This loft-like UES studio needs work, but the price is right

featured this month on Brick Underground by Leah Rosner

image credit: Brick Underground

image credit: Brick Underground

Priced at just $345,000, this Upper East Side studio at 223 East 78th St. is definitely affordable considering the location. But the loft-like unit will certainly need some renovating to make it habitable, according to architect and feng shui expert Anjie Cho.

“It’s a good price for a starter apartment,” she says.

Cho thinks the place is worth fixing, but she isn’t a fan of many features, especially what’s underfoot.

“Those floors are bad,” she says of the black-and-white checkerboard tiles. “[They're] so in your face that you can’t ignore them.”

For this week’s Reno Ready, we asked Cho to tell us how she’d renovate the space to render it livable. Here are her recommendations:

Kitchen (pictured at top)

How this room is updated will depend entirely on the new occupant’s cooking habits. If he or she is a recipe addict who loves whipping up a meal at a moment’s notice, then Cho would advise putting in a full-sized refrigerator and adding in an island. If, however, he or she is more likely to order a pizza than make one, Cho says she’d probably hang onto the mini-fridge.

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A Two-Bedroom Manhattan Apartment Receives a Mindful Renovation

featured this month on hunker by Kate Santos

When a family of three sought to bring cohesion to their post-war apartment on Manhattan's Lower East Side, they called on architect Anjie Cho to give the two-bedroom address a more modern look. But when Cho answered their request to streamline the property, she also set out to do so from a thoughtful perspective — she also happens to be a feng shui expert. The owners and Cho decided that a simple design for their home was best, and they made it a priority to maximize the layout with a calm aesthetic. And since the site views the East River, Cho looked at that vantage point's natural light as an architectural prize that also serves a mindful purpose. "It's so important," she said. "Every living thing grows toward the light." Once the framework was established, Cho then moved on to a second challenge: clutter. "Some clutter is perfectly fine," she noted. "[But] if you've thought of tossing it more than nine times, then it's time to let it go." Now that the property has been updated and cleared of all unnecessary things, the family finally has a place to peacefully come together.

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7 Easy Ways to Feng Shui Your Apartment

featured this week on 6sqft by Hannah Frishberg

image credit:  6sqft

image credit: 6sqft

As intangible a concept as feng shui may seem, it all comes down to the basic idea of having a space you’re happy to come home to because its energy is positive. “Feng shui is an ancient philosophy about how you can improve your life and create a space that supports and nurtures you,” explained Anjie Cho, a New York-based architect, author, and founder of online mindfulness design blog and shop Holistic Spaces. Indeed, adjusting your apartment in just a few small and informed ways can make all the difference in the look and feel of your unit and, resultantly, your own wellbeing. Ahead are some ideas you can apply to your space, straight from a pro.

1. The importance of a headboard

While having your mattress on the floor may seem very zen, or in some apartments may be a spatial necessity, the pros advise against it. “A headboard is really important in feng shui,” Anjie says, “it connects the partners.” Not having a headboard can enhance the temporary feeling of a unit. If you simply don’t have space, a good alternative is wallpaper or crafting mural on the wall behind you, or mounting a mirror.

2. The 36 inch rule

No doubt about it: space is a luxury in New York. Still, if at all possible, Anjie says 36 inches of clear space between pieces of furniture should be a goal. For Anjie, there is a grace zone, but less than 18 inches between items constitutes “very cramped.” So get rid of clutter, and if it does not spark joy, try your hardest to toss it.

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Feng Shui for Your New Apartment - Round 3

So you're moving! We've already talked clearing your space, laying the bagua, adding plant life and more, but there are still a few more ways to use feng shui in turning a new apartment into a sacred space. Let's hang out in the bedroom (mostly) for a bit!

Balance Your Bed

Whether you're currently in a relationship or hoping to one day be part of a healthy couple, it's important that your bed reflect this. If you shove your bed against the wall, you're telling the universe you don't have room for anyone else! Instead, do your best to center your bed in your space, allowing equal room on each side, and if you're opting for a nightstand, make sure to put one of comparable size on the other side of the bed too. This set up lets the universe know that you're ready to welcome another person into your life and your space.

Avoid EMFs in The Bedroom

These days we're surrounded by technology. Some of us use it almost every minute of the day, and many of us even use our phones as alarm clocks. While this is ok if it's your only option, it's best to try to avoid any electronic items in the bedroom. Over time, the radiation that EMFs (electromagnetic forces) give off can result in health problems like fatigue, extra stress and more. Your bedroom should be a place of relaxation, so if you can, leave the television, laptop and cell phone in another room. If you need your cell nearby for work or as an alarm clock (get a battery operated one!), aim to place it at least five feet from your head. 

Hang Art At Eye Level

There are both practical and feng shui reasons why you'd want to hang any art, in your bedroom or elsewhere, at eye level. For obvious design reasons, hanging art at eye level allows the eye to rest easily and view art comfortably, without having to crane the neck up or lean down. In feng shui, hanging artwork too low can bring down your energy and the energy of your space. Here are some tips for hanging art successfully in your new place! 

I've shared several tips, all very basic feng shui adjustments, for moving into a new apartment and creating a holistic space. Of course, each space, and the person or people in it, is individual, so there are always more in-depth remedies depending on the person. If you're interested in those, I would definitely recommend seeking out a feng shui professional for specific services, but you can absolutely get started with these tips!

by Anjie Cho


Feng Shui for Your New Apartment, Round 2

Last month we talked moving into a brand new place, clearing the space, laying the bagua and more. Of course, there are many small feng shui adjustments we can make when turning a new apartment into a holistic, nourishing home - so many it's a bit much to cover in one post! So this week we're back with a few more tips on saying "Hello!" to your new home in feng shui-style. 

Add Nine Plants

Yes, nine! It may seem like a big number, but adding plants to your new space is a great way to welcome more life energy. Plants symbolize the Wood element in feng shui, which relates to new beginnings, life, joy and flexibility, all of which are wonderful for creating a new holistic space. Plants also bring nature into your home, which has been proven to increase quality of life, and work tirelessly to enhance indoor air quality. Why nine? It's the most auspicious number in feng shui!

Add a Welcome Mat

Plants welcome positive energy into your spaces, but they aren't the only way. Pick up a black "Welcome" mat, about the same width as your door, and place it at the main entrance to your new home. Keeping a welcoming entrance is great not only for you, when you come home, as well as your guests, but also for positive chi! Black is the most absorbent of all colors and can attract, absorb and transfer positive energy into your holistic space. In addition, black is representative of the Water element, which can increase career success when used in this area.

Fill in Cabinet Space

We're not talking the inside of cabinets, here. Depending on how the kitchen and bathroom are designed in your new apartment, you may or may not have empty space between the top of your cabinets and the ceiling. If you do, it's important to pay attention to these areas, as they can serve as a space for dead energy. Dead or stagnant energy in your spaces can manifest itself as problems with health and prosperity, and no one wants that! To adjust for this, add a plant (maybe one of the nine mentioned above!) or a personal item to this space to transform it into a place of positive energy. 

Hopefully your new apartment is starting to feel more and more like a holistic space every day! These feng shui tips are pretty easy to implement but can make such a huge impact! If you've just moved and are trying out these adjustments, please share your experience and / or send us photos. We love to see the difference feng shui makes in your lives. :) And don't forget to keep an eye out for the final set of feng shui tips for your new space!

by Anjie Cho