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Happy St. Patrick’s Day
March 17, 2012

There are many people who have a blessing ceremony for their new home when they move. Are you one of them? What did your blessing ceremony consist of? As a student studying Feng Shui, I participated in a blessing ceremony for one of my fellow students who had bought and moved into his first home. There’s more to be said on the topic of house blessings and I’ll save that for another day.

Today is St. Patrick’s Day. I’m Irish and I’ve always liked Irish blessings. Here are a couple I particularly like:

May you always have
Walls for the winds,
A roof for the rain,
Tea beside the fire,
Laughter to cheer you,
Those you love near you,
And all your heart might desire!

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May your neighbors respect you,
Troubles neglect you,
The angels protect you,
And Heaven accept you.

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And lastly, a bit o’ green, golf course style!

“St. Patrick’s Day is an enchanted time–
a day to begin transforming winter’s dreams into summer’s magic.”
–Adrienne Cook

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A Feng Shui Perspective

A friend recently sent me a post about Whitney Houston’s home in New Jersey being for sale. I looked at the photos and had my usual REALTOR® curiosity about the house. I loved this stained-glass wall that appears to separate the foyer from the living room. The color and “movement” of the design reminds me of music–quite appropriate for the amazing musical talent that Whitney was.

Here’s a photo of what appears to be the living room, complete with circular skylight (wow!) and a curving wall of windows. Note also the clerestory to the right along the upper wall. The natural light in this space must be splendid.

The property reportedly has just over five acres of land. Here’s a view of the grounds. There are many trees, offering both beauty and tranquility. No doubt Whitney enjoyed many wonderful moments at this home and in her life despite her struggles.

Her modern home is said to be quite different from the other homes in Mendham Township. Most of the homes there are reportedly classic estates, historical homes, and farmhouses. As a REALTOR®,  I’ve seen modern homes sell very quickly when they are done exceptionally well or designed by a well-known architect such as Ralph Rapson. If they aren’t stunning, they can linger on the market due to feeling cold, having odd floor plans, having awkward and/or poorly proportioned rooms, etc.

I located some aerial photos of the property. There is a large pool, a tennis court, and a walking path. Here’s a link to a photo of the pool with her initials set in the bottom:

Photo of Whitney Houston’s Pool at her New Jersey estate

Unfortunately, the design has a helter-skelter aspect; It does not have the natural flow and orderliness of a rectangular or square house that would be beneficial. From a Feng Shui perspective, this home has a number of challenges due to what is known as “missing areas”. These “missing areas” symbolize missing areas of the bagua (a map placed over a floor plan and used in Feng Shui consultations), thus weakening these areas of life for the occupants. Anyone living in this home would benefit from making Feng Shui adjustments to either energetically or physically “fill in” the missing pieces.

The layout of this house may well explain Whitney’s addiction issues and subsequent problems with finances, relationships, and the decline of her magnificent singing voice which could no longer produce the perfect pitch and beautiful tonality it once did.

As I continued looking at the home from various angles, I noticed the heart-shaped portion of the house. It would be interesting to know what part of the house this occupies. The kitchen (often referred to as the heart of the home)? The main bedroom? No matter. From all I’ve read and seen, Whitney had a heart as big as her voice.

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This home is not currently listed on the MLS. Find more information here:

CarProperty.com

Here’s an article about a homeowner who hired Ralph Rapson to renovate her home in the Rolling Green neighborhood of Edina, Minnesota:

One Rapson Rhapsody

RapsonArchitects.com

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Garage sales are both opportunities to make money and to find a bargain and/or a bibelot. A bibelot is defined as “a small object of curiosity, beauty, or rarity”. Here is one of my garage sale bibelot finds:
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Astor Paris Tray

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The color and glazing on this small tray is really beautiful. There is a French name stamped on the backside, leading me to believe its first home was Paris, France. Perhaps there was a hotel named Astor at one time in the “City of Light” and this tray formerly resided there.

Many Parisians live in charming yet modest apartments with small spaces and few closets. They often don’t have room for a lot of stuff and pare down to the essentials and a few bibelots and antiques. Still, if a person finds a treasure at a garage sale, flea market, or antique shop, he or she will likely find room for it.

