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We all have the opportunity to have several homes. No, I am not talking about buying real estate. I am talking about the public spaces available to all of us. Sometimes we lose sight of the fact that there are many opportunities to find the energy and balance we need right in our own city and surrounding areas. The real blessing of technology is that we can do our work anywhere—on a blanket in a state park, on a seaside rock, in a library, restaurant, museum or even a sculpture garden. Most cities have a rich plethora of environments to choose from. I love my city apartment in Manhattan. It is perfect for me in many ways. However, living in the heart of “the city that never sleeps” is not generally the most relaxing place to be. New York’s fast-paced, vibrant, 24/7 energy is very “yang.” On the positive side, it offers endless activities, opportunities and cultural events—a diverse, ever-changing smorgasbord of people, places and things. But whew! Sometimes just thinking about it can exhaust me.

To help keep my life in true balance, I also have a second home, one that slows me down and helps me connect and stay in tune with “yin” energy- nature’s moons, tides, rhythms and seasons. Our yin and yang (masculine and feminine) energies are interdependent and complement each other, representing
the polarities of the universe and the ever-changing balance of life. One EcoChi principle is that a second home can and should be an opportunity to create a natural balance between these two opposite but complementary and equally
necessary energies. My second home is on the North Fork of Long Island just 1 ½ hours from the city. Over the last 10 years I have stayed at friend’s homes,
rented motel rooms for a night, did weekends at a B&B and even have taken rides out just for the day. Eventually I rented a tiny house for 2 weeks and ultimately bought a “handyman special” that is a short walk to the beach surrounded by trees, vineyards and organic farms.

However, what I am talking about here does not require the deed to an actual house! A viable option, and one that may even be preferable, is to

make an agreement with yourself that you will explore nearby neighborhoods and the outlying community until you find a public space—or several spaces— that offer you the balance you need. Change your energy—and thus your mood—by heading out to a café, museum, library, park or beach. Vary your environment from time to time and I promise you that you will be pleasantly surprised. The only limit is your imagination and willingness to explore other areas both near and far to find the balance of yin and yang you desire in your life.

(EcoChi: Designing the Human Experience,Chapter 10)

Take a few moments to share with me stories of your favorite second home!

The Stable House
The Stable House

I believe in the law of attraction when it comes to real estate. Like a magnet, unique Manhattan properties that are rich with history, find me. I have always found beauty in diversity and a desire to wander off the beaten path. Mother of two brilliant artists, I know beauty when I see it. My son is a gifted writer and director, my daughter a talented jewelry designer.  I am thankful every day that I am lucky enough to work in the world’s capital, New York. Even in this challenging market, I am grateful to be able to show properties that I love. These properties have a life of their own:

3 Great Jones Horse Stable-Noho

Built in 1844 this 2000 Sq Ft Loft is magical. Walk through the private gated alley and toward the original 14ft barn doors which still serves as the entrance to the Stable House. Since the 1950’s tenants have included Charles Mingus-jazz musician, Mark Rothko-painter, and the puppet maker Kermit Love who was contracted to create the puppets of Sesame Street. Kermit the Frog was born here.  Old New York tales of Shinbone Alley are shared in many city narratives. This was the site if one of America’s first comic strips, Archie and Mehetibal. Written by Don Marquis, this was a story of a cockroach and a cat that lived in Shinbone Alley. The alley was also a location for many movies including two Spike Lee movies and the First Wives Club. With the wood burning fireplace, it has the feeling of a private home and has the added plus of being a Live/Work property.

291 Seventh Avenue Penthouse Apartment-Chelsea

Across the street from the Fashion Institute of Technology is a discrete entrance to 291. A keyed elevator brings you up to the 4900 SQ Ft duplex loft that feels like a grand townhouse in the sky. The high ceilings and skylights create an airy, light space that takes your breath away. Wow, is the best description of this property as you walk across the glass floor of the second level that captures every ray of light and leads to the private rooftop terrace. Available outdoor space is over 2000 Sq Ft with open city views. The home of the first woman President of Ralph Lauren,  and her husband who is an accomplished artist, this property shows their flair for good living. In a city where apartments are often talked about as boxes, this space is extraordinary. I live my passion and my passion brought me here…The Penthouse.


