Edgar & Cheryl Orlino with children

Edgar and Cheryl Orlino have an unparallelled zest for living fully. It comes as no surprise that they are drawn to feng shui in creating a home that lets them reach their fullest potential. Since meeting them in 2000, I knew the Orlinos were no ordinary couple. In the last 15 years, they have gone from a two bedroom apartment at our first consultation to a finding a 80% good feng shui four bedroom home in Arcadia, and now, they will be moving into their custom feng shui designed home this summer.

I have had the pleasure of seeing the Orlinos blossom into an amazing family of six. Their children, Charizma, Xavier, Ezrael and Elias are budding Olympian athletes. They are a testament to Edgar and Cheryl’s incredible drive, love and joie de vivre. When this family is not busy at work, school, and sports practice and competitions, they spend their spare time preparing for marathons. I often wonder where they get all their energy! I like to think it’s in part due to their good feng shui combined with their positive attitude that “Nothing worthwhile is ever easy.”

Edgar is a videographer and digital editor in the film industry. He has been a great advocate of sharing feng shui. In the past, he has filmed several Liu Feng Shui workshops for YouTube and a video on Chi-Jen Liu’s Chi Art paintings.

Since Edgar works long shifts as the main breadwinner, the heroine of this family is undoubtedly Cheryl who chose to become a full-time mom and devote herself to her children’s development. She not only runs the household and manages four busy athletes’ schedules, in the last six years, she has spent an insurmountable number of hours in search of a new home for their growing kids and changing needs.

For anyone who is in the market for a new home, they know how much work it is to find the right house. When you are looking for a home that has good feng shui, which I have come to see is about 1 out of 100 homes, finding this can be like looking for a needle in a haystack. Cheryl shares her odyssey of finding their latest perfect feng shui house.

Edgar Orlino and Master Jenny Liu Orlino house floorplan Master Jenny Liu working on Orlino floorplan

When you first started looking for a house, was it hard to incorporate feng shui?We are all Western Directional people, however, the recent search was complicated by our youngest son being an Eastern Directional person. Also, in the current cycle, the feng shui of our new house should ideally sit northeast and face southwest. I can assure you there are not many houses like this. When we did find southwest facing homes, there was always something wrong with the layout. It seemed like the only way we would find the house that would suit our needs was if we build it from the ground up, or find a place that we could add on.

How was your first realtor?Although our first realtor was willing to work with our feng shui requirements, he would take us to random houses and it felt like he wasn’t really listening to us and was only somewhat familiar with feng shui. I remember reviewing many of these first houses with Jenny and feeling so frustrated that they didn’t have better feng shui than our current home. It was quite a daunting task and after so many false starts and hopes, we decided to take a break from our realtor.

What was the greatest motivator to keep looking?Our two older kids love diving and the younger two excel at gymnastics. I found the best sport clubs to cultivate their talent, but those are located 30 miles from home. At one point, I was driving the kids from school to either their practice or meets, every single day. I loaded up so many miles, I had to bring my car in for maintenance within five weeks of my last tune-up. With gas prices well over $4 at the time, coming home late, the kids hardly seeing their dad - I told Edgar, we HAVE to get a house closer to the kids’ sports.

Did you change your approach this time?Since the older homes didn’t seem to have good feng shui, we were attracted to the new homes built near our kids’ sports clubs. There was a frenzy of people queuing up just to get on the list of being a qualified buyer for this community by the beach. Before we filled out the application, we had Jenny review the plans and there were only three lots with the exact model that would be suitable for our family. We were determined to buy one of these lots. However, we weren’t the only ones. The developers decreed that you must literally maintain your place in line and guard your spot. It was like Survivor! We camped out with our kids for three days in the sales office parking lot. The #1 and #2 on the list came up with a rented camper and a guy who would be willing to stay there for us until the homes were to be released six weeks later. We all chipped in to pay for him, food and the camper. As crazy as it seemed, we thought it was money well spent to ensure our chance at buying the home of our dreams. Unfortunately, the investors in New York, who controlled the price of the homes got greedy, feeding off the desperation of the home buyers who camped out and the public interest in these luxury homes. The sales prices rose $700-800K over what they originally started with. There was no way we could come up with the financing. With heavy hearts, we abandoned the plan to buy our dream house on the beach.

