Feng Shui Maniac


When I discuss with friends about buying real estate in Manhattan, and specifically about why my husband and I have not been able to find anything for years, I always blame him (out of his earshot, of course). He happens to be one of those people who want a perfect home, and we all know that “perfect” doesn’t exist. There’s always a little compromise here and there, but most buyers end up with a home that they love, after some renovation or what not. But he is unbending in his quest. Another problem he has, when looking, is that he’s always looking to buy something for nothing. In other words, if the property is listed at $1 million, he only wants to pay $500K. And another problem he has is…. Wait, I could go on forever!

But I have to admit that I, too, have little fixations that do not help. I’m a big proponent of Feng Shui, the Chinese art of interior design and placement which theorizes that the layout of a home can influence your life. It really does make sense: a layout of a home can give it a certain energy that will affect your chi over a period of time.

There are many schools of thought in Feng Shui, but the basic premise is that different spaces and corners of your home represent different areas in your life, such as love/marriage, money, friends/helpful people, career, education, and so on. If certain corners are missing from your home (if you have an L- or T-shaped home, for example), those parts of your life can be seriously affected. That’s why the first thing I do when searching for apartments in New York is to ask the broker to send me the floor plans. I then obsessively screen for “whole” apartments: no corners missing, front door in the right place, bathrooms situated in the right place, and so on. My favorites are apartments that are completely square or rectangular. Sounds simple enough, but surprisingly hard to find in Manhattan.

By the time I’m finished with my Feng Shui screening, about 95% of the listings are tossed out. Whatever I end up with, I show to my husband, who as previously mentioned, has his own real estate pathologies. Should anyone be surprised that we haven’t yet purchased our dream home?

About Author

I have lived in New York City for 16 years, and sadly, my no. 1 passion is looking at real estate ads and going to open houses for fun. Currently living in a rental apartment after having bought and sold real estate in Manhattan, I really would like to buy something again. If I can only persuade my husband, who seems pathologically unable to pull the trigger.


  1. Some of the basic tenets of Feng Shui I agree with. Keep it clean, open, bright, welcoming front door etc. Making space for something to come into life as well. Once you start breaking out a compass and putting things in various corners though it just turns into gobbledegook for me.

  2. As a certified Feng Shui consultant, I would never turn down an apartment that had a ‘missing gua’ as Feng Shui Maniac described. This type of Feng Shui is discounted in China. It is the orientation and how Chi is affected over the space in time that counts, and only a true practitioner can tell you that! If the missing area had excellent Chi, then you boost it in other areas, and if it had negative Chi, say hooray and move right in! Remember, Feng Shui is not all rosy. There is both good and bad in Yin/Yang, and in spaces. As in life! Feng Shui should be used to find the best and worst spots, and then enhance or cure them appropriately. Other enhancements from Form School are great, but will only enhance an existing situation. Perhaps if the Maniac had a consultation, the husband would come around!

  3. Design Chick on

    As Matthew has said there are so many fixes for a home that is missing a section in Feng shui. It’s really not worth it to worry about having it exact.

    I do understand that it’s easier to have it perfect and ready to move in, but with some deep research you should be able to find improvements you can make to help with the missing areas or other problems.

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