 The East Room

Former President Harry Truman tickles the ivories for President and Mrs. Kennedy in the East Room November 1, 1961.

Courtesy John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library

Feng Shui Reccomendations for the White House in  2009

We have entered into a season in our history of much needed change. The year 2009 may be the time to consider changes that are obvious to us and those that are esoteric.

In the Western world our way of life is based on accumulating and qualifying data and then analyzing this information to find trends, norms and averages. These are generally studied as a series of unconnected phenomena. Feng Shui and energy practices, have been main stream in Eastern cultures for thousands of years. The Eastern philosophy is based on the perception that nature is an unending  and a continuous stream of movements that are connected to one another.

My goals as a Feng Shui Practitioner is to bring a balance of energy in working and living environments so that the Qi(energy) in the body can flow freely to connect with the Qi of the environment and bring wholeness.  San Qi which is the energy of Heaven, Earth and Humanity must be balanced to create harmony in your life, good health, happiness and prosperity.

President elect Barak Obama will be moving into the White House this month.  The first cornerstone was laid for the White House in 1792. The first President to live there was John Adams in the year 1800, although it was not completed until 1809. So much history is in the White House and energy from all of those years both good and bad, inhabit this space.  Most will agree that our new President carries a huge responsibility to change things at home as well as abroad and move us into a better place in history. Why not start at home by balancing the energy in the White House to enhance and support our new President?

Born on August 4, 1961 in Honolulu at 7:24PM, Barak Obama was born in the Wood Element.  His Four Pillars Chart shows characteristics that will seem quite obvious to us now that we have had some time to get to know him: self-made man, powerful politician, and the strong Metal in his chart is the element of expression, public speaking and inspiration. Born in a 1961, a year ending in 1,  President elect Barak Obama is an East Life person. As an East Life person the directions that would be most harmonious and supporting for him are the south, southeast, east and north. The more we face the directions that align with our own personal energy vibrations the the more smoothly life will flow involving our health, career, personal relationships, finances and the ability to make sound decisions.  Entertaining in the East Room is the most supporting for an East Life person.  The most challenging of guests should be easily entertained by our next President in this room. The Red Room for smaller gatherings will give President Obama the Fire he needs to be on top of his game when he needs it the most.

The following is my Feng Shui recommendations for the Obama Family:

·         Change the doorknobs on the doors in the rooms most frequented by the departing administration.  If the doorknobs cannot be changed wash them with warm water and sea salt solution. The minerals in the sea salt will cleanse the energy and make room for the new energy to flow.

·         Fresh paint and clearing out of all personal clutter left by the Bush Family.

·         Smudge the property before moving in. Smudge sticks were used by the American Indians to clear out evil spirits. It is a wonderful tool to clear out remaining energy to make room for the new. Light sage and lavender herbs and let the smoldering smoke travel in all corners of the room especially where energy enters the home by the doorways, windows, fireplaces and electrical outlets.

·         Play your favorite music as you move into your new home. The vibrations of this music will be uplifting and bring good energy into your new home.

·         Support for your Wood element can easily be enhanced with water. Fish tanks, photographs or artwork portraying water or fountains will be a great addition for you in the rooms facing Southwest, West, Northwest and Northeast. Or you can create harmony in these directions with plants, fresh flowers or the color red, peach or rose.

·         In any room that feels like the energy is stagnant or a room that makes you feel uneasy be sure to smudge, and change your seat so you are facing East, and have a wall behind your chair. This is called a Black Turtle and will give you the support and confidence you need when making important decisions. Your future and the future of this country and the world should be depicted in the artwork that you face. This is called the Red Bird and will bring you the future you desire.


The year 2009 will bring change for all of us. Explore the tools of Feng Shui  used for thousands of years, to create a more harmonious and happier life as we look optimistically into our future.


Debra Duneier, President

Living Home By Debra, LLC

Debra is also Senior Associate Real Estate Broker with Corcoran in Manhattan and is Secretary of the Corcoran Advisory Board


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