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Inviting Chi Into Your Life

For 2 decades, I’ve been helping people redesign their personal spaces. And I have heard the most amazing feedback from them, all of which has encouraged me to delve deeper into the importance of the spaces in our lives. There’s an enormous amount of material covering the healing properties of our physical spaces, the spiritual potential of them, as well as the quality of life issues many of us long to understand. A fascinating read:

An Inviting Presentation

An Inviting Presentation

In 1984, medical researcher Roger Ulrich examined the hospital records of 46 patients who had undergone gallbladder surgery in a suburban Pennsylvania hospital. During recovery, half of their beds faced windows that overlooked a grove of trees. The other half had a view of a brick wall. It seems like the difference should hardly matter, but Ulrich found that patients who could see the trees left the hospital almost a full day sooner than those with a view of a wall.

Not only that, but those with views of nature required fewer doses of pain medication and had fewer negative nurse reports. Ulrich controlled for other variables that could affect recovery time, like age and sex, and each pair of patients — one with a view of trees, one a view of the brick wall — had been cared for by the same nurses, so differences in nursing could not account for the speed of their recovery. The difference lay entirely in what they were looking at. (

We think of our homes, offices, and other dwellings as simply containers for all of our material possessions however the spaces we inhabit influence our attitudes, our peace of mind, the quality of our thinking, and our ability to perform. They seem to impact our spirit and our ability or inability to think clearly. The energy we emit and the energy around us both are directly impacted by our physical environment. This perpetual dance, always in motion, dynamically impacting us, may be far more important than we’ve realized. Unfortunately, we’ve become accustomed to relegating this to the outer reaches our minds, either because we’re unaware of the significance or because we have yet to be enlightened and delighted by how change and enhancement will be a catalyst for better vitality for our bodies, minds, and spirits.

As with Feng Shui, the art of attracting chi into specific areas of our physical space and intensifying the energy can be learned. First comes the awareness, then the research and cognition, and then the creative manipulation for specific purposes. And with everything of this sort, there’s both the art and the science of noticing blockages in your life and then intentionally realigning the flow to alter current energy patterns.

My journey into this work began with chaos – the chaos in my own emotional and physical life. The artist in me refused to believe this was a problem to be solved with $$$$ but rather one to be solved with creativity. This offered me a chance to seek out information about color theory, materials that offered ‘grounding’ effects, feng shui placement, textural analysis, and spatial manipulation. Articles and opportunities seem to come my way again and again helping me to learn that I could not only ‘stage’ someones house and have it sell the first week on the market, but I could also manipulate their physical things and change the chi that flowed into their lives.

Often this work is a catalyst for larger changes in people’s lives as they realize what enormous power they have and enormous possibilities there are to shift. My work not only catches their attention but enables them to realize they can continue to bring light and energy into their spaces themselves using these simple principles and the intention to improve their physical surroundings.


Sensory impressions account for much of how we perceive the world we encounter each day. The colors, the smells, the shapes, and the sounds that intersect with our lives all impact our perceptions. Research in the areas of color therapy and visual/auditory influences are all in early stages, however it has long been speculated that people are drawn to certain sensory stimulation in our quest for health and nourishment.

The research and the theories that surround this study have fascinated me for some time as I assist people in either the creation of places that are more conducive to their needs or when designing universal environments that appeal to many, such as offices for healthcare practitioners.

Charley’s Staging- Spring 2008 032Office spaces are not created equal and practitioners often need individualized environments to service their clients. We look to our homes to provide a sanctuary for retreat and we hope that our working space is productive. And when selling our homes, we want to neutralize houses in order for a new family to better imagine their own special place.

Because of this, SRH continues to explore how the placement of objects, the furnishing of our spaces, the colors we paint the walls, the background sounds, etc, all affect people and how they do business. And I am actively seeking professionals who may be interested in redesigning their office spaces with an eye toward positively affecting both clients and staff.


