The Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship: Interior Designers and Environmental Advisors

A while back I was working with a woman, Ann, who was in the market for a new home. She had just turned fifty and was in the process of getting a divorce after 25 years of marriage. Yes, this was a very scary time for her. So, she wanted to start this new phase of her life as well prepared as possible. She wanted a feng shui analysis of each of the homes she was interested in buying. Needless to say, we got to know each other very well during the time we spent together. It was a long process, and after six months she decided on a house, which eventually will be her home.

A few days after the closing, she called me up and said, "Franca, now it’s time for you to meet my interior designer."

At first I thought she was trying to set me up, but I then it click about what she meant. Completely elated that she wanted my feedback with regards to the interior designing of the house, I started wondering what her interior designer would think. Sadly, designers tend to have what I call and hope is only "unfound" love for feng shui practitioners. If they can only understand what a great team we could be. We are not trying to design the space; we are only trying to be its voice. If given the chance, feng shui practitioners and interior designers may make great couples.

Well, the day came when I was to meet, Tom. We met at the house, and I think we both felt like we each were meeting "the other woman" or as if we were set up by our mothers, who were friends. Argh!  "I’ll leave you two alone," said Ann as she left the room.

That’s when our relationship started.

In the months to come, we worked together seamlessly to create a beautiful space for our clients needs. I provided Tom with important information regarding Ann and the space she chose, especially because this was a very important transitional time in her life. We wanted to create a home for her that was supportive of this new life, and not make her feel alienated from future love. This was a time for her to focus on building her self-esteem and discover what she wants to do next.

I showed Tom, based on a Chinese astrology, what element Ann is, and overall what colors, shapes, and items suit her well. Then, based on their symbolism in feng shui, I identified the areas of the house that are most important to her now.

Throughout this whole process, I space cleared the home. Space clearing releases disturbances created by geological pressures, technical reasons, and even metaphysical ones that may be affecting the work being done. Not all feng shui practitioners space clear, but it is recommended to have it done. I will always remember how one of my feng shui teachers used the analogy of flowers: Not spacing clearing before applying any feng shui adjustments is like putting fresh flowers in dirty water.

Here is where I go off on a tangent....once I was called on an interior designer’s job, because Murphy’s Law was occurring. Everything was going wrong. Since everything is energy, there is a lot of movement and shifting of energy especially when the place is being worked on. By clearing, charges are released in the space, allowing flow of energy to be more natural.  So much was going wrong on this job that it was the interior designer himself that suggested a space clearing. Once on the job, I learned that this new condo building was built part on holy ground and very close to a cemetery. I will go no further with the explanation.

Keep in mind that it is also very important to have any antiques cleared. A woman called me once because of her dog. In past few days her dog started acting strangely. He would not eat and spent most of his time sulking in a corner of the house. When I arrived at her home and I tuned into the space, I asked her if anything new came into the house recently. She said yes. After a little while longer, it became very clear to me what was going on. She then confirmed that two days prior she brought in an antique piece of furniture made of wood. It was still in the garage. Wood by nature has the capacity to absorb; therefore, most likely the wood housed energy from predecessors. The dog picked up on it.

After the clearing, I left. The next day my client called. Her dog was completely back to normal.

Now, let us get back to Ann.

Not only is feng shui the art of placement, but it is the relationship between our space and us. Feng shui practitioners know the meaning of the space. Interior designers know the aesthetics of the design of the space. They can look at it and turn it into something visually beautiful. Teaming up with a feng shui practitioner, designers can take this one step further by looking through a different pair of glasses and learning what the space has to tell us. Then the designer can incorporate choices based on the unseen needs.

Together, that is what Tom and I did. We created a sanctuary for Ann. We created an incredible aesthetically beautiful space and at the same time respected the inner integrity of it. By helping each other, we created a very deep personal space for her, offering the utmost inner support. It became more than just a pretty picture.

Working with feng shui practitioners, interior designers can give their clients great value, and it may be the competitive edge that can separate a designer from others. It could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship for both the designer and the feng shui practitioner. I just hope they are willing to have that first date.

Franca Giuliani - Environmental Advisor