A Design Blog of Feng Shui Designer Sherry Burton Ways

Posts tagged ‘Wellness Design’

An Introduction to Zen Decorating

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Zen decorating is a Japanese style of interior decor that embodies the values of minimalistic and simplistic living.  Does the word Zen transport you to a dreamy land of peaceful Buddahs and stress free living?  Then you are on the right track.  Applying Zen principles can help you break the stress and relax in familiar surroundings like your home or office.

A few basic principles can help convert your home or part of it into a Zen inspired space that feels like a retreat.  Here are four aspects of Zen decorating to get you started:

1) Minimalism- Decorating your home with Zen sensibilities means that you have to clear your surroundings of clutter down to the bare minimum.  Do away with knick knacks sitting on the console table, ornate displays of decorative pieces and even intricate wall papers.  The interiors must be unobstructed and filled with abundant natural light.  Think simplicity and open spaces.  Swap your exotic Victorian style furniture and upholstery with intricate patterns for simple textures and clean, straight lines.  Hide any disturbances in the room like electrical wiring and electronics that can cause stress.  This does not mean that you stop watching TV but simply place the TV in a cabinet with doors that can be shut when not in use.

2) Color Palette- Zen decorating takes its inspiration largely from nature.  Use warm, neutral colors to paint your walls.  Avoid any pops of bright colors as these will clash with the Zen style of design and disturb the balance.  Choose a muted, earthy color scheme for your upholstery, carpets and furniture as well.  Some of the most commonly used colors are creamy whites, coffee browns and shades of green.  Avoid stark colors like white and black, your palette should be warm and subdued.

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3) Nature Inspired Accents- Use minimal accessories to personalize your home.  When choosing accents, look for ones that represent the Zen elements of Feng Shui like earth, water,  fire, wood and metal.   Potted plants like bonsai and bamboo tend to create a tranquil atmosphere in the room and do not need a lot of care.  You can also place an indoor waterfall that creates a soothing trickling sound.  Fabrics made of natural fibers like wool, linen, and jute will ensure that your interiors are comfortable, warm and inviting.  Keep your walls free of intricate paintings and pictures.  If you want to hang a Zen inspired painting, limit it to only one per room.  Remember the rule of thumb- keep only what you really love, and harmonize with nature.

4) Lighting- Light is an important aspect to the Zen style of decorating.  Don’t block any natural sources of light like windows and sunroofs.  Avoid using drapes, instead you can opt for translucent screens that fill the room with abundant natural light.  For the evenings after the sun goes down, opt for wall sconces or pendant fixtures.  Instead of using only overhead fixtures that cast dark shadows, enhance the lighting by adding simple but modern wall sconces.  Dimmers can be used to set the mood.  Soft light and the scent from aromatic candles made of soy or beeswax will help you relax after a hard day of work.

In the next few weeks I will be focusing on Zen Decorating through a several videos.

Here is the first on how to accessorize a Zen inspired console:

 

The Clock is Ticking: Remember to Organize Your Home for the Holidays

With the holidays just around the corner, it is now time to look at organizing your home before you can sit back and soak in the holiday fun. Most people squirm at the thought of spending hours organizing and cleaning but the trick is to create a plan before you set off and tackle one part of your home organization before moving to the next. Organizing now will help ease the stress during the holidays.

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Here is a quick guide to help you organize the most important areas of your home:

1. Organize the pantry – Holidays are all about the joy of baking, cooking and eating. Organizing your pantry will ensure that it is well stocked and sorted. Start by removing everything from the pantry and giving the shelves a good deep clean. Weed through the food stuff and remove anything that is expired or spoilt. Next, divide the pantry into sections like organic foods, baking goods, sauces and spices, etc. and rearrange the groceries. Place your bulk purchases like soda cartons or anything too heavy on the bottom most shelf. Label the jars and canisters clearly. Finally make a list of things you need to re-stock the pantry.