(courtesy of Zillow:)Here are five huge turnoffs agents and their buyer clients see when touring homes and how to avoid them:

1.Pets and their stuff

Pets bring so many great things to a family and home. But no potential buyer wants to see a dirty cat litter box next to the breakfast table or Fido’s bitten, saliva-filled bone on the sofa in living room.
When your home is for sale, nobody needs to know that a pet lives there. Potential buyers who are allergic to dogs or cats will be turned off immediately, and the mere presence of a pet will send some buyers right out the front door. Have a plan in place to keep the pet remnants at bay, the home tidy and your pet’s stuff out of sight. It may seem like a burden, but if you are serious about selling, this is of utmost importance.

2.Toys and baby supplies

Selling your home when you have children — especially a newborn — can be trying and stressful. For the most part, buyers can appreciate that keeping the home tidy under such circumstances is a challenge, and they are forgiving. But it is important to make an effort before showing the home.
If possible, have a toy chest or large closet dedicated to storing your kids’ stuff. Also keep in mind that buyers have a hard time with the more sanitary or personal items associated with infants. Leaving breast milk, a breast pump or dirty baby bottles on the kitchen counter could make a buyer feel that the home isn’t clean or sanitary. If you have a newborn, put a plan in place and allow 20 minutes to store baby items before a showing.

3.Cluttered counters and dirty dishes

Kitchens and bathrooms help sell a home. Most people spend the majority of their time in the kitchen, and buyers will want to spend some time in yours.
If the counters are crowded with the blender, coffee maker, toaster oven and other items, it will appear that there is little counter space, or worse, that your kitchen lacks cabinet space. And last night’s meatloaf caked onto plates sitting in the sink is sure to turn buyers off. Clear the countertops and put away the dishes before leaving home for a showing.

4.Personal items and toiletries

Don’t stop with the kitchen; the same holds true for bathroom countertops as well.
Clean the toothpaste off the sink and put away your prescriptions, open body lotion containers, toothbrushes and dirty towels. Buyers want to feel clean in the bathroom, and although it’s clear that they won’t be the first to use this bathroom, they don’t need to be reminded that they will be taking over a “used” bathroom.

5.Toilet and toilet seat

Imagine a serious buyer touring your home. They’ve fallen in love with the chef’s kitchen and are already planning where they would put the television and how their sectional couch would fit in the living room. Then, they stumble upon your bathroom to find the toilet seat up and not clean.
The last thing anyone wants to see is a dirty toilet, so make sure the toilet seat is down at all times. Will buyers be scared off otherwise and not move ahead with an offer? Probably not. But you want them to fall in love with your home, not be turned off.
Most home sellers won’t make these mistakes, but for the 20 percent who do, these five turnoffs could mean the difference between a full-price or lowball offer — or worse — an offer on a competing property.


1. Know the comps

(courtesy of Zillow 2014) of the first people you’ll want to reconnect with is your real estate agent. They are your “feet on the street” and have their finger on the market’s pulse. Real estate agents generally pick up on trends or shifts in your particular neighborhood or market before the press or the bloggers.
So get on your agent’s radar as soon as possible. Start going to open houses to see what’s selling and to get a feel for values and how homes are being presented. Likely a home you see at an open house in February could sell by the time you list in May or June. Future buyers will probably use this home as a “comparable” sale. Having seen the “comps” yourself puts you in the buyers’ mindset. It enables you to get ahead of the curve or learn from the mistakes of other sellers.

2. Have your property inspected

The buyer, after they have a signed contract on a home, is supposed to pay for an inspection, right? While that’s true, you can beat them to the punch and know what needs to be repaired before you go on the market.
Imagine if you list your home and have a great offer from a solid buyer. But the buyer finds out through the inspection that the roof needs replacement and the deck has dry rot. That excellent offer may not seem so great if you have to negotiate thousands of dollars in credits with the buyer.
Having your property inspected months in advance will allow you time to make a plan to get the big (and small) things repaired. If you can identify the problems upfront, you can fix them for a lot less money than those repairs would get negotiated for down the road. Or, you can price your home factoring in the needed repairs. Plus, a home with a clean bill of health can be advertised as such. Many buyers are looking for a home in “move-in” condition, free of any needed repairs or fixes.

