Nina was a treasure, she saved me time and money, a real treasure – she made little changes that made such a difference

Breda M (Co Tipperary)

FAQs 1 What is authentic feng shui?

Authentic feng shui is concerned with the relationship between buildings and occupants. By matching your energies to the energies of your home and workplace it is possible to achieve harmony in your home and in your life. To do this, it is necessary to know the dates of birth of you and your family so that you can choose a house, plot and location that harmonises with you/your family’s energies or modify your present situation to suit you better.

Authentic feng shui also helps you to understand the rhythms and cycles of energy which affect timing – an important aspect to getting things right in your life:

  • When your energies are at their best/lowest
  • Which seasons/years suit you better than others
  • Unlucky energies for the year and how to avoid them
  • When you can/cannot carry out works to certain areas of the home

In authentic feng shui terms, our health takes top priority followed by our relationships, and lastly, our wealth, so an authentic feng shui consultant’s priority is to tackle people’s health, relationships, and finances – in that order. Our health is our wealth; without it our quality of life is reduced, and the attitude of others towards us is adversely affected because our energies are poor. Good relationships promote friendship and family harmony in our lives, and the support of others brings us love, kindness and benevolence. If you have your health and good relationships, then it is easier for the wealth to follow.

FAQs 2 What is the role of the authentic feng shui consultant?

An authentic feng shui consultant assesses the exterior and interior of a property and its occupants:

  • The surrounding forms and landscape
  • Taboos according to feng shui principles
  • Date of construction of the property/moving-in date and occupants’ dates of birth
  • The location of the property on its plot, and the shape and layout of the property/plot
  • The direction it faces according to the way the occupants enter/exit the building
  • The history of the land/its former use(s) and the history of the predecessor occupants
  • The five factors in the home that impact most on the occupants
  • Compass to read the building’s energy and diagnose what is happening in occupants’ lives
  • Recommendations for changes that will bring about a more positive outcome

Within a short period of meeting with a client, without any prior knowledge of them and their family circumstances, and sometimes without physically visiting the property they live in, the authentic feng shui consultant should be able to:

  • Accurately diagnose what has been going wrong for them regarding family, health, relationships, career, and finances
  • Accurately diagnose what is not working well for them with the existing interior and what their needs are and how to prioritise them
  • Correctly relate information to them specific to them and their family’s personalities, health, and the way they interact and communicate
  • Offer logical explanations both in terms of feng shui and interior design as to why these events have occurred/problems exist
  • Effectively communicate with them on their wavelength so they understand the suggested changes as well as the resulting benefits to them
  • Suggest practical and aesthetically pleasing design solutions and offer simple suggestions for improving the health, wealth, happiness, and harmony of the whole household

During an authentic feng shui consultation the consultant should show empathy, discretion and understanding whilst dealing with people’s personal, private, and sensitive issues ranging from grief and loss to serious or terminal illness, bankruptcy and legal issues, divorce, and family breakdown.

FAQs 3 What is the authentic feng shui consultation process?

Although it is mostly women who book these services, surprisingly it is their husbands/partners, even if initially sceptical, who listen most closely and respond most enthusiastically to the advice – whether it is for authentic feng shui or feng shui interior design services. Almost immediately, it is the men who begin the process of deciding how to action the recommendations or implement the solutions before the women have even had a chance to process the information. The process involves:

