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Podcast Episode 27: Building Your Brand With Good Office Design

Enlightened Practice Podcast

Building a successful business involves many aspects of your practice, including your office space. A productive work environment that is efficiently designed and aesthetically pleasing creates a positive atmosphere for clinicians and patients/clients. In this episode of the Enlightened Practice Podcast, Dr. Ken Braslow invites Carolyn Boldt, co-founder of design-build firm CrossFields, to discuss how to design an ideal office space and the benefits a great design may have for you and your patients/clients.

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Transcript of the podcast

Ken: So, welcome to the Enlightened Practice Podcast. I’m very excited to have Carolyn Boldt on with us today. Carolyn and her husband co-founded Cross Fields, which is a design-build firm in Atlanta. And they focus on helping clinicians think through their use of physical space, what we used to call the office back before the pandemic hit. And now that many of us are returning to the office, at least in some capacity, I thought it’d be a great time for us to sit down with Carolyn and think about what we could be doing with our spaces that maybe we hadn’t been doing before. It’s an opportunity to re-imagine our spaces, if you will. And then of course, thinking about for new graduates as they just graduated a couple of weeks ago and they’re now thinking about setting up their own private practice space and helping them along in that process. So, welcome to the show Carolyn. It’s great to have you here.

Carolyn: Thank you Ken. I appreciate it. Glad to be here.

Ken: Great. So tell our listeners a little bit about what it is that you do with clinicians, that adds high value to their practices and what the goal is of the services that you provide?

Carolyn: Well, the big picture goal of the services we provide is to help clinicians understand that their office environment, their brick and mortar space, has an impact on their success as a clinician. Understanding that there’s a psychology of the space for them and for their patients, so it helps to maintain and attract and retain patients. So that’s our big attraction, a big part of what we do.

Ken: You start talking about psychology of anything, and you get our listeners very excited. So maybe we can just dive right into that and we can think out loud about what is the psychology that clinicians even though many of us are therapists or psychologists, that doesn’t mean we have totally thought through the psychology of the painting on the wall, or the floral print design on the chair. And so what should we be thinking about in psychological terms about what the physical space conveys to patients or clients?

Carolyn: Well, let me give you a good example that always helps. You enter a retail establishment, and when you enter that retail establishment there are certain impressions that you take in typically with your eyes, but also with smells, also with sound, all of those things that you relate to, typically you relate to in your history of your past, but you relate to it and you form opinions about that practice, or about that retail space that we’re talking about immediately based on those past memories and impressions, and that create that psychology of that space. So there’s like psychology of color, there’s the psychology of lighting, there’s the psychology of shapes, and the different aspects and the details that we use and design. And all of those actually create different, I’m not a psychologist so I’m not going to talk intelligently about what it does, but it actually connects you to different emotions and different feelings. And so if you think about that, that’s very purposeful in a retail environment. That’s what the designers have purposely designed it so that when you walk into the space, you’re encouraged to buy, but you’re also connecting to that brand that you’re walking into. So that brand, if it’s done correctly, and that’s what we’re all talking about as being very intentional about it, that’s done correctly it actually matches. They match each other. It’s not mismatched. That’s a good example of psychology also I guess. It brings you that awareness that this space. Okay, let me just be real clear. 

Let’s say you walk into a Walmart, your space is going to be very intentionally designed to support the low cost leader. It’s got really bright lights, it’s got hard surfaces, it’s got a lot of detail, a lot of clutter, things that actually you think almost like you’re in a garage sale of sorts, you know what I’m saying, like you’re just getting a deal. That’s how you feel. That was very purposely designed to support the low cost leader. Now you turn over and you walk into a Giorgio Armani or a high end designer store, you’re going to have different colors, very muted colors, as opposed to the bright colors of Walmart just almost as opposite as you can get different variations of light to give a softening to the space instead of the harshness. So those things will actually attribute to what your expectations are when you go into that space that you’re not looking for the deal, you’re looking for the designer label, and whatever it is that you think you’re going to get from that. So it’s very purposeful. The same thing will relate to a restaurant. So think about different restaurants you’ve been to. Everyone has a favorite restaurant, or they have different restaurants, you know I’m in the mood for, and you think of a restaurant. And that restaurant space is supporting that mood that you’re looking for, whether it’s dark and cozy and intimate, or whether it’s bright and loud and lots of energy, it’s supporting what you want to gather into that space. So that’s what we’re talking to clinicians about. You’re not going to be at Walmart, you’re not going to be at Giorgio Armani, but you’re going to want your space to be a wonderful representation of who you are, and to attract that ideal patient.

