Welcome to Second Nature, a Q+A series with Jute founder, Ali Davin, that explores all things healthy living, with a fond emphasis on that thing she does best—interior design.
At its surface, feng shui can seem like a mystifying combination of colors, elements, and directions. But there’s more to it than painting your front door red, adding a water fountain, and hanging a few crystals.
The essence of feng shui is about energy and how it moves through your home—and the ways to incorporate it are easier (and simpler) than you may think.
Not in a traditional sense, but we definitely pay attention to how energy flows through a space. It’s crazy how innate feng shui is. For example, you shouldn’t have a post or beam above your head while working or sleeping. You shouldn’t have your back toward the door when you’re at your desk. A bathroom in the middle of the space breaks up energy flow, and you should aim to place water around the perimeter. I definitely place a lot of weight on how a space feels.
We’re really big on cohesive design, and we build most of our projects from the ground up or we gut them, so we’re able to reshape how energy flows—how does one space affect the next, and how does the space feel versus what it looks like. It’s a conversation about how people live, how much personal space they need, how does light affect them, how much sleep they get. We consider the ergonomics of a family’s unique dynamics, because even if people are not aware of energy, it affects them. Everyone relates differently to their personal space, so we design a home to fit how they live.
In traditional feng shui, your front door is very important, because it’s how energy enters your home. You should be really cognizant of where the front door is and keep it free of obstructions. I love to add greenery and plants everywhere—having living things is important and they’re good for air quality. You also want to be very aware of clutter, and always be editing your space. That’s a thread in our design: We’re really thoughtful about creating storage solutions and not cluttering up your home. Clutter stops the movement of energy.
Designing a comfortable sleeping environment is key. We start by talking to people about their sleep. How much personal space do they need? Do their kids sleep with them? Does their spouse fidget or snore? I try to position bedrooms in the darkest part of the house so they don’t need blackout shades—the PVC used in those is really toxic and you don’t want to breathe that while you’re sleeping. We arrange the rooms so there’s nothing overhead, and we haven’t put a TV in a bedroom in years.
When we’re designing a space, I make sure we have a mix of linen, wool, wood, metal, and leather so it feels balanced. We incorporate natural materials because it’s our aesthetic and they’re less toxic. We use a lot of plant-based fibers for windows, upholstery, and rugs. I use wood more than the average person. We incorporate plants into everything. A mix of different elements creates harmony in a space.
Constantly edit your space to clear clutter and keep the energy flowing.