  1. In-depth authentic feng shui (astrological) analysis of an individual using their birthdate to build a profile of them, as well as chart the birthdates of their significant others (such as a partner, children, family members or in the case of a business the boss and staff) to establish what works best for them. This analysis results in the following data:
  • Personality, characteristics, best career options, etc.
  • The forecast for the coming years and best timing for when to do things
  • Their weakest organ and how to best manage their health
  • The way they interact with others and who they get along with best
  • How they communicate and their most productive time of the day
  • Best directions and what suits best (shape of headboard, type of house, etc.)
  • Their magic number
  1. In-depth diagnosis of issues/potential issues and solutions/recommendations (yin yang balance and energy alignment) to establish how to balance, correct and match their energies with other people’s energies within the marriage/partnership, family or team, to reduce stress/anxiety and increase well-being which in turn leads to better health, as well as aiming for optimal results in the following areas:
  • Health – food/cooking/nutrition, stress/anxiety/depression, detoxing/sleep/exercise
  • Relationships – managing relationships, good communication, improving marriage and family harmony
  • Finances – reducing money worries, managing budgets, creating more opportunities
  • Career or business – how to inspire and motivate, and maximise potential and possibility (brand, passion/brilliance, talents/gifts)
  • Luck which can be more powerful than wealth – generating positivity, improving luck, creating abundance, changing up karma, space clearing and cleansing
  1. In-depth analysis of the authentic feng shui energies of the surrounding forms and landscape and the plot that the building is situated on (based on geoscience)
  • Establish where the problems are which influence serious ill health, financial loss or instability, and discord
  • Establish where the opportunities are which lead to prosperity, luck, opportunity, good health for occupants
  • Establish where the support is which is required for relationships and ventures to succeed
  • Establish how to shore up and prevent the good from seeping away
  • Establish how to capture certain beneficial energies as this will directly affect finances
  • Establish the orientation involved, where prevailing weather comes from, health of nature in the region (arable land/clean water/fresh air), and the human history
  1. In-depth analysis of the authentic feng shui energies for the current year (time and space dynamics) – this affects everyone no matter their birthdate or the type of house they live in
  • Primary area of the house not to decorate or stimulate the energies in this year, nor sit with your back to that direction for the entire year or will result in accidents, mishaps, illness, setbacks, nastiness
  • Secondary area of the house not to decorate or stimulate the energies in this year, nor sit with your back to that direction for the entire year or this will cause similar problems (accidents, mishaps, illness, setbacks, nastiness, and disaster)
  • Tertiary area in which a certain energy moves into every year for the entire year, and these malign energies should not be stimulated, or they will cause problems for the occupants (accidents, mishaps, illness, setbacks, nastiness, confrontations, arguments and legal matters)
  • The characteristics of the current year and how this affects the way the year will go and the way it affects the individual or family or staff members
  • The element relating to the current year which will affect the element of the individual or family or staff members by being supportive, destructive, neutral, reductive, or rewarding
  1. In-depth analysis and walkabout of the exterior and interior of the home or business premises to establish how to balance, correct and match the occupants’/staffs’ energies with the buildings they live and work in for optimal health, harmony, and wealth:
  • Dealing with the presence of major taboos directly impacting the occupants’ health, harmony and wealth (e.g. cooker opposite sink – fire and water are opposed so this creates serious discord within a partnership and family)
  • Design suggestions for how to remove, correct or minimise major taboos and lesser taboos (e.g. softening sharp exposed corners)
  • Design suggestions for better layouts, furnishings, colours, etc. to create a positive, calm, and supportive environment and the specification of natural alternatives and budget-friendly options where possible
  • Determining who is the boss and who is the breadwinner and ensuring their needs are prioritised
  • Best location and alignment for doors
  • Best location and alignment for cooker
  • Best location and alignment for beds
  • Best location and alignment for desks
  • Impact of toilets on the health and wealth of the household and how to minimise or remove this loss
  • Balancing the energies of the spaces to cleanse, detox, optimise and maximise them

FAQs 4 What is an Authentic Feng Shui horoscope?

When we are born, we are given a unique personal identity by Mother Nature. Our date of birth gives us certain information about ourselves and our loved ones, and we can make use of this information to help us to live well and better manage our health, well-being, and relationships – throughout our lives. Your date of birth can tell you the following:

Your Animal Sign

Each animal sign in the Chinese year moulds the personality and characteristics of those born in that year, as well as that year’s course of events. Everyone is born under an animal sign according to their year of birth in the Chinese calendar. There are twelve animal signs in the Chinese zodiac, one for each year, which runs in a twelve-year cycle. Each animal has a certain set of characteristics that affects the personality and behaviour of a person born under that animal sign. The twelve animals are the rat, ox/buffalo, tiger, cat/rabbit/hare, dragon, snake, horse, goat/sheep, monkey, rooster/chicken, dog, and pig. Some signs get along well together, whilst others may find it difficult to tolerate one another’s company!