Ken: It’s fascinating to think about how much thinking goes into our experience before we’ve even walked in the store and how we’re already impressionable at that first moment. So what do you think for patients and clients at that first moment? Well, actually, what is the first moment? Is it in the parking lot? Is it when they open the door? Is it the waiting room? Where do you define the journey as beginning in the physical space?

Carolyn: Well, it definitely is pulling into the parking lot. It’s just if you think about, what’s the word used in residential homes and things of that sort, is that curb appeal. You think about as you’re going to look at a home to potentially buy, you’re starting to evaluate the drive to that house and driving up to it, and what that whole neighborhood is like, or lack of neighborhood is like, etc. So yeah, it’s very important to think about that as much as you can. That being said, what can you do, once you get past that curb, is also very important.

Ken: Right. Okay. So whether people are driving or they’re taking mass transit, at some point there’s a front door. And the front door is presumably into a common area.

Carolyn: It can be.

Ken: Typically, right?

Carolyn:  Typically it is. 

Ken: Yeah. So maybe walk us through each physical step, what should you be thinking about for that front door, for the waiting room, or the common area? And granted you may not have much control over it.  

Carolyn: Well, and that’s another point, how much control do you have over it and what you can control, and making choices just like you would make a choice about where you’re going to practice based on what’s beside you, and what’s around you, and who you’re leasing from, or who you’re buying from, or whatever situation your practice is in. All of those parts are part of the consideration. And you have to weigh it out. You have to decide what’s going to be the most important thing. Your location could be more important at some point than the fact that the parking lot has some holes in it. Do you know what I’m saying? It’s a matter of your priorities. But once you have the space that you can control, the space that you can design, thinking about what is the ideal environment I want? And once you decide that, then there are certain elements, whether it’s lighting or color or design elements that will help support that environment.

Ken: I see. So, let’s say I’m working with families and kids, what should I be thinking about? Memories that pop into my mind are of the pediatricians office and all the games they have for infants and toddlers and how when teenagers walk in there, that is not very impressive to them.

Carolyn: Yeah. I think we talked about the concept of your ideal patient. And when you’re doing a practice that touches everyone in the family, you know from old down to young, think about want you want it to feel like. Most people want it to feel homey. I’m not going to say that that’s what everyone wants it to be. It depends on what kind of practice you have also. If you’re just really supporting marriages, what’s that going to do? What are you trying to get from a psychological standpoint? If you go to the other extreme and just say hey, you’re just going to work with kids, then you want that environment to support the kids wanting to be there. That’s why they have games. That’s what they have all of those things. But you’re right. If you just have that, and you’re trying to appeal to a gamut of ages, then you’re not going to appeal to the ones that you haven’t supported. So give me an example. Ask me some questions because there is not a one way to solve.

Ken: That’s right. Everybody has a different audience that they’re focusing on. Well, the bread and butter would be the adult individual client. And then we can build upon that. But they’re either coming to you for their weekly therapy session, or for a medication check, let’s say. Although, the first time they’re meeting you it’s for a new evaluation and they’re likely wanting to make sure you’re a good fit for them, and similarly, as the clinician we want to make sure they’re the right fit for our practice and what we can offer. So, what can you think of that might help that client or patient feel more at ease in the waiting room, and making that transition from the parking lot or the sidewalk, through the front door into the common area. And then we can open the office door.

