By Kartar Diamond

I am a frequent visitor of new home developments for my clients interested in purchasing these residences and many of the latest design trends could also be considered feng shui improvements.


Many new homes now come with separate Tech or Media Areas. Often, in a two-story house, the Tech Area will be at the top of the stairs on a big loft-like landing. Designating a separate space for computer/internet activities is a good move from a feng shui perspective because it takes the "yang" work activities out of the "yin" bedrooms. This also literally creates distance between the areas where people are sleeping and the higher electrical fields associated with office equipment.


Newer homes often have the rounded, curved corners throughout so that there are no unintentionally sharp corners angled at people when they enter or exit a room.


Having a large closet is not just by definition a good feng shui feature, but newer homes are getting away from the slide-open closet doors, which were virtually all mirrored closet doors in decades past. By not having mirrored closet doors in a bedroom, people usually sleep more soundly.


The formal living room has, in some large homes, been reduced to a "receiving" room not more than about 100 square feet. Instead, new home designs are yielding towards informal entertaining, with family rooms situated right off of a large kitchen and towards the back of the house so that there can be a blending of outside and inside activities. At least in Southern California, this make sense, since we have nice weather so much of the year.


I don't think it is just my imagination: I don't see a whole lot of exposed beams anymore, which are considered a major feng shui design flaw in bedrooms. Large, exposed beams hovering over your bed can cause significant health problems. They were so common in homes built in the 1970's, but it seems like enough California builders have been influenced by basic feng shui principles, that I don't encounter them in most new developments. Ditto for staircases aligned directly with front doors or front doors aligned directly with back doors. Just considering the ever-increasing number of Asian-home buyers in Southern California, continuing to build homes with these major visual flaws would be a death wish for some construction companies.


Laundry rooms are moving upstairs where they can be closer to where we actually keep our clothing. More storage space is being built (I am sure to the delight of professional organizers.) Even in a high tech world, people still struggle with paper clutter and organizational problems. Even garages are being designed to have a multi-purpose function.


In a desire to have maximum square footage for each home, many developers are building houses practically on top of each other. It is one thing to choose that yourself in a custom home situation (like so much of Manhattan Beach), but tract home buyers often don't have a choice when the whole development leaves very little outdoor space on each property. As compensation, some of these developments will include man-made lakes, mini-parks, and outdoor community areas.


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