3. Hire a designer or stager

Your real estate agent should have a good designer or stager they like to work with — someone who can help you start to view your home as a product to be marketed. This should be someone you reach out to once you have the place inspected and know the property’s condition.
Many people think a designer means big money or a wasted expense, but this isn’t always the case. Many designers charge by the hour. It could be as easy as hiring a designer for two hours to help you decide on colors to paint a room or two; a stager to help you declutter or decide which furniture to move out to make some rooms show better.
Based on your real estate agent’s feedback, you may decide to engage the designer on a minor kitchen or bathroom remodel. An old kitchen with linoleum countertops, knotty redwood cabinets and avocado-colored appliances can easily be updated with an inexpensive cabinet makeover and new stainless steel appliances.

Tip-You’ll save money in the long run

Like any major decision, selling a home takes a lot of planning, timing and consultation. Consulting with professionals and getting the facts in advance will help the process go a lot smoother, will help you make an informed decision and will most likely save you a lot of money when you sell.
If you’re a homeowner, transitioning to a seller mindset isn’t necessarily easy. The sooner you start that transition, however, the easier the process will be. But be aware there can be an unexpected, if ironic, outcome: Some would-be sellers do the fix-it work to their homes, clean up some rooms, or paint and update the entire place — only to fall in love with their home all over again and decide to stay.




Seasons are changing again here in the north land and in spite of temperatures in the 70s and 80s, I still see months old spruce tops that are brown and yellow sitting by front doors! Once the daffodils bloom – and it has been 2 monthsnow- those spruce tops need to get theheave ho!! Di it for the rest of us if your spirits aren’t screaming at you! It will help give you that spring energy to move forward!!



  • Replace exterior fixtures and numbers if they’re cheap looking or worn
  • Clean up the front door- repaint or replace
  • Update window treatments
  • Update lighting fixtures
  • Assess the bathroom- re caulk and/or clean grout
  • Replace wall plates if necessary
  • Look critically at the floors- replace old carpet and throw rugs, sand floors
  • Clean windows


Marketing your home to sell is very important, and if you’re considering selling the home yourself, get some help. Even Realtors, confined as they often are to a limited number of words, using language customary in the industry, often present text that says little about your home’s best features. So spend some time yourself or ask your home stager to help you highlight some of the most memorable aspects of your particular home. You want yours to be unforgettable! Nine more tips, discussed elsewhere in this blog are:

  1. Great Marketing Text
  2. Fantastic Pictures
  3. Well Staged
  4. Squeaky Clean
  5. Well Ventilated
  6. Well Timed Listing
  7. Priced Right
  8. Inviting Landscaping
  9. Sparse Furnishings
  10. Accessible For Showings


…and we always think it will never come! And right about the time you feel you’re going to strangle someone if you have to stay inside one more day, the sun comes out and it’s 50 degrees. I realize that this is only a warmer than average late winter we’re having at present, and that we’ll probably get another snowfall any day, but dreaming is everything when you wait for springtime in this climate. So I’m opening doors, changing to sprintime pillows, clearing away the last vestiges of ‘northwoods’, putting away the shawls and throw blankets that live most of the time on the backs of the chairs (whoa you say!) and thinking about taking the coats to the cleaners. On second thought, I’ll give it another month!



Late winter is often a difficult time for people, particularly when the temperatures remain too cold for outdoor fun. Still, we must make the most of our climate and our home sanctuaries.

Health guru and noted author Dr. Andrew Weil offers us some tips on the home at:
Your home – whether big, small, or somewhere in between – should be your sanctuary, a place where stress is left at the door and your soul is nurtured. For a more comforting environment, consider implementing the following:

•Bring the outdoors in. Green plants, cut flowers and blooming bulbs, or pieces of wood, rocks and other organic elements can create a feeling of nature indoors.

•Paint a room to suggest a mood. For instance, blue and green promote a relaxed feeling and may be good choices for the bedroom, while warm colors (maroon, coral, burgundy) suggest a cozy environment and may be inviting in a family room.

•Surround your senses with beauty. Artwork, fragrance, smooth textures and calming sounds all provide a pleasant environment in which to relax.

•Set aside a room or area for peace and calm. A place for spiritual reflection and meditation can provide shelter from noise and distraction.

•Clean out clutter. A low-maintenance home is refreshing after a day of hectic meetings, errands and chores. Fewer items can mean less frustration.

•Create an atmosphere of love. Display handmade or meaningful gifts from loved ones and photos of family and friends.



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