About a year ago, I found a book at a yard sale and became a student of feng shui. The Chinese art/science of placement appeals to my love of space, and my attraction to what some folks around here call “woo”. Energy, crystals, earth, wind, and fire (and yeah, some 60’s soft rock).
Applying feng shui to a 140-square-foot shoe box of a house also appeals to my sense of the absurd. When we created our floor plan three years ago, I would have considered feng shui to be another thing to worry about — and it was already so overwhelming to consider how to fit everything we needed into this restricted space. Now, I’m wondering if it wouldn’t have made it easier. After all, I’m sure many traditional Chinese homes weren’t that much larger. We didn’t need to reinvent the wheel.
Oh well, I believe it’s never too late! Drawing out the Bagua, or feng shui map of the home, for Jeannie made me laugh, and it also gave me some ideas for making the space more beautiful, so I thought I would write out my thought process for you all. Enjoy.
We begin in the Gua, or feng shui zone, of water. The entry. On the physical level, it appears as a front porch and a normal sized entry door, with a small clear plastic square near the bottom where the real owner of the home enters and exits.
In feng shui this area represents your career, your life path, which is the only part of the Bagua that makes logical sense. Every time we walk out this door, we face a new day, a new challenge, a new set of decisions that might lead to success or failure. Every time we go in, we make a choice to live tiny. Whatever happens out there, it climbs the non-ADA-approved wooden steps, crosses the narrow cedar boards, and wills us to put our hand on the latch of the door, sending us home.
Now. You’ve just stepped in and suddenly you’re in the Health bagua, because this is Tiny House Feng Shui and we’re going to move through quickly. This space is defined by the space around it, and there’s not much I can say about it. You’re standing in the middle. You could go to the bathroom and pee, which is what I usually do when I get home. But more about the bathroom (trouble!) in a moment. You could go upstairs and take a nap. Either way, this is the health place, so take off your shoes and try not to leave too much mud.
Looking at the map, I see that the stairs that would lead you to the loft are in the Helpful People corner, and so is the area behind the stairs, which is basically our pantry. Oh, and the place where Silvia eats her kibble. So, it’s safe to say that if we find a lack of helpful people in our lives, they have gotten the munchies, grabbed a banana or some kibble, and headed upstairs. At least, when they’re ready to help, they’ll be well fed.
Moving into the kitchen, then, creativity zone. We must be doing well in this Bagua because we’re pretty contentedly creative. I’m sitting here writing this instead of mopping the floor in my health zone, which is probably what I should do to cure my sniffles. The only hangup with the kitchen, I feel, is that there’s mold in that vinyl window at the end. Ew. It grows on the adhesive and yes, I can spray vinegar on it, but it will always come back. It isn’t crazy or anything, just dirty-looking, and I hate dirt. So I look back at my Feng Shui book and it informs me that the element for this zone is metal. Aha! Should have sprang the extra $500 for a metal window! Lesson learned. Always consult your feng shui book before building a tiny (or any house).
Not bad, though, so far. Until! Passing invisibly through the kitchen wall, heading south, we’ve reached the Love corner. AKA, the bathroom. Here, we can find such helpful (not) feng shui features as an open drain, a hanging bucket and hose, and a bucket that collects our human waste.
Having experienced some Love challenges lately, I have set about improving this corner of my house. The book says to romance it up with some red and pink hearts, lace, etc. This sounded absolutely disgusting, so I came up with my own solution and borrowed a couple of tubes of red and white paint from my generous painter friend. Two hours and a couple of glasses of wine later – voila! A giant pink rose on the shower wall, which is made of aluminum and would probably be happier in the corner where the kitchen is. Sorry, shower, you’re stuck right there, but now at least you are wearing your preferred colors.
Other than using rose petals instead of dry leaves for the compost toilet, I’m not sure what we can do about the poop in the love corner thing. Stay tuned.
We’re over halfway there! In the middle, far wall, is the Fame & Reputation Gua, and it is entirely occupied by our new hutch/wardrobe. It’s a lovely pine cabinet which we stuff with our socks, sweaters, dresses and pants and pile with hats and gloves, with hooks for jackets and scarves coming off the sides. No wonder we’re famous for our unique senses of style. NEXT!
Prosperity & Abundance is, as far as I can tell, mostly occupied by a window. It’s a really nice window, probably the best in the house — wood, with the wind-out style casement openings and phantom screens that pull down. We scored on it at the used building supply place. But that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a window, so according to the Chinese, all of our prosperity and abundance is liable to drift right through. There’s probably something to fix here, like adding a mirror, but I don’t have time to do it because I have to go to work — why am I always broke?
Ah, the bay window. Jewel of the home. Jeannie’s cyclops eye. Also wood, which matches the element for this Gua, the Family/Foundations Gua. I think we’re doing alright here, despite the fact that, again, it’s a window. We sit here often, on the bench, and it does feel like a foundation place. It’s cozy because there’s also a wood stove in this Gua, which means we can burn all of the letters from family members that we don’t like.
At last! We’ve reached the last Gua. Knowledge and Wisdom is, appropriately, the site of our bookshelf. Not much else though. Sometimes we keep the ottoman there. Could we improve this area? Probably. The wisdom that I have, though, tells me not to put too much into feng shui. After all, if you’ve been pooping in your love corner for the past 2.5 years, and you’re still not divorced, you’re probably doing okay.
Recommended read: Creating Sacred Space with Feng Shui by Karen Kingston (the yard sale book, and as much as I poke fun at it, I’ll probably keep it forever)