I am in a loving partnership with my home. But it wasn’t always that way – I had to create it.
After years of planning and construction, my husband Scott and I moved into our custom-built, energy-efficient, solar-powered home. It should have been a dream come true, but instead, it was an ongoing set of expensive and exhausting problems. The heat-pump system did not function as promised, and cost us hundreds of dollars per month while we shivered in our warmest clothing. Our design of tall, open spaces did maximize passive solar efficiency as we wanted … but sounds from every room echoed in my office. Clutter accumulated in living spaces because we had insufficient storage. And yes, the second-story living space had superb views of the neighboring river, as we had hoped — but getting there required climbing steep stairs after every grocery store trip.
Most important to me, my house just didn’t feel homey or inviting to family and friends the way I had envisioned.
The Limits of Logic
As a long-time environmental planner and landscape architect, I approached these problems with logical and logistical zeal. After three tries, I found someone to improve the heat-pump’s effectiveness. We added more solar panels to the roof to reduce the monthly heating bills, and we installed storage cabinets in the garage to declutter the living spaces. We also added beautiful rugs, window coverings, and artwork to create an attractive living space.
But despite the appearance of comfort and artistic touches, my feelings toward this architecturally elegant residence remained distant. What was missing, and what could I do to make this house genuinely become my home?
Seeing the Problem through the Energetic Lens
Fortunately, about five years ago, I had rediscovered my fascination and intuitive connection with subtle earth energies, and began to practice geomancy (or Western feng shui). As I looked at my place through an energetic lens, the subtle energy source of the house’s issues — and also the potential solutions — were revealed. With that awareness, I began the deeper work to develop a partnership with my place.
I first dowsed the entire property overall, and especially the house, room by room, to discern its energy flow. Some rooms had a stagnant flow, and in others the energy (sometimes called chi or prana) traveled too fast. I looked especially hard at the house’s all-important key access point: the front door at the top of our steep exterior stairway. In feng shui, entrances are considered the critical mouth of a structure. The main entrance serves to attract, repel, or dissipate the chi of a structure.
Subtle Energy Solutions
I knew I needed to address the access issue. The spaces between the wooden steps discouraged energy from rising to the landing, resulting in insufficient energy entering the house. This translated into more outgo of energy, also in the form of money and time, than energy building. To increase the quality and quantity of chi coming in to us, I made these changes:
- Color: I painted the staircase stringers a rich reddish-brown called “wild manzanita,” to match the environment and encourage the energy to travel up.
- Sound and Motion: I installed a windchime and a garden flag at the top of the stairs to attract energy upward.
- Gathering: I created a sitting area with brightly patterned cushions on the landing outside the front door, to invite the energy to come and stay.
The intent was to draw energy up and into the house, where it could gather and nourish our home and its residents.
The wonderful outcome was that the house became energetically refreshing, not depleting. The same uplifting results happened with our time and finances. Our financial security grew, as did my sense of the place as a secure sanctuary.
This worked for me. It could work for you. If you want to learn how to make your house homey, let’s talk about it. A complementary 30-minute consultation is yours for the asking, here.
Photographs – Stairs before and after.
Also, see Deb and Scott in hallway with boxes; photo of bookcases in hall, without people