Carolyn: And then you can open the officer door. So, let’s just talk about the waiting room. Okay, because even if you’re a sole practitioner, you probably have some waiting room in between patients for them to be in. So think about someone’s walking in, think about putting yourself in their shoes for a minute, and they’re walking in, they’re probably a little hesitant to do it, they’re cautious, they want to make sure they’re making the right decision, they have an expectation of what they’re wanting and needing, and so that first environment should represent who you are as a practitioner. Because you’re the product, right? And you as the as the therapist, and you as the doctor, or whoever you are, that person is going to evaluate you based on how you dress, how your hair is combed, how you show up emotionally, all of those things. So what can your environment do to support that? So let me go from one extreme to another. Okay, so let’s just say you’re someone who is very, what is the word I want to say, you’re very, very natural. Everything is very, very natural in who you are as a person. I don’t want to call you a hippie, but you’re a little bit on that side, right? So that’s what you’re going to appeal to, your patients are going to match up with that you’re that environment that you’re going to create with the rattan and the throw pillows, lots of greenery, etc. is going to be an expression of who you are. So those patients that come in as potential patients that come in can match up to that. 

Ken: I want to pause here, and really bookmark this thought that a lot of therapists or psychiatrists they don’t think of themselves as the product. They think of the therapy or the medication as the reason the person is coming to see you. And in a sense, sure that is why, but they devalue or they just simply don’t think of how meaningful it is that they are part of that therapy, they are part of that medication, and even though the psychiatrist doesn’t control the biochemistry of the pill itself, my experience has been that when I have a good connection with the patient that it seems like, I probably should study this more scientifically, but it seems like the medication works better. That’s not to say that it always works that way. But there is something about having that relationship, even if it’s medication, and especially if it’s therapy that is part of the treatment itself. And that it’s really important to think about one’s own brand, and what supports the brand assets if you will. And that’s the chair, that’s the couch, right, and the paintings. And many clinicians just think that that’s accessory, secondary. And yet, there’s a reason Walmart has spent probably millions of dollars studying what the ad experience is like when you walk in the door, right? They want to attract shoppers and have them be repeat shoppers. And for therapists, and psychiatrists, we often think, well, if we do good work, they’ll just come back until they feel better, and then they’ll refer their friends if their friends are in need. But it’s more than just the work itself. It’s the whole package that goes together. And that’s why I’m calling this out.

Carolyn: Well wait, when we talk about designing a space, we talk about it in terms of environment as opposed to just an office space. So just that word alone, environment, kind of opens you up to the whole experience within the space. So yes, your patients, especially when they’re just getting to know you, they’re really taking in all those experiences and does this match with them? Can I trust this person? You know, because that’s really what you’re doing is you need to develop trust that they trust you. And your patient, especially if they’re coming to get medication, it would be interesting to see the more they trust you probably the better the medicine works. I mean, it would be interesting because there is a psychology to it.

Ken: Yeah. Well, I didn’t even think into. Just sort of the linguistics of the word office, which has this implication to me of something that IBM would have for their executives would go into their office, it’s just kind of functional, but a desk, and a chair, and a bookcase, and that’s about it. More gray, black, and white, I guess. But not as colorful is what I mean. But by calling it in an environment and us thinking about this as literally the walkway from before the front door is open, to the front door being opened, to the waiting room, maybe with a side trip to the bathroom, that whole workflow has to be taken into account when you are just starting out, or if you’re looking to revitalize your space. All right, so now let’s say you’re opening the door to your office, what should you be thinking about as that patient walks in? Should your chair be in between the client and the door? Do you get down to that granular level?

