Are you ready to have your listings stand out from the rest, attract more buyers, sell faster and stay ahead of the competition? Take a moment to read how your listings can benefit from Feng Shui, and then schedule a Feng Shui consultation for your current listings that haven’t sold as quickly as you would like, or for new listings.
Applying Feng Shui principles can result in easier and faster property sales, producing results with or without staging. Should you choose to stage your listing or not, Feng Shui can help you achieve an immediate feeling of warmth and comfort upon entering a property and bring the added benefit of presenting homes that offer balance, flow and harmony.
A cross between art and science, Feng Shui has been practiced in Asia for thousands of years. Suzanne Bank has successfully incorporated it in her designs since 1990. She has been featured numerous times in the Los Angeles Times and in national magazines highlighting her innovative interiors based on the principles of Feng Shui. Read what clients say about the results of her work at suzannebankdesigns.com and check out Suzanne Bank Designs on Houzz.com and Yelp.
Her scope of design work includes remodeling and new construction projects, single rooms to entire homes or condos, staging, model homes, Showcase Houses and real estate development. Suzanne has worked with celebrities as well as couples and individuals just getting started in life, evaluating her clients’ needs and excelling in interpreting their desires.
For the client who wants to keep what they have, she “does her magic” with their furnishing and accessories, achieving a fresh and totally new look, usually with only minor purchases required.
Chapter written by Suzanne Bank and reprinted from Natural Baby & Child Care by Dr. Lauren Feder.
When you’re decorating your child’s room, consider Feng Shui, the ancient Chinese system designed to create harmony and balance in our living spaces. Often life for our children can be hectic and overly stimulating, so it is all the important that their home be “home sweet home.” According to interior designer and Feng Shui specialist Suzanne Bank, the family’s living space should have a calming, harmonious, healing influence. Especially in the bedroom, it is important to establish a peaceful, quiet environment for your children. Your child’s bedroom should be a place for rest, regrouping, and rejuvenation, away from the electronic, fast-paced stimuli around us. Their room—including the paint color and placement of furniture—can influence moods, relationships, even school work.
Clearing the Energy————
Begin with a clean slate. When people live and work in a space, they bring their energy with it. When you move into a new home, the previous tenants’ energy remains, although they are physically gone. Sometimes their energy is positive and sometimes not. Try “clearing the air” in a new space: some people clear the space with smudging (sage), salt, camphor crystals, or pendulums.
Locations and Positions————
As your child is an important member of the family, the layout of the bedrooms should support his or her care. When possible, it is best to have your child’s bedroom at the hub of the house, the center for security, away from the front street or back of the house. The back of the house signifies the power position—the preferable location for the parents’ bedroom. Bedrooms over garage spaces present a feeling of instability since cars are going in and out.
The position of the furniture in the bedroom is also important. When sleeping, the head of the bed should be facing the door. Being able to see the door when in bed,not in line with the door. Having your child’s back to the door promotes a subconscious awareness of the unseen, which translates to uneasiness. Do you want to increase creativity and freedom of thought? Avoid placing your child’s desk up against a wall, which can promote a feeling of being mentally up against the wall.
Whether you live in a big home or a small space, your child needs a space where he or she can consider their own and where they are allowed to express themselves. A cork bulletin board allows your child to express themselves through a changing gallery, allowing them to transform the décor at the press of a push pin. The bulletin board also gives your child a contained area to change and add pictures on a whim without the clutter all over the walls. transform the décor at the press of a push pin. The bulletin board also gives your child a contained area to change and add pictures on a whim without the clutter all over the walls.
Wall color can also have an impact on the child. Yellow can be anxiety provoking. It is no accident that taxis are yellow, as the color that evokes an immediate response and attention, often with a sense of urgency. Although red is the color of love and passion, it can also bring about anger. Softer shades of blue and green work well in a bedroom and can be more restful.
