Q&A Sunday: Fu Dogs

I found one male fu dog at a store and bought him, thinking of him as a rescue dog because he was alone without a partner. Now I hear he is bad luck. What should I do?

Rhonda T., Flagstaff, AZ

Rhonda, thanks for the question. I am not an expert on Fu Dogs so I reached out to my teachers Steven Post, Katherine Metz and a fellow feng shui consultant Gwynne Warner to help answer your question regarding these traditional guardian lions from China. 

To answer your question: Steven, Katherine and I agree that “it depends”.

Fu Dogs in China and their predecessors in the ancient Near East have a very long history. They are mythical creatures, heavenly guardians believed to have the ultimate protection and power to ward off evil spirits, silently watching over homes, temples and businesses.

Fu Dogs are usually are placed in pairs, male and female and, historically, they come in twos as protectors around the world. As for your question, whether one is bad luck, it depends. If you feel concern that your Fu Dog might be lonely or unbalanced, that feeling might make you unlucky. If you feel that your Fu Dog is a strong protector, that Fu Dog, especially if empowered with that thinking, would not be an unlucky influence. But in general, I would suggest you do not use the single Fu Dog as you would the pair. It does not have the same effect on its own.

As a note, Fu Dogs are generally seen as outdoor feng shui adjustments. If you choose to place a pair indoors, opt for a location near your entry, most especially if your door faces stairs or an elevator.

by Anjie Cho

Mindful Design is a new way to learn feng shui. Our a unique training program takes an holistic approach to learning the art of feng shui design. Mindful design is about becoming aware, and attentive, to the energy around you: both inner and outer qi. It is about promoting a better way of living and creating sacred spaces that support, and nourish. Visit us at mindfuldesignschool.com.

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!

This Week on Instagram

Client living room in progress   #repaint   #interiors   #inprogress

Client living room in progress  #repaint #interiors #inprogress

Finished Mercury  #mandala   #yantra  last night!

Finished Mercury #mandala #yantra last night!

Site Visit with a lovely client! Wait til you see the befores!   #architecture   #interiors   #inconstruction

Site Visit with a lovely client! Wait til you see the befores!  #architecture #interiors #inconstruction

In progress  Mercury yantra mandala  with Indian wash technique   #harishjohari   #mandala   #gouache

In progress Mercury yantra mandala with Indian wash technique  #harishjohari #mandala #gouache

happy  #mantraMonday . this one looks a lot like  #ganesha  but is Krishna, the "fire that lights everything that lives." He teaches us that God is Love and we should not be afraid. Mantra: om hring krishnaye namaha om.  #mantra   #yantra   #mandala   #Krishna   #vedic

happy #mantraMonday. this one looks a lot like #ganesha but is Krishna, the "fire that lights everything that lives." He teaches us that God is Love and we should not be afraid. Mantra: om hring krishnaye namaha om. #mantra #yantra #mandala #Krishna #vedic

client's picture ledge and living room redecoration in progress   #lovemywork   #pictureledge   #livingroom   #interiors

client's picture ledge and living room redecoration in progress  #lovemywork #pictureledge #livingroom #interiors

Warm Up and Get Cozy with Historic Elements

You are in love with your modern home, and rightfully so. If you want to add a personal twist to its decor, while adding in some extra warmth and comfort, incorporating a few elements from a specific design period is the way to go. Highlight your favorite design era with a few well-chosen pieces, or mix and match different styles for your own signature look. Get started by incorporating bits of your preferred style themes from the following list. 

Art Deco debuted in France after World War 1. This throwback design theme blends bits of French, Egyptian and Mediterranean culture with clean lines, geometric patterns and vibrant colors. Think opulence and lavishness. You can incorporate elements of Art Deco into your home by selecting materials such as aluminum, stainless steel, inlaid wood and lacquer. Furniture with a mirrored or veneer finish is one option. Want a smaller whisper of style? Look for throw pillows and accent pieces featuring chevrons, sunbursts and bold colors.

Art Nouveau harkens back to the end of the 19th century and is known for its classy, sophisticated style. This era of design is nature-inspired, as demonstrated by its dynamic, undulating, flowing lines. Art Nouveau design is energetic; spiritual and lively. Look for pieces made of metal, ceramics and glass. Incorporate patterns and pieces with floral themes, as well as insects, birds and other elements of nature

Baroque Style evokes memories of the very ornate, luxurious design of the 17th century.  To achieve the look of pure opulence, search for items with elaborate ornamentation. You want to select pieces that include plenty of detail, curves and heavy carving. Incorporate items made of marble and dark hued woods. If you’re looking to pepper Baroque influences into your space, seek out furniture boasting curved legs, carved details and gilding. Large mirrors and crystal chandeliers will lend a Baroque influence as well. 

