Harmonize And Energize Your Home - Florida Weekly

Design Consultant Seeks To Align Homes, Occupants

Feng Shui Used To Achieve Ideal Balance

BY BARBARA BOXLEITNER Florida Weekly Correspondent

Feng Shui
Feng shui uses textures, symbols, furniture and colors to achieve balance in homes. COURTESY PHOTOS

Kristin Lyons says the feeling wasn't right in the home.

It's much better now.

The Cape Coral resident and her husband, Chad Lyons, enlisted the help of interior design consultant Barbara Bell of Barbara Bell Design Group to find a better fit. "We had just moved into this home and were renting it," says Mrs. Lyons, 31. "We felt like we needed a new look. This home wasn't feeling like home."

The mother of three previously worked with Ms. Bell at Robb & Stucky and knew of Ms. Bell's interest in the Chinese concept of feng shui, pronounced fong schway. According to www. interioralignment.com, the official online site of interior alignment practitioners, teachers and certification programs, feng shui "is a term representing the concept of how our living spaces, through their energy and design, create an effect on our lives."

Interior Alignment

Interior alignment experts rely on traditional and contemporary feng shui practices, among others, as they try to create the ideal environment in which to live and work. "It's using all of the textures, symbols, furniture and colors to align them with who they (people) are," Ms. Bell says.

"Fire Energy"
A faux finish wood look front door at the Cape Coral home of Kristin and Chad Lyons enhances a "fire energy", said designer Barbara Bell.

A former Robb & Stucky design consultant, Ms. Bell says she became familiar with feng shui 15 years ago in Knoxville, Tenn. She since has become a certified practitioner in interior alignment. She has practiced feng shui here two years, she says, and has a healthy client base.

As part of a first consultation, she collects information about the home and occupants, including the house number, birth dates of occupants and occupants' desired outcomes professionally and personally. After analyzing the data, Ms. Bell proposes applications, usually two to five, to be implemented during the second week.

She uses tools, such as a seven metal singing bowl and Tibetan bells, to locate areas of negative or stagnant energy. Bowl vibration and bell ringing indicate space that needs to be cleared, she says. It takes 30 minutes to more than an hour to use the tools throughout the home.

Front Of Home

In the Lyons' case, Ms. Bell suggested changes to the entryway. "A front door of any house represents how people want people to see them," Ms. Bell says. "The front door tells a lot about people who live in the home."

For example, she recommended that a Fort Myers client change her gray metal front door to a faux finish wood look. "Changing something from metal to wood enhances a fire energy," she says. "With the intention of what this client wanted to enhance in their life, the front door was the most appropriate area to enhance. Since she is a fire energy, changing the front door from metal to wood was a perfect change."

The change has made "such a difference," Ms. Bell says, noting that the homeowner is "thriving."

Because Mr. and Mrs. Lyons wanted to enhance their careers, Ms. Bell suggested space clearing at the entrance, which Mrs. Lyons says "wasn't leaving us open to opportunity."

So the couple painted the front stoop sage green and removed unsightly plants and buried debris from the landscape beds near the entrance. They planted flowers, shrubs and a palm tree. "That made the whole house feel better," Mrs. Lyons says.

Inside the entryway, they added orange and pink candles in tall candlesticks, a piece of artwork to the wall and an artificial plant. "The whole experience gave us a new direction," she says. "We feel better."

And they have seen results. Mrs. Lyons reports that her husband realized he wanted another career path and is attending college to pursue it. Her interior decorating company has picked up business.

Back Of Home

The back of a home represents support, Ms. Bell says, so changes there help boost prosperity of business and abundance of wealth.

Ron and Kathleen Rooker received professional direction. President of Ron's Painting LLC in Fort Myers, he says Ms. Bell advised him to organize the home office. He should open a window (he normally doesn't let in fresh air), light a candle and place it in a bowl of water, and flush the bowl water into the toilet when he's completed each stage of cleaning. He's supposed to dust the office, wash the windows inside and outside. All these steps will clear space there. "I think it's a very good idea," he says. "It makes sense."

In addition, the Rookers intend to add somethin — perhaps a plant — to the far right corner of the pool area. Ms. Bell says everything on the lanai should be in pairs, and they lack an element in that corner. Their pool waterfall, which faces the rear of their home, has two outlets. They have one tiki torch in each of the near left and right corners of the lanai. The tiki torches balance the waterfall, Ms. Bell says, helping enhance prosperity. A rare sort

Ms. Bell says she doesn't know of other area design experts who practice feng shui. "Ten years ago, it was harder to talk about it," she says. "It's more out there now. People are trying to understand it. Fifty to 65 percent of my clients are openminded to it."

Whether people become true believers is no matter. "It's more important for me to make sure people are happy in their homes, with where they're living," she says.

Feng Shui

  • Floor plans are revealing. The bagua, or a map, indicates sections of living space that relate to areas of life, such as career and family. The front door is the "mouth of chi," Barbara Bell says about the energy of life in Chinese philosophy. "You want that energy to flow." Therefore, homeowners should try to enter through the front door, not the back or garage.
  • The health section of the bagua is in the center of everyone's home. Ms. Bell recalls a homeowner seeking abundance in health, by trying to lose weight. In the center of this client's home was the kitchen, which had a lot of knickknacks. These distractions helped make the homeowner lose sight of her intention.
  • Spatial placement of features and objects also matters. For example, a waterfall in the pool should face the home's rear entrance. "The water feature flowing toward the home is a symbol of abundance," she says.
  • Specific colors and numbers work best for certain people. Kristin Lyons says she was advised to create a shrine on the dining room table. She took a favorite crystal bowl, filled it with water and put seven — one of the numbers with which she is aligned — crystals and live leaves in it.

Source: Interior design consultant and interior a lignment practitioner Barbara Bell of Barbara Bell Design Group

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