I need some feng shui

by singlemomseeking on June 7, 2009

During the height of my house-hunting craze, this guy named Ariel Joseph contacted me out-of-the-blue from southern California.

As I read his email — Ariel is a “an alchemist of possibility” who “takes stagnant spaces in people’s homes and minds and transforms them into positive, intentional spaces” — I was guarded. What could I have done to receive the services of an internationally recognized  feng-shui expert – and did you see those amazingly striking blue eyes?


After a round of emails and phone calls, however, it became clear: Ariel Joseph is the real thing.

And I needed his help.

Imagine this: I’m writing this post surrounded by stacks of boxes in my new, cozy, sunlight — and small — home. (Just ask Depot Dad, who generously showed up this morning in this mess to hook up my DSL!) And here’s the problem: I don’t have an office.

There are two sweet bedrooms, a large kitchen, and a little living room facing the garden. I thought I had this whole office-thing figured out — until I talked to Ariel.

You see, I was going to set up my office in my bedroom, with my desk at my foot of the bed.

“No desks in the bedroom!” warned Ariel. “No way!”

He went on to tell me to think about the purpose of a bedroom: rest and play.

You don’t want anything in your room that doesn’t support relaxation or romance. Anything that doesn’t support these two purposes can cause a triangulation in the relationship. Instead of the two people focusing on each other, they might be focusing on a television, the dog/cat/baby….”

For instance, there’s the guy who fills his bedroom with a stairmaster, free weights, Tae Bo tapes, and sweaty socks.

Or, there’s the pack rat with storage under her bed, a library of half-read books by the bedside table, and Kwanza ornaments stored in a nearby steamertrunk. (Uh, that was me!)

“That being said,” Ariel went on, “You must have an area in your home for everything you want to accomplish in that home. Writing is an essential part of your life, so you must have a place that you can write comfortably.”

His words of wisdom? “Think outside the desk.”

He asked me to think about my office as a “work station:”

“This is an area small enough to house their computer and maybe a cuppa joe. You don’t need to house the stapler, the scissors, the pens, the scotch tape…. Just the bare essentials.”

“You can bring over a basket of files, a folder or two or the small pile of reference books. You can spread out notecards and magazine clippings and have your PDA, water bottle and bowl of cherries for the occasional snack.”

In the meantime, I’m moving furniture around, as I visualize my ideal workspace.

This has me curious: Clearly, all of you have computers at home. Do you have your own office? Workspace? Or, do you go online in your bedroom? Help me out here!

You can catch Ariel Joseph on upcoming episodes of both Million Dollar Listing (on Bravo) and  Platinum Babies (on WE.)

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

tanasie June 11, 2009 at 9:56 am

I never, ever, have my desk in my bedroom. Ever. Sometimes I take my laptop into my bed — but only for “fun writing.” I don’t allow myself to do paying work in there. If my desk was in my office I would never sleep.
I think it’s best to have it so you can’t see your desk from your couch. At my last two apartments I had offices with doors I could close.

tanasie´s last blog post…Raining Men


singlemomseeking June 11, 2009 at 11:13 am

For the record, I should clarify that when I talked to Ariel, I DID tell him that I often have some, uh, work/romance boundary issues. I’m the kind of woman who is on her laptop until midnight… while the BF is fast asleep. Uh oh.

So, as Ariel says (and he’s right), he saw “a potential challenge… simmering, not just because feng shui says so!”

Having my desk staring at me as I get into bed would be very tempting, Ariel pointed out (he’s right again!):

“Just one more blog post. Just one more email. Another rewrite…it won’t take long!” he wrote to me.

So true.

It’s becoming very clear to me that Ariel is quite a social anthropologist… do you all agree?


Meghan Udell June 9, 2009 at 2:22 pm

Thanks for the callout on our “Cloffice” article. Melissa and I both work from home, and its super important to be able to remove visual distractions when work time is over. (otherwise I’d probably never stop working) I love being able to shut my work away in a closet, but alas my hubby and I live in a loft, and closets are at a premium.

