At Home With Celebrity Style Guru Carole Shashona
The feng shui expert has helped stars like Reese Witherspoon, Jake Gyllenhaal and Eva Longoria find harmony at home. Now, she gives us a look inside her welcoming waterfront residence in California.
Want to create a life of happiness, health and harmony? You can start by making your home a sanctuary. Just ask New York style guru and wellness designer, Carole Shashona, whose goal is to help clients create a sensory environment that is conducive to positive energy. Carole has worked with numerous celebrities, including Julie Chen, Susan Sarandon, Reese Witherspoon, Jake Gyllenhaal, Patrick Dempsey, Eva Longoria and Julie Christie. Read on to hear more about her gorgeous home, which features an original portrait from Andy Warhol.
Tell me more about your “Open Door” philosophy.
In Asian philosophy, the door is the gateway – often symbolized in red, a transition from outer world to inner sanctuary. Each door within your home symbolizes an area in your life opening to new opportunities, for example:
- The kitchen door: nurturing
- The bedroom door: passion and love
- The living room door: entertainment and friends
- The den/study door: enrichment, knowledge, hobbies
- The bathroom door: replenish, relax, restore, beautify
- The office door: work/creating
- The department store door: fantasy
Each area within your home has a defined purpose. I see doors as opportunities welcoming you to enrich your life with peace and harmony. When I work with my clients in what I call “Feng Shui for Modern Living,” I’ve taken the traditional approach and streamlined it into an easy, accessible method. I call this a “Life Over.” I feel that traditional Feng Shui is very complicated, and many clients seek a blend of the traditional with a modern twist. At times in my work with clients I’ve exclaimed, “It’s not about the couch! The couch does not go out the door. You do!” The “Power of Wellness” is my shortcut for today’s multi-tasking, chaotic world.
I believe when you open a door you’re setting your compass to new directions. To cultivate inner contentment, the duality of yin and yang is not about making a choice – i.e. work or passion – but about having both and receiving abundance in your life.
How do you figure out what needs to happen in a home?
I often examine the area of a home that needs to be energized to align with my client’s life purpose. Not only am I creating an inner balance within the space, I’m helping by using color, scent and texture to style the person.
I’ve had the opportunity to work with many clients – from Realtors to doctors and lawyers. In the arts, I was privileged to work with Ken Noland in his Studio for Creativity in Vermont, Andy Warhol in his studio and factory, and Hans Erni in his studio in Switzerland. I was fortunate to share my insights with past icons such as Aileen Mehle of Architectural Digest and Helen Gurley Brown of Cosmopolitan – people who have nurtured me and enriched my life as well. I also worked with Louise Hay, who helped to establish the Center For Living. Each personality shares a common thread: having passion and seeking contentment and harmonious living.
Your home is beautiful. What drew you to it?
My home represents comfort; each room fulfills a purpose. For example, love and passion: my bedroom. Friendship and relaxation: the living room. And the nurturing center is my kitchen. The views are amazing. Always changing and enchanting, like life and nature.
What’s your favorite room in the house?
My favorite room is my kitchen. It’s a wonderful area to be creative, nurturing, and to play in.
What are some of your favorite features in the room?
A wonderful window, an original Picasso plate and a bookcase. The window inspires me; the bookcase stimulates me; and the Picasso plate brings out the child in me.
How does this room make you feel at home?
The kitchen nurtures me, my family and friends. It’s a gathering place where it’s fun to hang out and where Tai Chi, my dog, hangs out with me!
What are some of your must-have essentials in your home?
Candles, flowers, color – anything that stimulates my senses.
What are your favorite colors, fabrics and shapes?
I love monochromatic color and I am a texture person. I love when silk combines with linen, rough stone and glass. I love mohair and lacquer. My favorite colors for relaxing are soft blues, greens and lavenders. Stimulating colors that I love are lacquer red, orange and shocking pink. To nurture me, I have the sand and earth tones. The shapes I love are circular; they represent harmony.
Where do you like to shop for home products?
I love antique stores and second hand shops, as well as small boutiques. I love to browse and mix periods – I find this juxtaposition interesting for interior design. I always love to put in something different as well as layering each room with lighting and texture.
You also sell candles and door guards for the home. What’s their inspiration?
My clients are my inspirations. Their challenges become my inspiration for creating products that will guide and enhance their processes. For example, my Purify spray removes the ancient sage stick. It’s a modern tool that one can carry to energize on the go, to create a calming moment. The Purify candle is perfect for home and office use, to help with meditations and mantras.
The Empower mist is also on the go usage for an instant uplift and recharge. The Empower candle is wonderful for meditation but will also help provide stimulation, creativity and passion in the bedroom.
The Door Guardians inspiration came from the Osaka Castle nightingale floors in Osaka, Japan. Each Door Guardian hanging outside the door whispers protection and privacy. My Black Diamond Evoke Beauty helps them keep focused with clear intention. As a result, I developed a system for mantras and meditations for on the go inner beauty, as well as for looking and feeling both stylish and beautiful. The black diamonds bring to each wearer both protection and wisdom.