FP fans, meet David Brown, a therapist in San Francisco, CA!
1) HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE STYLE OF YOUR THERAPY OFFICE?
Warm, inviting, symbolic, dreamy, analytical, spiritual, alchemical, and most of all comfortable.
2) WHAT VIBE DO YOU HOPE YOUR OFFICE GIVES YOUR THERAPY CLIENTS?
I hope the space gives a sense of safety and being held, ultimately encouraging the vibe the each person needs for more room for what needs to be expressed.
3) DO YOU HAVE ANY CREATURE COMFORTS IN YOUR OFFICE FOR CLIENTS?
The usual creature comforts are in place including a fully stocked tea bar with a wide assortment of teas and white noise throughout the suite for privacy.
I had to design the suite around narrow hallways and a lack of storage space. So, a sound system was installed in the ceiling of the common areas and white noise is played through the system. The sound system helped eliminate the clutter of white noise machines outside each office door and opened up the space a bit more.
Instead of paper cups, ceramic mugs are used for the tea service and a dishwasher was installed to handle the cleaning of the cups.
After using the facilities and washing their hands, clients choose either an electric dryer or individual cloth hand towels to dry their hands. So, there’s a bit of a spa feel to the suite.
I also like the fact that, in addition to some creature comforts, the suite generates very little waste.
In case someone needs additional warmth, I keep throws/blankets readily available in my office.
4) WHO DESIGNED AND DECORATED YOUR THERAPY OFFICE? DID YOU GET HELP FROM PROFESSIONALS, COLLEAGUES, FRIENDS, OR FAMILY?
The design of my office and suite was a collaborative effort between myself, a designer and the landlord.
From a previous career, I bring many years of experience and talent in designing commercial spaces. With that being said, I knew that I wanted another perspective from a design professional. So, I hired one.
The landlord was also very involved in the renovation of my suite. He wanted input in many areas of the design including paint colors and fixturing. The process was a lot of work and a bit challenging but definitely worth it. I’m thrilled with the space.
The elements and furnishings came from various sources. Most of the furniture came from West Elm, Crate and Barrel, CB2, Joybird, and Restoration Hardware.
The artwork came from Etsy and Art.com. The lighting came from West Elm, Rejuvenation, Homary, Crate and Barrel and HD Buttercup.
A local company was hired to supply and maintain most of the plants throughout the suite.
5) ANY ADVICE FOR THERAPISTS WHO ARE JUST STARTING OUT AND DESIGNING THEIR OFFICE FOR THE FIRST TIME, OR SEASONED THERAPISTS LOOKING TO REDESIGN THEIR OFFICES?
If you’re unsure of your ability to design the office that you really want, hire someone. Designing an office is a lot of work and is a process that takes time.
Brainstorm. Brainstorm alone. Brainstorm with others. If you hire someone, brainstorm ahead of time. As much as possible, the space needs to reflect you. So, start making lists of your qualities, traits, and interests.
Don’t be surprised if you come up with a design that really captures you but doesn’t look anything like you’ve imagined.
Also, keep in mind any ideas you have for a budget and other constraints (architectural, facilities, etc…). I made sure the water dispenser for tea (which provides very hot and very cold water) had it’s own power supply given the constraints of the power in the suite. Had I not done that, every time someone got a cup of water the lights would have dimmed and that would’ve been annoying.
On top of the process of designing and implementing the design, be prepared for items that arrive damaged or items that just don’t fit even though they worked out on paper. In a big renovation project, you’ll probably be returning or exchanging several items throughout the process.
David Brown is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) in San Francisco, CA…