Your Reigning Element

Everyone has a single reigning element from the five elements, i.e. earth, metal, water, wood or fire. The five elements influence people’s characteristics, the way they interact with others, their energy type, and their tolerance levels in the company of others, as well as affecting how they should decorate their home, the type of house they should live in and the location in which they should live. Some people belong to an element that benefits our element so we feel supported by them, whilst other people may belong to an element that harms our element, so our energies are depleted by them. There is also a season that best suits your element i.e. when your energies are at their best.

Your Kua Number

Everyone has a Kua (magic) number, and these numbers range from 1 to 9. The numbers are applicable depending on your year of birth and whether you are male or female. Your number relates directly to your health (weakest organ), your form of communication (group), and the energies nature gave you (best and worst directions).

Your Communication Group

Everyone belongs to one of two communication groups, one group being east and the other west. East group people and west group people find it easier to communicate with others of the same group as themselves. This is because when a person belonging to, say the east group, says something to a person belonging to, say the west group, the west group person misunderstands because they are on two entirely different wavelengths. In turn, this has an adverse effect on our relationships and our ability to relate to certain people. As we spend so much of our time communicating, we need to learn how to better communicate using all the tools available to us.

Your Weakest Organ

Everyone has a weakest organ, which is the organ that takes the greatest impact of negative energies from our surroundings, and/or a poor diet and lifestyle, and/or stress. To better manage and look after our health, we should monitor our weakest organ for signs of impending illness and avoid things that will aggravate or negatively affect those organs. For instance, if our lungs are our weakest organ, then we should avoid smoking, and if our liver is our weakest organ, we should avoid excessive alcohol consumption.

Your Best & Worst Directions

Everyone has a set of four best and worst directions, depending on the communication group they belong to. Our best directions are ones we should face or sectors we should occupy within our homes to get the maximum positive energy from our surroundings. Our worst directions should be avoided to minimise any negative impact on our us and our lives.

FAQs 5 Why use home staging to present a property for sale or to let?

This article has been written to help you see how hiring a staging professional will give you a return on your investment. Making practical changes or creating a whole new look within your budget can make your property more appealing, leading to a quicker sale or tenancy at the right price. Reap the financial rewards of investing in your property. Good presentation is a crucial factor in your success, second only to price and location. Transform your house or apartment and create the best impression to attract the right prospective purchaser or tenant, so you can move forward with your life.

The information in this article is based on the findings of the Home Staging Association (HSA) UK & Ireland Home Staging Report 2019 & 2020.

Home Staging Report 2019: Key Findings

The key findings of the 2019 report underpin the importance and value of home staging when bringing a property to the market for sale or to let and confirms the return on investment for the seller. and the results the year after, 2020, are just as positive.

Home Staging Report 2019: Estate Agents

According to the 2019 report, 94% of estate agents surveyed say home staging increases the number of viewings and that 86% of staged homes sell faster with up to 61%selling 1-2 times faster, 24% 2-3 times faster and 9% 3 times faster. Estate agents say the reason is home staging makes it easier for buyers to visualise the property as their future home. 86% of estate agents surveyed recommended staging for property sales, and 74% considered reception rooms the most important to be staged to help sell a property.

Home Staging Report 2019: Property Developers

In the 2019 report, developers confirm staging of show houses and apartments resulted in a 100% increase in the number of viewings, and 100% of staged properties sold faster than non-staged properties. All developers surveyed hired professional stagers when having their property listed and all believe it affects most buyers’ view of the property. 33% of developers surveyed said staging increased the property’s offer value by 10%, with 77% confirming they got a return on their staging investment via the sale of the property.

