Phyllis Chung, home collage

Can you tell us briefly about how you wanted to remodel your home? What was most important to you as you were going through this remodel?I had been dreaming about this house for a long time. The house was remodeled in the ‘80s. It was not well designed and did not have a good flow. I wanted this house to be more functional, have more character, and a place where my family can relax in.

The most important aspect of the remodel was to have a good design. Good design for the architecture, interior, and landscape. I appreciate the value of good design in the front end of the process. I’ve seen many houses that have expensive features but the features do not integrate well together. One can spend a lot of money and not get the desired results.

Why did you want to integrate feng shui into your home remodel? How was it working with Jenny?My mother had always wanted to bring a feng shui master to see my house for years, and I always said no. I did not know about nor believe in feng shui. Thinking back, I realized I really missed out on opportunities to integrate feng shui into my life. When I started working with an architect, I wanted to integrate feng shui into the design, in large part to remember my mother and honor her wish for me.Phyllis Chung's kitchen nook

I did not know of any feng shui master at first, so I started researching local feng shui masters. I learned about Jenny after reading her website, and then attended one of her seminars at the library. In addition to being a 4th generation feng shui grand master, Jenny is a graduate of UCLA School of Architecture. I was convinced she was the right feng shui master for my project. Working with Jenny was the best choice I made. The recommendations she made to the architecture resulted in key changes to the house. For example, the design had a long hall way, with washer and dryer in a closet off the hallway. After Jenny’s review, the hallway was shortened making it possible to have a good size laundry room which I am so happy to have.

Jenny not only worked with the architect, she worked with the landscape architect to design my outdoor room, the front Asian garden, and the backyard orchard. Jenny also helped the interior designer with interior/exterior colors and shapes. I love the end results! Working with Jenny was a wonderful experience. There are so many decisions to make when building a house, and integrating feng shui into the process helps with the decision making tremendously. Jenny was always reachable. She promptly returns my calls and emails. I was more confident because Jenny was right there with me during the whole process.

What were some challenges, if any, you faced during the design process?I wanted a single story house which limits the square footage of the house. Jenny would make layout changes from the architect’s drawing and expand the functionality and usefulness of every room. Instead of smaller bathrooms, I have showcase bathrooms that everyone marvels about. Instead of a long hallway, I have a modern museum-like gallery under a pagoda of clerestory windows providing a space so spiritual that I want to spend a lot of my time reading and writing in there.

What are your favorite aspects of the design?I love how the design makes me feel when I am home. I feel like I am at a resort, totally relaxed. I love how well the house flows, the open layout, and the integration of indoor and outdoor space. I love that I don’t have to walk too far to get to every part of the house. I love the Asian Modern design. There is good lighting in every room. The house is so comfortable.Phyllis Chung's outdoor room

How was it to get your architect to collaborate with the feng shui consultant?Jenny totally won over the architect. Jenny would send her suggestions, my architect would review and incorporate into his design. The process iterates. After several suggestions from Jenny, my architect remarked that feng shui is good design!

Please share with us how you are enjoying the house and how you are doing now.I am enjoying the house very much. I am happy to host gatherings and holiday celebrations with my family and friends. Everyone is happy to be here. After realizing my dream of building this house, I started doing things that I never thought I had the time nor energy to do. I went to Yosemite and hiked to Half Dome. I went to Peru and trekked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. I learned snowshoeing. I started rock climbing at Joshua Tree National Park. My life is much more fulfilling. I am now training to be a hike leader so I can lead hikes for children and youth to experience the great outdoors.

Is there any special message you would like to share with our readers?Integrating feng shui into my life has made a big difference. Building the house was a dream of mine for a long time, and for a long time that was the dream I focused on. Do not procrastinate to realize your dream whatever it is, because there are other dreams that you may not know about yet that are just waiting for you to grasp. It is like climbing mountains. There are shorter peaks right in front of us that block the views of the taller peaks. Once we reach the peak right in front of us, we can see the others and reach for the next one.Front of Phyllis Chung's home

Please visit Architect, David Watson’s website to view more photos of Phyllis’ feng shui house.

"Do not procrastinate to realize your dream whatever it is, because there are other dreams that you may not know about yet that are just waiting for you to grasp."

~Phyllis Chung, Engineer