Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Doesn't everyone have a library?

I mean, Downton Abbey does. Why can't we?

Downton Abbey library via PBS

Now I love my books. No, I mean I LUUUV my books! I have been collecting them since I can remember.   I'm embarrassed to admit to over 700! Every time we move, the truck has to be bigger. Once we blew the transmission in a brand new rental truck when moving. No one said anything but there were 50 boxes of…you guessed it, books! Sadly, books seem to be phasing out. Here is an article about the demise of coffee table books. :(

Library cat via Pinterest

I finally have the space I need to bookshelf the whole thing in my home office, but they're built-ins so I guess the next move will have to include new bookshelves. I also catalog online at LibraryThing, so I never buy the same book twice anymore! Check them out, super convenient!

My library before bookshelves via Pinterest

So what's the scoop with books and Feng Shui? Well, as you know the Bagua has a Knowledge/Self Awareness area. Perfect for your collection. If you need to place shelves in different areas of the room, just make the intent for that gua. Check this out to see what I mean about intention…..

Color coded bookshelf via Google

Wow! Now if this was the Creativity/Children gua, I see nothing here but creativity…and a lot of time on someone's hands! Books have to neat and organized as well for good ch'i. Good job! 

Bookcase via Pinterest

Books should reflect our current interests, if not, perhaps it's time to edit and donate or sell the old ones you never look open anymore. I would never give up my babies.but then, if you got rid of the old books you don't look at anymore, you couldwait for it.BUY new ones! A win-win situation!

Closet turned library via Pinterest
Corner book nook via Pinterest

What if you don't have an extra guest room or den to turn into a library? Look at the pictures above. That is a stunning re-do of a closet and that book nook in the corner of a room is charming. Can you say, "Carson, I'll take my tea in the library!"


Here are some more well done ideas for libraries on Pinterest. 

Nook via Pinterest

Clubby room via Pinterest

Clever storage via Pinterest

Attic retreat via Pinterest

Mezzanine in NY via Google

Roof line storage via Pinterest

Wow, don't cha just love Pinterest for ideas? (One slipped in from Google). That's a lot of libraries!

Shakespeare and Co, Paris via Pinterest
OMG gorgeous via Pinterest

I also love bookstores, especially small locally owned new/used bookstores. And really clubby, well done public libraries, but then I always want to keep the books! If you love clubby libraries, here is a perfect article on the blog From The Right Bank.

The point is, if you love your books, you can have a library in your space with a little thought and creativity.

And may I add; a cat on your lap!

Monday, March 18, 2013

After 3 days fish and guests…...

I know, they're your family. Or if they're friends, they haven't been to see you in forever, but after 3 days….. Come on, how many times can you go to that tourist trap? How come they keep getting to your favorite chair before you do? Sigh, well at least you can make them comfy before you get to the point of violence!

In case you haven't figured it out we're talking about the guest room. We want to be good hosts to our guests, make sure they are well stocked and comfortable. We want the room to look as if we are ready anytime to welcome our guests. Right? 

Warm earth colors via Houzz

The guest room is sometimes referred to during the year as the junk/spare room. Not very encouraging, is it? In some homes the guest room is a luxury and made to do double duty during the off season.

Double duty in guest room via Pinterest

Give the guest room as much importance and serenity as your own bedroom. (I covered master bedrooms in earlier posts). Make sure guests have enough closet and drawer space even if you have to temporarily remove items for their stay. Let them unpack and feel a part of the household for a short while.

The "I wish" silver bedroom via Houzz

Their own scented toiletries and robes are a B&B touch that is nice. Happy guests add good ch'i to your home. We want them to relax and feel wanted.

Spa accessories via Pinterest

If the space is too valuable to give up a couple times of the year, don't hesitate to claim it for an office, craft room or gym. Simply check out the offerings in sofa beds, Murphy beds or a futon.

Awesome Murphy bed via Bedderway Beds

Here is an outstanding site for beautiful Murphy beds that are incorporated into bookcase units. Good for an office/guest room. Also check out Ikea Hackers here for a DIY Murphy bed project. If you are handy with tools, HUGE savings.