In the closet, Suzanne encourages parents to keeps clothes organized according to color and sleeve lengths. This will allow ease in choosing clothing, especially in the morning before school. Clothes in the closet hang better with uniform hangers.
Video games, televisions, and computers are best in a common area, rather than the bedroom. A room should offer a healing peaceful place conducive to rest rather than the stimulating effects of video games.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I was a divorced mother of two young children when being divorced was not looked upon favorably – and to add to that, women couldn’t even get credit cards! I didn’t have a career or a way to make a living, and my ex-husband gave me the least possible amount of money he could. I was put in a position where I had to support my children and myself.
I had always had a love and passion for interior design. While visiting a friend, a neighbor stopped in, saw the changes I was making to my friend’s home and the next thing I knew, I was designing a townhouse for her sister. That led to another job, followed by many more jobs. Since that first job, all of my clients have come to me by referral.
At the time I started designing, the only interior design classes in the city were taught at UCLA. I had my children to take care of, a household run, my work, and somewhat of a personal life. There was no time for school or studying. So, as I have done with most things in my life, I learned by doing: on-the-job training, using my taste, my design sense and a lot of intuition. I have worked with many celebrities as well as young couples just starting out in life. I have participated in two showcase houses, done model homes and real estate development, and my work has been featured in magazines. A few of my interesting jobs include a TV star’s dressing room, a police captain’s office, a newspaper office, the L.A. office of a presidential candidate, the office of the founder and first president of the Television Academy, recording studios, a kindergarten classroom, a reading room for a religious organization, a juvenile furniture showroom at the L.A. Mart, a showroom for a California sportswear line, a home for a woman who had lost her sight at a young age and the interiors for the main character in three mystery novels.
In 1988, I read an article on Feng Shui in the real estate section of the L.A. Times. I was fascinated, and set out to find out more. It was an interesting two-year journey which became my looking for the needle in a haystack. I discovered that few English-speaking people were into the Chinese Art of Placement so I had to find an interpreter for the Feng Shui Master that I would meet with, Master Lin.
Like an onion, there are many layers to my design work. In 1983 I started including Carlton Wagner’s subconscious effect of color, and in 1995 I added energy clearing to the list of things I do for my clients. After all these years, I am blessed to still be doing what I love.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Doing something “new” and different is always a challenge. It was mostly men in the interior design field and only a handful of women when I started designing. I well remember that I felt disrespected and talked down to in the showrooms. I learned quickly to get over it.
I was actually told not to take classes, as my approach was fresh and I would lose that freshness if I went to school for interior design. When I began including Feng Shui in my work, I was asked by a number of real estate offices to come and speak to their agents and brokers. I believe I was the first to speak about Feng Shui to the real estate community. I asked each office where I spoke to give me a property to work on that was not selling, so I could show the benefits of using Feng Shui. They all did. I worked on a home owned by a broker in Pacific Palisades that had been on the market for some time, with no offers. Soon after I worked on the house, there were three offers in five days and the house sold.
In good markets and bad, I have had many homes sell within ten days after working on them, and all had back-up offers. In addition to speaking to brokers, I have spoken to Rotary Clubs, Women in Business, the Ebell of Los Angeles, to a group of women who went from being homeless to living at Daybreak, and a shelter for women transitioning into having their own living environments. Years ago, there was great interest in Feng Shui. Today many have forgotten about the benefits. Tomorrow it may be the thing to do again. For me, it has been, and is, a wonderful tool to use.
So, let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Suzanne Bank Designs story. Tell us more about the business.
My specialty is understanding my clients’ needs when they can, and especially when they can’t. I believe home interiors should be timeless, not trendy; this isn’t the clothing industry. More than ever, everyone should have a retreat to come home to at the end of the day, a place to renew, refresh and regroup. A place that’s harmonious, balanced, comforting, a grounding influence and a reflection of the people living there, not the neighbors or the home we saw get a makeover on TV.
