By William Spear, author of FENG SHUI MADE EASY
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. Their interaction creates what is called a "magnetic" attracton to secure the wealth of the family.
When one element is absent, excessive or deficient, the rooms' magnetic charge is altered and health problems can develop. From a more practical perspective, balancing these elements in kitchen design means placing the stove and sink in appropriate relationship which allows good circulation (flow) of energy throughout the entire room.
Easier said than done: loating appliances according to FENG SHUI principles is mostly common sense although it is easy to make grave errors without first understanding the basics.
Like a good chair to support our spine, stoves must be supported from behind and, if possible, at least one side. A stove placed along one wall could have a small edge nearby as an enclosure. Open, flat cooktops on islands allow vital energies to disperse that can result in food loosing its tatse, vitality and chi (life force).
For the same reason, stoves hsould never be placed in front of windows. Stoves should not be in direct line with the kitchen door. They should be placed in a way to allow cooks to have at least a partial view of what's happening behind them. The use of reflective surfaces can help the cook to feel in control of the room even when his back is turned.
In FENG SHUI kitchen design, it must be clean, filtered if necessary, and free flowing. Situating sinks diferently across from stoves -especially on islands - creates fire and water in opposition, said to lead to "man and woman in conflict." These appliances should be adjacent to each other, but not adjoining.
Separate "water" and "fire" with a wooden element like a cutting board or countertop. To separate cleaning elements from food preparation, it is wise to consider installing a separate sink used exclusively for food, reserving the main sink for washing utinsels, hands and other clean up duties.
What sense is there in bringing home organic vegetables and placing them in a sink with soap residues? Sinks may also need to be lowered belos normal countertop height in order to derive greater ergonomic bebefir; most sinks are too high for everyday jobs. Hoe tall are those who prepare food? Don't just blindly defer to the standard 36" high countertop.
This is a challenge even in the most sophisticated kitchens. Pools of light provided by focused spots mixed judiciously with indirect uplighting is the friendliest solution; however, acheiving good results may require consultation from a design professional.
Avoid flourescent lighting in kitchens at all costs unless you are a card-carrying of member of the Addams Family.
Good air circulation and ventilation without the mechanical noise of an exhaust fan is better acheived by providing casement windows nearby places where food is prepared. This provides the additional benefit of natural light. When electric fans are necessary, they should be whisper quiet and unobtrusive in design.
Overhead, exposed beams in kitchens can result in the family suffering from digestive problems and financial losses. Corrections can be employed when they are unavoidable. It is also not wisw to hang lighting fixtures too low over surfaces, or to allow an exposed light bulb to be seen. Doing so disturbs the subtle harmony of the nervous system.
FENG SHUI kitchen design creates kitchens that are healthful, harmonious and filled with positive life force. Following the lead of progressive architects, designers, consultants, homeowners are encouraged to allow creativity to precede the FENG SHUI "rules." It may not be desireable to put your life in FENG SHUI but it is wise to put FENG SHUI in your life.
By planning ahead proactively and incorporating these energetic priciples in the early stages of the design process, homeowners will prevent problems from arising, saving time and expense. Futurists agree that leading design professionals who offer these guidelines to their clients at the start will gain a clear advantage in today's marketplace.