Winston Churchill, Feng Shui and Dining Chairs

This American-made Victorian chair from the mid-1800s has a rounded back—representing the Turtle behind—and the two nicely padded arms represent the Tiger and Dragon. It originally had metal rollers, which made it look disconnected from the floor. We removed those, boxed, labeled and stored them away. If you can easily take an old chair (or couch) off its rollers, then do so. You’ll have a much more grounded piece of furniture.

Here’s a chair of ours that I love, which, although it is in our living room, meets the criteria Churchill lists. 

Ten years ago, I used to start my lectures with these words: “Winston Churchill said, ‘We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.’”

That was around the time that Feng Shui for Hawaii was published, and that quote is on page two of the book. I use it to express the universality and cross-culturalness of the understanding that the shape of buildings affects the occupants.

I recently came across a lengthier Churchill quote that’s spot-on for the feng shui take on dining chairs:

“The Dining Room has certain very marked requisites. First, it should be comfortable and give support to the body when sitting up straight: it should certainly have arms, which are an enormous comfort when sitting at meals. Second, it should be compact. One does not want the Dining Room chair spreading itself, or its legs, or its arms, as if it were a plant, but an essentially upright structure with the arms and the back almost perpendicularly over the legs. This enables the chairs to be put together if need be, which is often more sociable, while at the same time the arms prevent overcrowding and elbowing.”

I really like his phrase “enormous comfort” and the bit about being more sociable (no elbowing). And, once again, the main thing I get from all this is the universality (and common sense) of form school feng shui suggestions.

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