Whatever the style – traditional, transitional, contemporary or modern – the space should be a tasteful, restful environment that will evolve as the clients do. When a client hires me, they get me, not an assistant. I spend time getting to know them and their lifestyle, so I can design their home the way they envision it.
To start, I do an energy clearing of my client’s environment; I have yet to find a space that is not in need of one. I’m most proud when they say, “That’s exactly what I would have done if I could have done it myself.” When my clients tell me of the results they’ve received from my work, I’m elated. My friends have become my clients and many of my clients have become friends. All my clients know they are welcome to call me at any time with any questions, even long after the job has been installed.
I’ve worked on a home in the Bahamas, one in San Diego, and was involved from breaking ground to completion on a home near Mt. Shasta, and all from my office. I’m not like other designers I know. I use my knowledge and years of experience as a designer, add Feng Shui, energy clearings, subconscious response to color and a great deal of intuition. My work is more than aesthetic – it’s spiritual. I’m proud to say that over the many years I’ve been designing, I have shared my knowledge, taught my clients and been able to give them guidance.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I’ve had good luck in attracting wonderful clients that have appreciated my design sense and the results they received.
Wilshire Community Police Council “A Night At The Sports Museum” fundraisers photos by Bill Devlin.
Photo with Rose Parade float designer client Raul Rodriquez and Sebastian.
Client Sheila Lowe’s book signing.
Holding the world’s tallest rose at the Rose Parade float judging.
At the nursery selecting plants for a Culver City model
Every woman should have an experienced Feng Shui expert visit their home at least once with each new space you lease or buy. Know that Feng Shui is a powerful tool that’s been around for thousands of years. Simply stated…Feng Shui teaches that your life is affected by the energies in your surroundings, and those energies exist before you even enter your home, and possibly have been there even before you occupied the space you are now living or working in.
Unblocking and allowing the “chi” or life energy to flow in your home or workplace will create new possibilities for you. Somethings happen immediately and others will happen over time. Being aware of what needs to be done and then taking action, will lead to unexpected and beneficial results. One of our favorite MUST GO to Feng Shui experts we highly share you must connect with this season is – Suzanne Bank. She is a published Feng Shui designer.
Suzanne designs healthy, innovative spaces that reflect and support all of her client’s daily needs. She will find where balance, flow and harmony need help and recognize where blockages in the home cause blockages in one’s life. Her work begins with an energy clearing she has added to her services for all her clients for the past twenty years. To date, Suzanne has yet to find a space that doesn’t need a clearing.
The best news – she works with the existing furniture, art and accessories to create a new environment out of the old.
Suzanne states: When I leave my client, their space has a new look and a new feel. Most likely purchases will not be needed to be made as I find clients have more than they need. If a purchase is necessary, it’s usually a minor one.
Did you know we are all affected by the positive and the negative energy in our surroundings, on both a conscious and unconscious level? According to the principles of Feng Shui, making adjustments or “cures” when called for, can improve health, finances and/or relationships. Standing at the front door, take a look at the outside of your home. Is there another home or building that towers over yours, a driveway across the street that is directed towards your home, a school or church nearby, roof lines that point at your residence as if they are arrows? Is your front door below street level, are you living on a busy street or on a cul-de-sac? These are some of the reasons to use Feng Shui.
When most people think of Feng Shui, they think of it in relationship to the interior or inside space. The exterior or outside is also important. Use Feng Shui before you enter your own private domain. Visualize yourself arriving home. Do you use the front door to enter, or do you go through the garage? Is your path to the entry door clear of debris, wide enough and easy to walk on? If you are entering from the front, is the path in a straight line from the street to the door, which means the “chi” is flowing too fast both in and out, or does it meander so that the “chi” has a chance to flow gently?