Neoclassic is about elegance, luxury and romance. In terms of design, aim for hints of Roman and Greek architecture and sculpture. Symmetry and balance are key characteristics of this style. Look for pieces using light wood and upholstery items. If you want to introduce this style through accessories, then consider ornate vases, urns, statuary decorations and pottery. 

Victorian style begins with lots of layers and builds with vibrant, rich colors. Something as simple as adding a chair or picture rail to your walls will introduce a bit of Victorian flare into your space. Pull in velvet, a Victorian staple, through pillows and upholstery and don’t shy away from fringe or patterns. Dark woods and marble are classic Victorian components, too.

by Anjie Cho

Visit the Holistic Spaces Store

Beyond Paint and Wallpaper: Trends in Wallcoverings

photo credit: Philip Jeffreis http://boston.webstercompany.com/Wallcoverings/Phillip-Jeffries

photo credit: Philip Jeffreis http://boston.webstercompany.com/Wallcoverings/Phillip-Jeffries

Wait! Before you open that can of paint to freshen up the look of your room, let’s talk about wall coverings. A coat of paint is the traditional wall finish go-to, but it’s not your only option. Consider one of today’s trending wall coverings either as an accent wall or for the whole room.

Braided Hemp Wallpaper

Hemp wall coverings are a great, natural alternative. Created by weaving highly durable hemp fibers, this wall covering is a great eco-friendly option! You’ll find it’s typically hand-woven and dyed with natural materials. Even if you select a natural color palette in this wall covering, hemp’s textured finish will bring a new level of interest to your walls. 

Metallic Wallpaper

Perhaps you hear wallpaper and you flash back to floral prints. Today’s wallpaper has come a long way since then. Don’t be afraid of going metallic. Today’s choices range from a subtle metallic thread woven into natural fibers to varnished metal leaf hand-applied to high-quality paper. If you’re not quite ready to make the total commitment to metallic, consider it for an accent wall. 

Leather/Faux Leather 

You have a few different options when we talk about leather or faux leather wall coverings. You could select a simple traditional leather finish or suede option. Alternatively, you’ll also find textured options with stitching or other patterns. You choices don’t end there! If you’re not sure a full room or even a full wall of leather is right for your room, consider using leather tiles as a mock-headboard or other wall feature. 

Bamboo or Cork Tiles

Like hemp, bamboo and cork are eco-friendly decorating choices made from sustainable materials. With tiles, you’ll have a variety of design choices starting with how you lay out your wall. Will you go with tiles placed in horizontal lines or a herringbone pattern? Which material is right for you will be based, at least in part, on where you plan to use it. Bamboo requires a dry space, which rules out use in a bathroom or basement. Cork, on the other hand, can be ideal as a kitchen backsplash or bathroom wall. If you seal the cork properly, the tiles are water-resistant.

by Anjie Cho

Six Tips to Picking the Right Paint Color

Think back to the last time you painted a room in your home. Odds are you spent more time then you thought possible combing through color swatches in the paint department. You brought home a pocketful, or more, and taped them up on the wall to ‘live’ with them for a few days. Maybe more than a few days. Perhaps you’re still considering those swatches today. 

It doesn’t have to be that way. Here are 6 tips to picking the right paint color for your space.

Get inspired

With all the colors of the rainbow (and then some) at your fingertips, starting with swatches in a paint shop will quickly overwhelm you. Instead, do your homework first. What rooms and styles appeal to you in magazines or on Pinterest? Do you have a favorite piece of furniture or accent piece that you’d like included in the room? Build a color scheme off that item. 

Get in touch

How do you use the room you’ll be painting? What mood do you want to invoke? A bedroom, for example, is well suited to subdued calming hues. If you’re painting a child’s playroom or a den, however, you may want to select something more vibrant and energizing. You can also look at the meanings of the colors based on feng shui or color psychology. My book 108 Ways to Create Holistic Spaces goes through feng shui color theory.

Frame it

Your paint color will be influenced by the things around it. If you place a color sample on a white wall, for example, the color will appear darker than it may eventually look spread throughout the entire room after you paint. Instead, hold the color sample up against your flooring and your furniture. 

Shine a light

Sometimes a color that looks like absolute perfection in the store seems to look muddy and uninspired when you get it home. Was it your misguided enthusiasm for the hue in the shop? No, it’s more likely a matter of lighting. Make sure to look over those paint swatches at different times of day. Also take a look at the color in different areas of the room. 

Think outside the walls

Take into consideration existing finishes – flooring, furniture, and even other rooms within your line of sight. How does your intended paint color work with those elements?

Be open to neutral

If you’re still wavering on the right color, consider going with a neutral. Today’s options go beyond varying shades of white. Neutrals like brown and grey are trending. When you go this route, incorporate pops of personality and color with accessories. Not only will you have more flexibility with color choice when you introduce it through a chair or pillow, you can also change your color-loving mind more easily and cost effectively whenever the whim hits you.

by Anjie Cho