Carolyn: Well, a lot of it has to do with how you practice and what your philosophy is with practicing, right? So let me use an example. This is a psychology, okay, you’re meeting with someone and you’re across a desk parallel, front on face to face with each other and you’re across a desk with each other, the person on the farthest away from the door side of the desk, or behind the desk, let’s call it, has a sense of authority. And the person on the other side, in this case let’s call it the patient, has an automated I’m going to call respect, or an automated expectation that this person is of authority and what they say is going to have some authority. That’s a psychology right there. Now, are you going to form a real in depth relationship with the person across the desk? Not until that person comes around and gets knee-to-knee, will that relationship change. It actually emotionally changes. There’s even been studies where you get 45 degree angle to each other and it creates a whole different environment with each other. Like when you’re expressing hey, this is what it’s going to run or I’m assuming that you guys having been through therapy in the past, it’s like this is how many sessions I think you’re going to need, and this is what it’s going to run, etc. especially if you’re paying cash, right? And how that’s expressed to me, has to be in a place of trust as opposed to just this authority place. Are you following what I’m saying? So even that kind of psychology comes into play, and like what you said, how do you position yourself? Are your patients on a sofa, are your patients in a chair, are your patients behind a counter, all of those things will create different environments for those people.

Ken: Let’s say there isn’t that big mahogany desk, but the patient or the client’s on a couch, or comfy chair and I’m on a chair, but there’s a small coffee table in between us. Does that give the patient or the client a sense of a little bit of defined space and so that feels a little bit more comfortable for them? Or does that look like a barrier? And that they can’t fully connect with you? Do you have a take on that?

Carolyn: That’s really interesting. The coffee table, because the sense that it’s low and most of them are below waist level of sorts, it doesn’t create a barrier. It actually creates community because you want to lean in a little bit to each other. It’s kind of interesting. The other psychology would be whether it’s square, whether it’s round, and some of those types of things. A round table creates even more sense of community than the square table, if it’s possible. So no, it’s the barrier above your waist that starts to create, especially the depth of a desk that creates a barrier. There’s other psychologies. I mean you talk about height, there’s a psychology if you walk into a room and there was a reception desk, let’s say you’ve got a clinic that has multiple doctors, and there’s a reception desk. If that reception desk is 36 inches or higher, it creates a stand up community, okay, but it’s still a barrier. So I’m not going to walk behind that desk, I’m not going to look what’s on that desk, but I’m still in my psychological space is connected, my personal space can still be connected. You know how people have a personal space. And different cultures have different depths to that personal space. But when that desktop, and if it’s at 42 inches, I can stand up and I can write and I can do things. But when that goes up to 48 inches, it automatically creates a barrier. And you can still see over it. But it just creates a sense of it’s just a barrier. It closes you off from the person behind it. So, it’s an interesting phenomenon.

Ken: Yeah, it makes me think of being at the bank, back in the days when people would go into the bank. They didn’t want you getting too close.

Carolyn: Exactly. It’s tall, you know, especially the sidewalls. They’re really tall. You don’t even really see over those. So yeah, and in another lifetime I designed to banks, you’re exactly right. And that’s very purposeful to give you that sense of you wouldn’t dare go on the other side of that teller counter, for sure.

Ken: Stay away from the money. 

Carolyn: Exactly. So it’s those psychologies that you can play into and we’re just talking about, you know, physical furniture and barriers and things of that sort, lighting does a similar thing.

Ken: Let’s talk about candle lighting versus lamps, versus the old school, what were those fluorescent…

Carolyn: The lay and light fixtures, fluorescent light fixtures, now they’re port LED. So if you think of an office again, like you were saying the IBM office space, it wants to have a general wash of light across the entire workspace. Well, that does not create any intimacy at all. Everything is common. And the brighter the light, the more energy the space will have, the louder people will be in it. The lower the light level, the quieter people will be in it. So, if you’re going to create a sense of intimacy and community, things that vary the light level, candle lights can vary the light level from space to space, the way that they’re typically spaced. You said lamps, lamps create a real coziness because it’s just light in certain areas so it’s very focused light where the rest of the space is quieter. So yeah, lighting is huge.

Ken: What’s your take on LED light bulb versus more traditional ones? You know, the ones that have the warmer yellow light, not affecting the environment.