Meghan Udell´s last blog post…Eat & Drink: Bargain Booze Buying Basics


Phil June 9, 2009 at 12:25 pm

How do I separate my work life from my romantic life? That’s never been an issue with me, and I’ve never even given it much thought. Your life has hundreds of different aspects – they are all separate and interwoven. To say that it is dependent on how your furniture is arranged is silly to me.
(I do agree with the clutter aspect.)

Also, I’ve never had a TV in my bedroom, and never will. I’m not a big TV watching guy. So there, you know one guy.


Belle June 9, 2009 at 12:06 pm

I work from home, so I have a separate room for my office, only it’s not my office – everyone in the family has a desk and computer in here, except for the cat! It’s quite crowded, to say the least.

A while back I thought I might get more work on my novel done if I had a separate place to do that outside of my other work, so I set up a desk and an old computer in my bedroom. I can’t see the computer anymore – it’s buried under an avalanche of books and clothes 🙂 So I don’t know if this really qualifies as a desk in the bedroom …

Belle´s last blog post…On Writing: Description


Erica June 9, 2009 at 10:15 am

I think it’s all about what suits each person/ family. I don’t have any electronics in my bedroom but I do take the laptop to bed occasionally. Wow… that sounded so un-sexy.

BTW – how did the Facebook status argument turn out?


wandamd June 9, 2009 at 5:49 am

Even though my little one and I are in a 900 sf 2 bedroom I still keep my bedroom electronics free! More than anything I find I sleep better. I also have read that if you are single and ready to add someone permanantly to your bedroom it is good feng shui to put a bedside table on each side of the bed. I just think it makes the room look balanced!


Single Mom Seeking June 8, 2009 at 3:27 pm

I’m sorry, John F., but I do need an explanation about the lips versus ramps.

Help me out here, darling. Thank you.

Priscilla: no laptop with a bowl of cherries at your kitchen table… and, if you have company in the bedroom, “I only want to be doing one of two things.”


Single Mom Seeking´s last blog post…I need some feng shui


John F June 8, 2009 at 3:04 pm

We need a floorplan! And as long as you are feng shui-ing, make sure there are always lips on your exterior doors–never any “ramps”. They will keep the evil spirits out!

John F´s last blog post…For The 40+ Generation


Mike June 8, 2009 at 2:51 pm

My bad. I always say recliner for some reason and it’s a rocker. It has good support for me sitting there to either watch TV or work on the computer.

Mike´s last blog post…I Don’t Mind


April June 8, 2009 at 1:23 pm

Our pc’s in the living room, for two reasons: 1) I agree. I’m not entirely feng shui, but since I do my living in the living room, it’s the appropriate room for the pc, and 2) my daughters now both use the pc sometimes, and it’s essential for kid pc-use to keep it in an open area where you can keep track of where they’re going and what they’re doing online.

April´s last blog post…Education and politics


Priscilla San Remo June 8, 2009 at 12:54 pm

I agree with the basic tenets of Feng Shui: physical clutter is mental clutter; your house should have zones dedicated to different activities/tasks; etc. I agree the bedroom should not house exercise equipment or work stations, under ideal circumstances. But what if you have only two bedrooms and the master bedroom is huge? Do you forgo having exercise equipment or a desk period because of a rule about where they can go? I don’t think so.

While the bedroom is the last place I’d try to add other “zones,” sometimes it’s the only option, and you have to create visual boundaries or screens. What about putting your work stuff in a closet converted to a small office space, where you can close the door at the end of the day?

For me, taking my laptop and a bowl of cherries to my kitchen table would NEVER work. I have too much work stuff that needs to be out when I’m writing to make that effective–I wouldn’t want to have to pack it all up every time I needed my kitchen table (I’ve tried it–believe me, it’s a real challenge).

I guess it depends on how you write. If you’re a real minimalist, Ariel’s solution might work for you. If you’re like most writers, however, this is not realistic. It’s not the same process as grabbing a portable box of file folders to pay a few bills.

As for the TV in the bedroom, I have funny rules about that. I do keep a TV in my bedroom, which I watch only rarely, when I can’t sleep or do some mundane task, like folding laundry. I never watch TV in bed with someone I’m dating, however. I think if I have company in that room, I only want to be doing one of two things.