Home Staging Report 2020: Key Findings

In the HSA UK & Ireland’s 2020 report, the results are just as positive with the organisation’s founder, Paloma Harrington-Griffin, stating ‘Home Staging helps raise offers to that of pre-CO VID averages, positioning Home Staging professionals very handily in the marketing and selling of a property. Staging your home will no longer be a method for increasing offer value—in many cases—but a necessity for maintaining and even exceeding pricing expectations.’.

Home Staging Report 2020: Pre-Lockdown & Post-Lockdown Results Compared

The 2020 report included a comparison between pre-lockdown figures and post-lockdown figures. Pre-lockdown: On average, properties were listed on the market for 277 days before staging, and after staging the same properties took 28 days to achieve an offer, on average. Post-Lockdown: On average, properties were listed on the market for 199 days before staging, and after staging, the same properties took 32 days to achieve an offer, on average.

With thanks to the HSA UK & Ireland for kindly giving me permission to use their report findings in this article

FAQs 6 What are the various design disciplines and their roles?

The role of a fabric/colour consultant (such as retailers provide)

  • Advice on soft furnishings, upholstery, trimmings, window dressings, co-ordinating colours
  • Fabric quantities and orders
  • Curtain and blind making or liaison with seamstress and upholsterer
  • Installation and hanging service

The role of an interior stylist/decorator

  • Specification of furniture, fittings, and finishes
  • Interior staging
  • Project management of the scheme

The role of a specialist designer

  • Furniture
  • Kitchens
  • Bathrooms
  • Lighting, etc.

The role of an interior designer

  • Spatial planning of internal architectural elements
  • Spatial planning of furniture
  • Construction detailing of interiors elements
  • Specification of furniture, fittings, finishes and equipment
  • Project management

The role of an interior architect

  • Guidance on construction projects
  • Spatial planning of internal architectural elements
  • Construction detailing of internal architectural elements
  • Specification of furniture, fittings, finishes and equipment
  • Project management
  • Planning applications
  • Opinions on Compliance (fire certificate applications, preliminary health and safety plans)

FAQs 7 What are the industry standards and good practices that an interior designer is expected to aspire to?

  • Complying with statutory procedures, regulations and obligations including appropriate insurances and Safe Pass (a one-day safety awareness training programme required by law and valid for 4 years that allows a pass holder to work on construction sites without being a risk to themselves or others)
  • Continuing professional development training, keeping abreast of design developments and on-going business development through extending, updating, and developing design knowledge and expertise to achieve high professional standards
  • Maintaining high standards of design and design management using best practices and quality assurance in design consultancy, visual communication, design management, and design education through validated design teaching experience
  • Providing the skills, technical knowledge, and administrative resources to carry out and complete a project to a professional standard
  • Professional conduct in keeping with the dignity of the design profession and a designers’ responsibilities include acting in the best interest of clients, society, and the environment
  • A professional interior designer’s brand includes a corporate identity, printed literature, web site, and a portfolio of work

FAQs 8 What are the benefits of hiring an interior designer?

Choosing an interior designer to transform an interior is simple and can save valuable time and money. An interior designer liaises with clients to discuss their project to design or redesign an interior with imagination using their professional skills. An interior designer considers the functional needs, personal habits and tastes of the client, and designs interiors to suit project requirements, a client’s personality, or a corporate mission.

FAQs 9 How does an interior designer work and how do they charge for their work?

Interior designers work as freelance consultants or as part of a large organisation. Most interior designers first work assisting experienced designers and when more experienced branch out on their own. An interior designer may specialise in residential (domestic) or commercial interiors, or both. Commercial contracts include hotels, restaurants, schools and universities, office buildings, factories, and clubs. Jobs may range from planning the interiors of new buildings to redesigning existing interiors, and from accomplishing a single detail in a private residence to designing and co-ordinating the entire interior arrangement using existing furniture or custom designed furnishings such as bespoke cabinetry.

