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Ocean Bottega Interiors

Interior Design and Decorating Services In Guelph and Surrounding Areas

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paula clarke

Love the Home You're In

Feng Shui, fəŋ-ˈshwē   After ...

Feng Shui, fəŋ-ˈshwē   Before ...

I have a delightful friend, Brenda Sjostrand, who has been studying and practicing Feng Shui as long as the 20 and more years I've known her. In the early days of our friendship I asked her, at a girl's night, how her Shwung Fey was going, not realizing my mistake! She busted up laughing and true to her fun and generous nature we shared a hilarious giggle. I've since learned that Feng Shui is a Chinese system of laws, considered to govern spatial arrangements and orientation in relation to the flow of energy (chi). You can see there is a natural overlap in our shared interests and we've spent many a night, often all night, engrosed in deep conversations about this ( at least that's our story ). A few times now I've had the pleasure of working with her on a project so I was intrigued when she referred me to Joan and Stefan.


Joan is leaving her marriage and needs to get a new place quickly to transition her son Stefan, who's personal experience is on the autism spectrum, with minimal disruption. In addition, she is looking to combine her desire for a Feng Shui infused approach to her next chapter in life with an inspiring interior design. Our time line is three months, the house is a four bedroom new build and our budget is a survivor's life line. Her criteria: she is starting over and wants everything coming into her new home to be a fresh start too. Brenda's detailed and easy to follow Feng Shui plan sets us up for success.  Joan is looking for a bright and easy space with lots of comfort in an environment that will be safe and not over stimulating for Stefan.​​ Because the time line is tight the current renters kindly let us have a look so we can get a jump on the project. I've got my work cut out for me!  Lucky for me I have Brenda and Joan to collaborate with.

The first thing I notice is that while the paint is not bright it is in great shape as it's just been done. The house feels quite large and I don't want to spend what funds we do have on a ton of new paint. I'm thinking since Joan is moving so quickly this just might be a pit stop before she settles into something more permanent.  ???  Any money I help her spend I want to be on things she'll be able to take with her if that proves to be the case.

We map out a budget and a vision board. This lets Joan and I exchange ideas quickly and easily. We are on the same page and begin shopping right away. We start with the most important and expensive items first so we can co-ordinate smaller aspects with more choice around Joan's investment pieces. We go to a fair bit of trouble to make sure her sectional can convert into a small sofa and a pair of chairs if she finds herself moving in the future. We make sure her "new to her" dining table can fit in a smaller space too but expand generously to accomodate family that visit from her home country.

I love how the sectional worked out. The automan can be combined with the sofa so it acts like a chaise. It can float as a coffee table and act as extra seating when Joan entertains. My favourite aspect is how it can sit at the end of the sofa, the arm of the sofa acting like a back to the automan now, so company can sit, relax and chat with Joan while she's in the kitchen.

​Joan is a great decision maker and fun to shop with. With Brenda and Joan the three of us make a great team. Working the budget is easy and allows us to splurge on a few treats for her and Stefan along the way. We have been thoughtful about her purchases and now she is in a position to add those personal touches that make a house a home as she settles into her new life. The best thank you I've ever had comes when Stefan, upon seeing his new room, rushes to gather up his belonging's and moves himself right in. True to form Ernie and his friends look happy about their new adventure while Burt looks like he's about to have a panic attack, lol! Minutes later we find Stefan curled up in his new bed reading a book like he's the King of his castle.

​Overall the house feels much brighter, comfortable and inviting. I'm feeling envious of Joan's dreamy, cloud nine bedroom. The living room allows for lots of relaxing family time. We're able to carve out a reading nook for Joan and a place for Stefan to flop on the floor with his books. There is room for his remote control truck and the balls he loves to bounce around the room. There are numerous Feng Shui aspects but they fit in naturally and take on a charm all their own such as Joan's collection of horses in the living room. Themes of water colour the space and provide a serene feeling. On my last visit Joan remarked that Stefan had called their new place Home.

A big Shout Out and Thank You to Brenda Sjostrand of Sjostand Designs, for her generous, fun and supportive Feng Shui design. I know Joan and Stefan love the Home they're in and can look forward to happiness and success now and in the future.