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Name: Clara Leung (@fengshuiplant_clara on TikTok), her fiancé, and two children, plus a lovely dog named Tiva
Location: A beautiful sparsely populated suburban town of Maryland only 20 minutes away from busy Washington DC and 10 miles west of the state capitol Annapolis.
Size: 1500 square feet
Type of Home: Townhouse
Years lived in: 14 years, owned
Clara Leung works full-time for the Department of Justice as an accountant, but she’s made a lucrative side business of two of her passions: Feng Shui and houseplants. “I grew up in Hong Kong where my mother and grandmother raised me with a strong foundation in Old Chinese Feng Shui,” Clara writes. She sells plants with homemade soil through her side business, Clara’s Green House and she also offers one-on-one Feng Shui consultation services, which she says “helps ensure customers’ home environments are designed in a way that maximizes its energy balances, which is its yin/yang.”
When it came to finding a home that would be big enough to house her houseplant passions (as well as her kids and fiancé) and close enough to D.C. where she works, she says she was lucky enough to find a real estate agent who was “knowledgeable with Asian culture… When I first saw my home I immediately fell in love with the first floor being open from the front to the back, which allows energy and air to flow through smoothly. The layout on each floor is visually open, and there was no such area that made me feel that the energy was being choked.”
“The number one aspect of the Feng Shui-ness of my home is that the stairs inside the home are not right in front of me when I enter through the front door (this is advice I strongly suggest for anyone who is looking for a new home). The second important aspect for me is that the door has a reddish hue, and it makes me feel welcome as I enter into the foyer of my home,” explains Clara. “The third key part for Feng Shui for me is that there is no bad energy around the outside of the home. Additionally, part of my birth date is a part of my house numbers and then two threes are added on; three is considered as triple prosperity, so that means my home is having a double of the triple prosperity that the two threes offer. I just knew I had to make an offer on this home right away!”
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Mixed theme of Chinese, Modern, Farm (because my fiancé is from the Pacific Northwest plus Wyoming and Montana) and Vintage.
Inspiration: Making many different elements work together in the best sense of Feng Shui is a source of inspiration and motivation of mine.
Favorite Element: My dedicated collection of rare plants. Waking up every morning and coming down the stairs, my eyes are always trained on those plants. I even say goodbye to them every night!
Biggest Challenge: It is natural to say that there is never enough storage, yet I am always looking for creative ways to create enough storage without messing with the Feng Shui-ness of my home. I am fortunate that my guy is a professional builder and installer. I grew up with a family of five within a 400-square-foot apartment, so I have been accustomed to the smart storage culture in Asia that I do not feel receives the exposure that it deserves here in the United States. Combining my rich knowledge of smart storage strategies with my fiancé’s can-do attitude with building things, we easily overcome storage dilemmas whenever they arise.
Proudest DIY: My greenhouse is my proudest DIY portion of my home. While all of my neighboring townhouses put a dining table next to the kitchen, I chose to transform the space into a highly effective green house while putting the dining table in the room that then divides the space with the living room. I love to cook for my family, so I get to cook and also keep my green house running! I can pack my plants for shipping to my clients anywhere across the United States while my food is cooking for my family, and I wouldn’t do it any other way!
Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? I am extremely grateful to have a layout of my home where I can have my green house where it is and still maintain the maximum functionality of every part of my home. The green house itself doesn’t block the rest of my home, yet it works with the rest of my home.
Biggest Indulgence: To actually own my home is simply my biggest expenditure, and it is worth it by far. So to answer your question in a different perspective, one of my favorite buys ever is our dining table. It is precious to me because it is my only time that I can sit down and have quality time with my fiancé and children without any interruptions such as TV and phones. Even when we are not eating or using it, I just believe that it is a very beautiful object to admire as it is almost a piece of art itself.
What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? Marble coffee table with golden coated legs — it elevates the whole home and gives the home a feeling of luxury with ease. The Ralph Polo rug in my primary bedroom — it spreads a vibe of humbleness, which we need at the end of our busy days. I just like that the rug’s design mixes the feelings of luxury and vintage-ness that gives you the old history feeling. And finally, various planters with stands that I have brought home from foreign countries — they are with different plants where they have their own personalities. I absolutely love to be surrounded by them anytime everyday!
Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: I had a square dining table — which I absolutely adore and is stored in the basement as it was gifted to me by my parents — that allowed for a very limited number of people to sit together. The dining table I now have set up has had nine people comfortably eating together. I love how air flows more easily around it, thanks to its central leg as opposed to the four corner legs of the other table. Additionally, the oval shape of the table offers a higher degree of flexibility of where one can sit, especially with the bench my fiancé built. In fact, it was built with reclaimed wood from my neighbor’s porch, and I absolutely adore it because it can seat two people more efficiently than two separate chairs! I love being able to sit on it with my fiancé while other couples are sitting in separate chairs.
Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? When I moved into my home I had different colors of walls throughout the home. Recently, my fiancé painted a lot of the walls white, and I cannot tell you enough how much bigger the rooms feel! Also, my plants are thriving more easily as the white walls much more easily reflect the indirect light that they need. I just wish I had done my rooms in white a long time ago!
Also, similar to how I advise my clients to have their plants done within planters that have legs, I cannot reiterate enough how important it is to elevate the Feng Shui of the room when it comes to couches with legs. Couches that sit right on the floor without sufficient gap between itself and the floor blocks the flow of energy throughout the room. It is so important that couches have legs that allow maximum flow of air and energy throughout the living room and its adjacent rooms.
This submission’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.