a terrible break up with my then boyfriend and, coincidentally, the fish died at the same time. I clearly remember being really depressed at a party. I just met a new friend and was telling him about the fish, which in a way became a metaphor for the loss of my relationship. I also realized that, on some level, the fish took a hit for me. It was as if the fish helped to absorb the negative energy through this painful time in my life.

What does this have to do with improving your wealth? In feng shui, water is related to wealth and knowledge. Still water is depth of knowledge and moving water is your social network, and flow of money. First, consider what you need to improve to increase your wealth. If you need more cash flow, get an aquarium, which has moving water. If you need more knowledge, a fish bowl, which is still water, may be more appropriate. In both cases, be diligent about keeping the tank clean and change the water as required. 

For the location of your tank, this really depends on your floor plan. As a general rule, for wealth it may be beneficial to place the fish near the front door of your home, especially the Path in Life/Kan/Career area. If there is a water filter on it with any sort of waterfall, it’s best to position it so the water falls into and towards the central part of the home. This represents the cash flowing towards you. You can also place it in Abundance/Xun/Wealth area of the living room. My teacher, Steven Post, suggests locating the tank at eye level, so it’s easily accessible to view and touch.

Once you have your tank location, the question is “three, six, or nine” goldfish? Goldfish are auspicious because, in Asian mythology, they are related to dragons. There is a story of a goldfish, or carp, that transformed into a dragon. Dragons represent luck and power. In turn, goldfish are very conducive to success. As for the number of fish, it depends on how much room you have. If you have a small tank, stick with three fish. Three is a complete and stable number in feng shui. But, if you can handle a larger tank, go for nine. Nine is ideal, but you need a lot more room. Check with your local aquarium store to determine what size tank you will need for nine goldfish. It defeats the purpose to squeeze nine fish into a small tank where they will not thrive. You can also do eight orange goldfish with one black goldfish.

When looking for your fish, keep in mind what kind of goldfish you purchase. The “feeder” goldfish are inexpensive and have a short lifespan.  The fancy goldfish varieties are definitely more beautiful and more expensive. Consider what you can afford, and recognize that what you put into any feng shui adjustment, whether that be energy or money, will be commensurate to what you will receive. So if the feeder goldfish are what you can afford, please do the best that you can to keep them alive and treat them with great care. It is best to replace any fish that die immediately. Finally, my teachers have taught that you should replace any broken/damaged/dead object with another that is of better quality and typically more expensive.

by Anjie Cho

Thanks for reading our "Q&A Sunday".  We will be answering questions submitted by our readers. Click here to submit any Feng Shui or Green Design questions!

Q&A Sunday: Feng Shui Crystals and Natural Crystals

What is the difference between feng shui crystals and natural crystals, and can you use natural crystals as a substitute for feng shui crystals?

Juania O., New York, NY

Hi Juania, thanks for your question. It's a great one!

Both natural crystals and glass feng shui crystals are useful in the practice of healing and correcting the flow of energy in your home. They do have some differences, and it is important to ensure you use the correct crystals for each adjustment.

Feng shui crystals are generally made of glass, are faceted and are spherical. I prefer Swarovski brand leaded, crystal feng shui balls. Because they are leaded glass, these specific crystals refract more light. Feng shui crystals have many facets so they can disperse chi most effectively. They are used to adjust the flow of energy in a space and are particularly effective for bringing light, brilliance and clarity to your space. 

Natural crystals are found in all different shapes (regular, irregular) and sizes, different facets, and textures (rough, tumbled). While these crystals are very helpful in many aspects of life, they are vibrationally geared to address specific issues based on the color, composition and creation process of the crystal. Most natural crystals do not possess the same characteristics as the feng shui crystals we prescribe for hanging. 

For this reason, in feng shui applications that call out for a crystal ball, you should actually use a feng shui crystal and not a natural crystal. One such situation would be adding a feng shui crystal to a dark and small entry to expand the space. A hanging feng shui crystal, when placed in a dark or small entry, can attract positive energy and then disperse it into your home. Based on the desired outcome of the use of this crystal, it is necessary to ensure that you use a feng shui crystal ball, as these crystals are most effective at dispersing energy.

In general, for feng shui purposes it is very important to hang the crystal balls using a red cord.  Red is a very auspicious color and represents protection. It’s even better if the cord can be a length that equals a multiple of 9 – like 9”, 18,” 27” etc.

These feng shui crystals are easy to find online, and they come in various sizes. In fact, you can find one on my online store! For feng shui purposes, most interior spaces should use crystals of 40mm or larger.

Keep in mind that both feng shui, faceted crystals and natural crystals are useful in making adjustments and shifting energy in the practice of feng shui. Just be sure to use the appropriate crystals for each adjustment. If you aren't sure which situation calls for which crystal, take a peek at some of the articles on this topic below. 

Crystals For Your Holistic Space
How to Decorate With Hanging Crystals
The Healing Powers of Crystals and Gemstones
Natural Crystals and Stones for Healing
Question of the Month: How to Use Feng Shui Crystals

by Anjie Cho

Thanks for reading our "Q&A Sunday".  We will be answering questions submitted by our readers. Click here to submit any Feng Shui or Green Design questions!

Common Sources of VOCs in the Home

Volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, are chemicals that easily convert to gases and enter the air we breathe, whether indoor or out. Many studies have linked excessive VOC intake to diseases and disorders ranging from headaches to respiratory issues to certain cancers and everything in between. It shouldn't be difficult to conclude that these chemicals have no place in our homes, but surprisingly, that's where they are found more often than not.

