Eclectic Whimsy in California

FP fans, meet Barbara Pannoni, a therapist Saratoga, CA!

1) HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE STYLE OF YOUR THERAPY OFFICE?

My therapy office is eclectic, warm and comfortable, having elements of old and new, meaningful symbolic art, a touch of whimsy and soft finishes like furry blankets and pillows.

Clients have remarked on the warmth and beauty of my office and that the design is very “me.” I consider it a labor of love.

2) WHAT VIBE DO YOU HOPE YOUR OFFICE GIVES YOUR THERAPY CLIENTS?

I have always felt that providing therapy is an honor and I hope my office conveys that to my clients. I want people to walk into my office and feel warmly welcome and aware that this is a place where something extraordinary can happen.

I hope they find it comfortable, beautiful and above all a worthy container for the journey we’ll embark on together.

3) DO YOU HAVE ANY CREATURE COMFORTS IN YOUR OFFICE FOR CLIENTS?

We offer filtered water, coffee and tea in our suite along with 2 en-suite bathrooms. We use sound machines in our waiting room and have reading materials that focus on the beauty of nature, history, photography and art.

In my office, I have several luxuriously soft blankets and pillows that clients can cuddle up with. I love to see clients “petting” the blankets as they would pet a cat.

I have both a couch and a recliner available so clients can choose the type of seating they prefer as well as the distance from me that feels most comfortable to them.

The faux fireplace made from a vintage mantel pulled from a San Francisco home adds to the feeling of warmth and coziness.

4) WHO DESIGNED AND DECORATED YOUR THERAPY OFFICE? DID YOU GET HELP FROM PROFESSIONALS, COLLEAGUES, FRIENDS, OR FAMILY?

We (Barbara Pannoni & Kathleen Russ) began daydreaming about the ideal therapy office in early 2017. We longed for a space that would reflect the importance we place on our clinical work, and envisioned high ceilings, hardwood floors and beautiful windows.

After several months of searching we found our office in May 2017 and began the work of manifesting our dream.

We worked closely with our property manager, owner and their architect to design and build out a therapy space to our specification. Kathleen is a wonderful artist with a great eye and Barbara studied interior design prior to graduate school, so we worked together to design and furnish our individual offices and the common areas.

Barbara’s husband, Chang, is a licensed general contractor who provided lots of consultation and help with our set up. There was a lot of trial and error with furniture placement, finishes, etc. The entire process took about 9 months from beginning the search to seeing clients in our new space.

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?

Some thoughts:

  • Create your vision: Collect images, build your wish list and get clear on your priorities.
  • Save your pennies! Get to know local resale shops, discount home stores, online marketplaces like Craigslist and Nextdoor, etc. Some online discount retailers offer an additional business discount (Wayfair, AllModern, etc.).
  • Start with a piece you love and use it as inspiration. Building up from a rug works well. Rugs can provide a color palette and be works of art in their own right. They have the added benefit of increasing sound-conditioning and warmth.
  • Invest in classic, comfortable, durable furniture of similar scale that you can refresh with different accessories over time.
  • View the room from the clients seat and see through their eyes. That lamp might look pretty but make sure it’s not blinding your client.
  • Hang your art a little lower than you think you should—it has a grounding effect and invites clients to sit down and stay.

Barbara Pannoni is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist (LMFT) in Saratoga, CA…

Learn more about her work at:
www.barbarapannonimft.com