What did you learn from this experience?All our energy was so focused on getting the house, which in turn caused major stress to us. It got ugly at times, and it felt like we were fighting so close to the edge to get this house, that Edgar and I would take it out on each other and the kids. It was totally contradictory to the whole point of finding our ideal feng shui home. I mean the house is supposed to promote harmony and good energy, yet the pursuit of this house did just the opposite to us. That should have been the first clue the house was not ideal, it was a hard lesson learned and a bitter pill to swallow. I remember Jenny telling us that when we find the right house, it will be easy.

How were you able to move forward again?After about five months of healing, I got curious about the real estate market again. I decided to check out home sales in the next city over from where we were looking. It was reputed to have an excellent school system. I had looked for places in this city before but nothing had come up for sale. Imagine my surprise when I saw 18 homes for sale.

Now that you were a seasoned house hunter, what did you do differently?Experience taught me I had to act fast. I prayed to God to lead me to the right realtor, and that they would be in the magazine I picked up at the nearest supermarket. I can intuit a lot about a person just by looking at their face. I trust my instincts in this always. I scanned the faces of the realtors in the magazine, and only one face jumped out at me as being natural and sincere. I chose a woman with a nice bright smile, whose soft blond waves were neatly styled away from her face as if she had nothing to hide. The only word that popped in my head when I looked at her photo was “trustworty.”

After a few weeks and a dozen homes later, our new realtor wanted to get a clearer understanding of our feng shui requirements. She took notes, analyzed and prioritized which were most important and what we were willing to fix with remodeling. With renewed focus, we began to see homes with compatible feng shui and we made full price offers on them. However, being outbid in four consecutive homes, we were feeling disheartened again. Our realtor felt we were really close and told us to keep trying. Finally, after devoting three weekends to looking at all open houses, there was one on a beautiful street we fell in love with, and the home was $200K below market. The house was in disrepair and one of the bathrooms was gutted, but the lower price would allow us to renovate it. We submitted a reluctant offer, settling with this as we were tired of searching. Our realtor could tell we weren’t happy, and told us we could keep looking. Very relieved, we withdrew our offer and trudged on. A few days later, our realtor called to tell us another house on this same street was up for sale. It was $100K below market.

We were the first people there at their open house and immediately felt that this could be the one. It was the feeling of being comfortable, like coming home after a long day. This was our diamond in the rough, so we immediately put an offer on it for full price. They had three other offers, but accepted our’s within a week. By the end of the month, the house was ours - no fuss, no problems. Everything went smoothly. Jenny was right - once you find the right house, getting it is easy.

After Edgar and Cheryl bought their new home, the next step was to customize the floor plan to optimize the feng shui for them and their children. The original house faced west and had two missing sectors due to the attached garage and an add-on in the back. With the proper renovations, we were able to create a balanced layout that accommodated all the family’s needs. What started out as a three bedroom two bath house with living, dining and family room, was transformed into the Orlinos’ dream home with four bedrooms, four baths, studio, teen room, great room with dining, family room and open kitchen, outdoor dining, gym, and laundry/mudroom.

From the auspicious groundbreaking date, to the house blessing ceremony, to all the details of furniture placement, color and material selection, the design and construction has been smooth sailing. This custom feng shui designed home is one of the Orlinos’ greatest achievements yet.

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"By the end of the month, the house was ours - no fuss, no problems. Everything went smoothly. Jenny was right - once you find the right house, getting it is easy."

~Cheryl Orlino, Full-time Mother