Carolyn: You’re talking about an incandescent yellow light fixture. Yeah, you can’t really even buy them anymore, very seldom. There’s different colors of light though, because that’s what you’re really talking about. Incandescent light is what we call a really warm light. There’s actually what they call Kelvin, the Kelvins of the light are actually the color temperature is measured in a thing called Kelvin. So the temperature when it’s warm goes into like the 2020s. So 2000s, like 2800, 2700 is an incandescent light, and it creates a really warm yellow light. And it’s going to be interesting as our children grow up, but that is what my age and around my age grew up with. So that’s what we expected. In the office, they started putting fluorescent bulbs because they were more energy efficient. And your first fluorescent bulbs, those light levels were around 4400. So they were very green light, you know what I’m saying, they were colder, they weren’t yellow, but they went to the blue and the green color. And that created a whole different feeling in the space. It was the overall wash. But what’s fascinating about LED, there’s bulbs that you can just dial them, what do you want, so you can have warm light at some point of your life in the day, and you can have cool light at another point. Another psychology though, would be to go all the way up to like 5000. And that gets close to daylight. And so there’s a whole different energy that’s created when you’re in daylight, you know, you’re lighter, you’re brighter, you have more energy, and I mean you guys should know about the whole thing that happens to people when they’re in a northern state that they don’t get enough sunlight, that they don’t get enough of bright light and they get depressed. So it’s an interesting phenomenon. 

Ken: It’s fascinating. Okay, let’s talk a little bit about textures, and the use of materials in the space. First comes to mind for me is, is it going to be a leather sofa, or fabric, but then also, should it be wood floors, or carpeted? I’m sure there’s many permutations of all of these when you think about what goes on the walls, but I’m curious to get your take on what clinicians should be thinking about when they think about the physical materials.

Carolyn: We use physical materials to further create the psychology of the space that we’re trying to create based on what the clinician wants. If you don’t mind, tell me what kind of environment you’d like your patients to have, and then I’ll tell you the type of textures to use for that.

Ken: I would want them to think that my practice is modern. I use the most evidence based treatments, but that it is not stuffy, by a sense that kids can come in and we can be playful. Though it is a little different doing play therapy. I would say most therapists do not end up on the floor with their patients. But when you see kids, you do. So that is a particular challenge when you see kids in the afternoon, but you might see adults during the day or in the evening, you go back and forth. But in general, I want the atmosphere to be relaxed, and we can do good work, and we can have a warm relationship. Is that enough or do you need more?

Carolyn: Yes. So do you meet with your patients, how do you like to talk with them? Do you like to be across a desk from them, or do you like to be knee-to-knee with them? I just heard that you’re on the floor with the kids. Tell me about the adults.

Ken: Starting from the teenagers up, I have a chair, and they’re typically sitting on a sofa. And there is not a desk of any sort. I actually have built into my wall kind of a wood beam that serves as a desk. But it’s behind me. And I’m never sitting there when a patient or client is in the office, so I’m facing them. And it’s a smaller space so there isn’t a coffee table. The other reason is that for kids, I couldn’t get down and play, you know, army men with them if there was a coffee table in the middle of the space. But in other settings, I’ve had a coffee table there, and there’s good natural light coming in.

Carolyn: There’s good natural light. Okay. So, one of the things that I’m imagining that you do is when you’re down on the floor with your kids, I don’t know if you do this or not, but you can raise the light level a little bit. It creates a little bit more energy for the children, keeps that kind of connectivity flowing. I’m assuming you’re sitting on the floor, so something comfortable and soft for them to sit on, like a rug, or maybe you have a specific rug you roll out just for the kids that’s more colorful and playful versus not. So, you’re thinking the same things, and then because you have children you want to make sure your environment is very, when I say kid friendly, understand that it’s cleanable, it’s not sharp edges, you wouldn’t be upset if they got dirty hands and dirty fingers on things or any of that type of stuff. 

Ken: I had many a sofa cushion meet its match with a highly energetic child.

