By William Spear, author of FENG SHUI MADE EASY
Unless you've been living in a cave, it is inconceivable that you haven't heard something about FENG SHUI. Now popular around the world both for its effectiveness and common sense approach, this ancient art is being used to design new restaurants, five star hotels, elegant country estates, and healthy kitchens.
In FENG SHUI terms, the kitchen is the treasure chest of the home. It is considered the energetic heart of the home - its rhythm and functioning responsible for the health of all the homes's occupants. In times gone by, the open hearth was the focal point of family activity and nourishment. It's pacement with a central conduit (chimney) symbolized the body and spine of man.
In these modern times of dot coms and double incomes, many of us are spending more time in restaurans and coffee shops than around the kitchen table. Our culture's attention to diet and health is often in conflict with the latest trendy restaurant that offers mouth watreing desserts and exotic fare.
As our fasination with technology mearly demolishes common sense in the design of the kitchen, it is helpful to reflect on what we want in life, and see what we can do to acheive it in the design of our kitchen. It is perhaps the single most important place in our home.
As convenience displaces quality, nearly everyone still agrees that "homemade" is better than "store bought" yet few of us are willing to do more than set the timer on the microwave as we run off to the gym.
Hi-tech offices? Why not - let's install a faster moden! But hi-tech in the kitchen? Beware! Here, the bottom line is our heath and happiness, so be absolutely certain you want food engineers and gadgets to decide your fate before following the crowd.
While Americans are reducing their intake of red meat and sugars, our improved eating habits have had little effect on bringing families closer together. In virtually every culture before the advent of fast food, the kicthen was understood to be both the biological and spiritual center of the home.
This is the function of the basic energy of life, not new technologies. It is in the kitchen where blood is created directly from the food we eat. It is in the preparaton of our daily food that love is infused in every dish.
Even medicines and home remedies, made from safe and simple ingredients - once a common part of daily life - are only recently starting to return to their proper place in the kitchen. Since the earliest of times, the kitchen is nothing less than the cornerstone of a family's health and happiness.
It is considered the energetic heart of the home - its rhythm and functioning responsible for the health of all the homes's occupants. In times gone by, the open hearth was the focal point of family activity and nourishment. It's pacement with a central conduit (chimney) symbolized the body and spine of man.
Ancient cultures revered this constuct, its design connecting us with the heavens. With the introduction of the cast iron stove in the early 1800s, fire in the home could be contained, it heat applied directly to another useful element. Both the gas stove in the late 1800s and the electric stove in the 1900s separated cooking as a distinct function from that of heating the home.
Even Frank Lloyd Wright commented that early hearth kitchen s "created an atmosphere of a domestic nature which had charm and which is not, I think, a good thing to loose altogether." Many of his residential designs kept this central core, opening the kitchen to the rest of the home as much for heat as ambiance and retaining the chimney and fireplace as a vital part of the living design.
In FENG SHUI kitchen design it is wise to place the kitchen away from the front door so that it does not directly connect with the main entry. When possible, it should be situated closer to the eastern side of the home than the west (unless the home is in the nothern, colder regions where the heat oflate day sun can be beneficial.)
Kitchen should be symetrical (though not triangular) in shape, well ventilated and naturally lit (plenty of windows). Nearby bathrooms should not open directly into the area where food is prepared or eaten; the function and energies of these rooms are obviously contradictory.
If possible, ceilings should be fairly high and not contain skylights directly over areas where food is eaten or prepared. This is a design mistake that may be aesthetically pleasing but causes vital energies to become dilluted. Corrections are possible if construction is already completed!
Using FENG SHUI effectively in the vital design process really requires an understanding of the enegy of basic elements in the kitchen...Fire, Water, Air and Light are the essential elements in play here; indeed, their interaction creates what is called a "magnetic" attracton to secure the wealth of the family.