Here’s another example of someone else’s cast-off that became one of my finds. I treasure these “coins” for their Feng Shui symbolism, detailing and colors.
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More unusual pieces found at a garage sale.

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Here in America we have plenty of big homes and lots of stuff. Garage sales can be a great way to get rid of clutter — and earn a little extra cash — anytime but especially before you sell your home. Getting rid of clutter is one part of staging a home. Just make sure the timing is right.

Conducting a garage sale takes a lot of time and energy. These sales can take on a life of their own, and it might not be the best use of your energy right before putting your home on the market. If you’re planning a garage sale at your home, on your block or in your neighborhood, use these tips for a successful sale:

1. Don’t wait until the last minute. You don’t want to be scrambling to hold a garage sale the week before an open house. Depending on how long you’ve lived in the home and how much stuff you have to sell, planning a garage sale can demand a lot of time and energy.

2. Get a permit. Most municipalities will require you to obtain a special permit or license in order to hold a garage sale. The permits are often free or very inexpensive, but still require you to register with the city.

3. See if neighbors want to join in. You can turn your garage sale into a block-wide event and lure more shoppers if you team up with neighbors. However, a permit may be necessary for each home owner, even if it’s a group event.

4. Schedule the sale. Sales on Saturdays and Sundays will generate the most traffic, especially if the weather cooperates. Start the sale early, 8 a.m. or 9 a.m. is best, and be prepared for early birds.

5. Advertise. Place an ad in free classified papers and Web sites, and in your local newspapers. Include the dates, time, and address. Let the public know if certain types of items will be sold, such as baby clothes, furniture, or weightlifting equipment. On the day of the sale, balloons and signs with prominent arrows will help to grab the attention of passersby.

6. Price your goods. Lay out everything that you plan to sell, and attach prices with removable stickers. Remember, garage sales are supposed to be bargains, so try to be objective as you set prices. Assign simple prices to your goods: 50 cents, 3 for $1, $5, $10, etc.

7. If it’s really junk, don’t sell it. Decide what’s worth selling and what’s not. If it’s really garbage, then throw it away. Broken appliances, for example, should be tossed. (Know where a nearby electrical outlet is, in case a customer wants to make sure something works.)

8. Check for mistakes. Make sure that items you want to keep don’t accidentally end up in the garage sale pile.

9. Create an organized display. Lay out your items by category, and display neatly so customers don’t have to dig through boxes.

10. Stock up on bags and newspapers. People who buy many small items will appreciate a bag to carry their goods. Newspapers are handy for wrapping fragile items.

11. Manage your money. Make a trip to the bank to get ample change for your cash box. Throughout the sale, keep a close eye on your cash; never leave the cash box unattended. It’s smart to have one person who manages the money throughout the day, keeping a tally of what was purchased and for how much. Keep a calculator nearby.

12. Prepare for your home sale. Donate the remaining stuff or sell it to a resale shop. Now that all of your clutter is cleared out, it’s time to focus on preparing your house for a successful sale!

Download this list of tips here:  12 Tips on How to Hold a Successful Garage Sale

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Bonus Tip: Consider having a refreshment available for your visitors. If you have children, they could set up their own money-making enterprise with a lemonade stand. People enjoying a cool drink are more likely to linger at your sale and find things they might otherwise have overlooked. Here’s a post on how to make your own fresh lemonade:

Cool Lemonade for a Hot Day
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Kate Walsh, Realtor
Lakes Area Realty
612.220.3309

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These two photos were taken within seconds of one another.

Blue Bike

Earlier today I was out looking at a couple of condos in Wayzata. Afterwards, I walked near this shop. The blue bike caught my attention. It’s old-fashioned styling seemed to fit in perfectly with the vintage shop. The blue was a welcome splash of color in an otherwise rainy and overcast day.

Blue Bike and Energy

I used my cell phone camera to take these shots. I find the blurred half of this photo rather intriguing. Did I move while taking the picture? Only half the photograph is blurred. If I moved, shouldn’t the entire photo be blurry? It makes me think of sci-fi and action movies. What just went by at high-speed?

In the study of Feng Shui, we discuss that everything is energy. The right half of the photo appears to have a stronger energy field than the left side. What else could have been in the space while I was there? Hmm…

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