T June 8, 2009 at 11:06 am

I am fortunate that I have an extra room for an office/workspace for me and the girls. We each have our own desks too.

I do have a TV in my bedroom but I don’t have a TV in the living room. I also don’t have a problem with the TV in my bedroom because it does add to the romance/relaxation… ya know, with the right kind of movie playing.


Glad to hear you’re moved in. And that Jim helped you out with your internet access this time. I could have made a house call too!

T´s last blog post…Done.


QTMama June 8, 2009 at 7:46 am

Um, heeeeeeeelllllllllooooooooo Feng Shui dude. *batting eyes* He’s absolutely dreamy!

I have an office, yes. I, however, don’t work at home as you do. On the same note, I also have nothing in my bedroom that doesn’t revolve around relaxation or romance. However that’s not working out so well for me lately. 😉

QTMama´s last blog post…Weekend Adventures


Eathan June 8, 2009 at 7:38 am

I’m a total believer of Feng Shui. I don’t have a computer in my bedroom. I must say that I have a TV. I know it’s not recommended by the experts… but for the most part it has helped me to rest and sleep much better.

Having a home work space is a great choice.

Eathan´s last blog post…Letting Your Fingers Do The Talking


lovebabz June 8, 2009 at 6:26 am

First off…HE IS FINE!

And I needed this post today! As I am recreating my bedroom! I was thinking of a 2nd computer…a netbook for upstairs in bedroom. Now after this post I am not doing t! He is right your bedroom is for rest and play! I have created a workspace in my living. I have an office in my finished basement… But upstairs I can look out the windows and the back french doors.

Take his advice. I know it will serve you well! Shoot I am taking his advice!

lovebabz´s last blog post…FAITH FORWARD FRIDAY: KEEP ASKING


Dido June 8, 2009 at 5:25 am

p.s. of course, if you do have a third bedroom, then it’s perfect for study/guestroom/wardrobe – all at the same time.

but if you had that i guess you wouldn’t be asking…


Dido June 8, 2009 at 5:22 am

oh my, what a man! yummy!!!
(ok, that just needed to be said 🙂

i saw a great thing in Ikea recently – i live in europe though, but i guess the offer is more or less the same – a box that hangs on your wall and when you open it it serves as a laptop station, really cute. or maybe you can go a bit bigger, but something that can be closed when you finish working – just sacrifice a corner in your living room, a comfy little chair and a plant to separate you from the rest of the room and also make you feel nice while working – but no, definitely not the bedroom.

good luck!


MC June 8, 2009 at 3:49 am

Good luck with your move! I think Feng-Shui principles build wonderful living spaces—(although I’m skeptical about everything except the deco aspects)

I use my laptop in the kitchen, and a row of kitchen drawers stores my office supplies. We don’t have a kitchen table–just a breakfast bar type thing–that’s where I work. There’s a lot of space to spread out when I need to, but otherwise I try to keep the office clutter in the kitchen down to a minimum–I keep current paperwork in my soft-side briefcase propped up by the kitchen wall, and my laptop can go in there as well & I can put the briefcase in my clothes closet if I need/want a kitchen free from “work”. My wireless printer, file cabinets, & TV/DVD/DVR are in the basement.

What does M use for a computer? Does she use your laptop? My kids (10 yr old) twins have a desktop in the corner of the family room off the kitchen where I can keep an eye on what they’re accessing. Mom’s laptop is mostly “off limits” to them—it’s too critical to my job and keyboard/cracker and soda spills happen way too often in my house!

I’d never have either my laptop or TV in my bedroom. Fortunately, the men I date aren’t really into TV–watching TV in the bedroom would be a dealbreaker for me!


judy June 7, 2009 at 9:05 pm

how tall are your ceilings?

google: diy build a cloffice

it is a great solution….


singlemomseeking June 9, 2009 at 12:14 pm

Very cool Judy! People really do make small spaces work. Wow. See: http://www.shoestringmag.com/diy/diy-building-a-cloffice-closet-office


Phil June 7, 2009 at 7:05 pm

Your office should be where you get the most privacy. Since your new place is small, you need to make compromises. Don’t worry about the “feng-shui”…your romance and relaxation will be fine with a desk in the room. If someone didn’t put the idea in your head that it’s wrong, it probably never would have bothered you.