An average household, not one that is highly organic or raw, can be a veritable plethora of substances emitting VOCs. The most obvious of these is the paint with which we decorate. The VOCs released from traditional paint are of the class that humans can smell, which is evident in how offensive paint fumes are to most individuals. In this case, the VOCs are easy to identify, and the non-appealing smell often motivates homeowners to turn toward healthier options.

Paint, however, is not the only substance in the home that gives off VOCs, and it isn't even the most common. The list of chemicals and items in an average home that contain harmful VOCs includes new carpet and furnishings, many types of pressed wood and/or boards, new electronics and plastics. On a more alarming note, many personal care and hygiene products also produce VOCs including, but certainly not limited to, many kinds of makeup, shampoos, deodorants, etc. Harmful VOCs are even present in most cleaning materials found in an average home. 

With the number of sources of volatile organic compounds in today's society, it comes as no surprise that most humans have a number of chemicals in their bodies ranging into the hundreds and risk developing any number of health problems as a result. Take a moment and research how to reduce these chemicals in your home and keep your family as healthy as possible

See more articles on VOCs

by Anjie Cho

Q&A Sunday: Feng Shui for a New Home

Feng Shui for a New Home.jpg

We are looking to move to a new home. What positive feng shui elements should we look for when looking for a new home?

Margaret W., Seal Beach, CA

Just in case you didn’t know, Margaret is my sister and the co-owner of Holistic Spaces Studio!

Margaret, I get this question a lot! First of all, it really is the best to start looking for or designing a home from the beginning with feng shui in mind. This way you can avoid doing remedial feng shui. While most feng shui is remedial, it’s most ideal to get it right to begin with! Because each home and family has different needs, I’ll address the general exterior elements that affect the feng shui of a home.

Neighborhood Chi

As you approach the new home, pay close attention to the chi (or energy) of the neighborhood. Are the trees healthy? Is the neighborhood vibrant? Do the neighbors appear happy? You can gather a lot of information from observing the area. From the feng shui perspective, when the natural and human elements in the surrounding area are lively and lush it’s a good indication that the inhabitants will dwell similarly.

Curb Appeal

Getting closer to the prospective home, examine the condition of the exterior including the landscaping, the curb and location of the entry door. Like the neighborhood chi, in feng shui we look for healthy landscaping and good curb appeal. The exterior appearance influences how the world will see the homeowners. We want the exterior to be welcoming and well manicured. The location of the door is also important. Was it easy to find the front door? Or is it hidden behind an overgrowth of bushes? The ease in which you can find the front door indicates how effortless it will be for opportunities and positive energy to find their way into your life.

Predecessor Chi

If possible, research as much information as you can about all the previous owners. The fates of the preceding inhabitants surely affect the feng shui of the home. The predecessor energy may indicate a happy and abundant lifestyle. On the other hand it may expose leanings towards health or money troubles. This is especially true if there are recurring patterns. But if you find a home that you love, there are usually ways to clear the home of the negative predecessor chi with space clearing techniques.

By the way, in case you're also selling a home, here are some feng shui tips for sellers!

Overall, it’s important to look at the location, exterior and history of a home before you decide to move. We want your home to improve and support the health, happiness and prosperity of you and your family.

by Anjie Cho

Thanks for reading our "Q&A Sunday".  We will be answering questions submitted by our readers. Click here to submit any Feng Shui or Green Design questions!

The Benefits of Orange Essential Oil

The Benefits of Orange Essential Oil.jpg

On a typical day, I start with five drops of orange and one drop of frankincense essential oils in my diffuser. This is my favorite way to clear my work space to begin to create. In feng shui, oranges and orange peels represent vibrant, life affirming yang energy. Yang energy is like the energy at high noon – bright and strong.

It is good practice to clear your space at least once a year. The most auspicious time to do this is on Chinese New Year.  The Lunar new year is symbolically a great time to clear out the old stagnant energy in your home to make space for new positive energy. Changing seasons can also be a great time to practice space clearing!

Fresh orange peels work the best to bring out the good, but you can also use 27 drops of orange essential oil. Place the orange peels (or essential oil) in a spray bottle and fill it with water. Walk around your home and spray this citrus essence all around, paying special attention to dead corners and closets. Orange peel carries with it vibrant life energy to clear space and, in turn, rejuvenates you and your home. This is excellent to do on an annual, or even monthly basis. 

Besides its feng shui applications, the benefits of orange essential oil range from internal to external, from mental to physical. Many of us are looking for a heal-all for modern struggles, and we may all be overlooking the immense benefits of orange essential oil. 

Orange essential oil is almost a miracle substance! It is an organic anti-depressant to some degree. When treating mild depression, orange essential oil works to lighten the mood and reduce anxiety by increasing circulation and cleansing the liver. While orange oil is also safe to use with severe depression requiring medication, it should not be used in place of medication. Some research also supports the use of orange essential oil as an aphrodisiac, as it works to reduce stress and promote relaxation in the body, which is often the cause of sexual issues and frustration. In this same function, orange oil can serve as a natural, non-toxic sedative following a long day.

Physically, orange essential oil goes a long way as well. On a surface level, orange oil can help to reduce inflammation, no matter what the cause. It can also be effective against inflammation for everything from excessive consumption (of food or drink) causing gas or pain to fever, infections and more. In addition, orange oil not only alleviates pain, but also acts a regulator for the body and its functions. Orange essential oil rids the body of excess gas and flushes bodily toxins through urination, which in turn promotes healthier digestion.

Other uses for orange oil are almost endless, from relaxing spasms to acting as a disinfectant to promoting healthy menstruation and alleviating acne. The list goes on, and it’s worth taking a peek. You have little to lose except negative thoughts and unwanted gas!

by Anjie Cho