Carolyn: Exactly. So, that would be a good opportunity to have that leather sofa. Because it’s going to be cleanable, at long as they don’t scratch it. I mean they could scratch it. But you understand, something that’s cleanable, and warm, and rich feeling for your adult patients, but cleanable for your children, could be an opportunity. And then you can add something softer for your adult patients when they’re sitting on it, pillows, or something to make that happen. And then the colors of the space are going to represent. If you want something modern, you’re not going to have dark mahogany floors. If you want the feeling of modern, you’re not going to have your heavy traditional wood paneling in your office, right? You’re going to try to keep it lighter and brighter, and cleaner lines and things when you’re choosing your furniture and stuff. And that gives this feeling of you’re more modern. On the same side, if you wanted somebody to feel like – I’m going to use this example of somebody coming out of school and they want to build authority, they may need to be a little bit more traditional in their environment just to give that sense of “I can trust this person.” I’m not saying it’s an absolute, I’m saying it’s just an idea based on what the goal would be. 

Ken: Interesting. Now, let’s think about a group practice for a clinic. What special considerations do they have that that individual practitioner or clinician doesn’t have to think too hard about? 

Carolyn: Well, obviously in a group you need enough room to be able to have a group, right? And of course it depends on the size of the group on how big that needs to be. But you would typically be in a circle, and that creates community, do you know what I’m saying? Whenever you have a group because that’s something you guys do anyway. So that is what you’re doing, you’re creating that sense of community. And obviously in a group there’s other psychologies like how large the group is, how long people communicate, etc. But how big the space is for the most part, how flexible the space might be also. If you have a larger group sometimes and you break in the smaller ones, I don’t know if you do that, but thinking about how you practice through that process. Easily moveable chairs, you know?

Ken: Yes. 

Carolyn: That are not too moveable so people aren’t sliding all over the place. So when the chairs are moved it doesn’t destroy the floor and the carpet or whatever. Carpet is much quieter. Hard surfaces are easily cleanable, but they’re very loud. So you don’t really want that with a group. You don’t want that space to get too loud and too uncomfortable loud. 

Ken: Right. Yes. And while you’re saying that, some piece of advice I was given earlier on I think is worth repeating, which is when you’re looking for office spaces, always go flush the toilet down the hall because you think you’re just looking at your own office, but you never know how loud sounds are upstairs or down the hall. 

Carolyn: Definitely. 

Ken: What about for clinicians who specialize in seeing couples? What kind of considerations would you recommend for them? 

Carolyn: I guess it really depends on how you want this couple to show up. I probably would say you need a variety of places for them to sit, because if they’re really mad at each other they’re not going to want to sit on the sofa next to each other. 

Ken: The forced agony in the office where they have to be right next to each other. Yeah, I would imagine a love-seat is not your optimal seating for them. 

Carolyn: Yeah, something that’s available for the two of them, just something that’s comfortable. We talk about traditional sofa, I think of a traditional psychiatry office would have its sofa with the chair across from it etc, similar to what you’re talking about, because that creates a comfort for the people. And they need to be very comfortable so that they’re not distracted from what you’re trying to get them to communicate and draw out of them as you’re talking to them and stuff. So, I think that would be why a lot of times they’re comfortable. And even in a group setting the chairs should be comfortable. You don’t want people to sit forever on a fold-up metal chair. That starts to become distracting. And anything like that, that distracts them just like you’re talking about the toilet flushing. That’s distracting. So, something that distracts and breaks the flow would be something that you want to avoid. 

Ken: What about for a community clinic or a privately run clinic where there’s maybe just individual therapy sessions going on or med-checks, but there’s ten or twenty, or thirty clinicians, what do they need to be thinking about as they’re looking for a space? It’s a totally different kind of thought process I would imagine compared to just a mom and pop solo practitioner. 