2. Organize the guest room – For most part of the year guest rooms are often treated like extra storage. Organizing the guest room to ensure a comfortable stay for your guests will make them feel welcome. The first step is to clear out the clutter from closets and drawers in the guest bedroom. Make space for them to keep their belongings. Change the linens and place extra blankets in the closet. Take time to clean the guest bathroom and put out some freshly laundered towels and toiletries. On the day of their arrival, make the room feel special with flowers and some small snacks. Don’t forget to leave a jug of water and glasses.

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3. Organize the living room – Your living room will cater to the heaviest traffic during the holidays and is a reflection of your style and personality. Choose a theme for the holidays and decorate accordingly. Put away all the usual, year –round decorative pieces in the living room to make space for the holiday themed ones. Dust and clean the shelves, mantel place and side tables. Clean out your fireplace if you have one and get it professionally serviced if required. Is there enough space for everyone to be seated comfortably? Make arrangements for extra seating to avoid any last minute hassles. Finally vacuum the carpet and change the pillow cases.

4. Rev up the exteriors – The exteriors of your home should be just as beautiful as the interiors. The house should look warm and inviting to the guests coming to visit you. Rake and clean the entry way and if possible give it a good power wash. Re-paint the front door and the fence. Hang decorative planter baskets with perennials on the porch. Make sure that the house is well lit from the outside and replace any fused bulbs or broken fixtures. Decorate the exteriors with ornaments and wreaths close to the holidays.

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Need to declutter before the holidays?  For just $4.50 you can check out some strategies in my new e-book: Declutter Your Life, Space & Prosper

Sophistication, Grace and Hefty? Indoor-Outdoor Living and Entertaining

For the homeowner with a patio, deck or other outside social area, decorating can be both a challenge and an exciting opportunity. You might be wondering how to turn your plain porch into a paradise and enhance your outdoor living.

1. Fine Living – Imagine this: You’re throwing a tea party outside on your lovely patio and just as your guests sit down in your comfortable porch chairs, you serve them their first course on… paper plates. The paper plates kind of ruin it, huh? When decorating for outdoor living you’ll want to make it as comfortable and inviting outdoors as you would indoors. Bring out the china, the candles, placemats, napkins, crystal and fresh flowers. It’s the ultimate in luxury and entertaining. When your guests are used to eating from paper plates, you serve them on fine china. What a treat! It’s easy to experience sophistication and grace when entertaining outdoors, but it’s hard to do on Hefty™ brand paper plates.

Photo Courtesy of Lonny Magazine

2. Be a Softy – Just as you would when decorating indoors, remember to balance your hard and soft elements in your outdoor decorating. If your outdoor environment is a concrete slab with hard metal furniture, bring in soft goods like seat cushions, chair pads, pillows, place mats, and even simple drapery panels. Look to soften your outdoor ‘room’ to make it more comfortable and inviting.

3. Select the Right Fabric – Outdoor living that withstands the elements is easy to achieve when selecting the right fabrics. There’s a big difference between indoor and outdoor fabrics. Whereas cotton is a durable, natural fabric, it can fade and mildew. Outdoor fabrics on the other hand have been reinvented! They don’t fade, are easy to clean, soft to the touch, repel mold and they hold up beautifully to the elements. Great for seat cushions, table covers, runners, place mats, napkins, drapes, pillows and even overhead canopies. Many of my clients like to even use them indoors!

4. Accessories – Finding attractive accessories that can withstand the elements can be a challenge. But don’t think you have to restrict your shopping to your local ‘garden center’. Scour salvage yards, antique shops, consignment stores and garage sales for fun, unique pieces to use outdoors. Look for opportunities to use common elements in unusual ways. Just remember that by leaving them outside more than likely they’ll deteriorate faster. Just keep that in mind when considering how much to pay for the pieces.
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Photo of an outdoor space accessorized by Kreative Ways & Solutions

Great outdoor decorating gives you another room to decorate and enjoy once the weather warms up. It provides an opportunity to tap into your creativity and expand on your home’s presence beyond your typical 4 walls. Outdoor decorating is not hard to do when you remember to embrace the elements of the outdoors, not run from them. And don’t forget to break out the fine china! You and your guests will be glad you did!

If you are interested in getting your season started in creating the outdoor space of your dreams contact us today at 1-888-280-8318 or interiors@kreativeways.com

 

Should All My Furniture Match One Design Style?