Remember to use that guest room for your own during the year without guilt and if you have that dedicated room for guests, keep it clutter free, cleaned and ready to go. Your guests will thank you with their drama-free stay!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Never Use The Dining Room

I never did either.
In most homes the dining room lies empty most of the time. No relaxing and reading the paper over breakfast, no conversations over dinner, it's just waiting around for the next holiday. If you don't have a separate dining room but an area for eating in the kitchen, we covered that in a previous article on the kitchen. This time, we're going to concentrate on the actual separate dining room.

Beautiful but cold Dining Room via Houzz

In Feng Shui, the dining room is related to the earth. It involves sustenance, refueling and replenishing nourishment. Hard to achieve with on the go, standing up eating over the sink meals!

Earthy, warm and serene Dining via Houzz

Dining rooms should have an intimate, peaceful energy to it. Taking time to sit down and eat is vital to health and digestion. When we wait for a special occasion to do so, we are telling ourselves we aren't worth the daily effort. Psychologists say that sitting down to a meal at least once a day helps the family reconnect and stay together. So when we make a peaceful, serene haven to dine in with quiet music, no TV or cellphones and soft lighting we are nurturing and energizing our lives.

Dark, intimate and mysterious dining via Houzz

First we want to select the right chair. It must fit and support the body and have enough heft for safety. Ever get up from a lightweight dining chair and have it fall backwards? Annoying! Make sure you can sit back and relax with no pokies to gouge your back. Any material for the frame is fine, blending into your decor is important for a cohesive look. Just make sure it has padding and upholstery for comfort in all the right places. Comfort means staying seated longer to enjoy oneself instead of jumping up to rescue a leg that has gone to sleep! I prefer to keep all the chairs equal in size. Feng Shui tells us that King and Queen chairs communicate inequality around the table and keep give the impression the "secondary" diners have less status in the home. Make sure everyone has a good view, sit in all the seats and adjust where they are at the table if need be.

Pick a favorite color to sit on via Google

The artwork should be complementary to your decor but have a more simple feel rather than complicated abstracts. Seascapes, landscapes, still lifes and people are good choices.  I don't usually like to have portraits in the dining room, too distracting to have ancestors watching you eat! This is the place to put your prized possessions whether in a china cupboard, on the table or displayed around the room. Mirrors are usually not recommended in dining rooms, people have a tendency to watch themselves eat. I have had good results using small mirrors with artwork to send the light sparkling all over the room. Enchanting!

Artwork via Pinterest

Speaking of lighting, mimic outdoors whenever possible. Lighting changes throughout the day and seasons, notice how it affects the room. Add lighting in dark corners and use soft illumination overhead with dimmers. No harsh fluorescent bulbs or high wattage bulbs please! I personally feel that candlelight  for evening dining should make a comeback. Romantic and soft, it makes everyone look and feel good! Ceiling fans should be high up and not directly over the table. Use room fans in regions of high temperatures.Ceiling fans low over the table promote arguments as the ch'i chops up and keeps people on edge.

Good lighting (not so good artwork) utilizing daylight, track and overhead via Houzz

Place plants in the room for softness and adding nature into the room.Flowers on the table are always welcome. Make sure they don't overpower the table and stay low enough for conversation to flow across. Keep them in perfect shape if they are silk or dried arrangements. Fruit is always welcome on the table as well as beautiful sculptures. In the above example, soft shades or draperies would also be appropriate.

Nice linens and simple tablescaping via Pinterest

Let's discuss table shapes. Round and oval tables are soft and curvy in feel. Rectangles can work, just make sure the corners are rounded. Right angled corners have no place on the dining room table.  Not only are they sharp but the shape represents inequality and inflexibility. Glass tables are generally considered too uncomfortable for diners, if rectangle, the  edges are too sharp and  if it's oval, too cold for lingering diners. If you have a glass, rectangle or square table, don't despair! Just throw a tablecloth over it when dining. Make sure the table is to the size of daily use and not overly large. A single diner would feel lonely at a table for six. Take out a leaf or two if need be. Table can't be smaller? Set one end for small dining and place plants, sculpture or crockery artistically on the other end. It's all about comfort and lingering!

Curvy and shapely table via Houzz

Remember to add the five elements into the decor, follow the basics above and have fun decorating a perfect dining sanctuary for fabulous meals. See you next time!