A client buys the interior designer’s skills, knowledge, and contacts. An interior designer’s fee structure varies:

  • The time they spend
  • The plans the client likes
  • The plans the client uses
  • Only the materials used

A successful interior designer, in addition to knowledge and aesthetic sense, must possess physical endurance, mental agility, the flexibility to cope with a diversity of work, and the ability to deal tactfully with clients of varied backgrounds. A professional interior designer must have a thorough knowledge of the technical characteristics of materials and know their suppliers, to know what material should be used where, which appliances should be placed in which areas, and which flooring may prove a hazard, so clients benefit from this expertise. Their job includes cataloguing samples, the studying of old and new sources, training, and up-skilling to keep up with current trends and new practices, legislative compliance, etc.

Every interior designer, whether independent or working in a large practice, copes with a mass of paperwork, such as writing specifications and placing orders, figuring estimates, and keeping track of all administrative details necessary in dealing with hundreds of items of merchandise. Interior designers who work from home can keep costs down and the materials they supply are sometimes cheaper than retail prices because they do not have the same overheads as shops.

Their job includes visiting clients or attending site meetings. They usually visit the client at home to discuss ideas to advise on the interior, and to take accurate measurements. Some will make up sample boards or provide hand rendered or 3D visuals as part of or additional to their service. Presentation of finished design plans to a client usually includes perspectives, accurate floor plans and elevations, colour schemes, photographs of furnishings, samples of materials for upholstery, curtains, and wall coverings.

Once the plan is accepted by a client, the interior designer undertakes all aspects of project management. Every item involved in the design is the concern of the interior designer, from the final presentation to the installation of the last fitting, and includes:

  • Project evaluation and management
  • Planning of space, layouts, circulation, and configuration of furniture and fittings in an interior
  • Selecting samples and specifying materials, fabrics, furniture, fittings, and colours
    • Aesthetic decisions in the decoration of an interior
    • Acting on behalf of the client
    • Providing estimates and project costing
    • Selecting architects, engineers, building contractors, craftsmen, and suppliers as required
    • Supervising a project until its completion

FAQs 10 What is the process for consulting with an interior designer?

Initial Enquiry

  • Establish the needs of the client and inform them of the range of services available to them
  • Advise the client on the service(s) best suited to their needs and quotes fees and timescales
  • Describe the service process, the deliverables and other relevant information
  • Schedule an appointment if the client requests a booking

Consultation Process

  • Visit site or client’s home
  • Provide ideas and advice
  • Make recommendations and communicate know-how
  • Suggest colours and discuss concepts
  • Share contacts and suppliers they deal with

Project Management

  • Discuss Design Brief (ideas/preferences, retention of existing items, budgets, and timeframes)
  • Take Survey and Conduct Preliminary Sketches
  • Initial Design/Spatial Planning in Designer’s Studio
  • Consideration of
    • Ventilation, heating, and lighting
    • Configuration and traffic flow
    • Health and Safety, suitability of materials and finishes, regulatory compliance, and security
    • Practicality, durability, and maintenance
    • Worksurfaces, storage and spatial issues
    • Appliances and equipment
  • Research, Costings, and Selection of Goods
    • Lighting
    • Sanitary ware
    • Cabinetry and interior doors
    • Furniture and furnishings
    • Fixtures and equipment
    • Flooring and tiles
    • Textiles and window dressings
    • Homewares and finishing touches
  • Agreed Designs
    • Interior design schemes/scale drawings (floor plans, elevations, electrical/plumbing plans)
    • Illustrations, layouts, samples, and colour schemes compiled
    • Supplier specifications, quotes and orders documented
    • Contractors’ briefs typed (joiners/tilers/plumbers/electricians/flooring subs/decorators/fitters)
    • Outline costings put together (furniture, furnishings, lighting, fixtures, fittings, finishing touches)
    • Presentation to and approval from client
  • Project Co-Ordination
    • Implementation of designs (client responsible for sub-contractor tenders/costs)
    • Project co-ordination (liaison with clients, site managers, architects, suppliers, sub-contractors)
    • Product sourcing, orders for goods and deliveries
    • Site visits to monitor progress and some supervision if required
    • Styling (positioning/arranging furniture, display of artwork and ornaments, finishing touches)
    • Snagging if required