Create a bright and welcoming entry at the front door of your home, one that welcomes you home and makes you feel good each time you leave or return. Does the door need to be cleaned, waxed or painted? If you’re thinking of repainting, red, black and green are auspicious colors, while white and wood stained are not. Does the door open and shut easily? Is your doorbell visible and in working order? Then, there’s your doormat. You’ll want it to be as wide as your front door. One that is narrower or smaller will limit the amount of good energy entering your home.
Now look at your mailbox. It receives and holds money and information for you. Keep it in good working condition, polished or painted, and have it clearly visible. Give the same attention to your address and have it be prominent from the street.
If there is space to do so, place a pair of matching potted flowers or lush green plants with rounded leaves on either side of the front door. This is for balance, energy and life. It is important that whatever you select is healthy, full and has height. The height will serve to lift the energy at the door. Don’t use little plants or plants of difference sizes if there are just two. Avoid using plants that have pointed leaves as they act as swords aimed at the person in their path. One more way to increase energy and the flow at the front door is by turning on your outside lights at night. Use soft white bulbs in your fixtures and have all lights working. If a bulb burns out change it, as burnt out bulbs are negative energy!
Next, how are the lawn and the landscaping? Green, healthy, balanced and well maintained are the key words. If you have brown spots on the lawn or dead plants remove the dead, see why the lawn has brown spots, and address the issue. It could be as simple as the sprinkler heads not working properly. Is your property well defined with shrubs or a fence? Remember you want to deal with your issues, not the neighbors. Last on the list, how is the condition of the sidewalk in front of your home and the driveway?
Should you be living in an apartment or a condo, if you can, treat your front door with personality and make it your own.
If you have any of the issues covered here, know there is a cure.
I’ve been saying it for years and it’s more important than ever! We all need a haven to come home to, an indoor and/or an outdoor space to unwind, re-energize and rejuvenate. When you enter your private
space or sanctuary and have the feeling of being greeted with a big hug, it can do wonders for your overall well being.
The trend to create home sanctuaries began years ago when the master bathroom was turned into an adult oasis. Luxurious towels, fragrant candles, oils, and comfy furnishings helped soothe away the stress of the day. This trend moved on to the master bedroom where it, too, became a retreat from the outside world.
The personal sanctuary took another step, adding calming of the spirit as well as stress reduction. More and more people want to create a space in the home where they can find tranquility and get away from the fast pace of the outside world. This results in a place to do yoga, meditate, read, have alone time and be away from other distractions. A personal sanctuary can be in a designated area of the home or garden, or it can be the entire house.
The focal point of an interior sanctuary might be a fireplace, an armoire, a grouping of furniture, an altar or a piece of art. Outside, a beautiful tree, a fountain, a statue, a pool or a flower garden can be the focus.
A person’s favorite things can help center and support the effort to turn a room or an entire house or garden into a sanctuary. In some cases, it can be a matter of marrying good design with items that evoke pleasant feelings or memories, whether it is a piece of Asian art or a shelf filled with mementos.
In creating one’s own personal sanctuary, use an important object evoking a peaceful, calming response, be it a bronze Buddha, a painting or tapestry, or a beautifully decorated screen. It’s not necessary to spend a lot of money. Many items can be found at home centers and import stores. Using fabric, screens, or a cabinet to hide computer equipment, a home-office can double as a sanctuary.
To design a personal sanctuary, use the key elements drawn from the Asian art of arranging furniture, Feng Shui water, wood, fire, earth and metal.
Bamboo mats, natural greenery planted in terracotta pots, lacquered wooden nesting tables; these provide the different elevations needed to create a balanced space.
Soft Lighting. Scented candles (representing fire), a filtered lantern or filtered natural lighting from a window during the day, are good choices. When having a space do double duty, install a dimmer to control the amount and softness of the light.
A Bronze Buddha, metal bowls, metal sculptures, or a gong are good choices for the metal element.
The appropriate color schemes for a sanctuary should be reflective of nature and exhibit softness. The goal is subdued and quiet, using colors such as soft whites, creams, and muted greens, as it’s part of the sensuality of the sanctuary.