IS MY HOME THE RIGHT SIZE FOR MY FAMILY?
I have a client who decided to leave her five-bedroom house interstate and moved with her family to Sydney Northern Beaches. Because they wanted to keep two homes, they first rented a small apartment, and the kids had to share a bedroom for the first time since they were very young. When I met her in the in Sydney, in the relatively small apartment, she said that the kids were getting on much better than before. And they both had to do their homework on the dining table, which brought the whole family closer together. Her conclusion was that she would never move back to a large home again!
From the Classical Feng Shui point of view, people are one of the main sources of chi or life force in the home. If the house is too large for the number of people, there will be not enough human chi to fill the place up. If the house is too small, the stress levels can rise.
If you are planning on building a new house or renovating yours, here are some ideas.
These represent an ideal Form for a house. However it is worth reminding you that Feng Shui always has simple remedies for your existing home.
When you are planning a new home it is important to focus on the common areas. Common areas that are attractive, with plenty of natural light, North-facing (in the Southern Hemisphere) and designed to contain the chi (instead of walking-through spaces) are ideal. They can even be positioned in the centre of the home: the place where we sit together, the Tai Chi of the home, the confluence of yin and yang, where all the energies flow to and become one.
The bedrooms, kitchen and other rooms can then become an extension from that centre, like clusters around it.
The home design from bio-architect Michael Rice in Figure 1 below, called the Triple Octa, is a very good example.
Figure 1 – The Triple Octa has a large living area in the centre of the house with kitchen, bedrooms and other rooms around it.
We live in a society that has increased the size of bedrooms to make each family member more independent and self-contained.
My concern here is that this has the potential to create separation in the home.
If each person arrives home and retreats to his/her room, the amount of time the family spends together in the living areas, the heart of the home, decreases.
Energetically, if most human chi is spread out into bedrooms instead into the common areas, this will be highly detrimental to the energy of the home, as it becomes fragmented, without flow.
Spiritually, when family members are not communing, the idea of I, the false self or ego, is reinforced, supporting the illusion of separatedness and creating isolation.
My advice is to have bedrooms that are comfortable, but not necessarily so large that they become independent units inside the home.
Most new homes or newly renovated homes in Sydney are adding a double garage, not only attached to the house, but under the same roof as the house. Because garages are such large areas they deserve special attention in Feng Shui. My advice is to build a separate garage block or, even better, to simplify and build a carport instead.
Garages have a very different energy to homes and energetically works best if they are separate buildings. Garages are service areas that contain fumes, and often oil on the floor, and for health reasons, are best away from the house.
Also, when a double garage is attached to the house (i.e. under the same roof) the energy of the house is ‘diluted’ to include the large car ‘room’. The centre of the house is dislocated towards that area and the house becomes out of balance. And more often than not, garages become dumping grounds and have little or no natural light. So to avoid bringing the energy of the home down, it is best to keep the garage independent from the house.
Spiritually our cars are utilities, and although it is important (and good Feng Shui!) to treat our cars well, it is best not to equal our utilities to our offspring by giving the largest room in the house to the cars! This implies that subconsciously we are giving too much energy to our material possessions- energy that is best spent with our loved ones.
Garden and backyard
One more important point about the home is how the house connects with the outside environment.
If you look at Figure 1 again, you will notice how Michael did not finish his design at the front door, but placed importance in how the house is blending with the grounds around it. Although it makes the house look great, the implications are far greater from the energetic point of view.
The same way that it is good for the life force of the home to have bedrooms that communicate well and are a true part of the home, it is also important that the home communicates well with the outside world.
A home that opens up to a beautiful garden and backyard represents a family that socialises and is open and unafraid to connect with others. Also at a deeper level such house represents an understanding that we cannot live an isolated life, focusing solely on our own family (inwards). It is important to connect with homes around us, and with the larger community. It is important to realize we are all one large family!
Remember that a bigger home is not necessarily better than a small one. The important thing is to keep your relationships with loved ones in mind when planning a new home or renovating an existing one, focusing on creating inspiring communal areas: places that bring family and friends together to celebrate life’s beauty at each moment.
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