Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Size matters

This short (6:42) video discusses micro-apartments or "apodments," which are small, studio apartments that have been decked out to be sleek and efficient.

I'm excited to see design respond to the changing needs of people. The cost of living is so high in some cities, it's like the arteries have become clogged for bringing in young professionals and keeping recent graduates: the city's future.

Besides the economic reasons, there's the sociological question of what it means for us to want or need our individual spaces so much that we will forego spaciousness for solitude. Has it become that hard to find a decent roommate or a best friend to join in the adventure of moving to a big city?

Design reflects our psychology. In turn, design influences our behaviors. I hope that the apodments will create space for us to be ourselves while still allowing connection with others; I wonder what kind of communal areas (and activities) will be embedded in this sort of architecture.

Do you live in a small space and wonder what you could do to make it wonderful? My own experience living in a 200 square foot studio apartment taught me how to design, decorate, and thrive in a small home, and I can do the same for you.

Contact me for a free consultation regarding your home design!

Invite Beauty,


Friday, October 18, 2013

Reframing the childhood experience

In the above photo (if you email subscribed, you might have to click the blog post title in order to see the pics I'm sharing; apparently, embedded Instagram pics only show up on the blog, not in emailed posts), you can see four works of art from my childhood. I did these between first and second grade.

I remember being a little upset that the art educator's assistant folded the tail of my cat print (bottom left corner) so that it would fit the paper we were printing on. I remember his expression, too, it was like, Okay, we're going to do this, don't lose your mind, and...there you go, done! Off you go...please don't have a meltdown...good...I'm going to back away slowly...

The art educator, by the way, was the one I quoted in my bio on Ivan Chan Studio.

Anyway, for those of you who are making art and wondering if your art is good enough or important enough, let me stop those gears from turning and tell you with a definite answer:


The making of art is by far more important than the art itself, and we all have a right to make art, and to do it without criticism, invalidation, shame, or other nastiness from others--and ourselves.

It is good enough that you make art, however you make it.

Is it important? You bet it is.

It's important that you do it, and it's important that it's in the world, and it's importance is solely decided by whether it's important to you. If you wait for someone else to find your art "important" or "good enough," you're just waiting for approval, and for that, I suggest you buy yourself some gold stickers and a leash, and hand them out to strangers, because you're giving away your power, self-acceptance, and self-respect to someone else to handle for you.

So where does the (re)framing part come in?

Frames can designate that something is special and worth your attention. If you bother to frame something, it says that you think what's being framed is important; beautiful, even.

If you have art from your childhood, or from now, do yourself a favor and frame it (or, if it's pottery, sculpture, etc., put it somewhere important, like a personal altar or a place that shows it off).

Notice how you feel, how it makes the art feel to you, and what it does for your space. A frame and a place of prominence can add dignity to your experience of the art, and yourself for making the art.

I would love to see your pictures of your own framed art or where you've placed something beautiful you've created. Please feel free to join me on Instagram, Pinterest (check out my board, Rooms with Visual Art, for tips on hanging art), or Facebook, and you can also add a link to your pics in the comments section below to share with me and others.

Invite Beauty,


Sunday, October 06, 2013

Looking at the finger and missing the moon, Part 2

I said WHAT movie?! But then, Barbra's nails? That's self-care.
(Image from YouTube)

Yeah, the movie that made me want to be a psychotherapist was Prince of Tides, and after I confessed it, I followed with, "because did you see her office? Beautiful!"

Right. So I was talking about the interior design of the therapist character's office (which is technically "set decoration," and done by Caryl HellerArthur Howe, Jr, and Leslie A. Pope). Remember this pic of the room in a previous post?

I wish there were more screen caps on the Internet I could show you of this office--go rent the movie if you want to see it.
(Image from
I'm not sure if somewhere in some primitive part of my brain I was like, "Must be psychotherapist to have nice office." However, the more evolved part of my brain didn't direct me to go the route of an interior designer immediately, either. I knew I needed to understand people and connect with them better first before I should be allowed to design the spaces in which they lived and worked.

If you don't understand the process of change and how people initiate and resist it, or how the environment plays a massive role in each person's identity, I'm not sure how you could be a good or great designer. I think bad design (and bad psychotherapy) begins with not understanding and accepting people as they are, and trying to make them as you would like them to be.

From The Sopranos. I bet the use of a glass coffee table is to provide both an useful surface as well as something that isn't a (visually) solid obstacle between the psychiatrist and the patient.
(Image from HBO)

So this brings us up to speed. As I wrote in the beginning, I love psychotherapy, and I'm not about to give it up. I also love art and I know, there's been a dearth of it here while I focused on my realized passion for interior design.

The recent overhaul of my blog has been to reflect this self-understanding, to clarify things for myself and for people who appreciate what I do in the world.

Alas, that lovely office I've been dreaming of won't happen until I'm licensed and can rent my own space. (I won't be a fully Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist until some time next year due to the glacial pace the Board of Behavioral Sciences is taking to approve submitted internship hours).

From In Treatment. I think this is an awkward setup (note his beverage on the floor and the distance of the tissue box, not to mention the floaty, unanchored feeling of the therapy space in the room), which I don't think is unintentional; it's a set, after all.
(Image from

In the meantime, I was hired to design the offices of a couple of local psychotherapists. I'll share those pics when things are a little more settled, and reflect on the process of collaborative design, where even when the result isn't what I want, it's what the client wants. And I'm okay with that.

From In Treatment. I love the warmth of this office, and the masculinity of the furniture. What the hell is up with the mug on the floor again? Dude needs a side table.
(Image from

Hey, connect with me here and on other social media (there are abundant links everywhere!) if you'd like to share a picture and talk about some design changes you'd like to make. I'd be happy to look things over with you and if you'd like to hire me, we can talk about that, too.

I've got the eyes of an artist, mind of a designer, and heart of a therapist. You can't lose.

Invite Beauty,


Thursday, October 03, 2013

Looking at the finger and missing the moon, Part 1

From Ordinary People. I think this is the origin of the crappy couch and passionate psychotherapist with poor self-care.
(Thanks to Ferdy on Films for the image)
Let's get one thing straight. I enjoy psychotherapy, both as the therapist and the customer (yes, I know people who use psychotherapy tend to be called "clients," but I think "customer" is far more accurate; if you disagree or would like to know why, please leave a comment and we'll talk).

When I was first considering the field, I talked with some friends of mine who were practicing psychotherapists and asked what inspired them to enter the profession. Specifically, I said, "Okay, tell me which movie it was--I know it was a movie and it left an impression on you, so which one was it?"

I admit, it was a little presumptuous (I hadn't been trained yet, what can I say?), but I got answers from people about the movies that inspired them. Ordinary People was a popular choice, followed by Good Will Hunting.

Good Will Hunting. Shit's about to get real. And another psychotherapist with poor self-care. Just sayin'.
(Image from A.V. Club)
Sure, some people talked about being influenced by their own therapists, high school counselors, Yoda, and just plain caring people who wanted to listen and provide a bit of guidance when needed.

However, I found that film--the myths of our modern world--had quite an impact on people's ability to imagine themselves into a career. It doesn't matter that the depictions were overly dramatic and for psychotherapists, usually involved unethical behavior.

The famous, It's Not Your Fault scene from Good Will Hunting
(Image from A.V. Club)
So when a friend asked me in return which movie influenced me to pursue psychotherapy (alongside my career as an artist), I said, Prince of Tides.

Next up on Sunday: WTH? Prince of Tides, really? Stay tuned for Part 2 of Looking at the Finger and Missing the Moon!

Invite Beauty,