THE OLD proverb says that an Englishman’s home is his castle. But with the rise of tablets and home-working, the castle is looking increasingly like, well, an office. Kerry Ann Smith, an interior design consultant, thinks she’s found a way to restore the battlements through the ancient art of feng shui.
“I think feng shui is basically common sense,” says Smith. “The problem is that common sense isn’t very common. A lot of people have a misconception about feng shui – that you just put a few Chinese dangly bells on things. But it’s not about trinkets, it’s about using your space to reflect your needs.”
As the founder of consultancy firm The Feng Shui Connection, Smith makes a living finding out what these needs are and splashing them over the walls of people’s houses and workplaces. But a glance at her website will tell you one thing she doesn’t do – “frogs with coins in his mouth outside your front door.”
“Your home is a sanctuary,” Smith explains, “and feng shui gives you the chance to harness the energies that are open to you at home or in your office. It’s all about working out what flows so you can open up the opportunities in that space.”
Although there are many different schools of feng shui, the practice generally adheres to the five Chinese elements; earth, air, fire, wood, and metal. Smith then uses her training to declutter the space, alter colour schemes, and place furniture in places depending on their function in the room and the needs of the person or business.
Smith says, “When I’m decluttering, I explain to my clients that, if you don’t use something or it’s broken, it’s blocking up space that could be used for new things to come in.”
People often come to Smith when they need to make a change in their lives and re-decorating their home is a gentle, but effective, way to start. Clients have called her up after she’s devised a new colour scheme or moved the position of their bed claiming they can finally sleep through the night after weeks of tossing and turning. According to Smith, one couple even conceived after she’d gone to work in their house.
Smith was initially drawn to feng shui after seeing its “powerful effects” on her friends and set up her interiors firm once she had completed her training with Tibetan shaman Harrison Kyng at the Shen Dao Institute in Derby. “I chose to study there because it taught the most ancient form of feng shui. I was intrigued by it because I could see the benefits it was having on people’s lives. There has to be a reason that these ancient teachings have survived for thousands of years.”
Indeed, fans of the interior art include Bill Gates, Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey and Johnny Depp.
Smith has picked up some celebrity clients of her own while visiting her sister in Los Angeles but she avoids naming them to remain discreet and employable by others. In the past, she’s also feng shui-ed offices, theatres and restaurants.
One law firm in Chancery Lane call her in to work her magic every time they move offices.
“People are getting more wound up these days by their full-on, stressful lives,” Smith says. “Your home is your haven but, sometimes, people need a little help to create one.”
To find out more, visit thefengshuiconnection.co.uk.