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Today’s interior styles reflect an eclectic mix of influences. Not only can you switch up your style from room to room, but within a room as well. Whether you prefer a casual or a more formal approach to furnishing your home, the contrast of different styles enlivens the space. A well-designed space does not have matching pieces, and in order to create a visual interest in a room, it is better to complement rather than match. Matching is very restricted.

Spaces can become more personal through time as furniture pieces are collected from family members, friends, or antique shopping.

All these different styles collected can become representative of you and your style.  While on the other hand, buying a set can seem less personal and instead, less boring!

I  believe it’s more stimulating to use different styles as opposed to one style when it comes time to decorate.  When you use pieces that you have collected over the years and integrate new items as well, you are able to create a more personal living space.

Want more tips and inspiration for your home or office, sign up for the Kreative Koncepts newsletter  here.

Our Suggestions on Using Pantone’s 2013 Color Emerald in Your Interior

We could not end the year without acknowledging the 2013 Pantone Color of the year:  Emerald.   Any color green is a healing color and we would love to know what specifically went into the selection of it. Our  colleague and friend Leatrice Eiseman states:   “The most abundant hue in nature, the human eye sees more green than any other color in the spectrum,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®. “As it has throughout history, multifaceted Emerald continues to sparkle and fascinate. Symbolically, Emerald brings a sense of clarity, renewal and rejuvenation, which is so important in today’s complex world. This powerful and universally-appealing tone translates easily to both fashion and home interiors.”

Umm “clarity, renewal and rejuvenation.”  Wow, that is what we like to do, create interiors that inspire you.  Globally homeowners are seeking ways to feel better in their interiors.  So this revelation is extremely interesting as you look at where Pantone is going with their color of the year choice this year.  According to Pantone, Emerald is also a color that is considered sophisticated and elegant.  Ok, so you may ask, how can I integrate such a color in my interior? Here are our recommendations:

  • Accent wall in a room where you want to emphasize healing and harmony.
  • A sofa throw, table accessories or a lamp base.
  • Consider an emerald colored  area rug to ground a room.
  • Integrate the color using artwork that may emphasize it in some way.
  • How about emerald colored draperies?
  • An accented table scape- dishes, napkins, place mats
  • Bathroom accessories

Rooms where we recommend that you use the color Emerald:

  • Bathrooms
  • Guest bedrooms
  • Master bedrooms
  • Sun rooms
  • Living Rooms:  as accents only
  • Dining Room:  as a table scape accent only

Interestingly, Pantone provides the  following quote about their color selection which very ironic yet in alignment with our design philosophy at Kreative Ways & Solutions, LLC:

“Lively. Radiant. Lush… A color of elegance and beauty that enhances our sense of well-being, balance and harmony.”

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Photos Courtesy of Pantone

If you would like specific recommendations on where to use Emerald in your interior for 2013, contact us today at -1-888-280-8318 or email us at interiors@kreativeways.com.

Six Strategies to Prepare for The End of The World Of Uninspired Home Design

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Well it is the end of the world as we know it… well sort of.   According to the ancient Mayans, the end of the world is supposed to be December 20-21st.  However, I got news for you… the end of the world as we have known it from a consciousness level is no longer the agenda.

The year 2013  is about making a shift in the collective consciousness around the world.  In order to prepare, we will need more spiritual and energetic tools.  It is now going to be about listening to your intuition and being in touch with your spiritual self.   It is about moving to action instead of waiting for permission to move forward.

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This is a time for transformation, spirituality and understanding your place and your role in co-creating the universe.  This is the end of doing it all on your own.  It is about sharing and tapping as many resources as you can.  You will want to match your personal SHIFT with an environmental SHIFT.

