Feng Shui Tips for Basement Home Office and Living In A Snout House
Q: I’ve recently decided to move my office into my home to save commuting time and rental expenses. The only place available in my home is the basement area. Can you give me some tips on how to make this space work to my best advantage? I am a CPA and will be seeing clients here as well.
A: The trend to work at home continues to increase for the reasons you stated above.
As with any situation, there are benefits and challenges. Speaking from many years of personal experience, if you utilize the space well the benefits definitely overcome the trade-offs!
Your easy commute and decrease of expenses will be challenged by the location of your new office. Equally important is the necessity of maintaining strong boundaries between your living and working areas, especially with clients coming into your home.
The basement is considered the most yin — or still area — of a dwelling. Locating an office space in this still quality of energy can work at odds with the more active — or yang energy — of a business. The basement also represents the subconscious or “shadow,” which can often exert an unexpected or hidden influence in our lives. Being aware of these challenges can help you minimize any potential impact they may bring.
First assess the obvious condition and features of this area as you prepare to move into your office. Make sure it is not damp or moldy. Strive for bright lighting that provides ambient brightness as well as specific task illumination.
Ideally, you will have a separate room with a door you can close for privacy. If you are designating an area within an open basement space, you need to be mindful that you and your clients are not surrounded by clutter, storage, laundry facilities, oil or gas burners, tools, or any other sort of rusty, broken stuff. The presence of any item on that list in your office space sends the message that your business is not thriving. Use screens and partition walls to create an office enclosure where the environment visually and energetically supports your work.
Workspace basics start with the correct placement of your desk. Be sure it is situated in the command position — not in direct alignment with the door opening, but at a diagonal towards the rear with support from a solid wall. This way you’ll have the widest view, which is the most powerful. Seeing the front door equals success. This position also lets your clients know that you are in charge.
Mindfully assess the entrance to the basement. The basement stairs must be safe and covered with stair treads or a runner in good condition. Do clients enter through a separate door directly to the basement or do they use the front door leading into your living space? If the latter is the case, make sure there is a clear path to the basement door so clients are not wandering through your home, distracted by observing your décor and drawing conclusions about you — right or wrong!
The five elements can also be used to enhance this location and the intention of your business. The metal element is the most important as it supports work in the financial industry and anything relating to money. Activate its presence by placing a small metal box holding 3, 6 or 8 coins. 6 and 8 are auspicious numbers for prosperity and luck throughout China; three feng shui coins tied together with a red thread is the traditional Chinese remedy to attract wealth. Place this metal box in the wealth area of your desk located in the upper left corner. Whites, grays, gold, silver, appropriate pastel tones, circular and oval shapes, as well as the actual substance of metal will also strengthen this important energy in your office area.
To curb the yin energy of the basement, introduce the zestful yang qualities of the fire element, which represents our passion for what we do, with reds, triangular or pointed shapes, lighting or anything made from animals. Splurge on a few high-design floor and table lamps strategically placed in your office to “fire up” your passion to accomplish your goals and be successful with your clients.
To further help counteract the yin energies of the basement, a large ceramic pot holding a low-maintenance jade plant adds a grounding earth element and brings the business-building wood element in as well. Use the water element sparingly, such as mirror, glass, dark blues and black; water is often very yin, and this, added to the tendency of a basement to be the dampest, most still area of the house, is not helpful.
Living In A Snout House
Q: We are seriously considering a move to a new housing development. One of the drawbacks is the housing layout common to all — the garages protrude from the house fronts and each one looks the same. Is there some way I can use feng shui to overcome this repetitiveness? The homes are new and lovely but something doesn’t feel quite right.
A: You are right in having some doubts about the suitability of living here.
A house with a protruding front garage is often described as a “snout house.” With the garage as the dominant visual element on the façade, the chi, or vital energy of the property, is drawn toward the cars and the function of driving rather than the house and the function of living. Occupants in such a configuration often report they are living their lives at a driving pace, with an unusual amount of attention placed on coming and going. Energy flows where attention goes.
Additionally, exiting and entering the house will most likely be through the garage as well. The front of the house, considered the proper “mouth of chi,” will not be used often and thus energy will not move through the house in the way it was intended.
To correct this, it’s necessary to make the house the dominant visual element. If the housing association allows it, consider painting your front door a strong, bright color (red is classic) to reroute the chi to enter your house more auspiciously.
Create another strong visual directional with landscaping. A meandering path to your door, perhaps accented with flowers, shrubbery and rocks, will refocus your eye to see the front door first, and allow chi to easily flow to your house and not the garage. Try to avoid a straight line directly from the street to your front door; the energy can be quite strong and fast and may possibly upset the harmony of your dwelling. Outdoor lighting could also enhance this pathway. Use the front door as frequently as possible, even if it requires adjusting your usual routine.
Keep the garage interior clean, uncluttered, and organized since it will be used as the transition space between your private dwelling and the more public space of a garage. Start and end your day with harmonious and pleasing visual cues; it will help in keeping the hectic pace in check as well.
Karen Feldman is a certified feng shui practitioner and interior designer, and the owner since 1994 of Urban Eden, a full-service holistic interior design firm in Providence, RI. Karen helps her residential, commercial and corporate clients to co-create spaces that are beautiful, functional and in alignment with the best interests of their well being along with the planet’s. Contact Karen at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.karenfeldmanurbaneden.com.