This article originally appeared in the Summer 2017 edition of The High End magazine. For more information about The High End, click here.

Trained in Traditional Feng Shui by an authentic Taiwanese master, Dee Kelly has been practicing the art and science of Feng Shui for 20 years — and her mastery of the subject is sought by clients far and wide to both improve their lives and business ventures.

By Samantha Myers • Penthouse photography by Nick Johnson

Dee Kelly was one of 16 students out of a group of 400 to be chosen by her Feng Shui master to continue her practices. Now a Traditional Feng Shui master herself, Kelly is one of the only people in the U.S. to offer Feng Shui services for residential, corporate, retail, or hospitality-driven real estate as well as land development. “Feng Shui has been the best kept secret weapon of successful people for hundreds of years,” says Kelly, who has a diverse, highly successful clientele to which she aids in confidential real estate situations.

For those unfamiliar with Feng Shui, the practice is rooted in a complex, technical mathematical science and art originated in the Tang Dynasty over 1,000 years ago, and has been passed down through a master-to-student tradition since then. In fact, Feng Shui is responsible for the invention of the earliest magnetic compasses by Chinese practitioners who wanted to harmonize buildings. The practice encompasses eight directions and is based around the Five Elements: water, wood, fire, earth and metal. Today, despite simplified interpretations or misconceptions of Feng Shui, Traditional Feng Shui is still kept alive in select individuals like Kelly, and promises real solutions to everyday problems.

“Feng Shui is defined as the practice of planning or design that harnesses or optimizes the energy around a space, such as a home, office or building,” says Kelly. “It’s about finding the best relationship between the energy of the surrounding landform and the inside of a space. By deepening our understanding of nature, seasons and cycles, and applying Feng Shui to our lives, we can access the best in nature and become much healthier, happier and more successful.” 

In simpler terms, for Kelly, Feng Shui is a wellness tool: she defines her job’s main objective as helping people, whether in their homes, real estate or other applicable ways.

“When dealing with a residence, whether it’s $31 million in Southampton, located in Miami, or anywhere in the world, we still want the house to be healthy for us,” she says. “Just because it’s very expensive, doesn’t mean we still don’t have to be concerned about the environmental energy. Traditional Feng Shui is the best tool to maximize and optimize the environmental energy of any home.”

Kelly’s ambition is to transform the relationships people have with their home or work environments. To complete this, she trademarked a system titled “The House Is You.” “The idea is that you are inextricably connected to your home,” she explains. “You are in a relationship 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with your home, whether we realize it or not,” says Kelly. “What I really want people to understand is that you pick the house you are living in because of your own energy and body. Whatever is happening in your life, you picked a house with the same issues.”

“When dealing with a residence, whether it’s $31 million in Southampton, located in Miami, or anywhere in the world, we still want the house to be healthy for us.”

courtesy of Dee Kelly

Natural materials promote a relaxed interior, despite the home’s bustling city location. 

This living room is exemplar of the penthouses’ cool, serene palette throughout its designer furnishings.

Although Kelly knows how to mediate pre-existing homes through Feng Shui, an ideal state for her process is choosing apartments and homes for her clients from the start. Kelly gets to know her clients through birth information, and then evaluates real estate opportunities to know what is the best option for them. This includes examining the windows and doors relative to the flow of energy from the outside among other complicated principles. “When people pick things on their own, they’re going to pick the one they are comfortable with or a reflection of themselves. This is where we come in, to offer a better, more improved relationship with the home you’re living in.”

One of the more accessible takeaways from the complex system that is Feng Shui is the idea of “Yin” and “Yang.” Yin is defined as dark, bottom, moist and Yang is the opposite: hard, dry and bright. Kelly explains that your bedroom, should take in more Yin traits, while rooms such as the kitchen, or fitness area should adopt Yang characteristics, but yet all should achieve an effective balance and nothing should outweigh the other.

“If you lived in a basement for three months, how do you think you’d feel or look? We don’t build garbage heaps next to hospitals. These kinds of common sense ideals are important and embedded in Feng Shui,” says Kelly. “There’s something very powerful about being in a relationship with your home, property or apartment — to make changes in our physical environment and understand that we are changing the energy not only there, but in our physical and emotional selves.” She promises that any home can be great, with the right transformations.

In terms of commercial projects, Kelly’s job typically involves searching for or analyzing potential land to determine the most
lucrative option for developers, either now or down the line, by examining cycles and timing. She also often assumes roles on core design teams — working with architects, landscape designers and interior designers — for projects being built from the ground-up.

“In a commercial job, our primary objective is money,” says Kelly. “In a residence, money is still important, but health is number one, followed by relationships and then money.” Although a majority of Kelly’s projects are confidential, she explains that she has a high success rate.

“The most beautiful thing is regardless of your status, everyone still wants to be healthy. Everyone still wants to have a balance and harmonious relationship and marriage, and want their kids to do well in school. All of these things, once we become in better relationship with nature and are able to access that inside of our built environments, can actually enhance and improve your life and the life of your family.”

A Positive Place In NYC

The Grand at Sky View Parc in New York City’s Flushing neighborhood, in Queens, is a residential community that has incorporated Feng Shui principles into its designs.

“The biggest opportunity for Feng Shui came in our 7-acre rooftop garden,” says David Brickman, director at Onex Real Estate. “We really put a lot of effort into designing something that felt special. You’re in Downtown bustling Flushing, and you take an elevator up to the sky lobby and you’re suddenly in an oasis; the energy changes completely.”

The garden utilizes landscape components representing The Five Elements, maintains a balance between Yin and Yang through shaded and sunny areas, and seeks to encourage a positive sense of place overall.

© david cheung