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Carol Soucek King - Feng Shui at Home

This is an exquisitely beautiful book showing over two dozen homes in lush, large color photographs. The design budget is listed for many of the homes. The smallest was $10,000 for a 900-square-foot home. Several of the homes had design budgets of $500,000, and it was rather obvious. The book is chock full of design ideas, and is not intended to be a how-to guide to feng shui. The works of some of the most notable names in feng shui are included: Sarah Rossbach, Terah Kathryn Collins, Jamie Lin, Seann Xenya and many others. Judging from the author's description, several of the homes have not been feng shui'ed, but are included because they invoke the spiritual or mystical.

One of the things that this book illustrates most strongly is that dollars do not necessarily equal sense. Many of the photographs illustrate multiple feng shui problems (which are not commented on) such as: poison arrows caused by sharp-angled furniture and overhead beams, missing areas, slicing glass shelves and tabletops, dried plants, kitchen elements in opposition, mirrors which fracture a person's image, stairs without risers, the head of a bed under the lowest part of an angled ceiling, bathrooms smack-dab in the center, and walls of glass allowing chi to escape. In two instances the beams are commented on, but in many other photographs showing beams directly over seating, there is no comment. The reader is most often left to wonder what is good feng shui and what isn't. Granted that different feng shui consultants emphasize different things and universal agreement is all but unheard of, I doubt that any of the illustrated (uncommented-on) problems would have passed muster with the aforementioned teachers.

I did notice one of the coolest solutions I have seen for the problem of chi going up and out of an open fireplace. On page 22 a large beautiful necklace is hung directly in front of the open black firebox of a fireplace. It serves effectively as a screen to deter chi energy from leaving. The book does show some very creative and wonderful ideas. It's just not the book that you would want to give someone as their first feng shui book.

PBC International, Glen Cove, NY, (800) 527-2826, 1999, 0-86636-639-3, 176 pages, color photographs and drawings, hardback, $34.95.

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