FP fans, meet Sarah Suzuki, a therapist in Chicago, IL!
1) HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE STYLE OF YOUR THERAPY OFFICE?
I would describe our office as bright, spacious, and contemporary. Each client can choose among three different chairs throughout the large office (as well as the couch, of course!).
Client comfort is very important to our practice. The office provides ample space to change where and how we sit while we are in-session, which gives my associates flexibility to do things like role-plays and meditation.
Our office is right in the heart of downtown Chicago – right in the Landmark District of Jeweler’s Row. The building itself is the former Marshall Field & Company Men’s Store. It was built in 1914 as an annex to Daniel Burnham’s building across the street.
One bonus of the building design is we that have 6 elevators! This would have been the right number of elevators for a retail store. For an office building, it is officially “over-elevatored.” This means that we never have to wait long to catch a ride!
Because our office is on the top floor of a 20-story high-rise, we get lots of light, city views, and minimal noise pollution. The space naturally invites calm contemplation. Clients love being able to look out the window and see the Chicago skyline.
2) WHAT VIBE DO YOU HOPE YOUR OFFICE GIVES YOUR THERAPY CLIENTS?
I hope our office gives a vibe of VIP-level comfort – like a breath of fresh air above the chaos of downtown Chicago.
My design vision was to incorporate the history of our city with a sense of flow. This is why my designer helped me choose mid-century modern finishes: it’s a nod to Chicago architecture that also provides clean, clear lines.
Our clients are high-powered professionals who value having space to pause and unwind in the middle of a busy day.
3) DO YOU HAVE ANY CREATURE COMFORTS IN YOUR OFFICE FOR CLIENTS?
We play music in the waiting area, where clients can help themselves to a coffee and tea service. The walls are insulated and sound-proofed, as well as the doors, which have sweepers at the bottom to sound-proof the waiting area from the office. Clients ring a doorbell when they arrive.
I love keeping the interior office stocked with mints, ginger candies, and lemon drops from nuts.com. Clients enjoy being able to settle in and feel well taken care of when they meet with our clinicians.
I keep our kitchenette full of refreshing snacks for my associates, with little things like hot tea, coffee, seltzer water, Clif bars, chocolate, nuts, and Annie’s gummy bunnies. Taking good care of my associates helps them operate at their very best.
4) WHO DESIGNED AND DECORATED YOUR THERAPY OFFICE? DID YOU GET HELP FROM PROFESSIONALS, COLLEAGUES, FRIENDS, OR FAMILY?
I was so fortunate to receive comprehensive design consultation from Megan Shultz, who is good friend and colleague. Megan has an expert eye for design. She walked me through the entire process, from start to finish, and answered all of my questions with immediate solutions.
My brain lacks any design instinct or vision, so when I first reached out to Megan the only thing I was able to say was, “I need a contemporary space.”
I had no clue what would work for me in terms of color, furnishings, or finishes. Megan walked me through every step, starting with paint color.
Megan created 3 design options based on my budget for my first office, and then built out my current office based on our original iteration. For each item, Megan narrowed every choice down to one or two options, so I could simply say “yes,” or “no.” Whenever an item arrived, Megan walked me through placement and angling. She conducted several site visits throughout the process to ensure that the project was on track.
The creative plant design was customized by Stephen Hill, who is the Creative Director of Sprout Home in Chicago and Brooklyn. Stephen was wonderful! He worked well within my budget to propose several options that fit my needs.
After finalizing my decision, Sprout Home packaged everything up – complete with care instructions. The only thing I had to do was place the plants in their designated location. Stephen made himself personally available for all plant care questions and follow-up consultation after the purchase.
Megan and Stephen are truly my “A-Team” when it comes to interior design. I feel so good knowing I can count on them to develop my vision.
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?
Creative consultation is a godsend. It is so important to work with designers who take time to understand your personality, vision, and style of communication. Both Megan and Stephen were able to quickly ascertain my priorities and (very limited) design vocabulary.
They offered seamless consultation. This offered me time and energy to focus on developing my group practice instead of surfing the internet for options and visiting retailers.
Above all, Megan and Stephen took time to develop caring relationships with me. It is great being able to share the feeling of celebration with your designers once your office is complete!
Sarah Suzuki is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) & Certified Alcohol & Drug Abuse Counselor (CADC) in Chicago, IL…
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Sarah is accepting referrals in the Chicago area!
Sarah is accepting new clients in the Chicago area!