To do this you must create an interior that fully supports the way you want to be, and the way you want to live in the world—one where you can really thrive and enjoy every aspect of your life, with spaces that function well, and allow you to tap into your true self and your authentic gifting.  So as you prepare mentally and spiritually for this exciting shift in the universe,  your home or office  interior must be in alignment for the abundance prepared for you in 2013.   To prepare your interior for the SHIFT here are six strategies:

  1. Discover your personal (and even professional) needs and goals.
  2. Create an action plan for setting up your interior environment so that these needs and goals will be supported and fully realized.
  3. Consider spaces that integrate personal hobbies, work, and creativity into your home.
  4. Incorporate design elements that can have an emotional and psychological effect on your well-being and productivity both within the home and outside of it.
  5. Know what your personal development colors are and how to integrate them in your interior.  There is nothing like having the right customized colors in your environment to help you thrive at your highest level.
  6. Find out what your Feng Shui Five Elemental make up is and the characteristics of your Chinese natal element chart is to be able remain balanced.

You know the trend of working from home virtually has changed the mindset of the workplace. The virtual work situation has placed us in environments where we can be stimulated to be more productive.   We now have some control over the spaces in which we work.  We want beauty around us.   Take the opportunity to shape your home office or out of home office bathed in beauty.

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Why not place fresh bouquets of  flowers or installing chandeliers in your home office in order stimulate your productivity?

To help you make that SHIFT in your interior for the post-2012 world, consider our Interior Environment Coaching and Feng Shui Design services to transform your old interior design consciousness to one that is in step with 2012 .  Our services are more than equipped to help you end the world of uninspired design to a world of spaces that inspire you.  Call us today to schedule your 30 minute FREE phone consultation at 1-888-280-8318 or email us at interiors@kreativeways.com.

Eco-Friendy Dentist Office Design in Capitol Hill, DC

This time we are showcasing the first eco-friendly, holistic dental office in Washington, DC, Harmony Dental.     See our previous post here about the history of this project.  We designed this dental office using as many sustainable materials as possible including Icestone for the countertops and surface materials for the both the bathroom and lobby desk and one of our favorite paints Devine Paints which provided us a rich palette for this project.  We used recycled bottled tin ceilings, recycled upholstery fabric for the lobby chairs and energy efficient lighting including a skylight on this project.

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Our client and their patients are enthusiastic about this state of the art holistic interior design for a dental office.  Our first eco-friendly office we have ever designed.  Many visitors are stunned and delighted with the soothing color palette which we are known for and the delicate balance of efficiency and function.

Interested in knowing what we can design for your office?  Give us a call today at 1-888-280-8318 or email us at interiors@kreativeways.com.

Upleveling Your Space with Recycled Glass Tiles!

Whether they’re in your kitchen or bathrooms, tiled walls, counters and floors glass tiles can make a space brighter, darker, larger or smaller. They add a splash of color to any dull room or space. Different sizes can accommodate different uses, while different materials and textures can convey different feelings. Choosing the perfect tile for a certain space can be hard, as mentioned, various sizes, textures, materials and colors can make decision making hard. However, the first place one should start the picking process is with sustainability.

Glass tiles have been around for centuries and can provide a classic timeless look. From beautiful and classic Byzantine mosaics, to modern day kitchen back splashes, glass tiles have come and gone in and out of popularity through the times. Now days, glass tiles provide a great alternative for consumers seeking a green and sustainable product. Whether you are seeking them for your residential or commercial projects, glass tiles are ideal for LEED certification.

Glass tiles are made and produced by many different manufacturers, however, when looking; one must research whether the glass tiles are made of recycled content and if so, what percentage of the tiles are made of recycled content. StoneSource has a series of different glass tile lines that come in different shapes, sizes, colors and are all made of post consumer recycled glass, comprised of 67% post-consumer and 28% post-industrial recycled content. Fire Clay on the other hand introduced “Crush, 100% Recycled Glass Tile – a handmade, American-crafted glass tile created from 100% locally sourced recycled glass.”

 

No matter which room you choose there is a role for glass tile.  Uplevel your interior with it today!

 

Essence Magazine December 2012: Getting to Joy

Thrilled to have contributed to an article in the December 2012 issue of Essence Magazine entitled Getting to Joy. Among the 10 things stated I provided the importance of de-cluttering your space as a means to increase joy in your life. You can find the article on page 137.

Article “Getting to Joy” on page 137 of Essence Magazine. See #8.

