FP fans, reintroducing Julia Caruana, a therapist in Bethesda, MD!
Her original feature appeared on FP in February 2017: Rustic & Warm Home Office in Maryland.
Now, nearly a year later we’re re-featuring her practice and office updates!
(1) How would you describe the style of your therapy office?
I have tried to keep the style as similar as possible to the last time you saw my office, simple and rustic. The biggest change is that we are now a group practice and with that i saw it necessary to add an extra office and not only think of the clients’ comfort but also the therapists’ comfort.
The space is now composed by the waiting area which has direct access to the bathroom and the two offices. In order for the waiting area to have direct access to the bathroom we had to build a wall cutting part of the space from the initial office.
Still, I manage to keep it as similar as possible, especially the play area for those children that need predictability and consistency.
The new office is a smaller version of the initial office with a talk area, play area and an additional space provided for therapists with a small corner desk and office supplies.
(2) What vibe do you hope your office gives your therapy clients?
Comfort is personal but some things tend to put people at ease like being surrounded by the feeling of nature through the use of plants and wood furniture. I want clients and therapists to feel at ease in a space filled with natural materials, light and coordinated colors, snuggle friendly and relaxation ready space.
(3) Do you have any creature comforts in your office for your clients?
My latest addition to the office has been a space in the waiting area for children to be creative, draw pictures, write messages and feel free to make them part of the space through the use of the cork boards and blackboards.
(4) Who designed and decorated your therapy office? Did you get help from professionals, colleagues, friends or family?
This time around we hired a contractor, Oscar Sepulveda, that did a wonderful job opening up the spaces for easier access to the different areas.
In terms of decorating, we refreshed the old office and waiting area with the use of extra blankets and cushions to add warmth, color and texture. Every room is now a multi-functional space in order to meet everyone’s needs.
The waiting area now has a space for children to play, a space to sit and relax and a space to sit and work. I believe creating distinct zones within an open plan space can make one room feel like many, that was a nice discovery.
The other big discovery was learning about the 60/30/10 rule, which are the proportions to combine colors successfully. The way it works is you choose a dominant color and use it for 60% of the space, another secondary color for 30% of the space and one last color for the 10% of space left. You only need three colors!
In my case, green stays as the dominant one throughout the rooms along with white as the second one and depending on the room, the other color is blue, grey or rose pink.
(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?
I don’t believe in perfect spaces but in spaces that are a perfect reflection of the people that work there, and reflection of the work we do, in this case a very family oriented space.
In terms of advice for redesigning the office I would say listen to what clients need or ask for. For example, I was inspired to add a working station in the waiting area after seeing many moms and children with their laptops trying to get homework done.
I think no matter if you are starting out or are thinking of changing things around, having a space where everything looks the way you want it to, works the way you need it to and just generally makes you feel good-without costing me a fortune is key.
Julia Caruana is a Licensed Clinical Marriage & Family Therapist (LCMFT) in Bethesda, MD…
Her practices specializes in working with children of all ages including teenagers and young adults as well as families and adults.
Both Joanna Townsend and Wendy Velazco-Weiss, her new associates, have extensive training in play therapy and trauma and speak Spanish and English. Thanks to Joanna and Wendy, Bethesda Counseling Services is now open in the evenings and on the weekend hours.