Carolyn: Well, the way we go about any doctor, we work with multi doctor practices, we go through a “What all do you need space wise” first just to really get clear with that. So, how many doctors need offices? What are we doing in the offices? Do we need a variety of offices or rooms for therapy rooms, etc? Do the rooms need to be multipurpose rooms? So, those are the kind of questions that a design firm would ask. Architecture firm would ask one, what are we trying to do in each room? Because there’s not a size fits all for every clinician. Everyone has a little bit of a different need. So, you can do more rooms and smaller rooms if it’s just two people in the room, but if you need that room to become a group room later down the line, I think it’s just the size of the rooms, determining the square footage and how it can be used. And then, I talk about multipurpose but you can have, this room is just for that type of therapy and this other rooms is just for group sessions, and this is the kids’ room. That’s another way that you could function as a practice. 

Ken: Lots to think about then in the planning stage before you even buy your first item. You really want to have a sense of how you want to use the space and what function it will serve. That makes a lot of sense. 

Carolyn: It’s interesting because it depends on where you are in your career, but you rent a space, let’s just say there’s three doctors in the practice and you’ve got to find a space. A lot of times those spaces are built out and then you try to figure out how do I work in that space versus they find a space that’s not built out at all, and what do I design so that I work the most efficiently in the space. And there’s payoffs on each side because it’s going to be less expensive to move into a space that’s already built out. Even if you do new carpet and new paint, and new lighting, it’s still going to be less expensive than the one that you’re starting with or you’re building everything out. So, they just have to be taken into consideration what’s going to make the most sense. 

Ken: It’s always tradeoffs to think through.

Carolyn: It is. It’s always tradeoffs. We say that in every project the three biggest that you have to weigh the compromises or rate the compromises would be cost, scope of work, and time. So, if time is your highest priority, your cost is probably going to go up and your scope is probably going to go down, scope meaning the level that you want to design to. If the design is the highest priority, your cost is going to go up and your time is going to go up. So, you have to decide if those three things what’s the most important thing and what the other ones rank down from that.  

Ken: It seems cost always goes up, no matter what. 

Carolyn: I hate to speak this but, it does seem to be longer than you think it’s going to take, and cost more than you think it’s going to cost. 

Ken: Yes.

Carolyn: Until you’ve done it, and then once you’ve done it you have the reality of what it really is. It doesn’t seem long to us and it doesn’t seem costly to us because we do it every day. We know what truth is. So it’s just being educated on what reality is.

Ken: Right. That makes a lot of sense. Well, I’ve really enjoyed this conversation Carolyn. I feel like I learned and I actually now have some ideas for my office. 

Carolyn: You’ve got to send me pictures of your office and we’ll talk about it.

Ken: Right. Before and after. And I would encourage our listeners, if it’s okay with you Carolyn, if they have any questions we can get them in touch with you? 

Carolyn: Yes.

Ken: And maybe we’ll put a little bit of info on our webpage where we have the sound podcast featured so that way they can contact you.

Carolyn: Okay.

Ken: And curious to see if anybody out there is wanting to send in before and after photos as a result of this conversation, or what you’re thinking about as a result of this conversation. And maybe we can revisit someday what those before and after look like.

Carolyn: Yes, that will be fun. I did create a unique landing page for your listeners and I have on there a link to a free resource. We call it our Five Point Designer Checklist. And it literally is a checklist of what the first five things we would look at when we’re looking at improving a space. It’s things like look and see how cluttered it is. It’s amazing psychologically how we collect stuff. We suggest you have another person walk through the space and be honest with you.

Ken: I wonder how well one judges one’s own clutter.

Carolyn: Exactly. Look at the lighting, look are things dates, are things ripped up. I mean, how professional are you if you have a ripped up suit? Think of your office like the way you dress. I shouldn’t say that because ripped jeans can be really cool, but you understand what I’m saying. What statement are you trying to make.  

Ken: That’s right. Well, Carolyn thanks so much for your time. I really appreciate it. 

Carolyn: You’re welcome. Thank you. 

Ken: I’ve learned a lot here. So thanks for coming on with your expertise.

Carolyn: Thank you for inviting me. Hope your listeners got a lot out of it. 

Ken: I’m sure they did. Thank you so much. Take care.

Carolyn: You’re welcome.


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