I’m inspired that several clients are moving ahead with their visions right now:

One is setting up a dream office in the heart of the city, another is creating a tropical oasis on a foreign shore, a business owner is starting a restaurant serving feel-good food, and a couple is renovating a beach home with sweeping water views…

They’re taking advantage of this semi-suspended moment in time, working with me to help identify what they want, focus in on the practical details, and infuse their plans and spaces with good energy.

Here are my tips on how to do just that, based on recent client projects:

Project 1: Apartment reno for a home office

A NYC client with a gorgeous triplex wants to turn a small storage loft into a pretty and practical home office. We’re finalizing her design plans now, so she can start the process of getting the building’s approval and hopefully begin construction in the fall.

To create this loft office, we’re adding a spiral staircase. Along the staircase wall, a beautiful custom wallpaper brings in the ideal Feng Shui colors for the room: shades of pink and purple.

A few tips about designing a home office:

  • Lighting is key. Make sure you have a combination of overhead lighting, as well as task lighting such as a desk lamp or directional wall sconces, or under cabinet lighting to fully illuminate what you’re working on.
  • Don’t constrict yourself in a space, as it limits the sense of possibility. Even if the space you are working with is small, there are usually ways to create a sense of expansiveness.  In the case of this client’s home office, we are placing her right next to a large window, which will give her great views of the city and lots of light.
  • Place your desk in a power position. Try to set up your desk so your back is not to the door. If possible, place the desk so you have your back towards a wall and are looking towards the door.
  • Every inch counts in an apartment office. Built-in cabinets are key, and custom cabinets are the best way to ensure you maximize the space and get the exact storage that you need. If you can build cabinetry straight to the ceiling, that’s often ideal.
  • Consider the airflow.  Small spaces can get hot or have stagnant air, so think through your ventilation needs. In this case we are adding a ductless heat/ac unit, plus making sure a formerly fixed window now opens.
  • Create one special design feature. It’s easy to think only about functionality in an office, but you want to have something that inspires you and elevates the office into a special space (like my wallpaper selection in the office above).

Project 2:
Setting up a new family home in a foreign land

A client contacted me having recently purchased a beautiful tropical villa in Abu Dhabi. She was looking for ways to create a happy home for a large family, so I did an online feng shui home consultation and written report with many suggestions.

A few tips about arranging a home for a large family:

  • Everybody needs their personal space. Find a way to have individual spaces for each family member. Even if each person cannot have their own bedroom, there’s always a way to layout bedrooms so each child has privacy. Also, you can often carve out at least one private zone somewhere in the house (a window seat, secret alcove, etc.)
  • Expand the family communal gathering area. Try to think “outside the box” when you reimagine a floor plan. In this case, we discussed how to enclose an adjoining courtyard in order to enlarge the main living area.
  • If possible, create a hangout space for the older kids. If it can be far away from the main living room (like detached garage, basement or attic) even better.
  • Prioritize the master suite to make sure you can have quality time together. It should feel separate from the rest of the family and ideally have a special feature that is romantic for the two of you such as a cozy fireplace, private terrace, or decadent spa-like bathroom.
  • Remember to store nothing under the bed, have nothing hanging over the bed (with the exception of a romantic canopy) and avoid sleeping under beams.
  • Good bedroom drapes are key, the bedroom should get dark enough for peaceful sleep.

Getting inspired to move forward?

Even if you aren’t able to start a project right now, you can start thinking about what you want to do, and take smart steps in that direction.

If you want to talk about your ideas, just drop me a note.

You can also learn more about my feng shui and interior design services here.

Next week I’ll share more advice based on projects with two other clients.

Wishing you a May full of new beginnings.


PS: Thank you to all who answered my Happy at Home Survey Your responses were so generous and insightful! I will put together a summary of the results and share them with you in an upcoming email.

PPS: If you haven’t yet taken the short survey, please do it now. It only takes a few minutes. I’d love to hear what’s working and what’s not in your space, along with what you’ve done to create a home that makes you happy. Thanks so much!