December 2012 issue of Essence magazine

Love and Marriage: Decorating Together The Feng Shui Way

Before decorating or redecorating a room in your home.  Call a meeting with your spouse or partner first.  Set the intention of what your home is to be for the both of you.  Determine first which rooms you would like to decorate or redecorate and whether or not the room is functioning at a level that you both are satisfied with.  Is it functioning efficiently and are both of you feeling productive in the space.

No matching match! Mix, don’t match. The home is an opportunity to grow as a couple or as an relationship evolves.   Mix and match décor items and furniture that suit both of your interests and activities.

Respect each other’s belongings, sacred inherited pieces and furnishings.  Find places in the home where each other’s cherished belongings will be respected and honored.

When shopping for new furniture, I always advise a couple to determine what their interior design style is first.  This can be done through researching magazines, blogs, websites and other media to identify which furniture and design styles will best suit both.  Tear out those photos you both like.  Identify using descriptors which furnishings and colors you both like.  Compromise is the name of the game.

Once you identify a design style that you both can live with, begin to list those items that you feel you need the most.  Determine needs verses wants at this stage.

Understand and work with a budget that you both agree to and stick with.  Determine whether or not you are living in a condo, house or apartment how long you will be living there and whether or not certain items are worth the investment if it is a temporary living situation.

Shop and choose items together.  Make it a date!  Make it fun and include dinner or lunch as part of it.  Choose a day where you will concentrate on one item verses another.

While typically women are drivers of décor decisions- always ALWAYS involve your partner in making the decisions.  While he may say oh go ahead and decorate, believe me he has an opinion too and it should be honored.  Keep asking questions about likes and dislikes between the two of you.

Here is a case study of a Feng Shui Design I did for a couple:

Feng shui is about creating positive energy, the right chi, within a space.  “It was my idea,” the wife, who didn’t want to be named, said. “I had done some research but wanted someone to help us with the layout and flow of the house.”

I began by guiding the couple through an intention ceremony. This process meant entering each room and stating the intention and purpose for the space. They burned sage and chanted — the wife said her husband, a Navy officer, was skeptical at first.

“My husband has been a good sport,” she said. “The ceremony got us all on the same page.”

The primary intent was to create a home that feels inviting to friends and serves as an oasis to the couple. I removed walls on the main floor to open the space and then quadrupled the number of windows, inviting in more sunlight.

The color scheme was based on personal feng shui readings performed by me. The husband, a Yin Wood type, needed more water, which was represented by blue to enhance his energy.

Home I designed for a couple using Feng Shui and Chinese astrology

Wood is stimulated by water. The wife possessed a large fire element and benefited from the water cooling her down.

“If left up to me, all the walls would have been red or orange,” the wife acknowledged. “These colors really bring a sense of calm and balance.”

Each of the chosen colors is painted on a wall in the home. They are repeated in tiny rectangular tiles, from Architectural Ceramics, arranged in a geometric pattern and mounted around the fireplace. The result is a reflective, shimmering work of art.

Usually feng shui requires window coverings.  But part of feng shui is about bringing elements of nature into the house, and the windows certainly do that.

Circles, which represent unity, infinity and completion in feng shui, appear in various forms throughout the home. The light fixture above the dining table is an assortment of rings grouped in a mirror bowl chandelier with brass detailing. Wooden accent tables and lamp shades replicate the circular pattern. All the furniture has rounded edges, alleviating any “poison arrows” that interfere with positive chi.

A transitional sofa in taupe chenille-like fabric with a micro-maze pattern is flanked by two sets of chairs. On one side are comfy accent chairs in micro-suede, complemented by dainty round satin teal pillows. On the other are two chairs with Indonesian-inspired carved mahogany frames.

The entire project, which included designing a nursery and master bedroom, took only six weeks to finish. I contribute part of the speedy completion to hiring a contractor who also studied feng shui and the fact that the couple who had a firm understanding and intention to design the space as they wanted.

“My biggest concern with feng shui was whether we could find the types of things, such as furniture, we liked in a style that fit,” the wife said. “I love the flow of the house and [my husband’s] very happy with the outcome. We want people to come into the house and feel relaxed. We want the focus to be on the person and not the furniture.”

 

 

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