My bedroom is large, almost a double room, which I also use as my office. Personally, I love having my own space where the kids don’t go.


Legal Editor Mom June 7, 2009 at 7:00 pm

I have a three bedroom house, so our 3rd bedroom is my office and also our guest room. It has a double desk for Mini-me and me, a file cabinet, a futon for guests, and all of my book shelves.

Our family room also has a built-in desk in one wall, but so far we haven’t used it.

Even though I have been known to work from my laptop in my room on occasion, I do agree about keeping the “office” out of your bedroom if you can help it. Find a nice little space if you can, and make it work for you.


Mike June 7, 2009 at 6:51 pm

Well presently I have one big room. However I do know where he is coming from. One side is my sleeping area and the other is my living area. You can’t watch TV from the bed. I only work on my laptop in my recliner. For a while there I was thinking of getting a partition to separate it more, but I thought that was too much. However you don’t want your worlds colliding because it will affect them.


singlemomseeking June 7, 2009 at 10:47 pm

Mike: Working on your laptop in your recliner? Ouch! I thought you’d fixed people’s backs… do explain!

Honey: Whoa, is the BF okay without a TV/VCR in your bedroom? I’m the same way… but have yet to meet a man who would go TV-less in the bedroom (however, there’s NO TV in MY bedroom!)


judy June 7, 2009 at 6:19 pm

man..I wish I were there. I love this stuff.

Bedrooms are not offices, daycare centers or storage containers.

Think storage yes….those ottomans that open up could possibly house your office.

My DD does her homework on the kitchen table. I put tin on the glass fronts of the ‘hutch’ so she can store her school stuff in there. Easy convince for her and out of sight for me.

Decorative screens work well.
If I worked at home I would need a visual way to leave work..either by stashing everything..pulling the screen..rolling it out.

Set yourself up to work then tweak your space as you go….it may take months to get it right…and that is fine


singlemomseeking June 7, 2009 at 10:41 pm

Judy: I was so hoping you’d chime in! Thanks so much. M has always preferred to do her homework in the kitchen, too… works well for me because I can cook at the same time!

I DO have a decorative screen and thought about how this might fit. Hmmm.

Phil: I’m so curious to know how you separate your work/computer life from your romantic life… I guess that I get so easily sucked into the computer late into the night. It sounds you’re good at setting limits for yourself?


Kari June 7, 2009 at 5:34 pm

I’m most comfortable working on my school work on the couch with my laptop. I got rid of the desktop when it totally aged out and haven’t looked back. There is no longer a desk in my home. When kiddo does work she works at the kitchen table with the laptop.

That is what works for us, a computer desk was never good (for me) for school work in general anyway. I needed space to sprawl out with my books and highlighters. There isn’t that space here so I create a temporary space and I have cube storage end tables in the living room that houses all the essentials right next to the couches. The key to making that work for me is the storage because it becomes out of sight when I need it to.

Kari´s last blog post…Taking a break


Honey June 7, 2009 at 5:23 pm

a) he’s freaking ADORABLE. BF look out!! 🙂

Okay, okay, j/k – I won’t even let the BF have a TV/VCR in our bedroom. Everything necessary is in the living room and if that’s not good enough he can take the laptop into the spare bedroom. Them’s the rules. :0)


MindyMom June 7, 2009 at 5:04 pm

How great that you have professional help! Wow. And he is cute.

I would have to agree about keeping your workspace out of the bedroom, although I do admit to taking my laptop to bed occassionaly. Right now I am lucky enough to have a home office but that probably wont be the case when I move. In my last house I had my desk set up in a corner of my living room which also worked well.

I hope you find a nice spot for yourself to to work in and spend A LOT of time in comfortably.

MindyMom´s last blog post…After a Break Up


Lauren June 7, 2009 at 5:01 pm

Well, in my current living situation, there’s really no separation between workspace and bedroom. Everything is pretty much jumbled together.


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