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How to Work Around Exposed Beams, Mirror in Bedroom

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Question: I am desperate for advice on my master bedroom. We just purchased a townhouse, and we think the master bedroom shows all the signs of bad feng shui. There are exposed beams overhead and mirrored doors on the wardrobe closets on the north wall. We painted the beams the same color as the walls (white) and oriented the bed at an angle so the beams do not cut across it.

Are there any simple solutions that we can use to avoid the bad energy? Is there an economical way to modify the room without changing the structure of the house? Or is there something we can add to balance the energy?

DONI A.

Irvine

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Answer: It sounds as if you’ve made a good start in correcting the feng shui problems in your bedroom. Placing the bed at an angle to the beams is a good idea as long as your feet don’t point toward the door when you sleep. And painting the beams the same color as the room to minimize their oppressive appearance is another good step.

The standard remedy for beams, however, is to hang either hollow bamboo flutes or firecrackers from them. The hollow flutes will conduct the chi energy through the beams, and the firecrackers will symbolically “explode” them so they cannot harm those who sleep or sit under them. I recommend using either of these methods.

As for your mirrored closet doors, the solutions there are not quite so simple. Mirrors in the bedroom are bad feng shui for a couple of reasons. The constant reflection of the mirror can bombard the bed’s occupant with chi that is too powerful for people who are sleeping and at their most vulnerable. And a mirror in the bedroom is also believed to be bad feng shui because it disrupts the sleeper’s spirit as it rises and moves about the room in the middle of the night.

Draping an entire wall of mirrors is neither practical nor attractive, and moving the bed away from the mirror’s reflection is rarely possible. Try opening the closet doors slightly if doing so puts the mirrors at an angle and takes the bed out of the mirror’s “eye.” If you have the space, place a room divider between the bed and the wall of mirrors.

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If other readers have solutions to this perennial feng shui problem, please send them to me and I’ll pass them along.

Curving Shapes Echo Patterns in Nature

Q: The staircase in my home curves. It doesn’t wind, it just makes a large curve. I heard that a curving staircase can bring bad luck, illness and even death. Is this true? If so what can I do to remedy it?

EMILY SCHIMMEL

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Alta Loma

A: You can relax because that is not true. In feng shui, you can rarely go wrong with shapes that echo the patterns of nature. And if you just picture the beautiful sweeping curve of the Southern California coastline, you will know that your curving staircase is, in fact, very good feng shui.

That said, please note that spiral or winding staircases are generally thought to be unlucky because they suggest the so-called “treachery of a snake.” In feng shui symbolism, snakes are to be feared and avoided because of their “poisonous nature.”

The Best Placement for a Rock Fountain

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Q: I received a small-size indoor rock fountain as a holiday gift, and I was wondering what would be the best placement in my house.

JEANNIE ALLEN

Via e-mail

A: The best place for any element is in its “geographical sphere.”

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Water corresponds to the direction north, which governs career and business success, so I suggest you place your table fountain on a north wall.

In feng shui symbolism, water represents money--water flow equals cash flow--just as the ocean and navigable rivers represent opportunities for commerce. The rocks are a perfect counterpoint to the water because rocks are yang (roughly equivalent to masculine), while water is yin (the feminine).

One cautionary note: Be sure you don’t put water on a south wall. The south’s corresponding element is fire, and placing water in this direction will seriously dampen your chances for fame, fortune and festivity.

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Kirsten Lagatree is a New York writer whose books include “Feng Shui, Arranging Your Home to Change Your Life” (Villard 1996) and “Feng Shui at Work, Arranging Your Work Space for Peak Performance and Maximum Profit” (Villard 1998).

Mail your questions on feng shui to Kirsten Lagatree, Real Estate section, Los Angeles Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles, CA 90053, fax them to (213) 237-4712 or e-mail them to kfengshui@aol.com or Real.Estate@LATimes.com. All questions will be considered for use but cannot be answered individually.


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