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Interior Designer, Licensed Therapist & SoCal mama of three. Welcome to the blog!  I hope it brings you inspiration to create a life (and home) you really love.

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OMG, I Wrote a Book with Penguin Random House!

May 20, 2022

This blog post is BTS on how I developed the Home Therapy method and what you can expect from the first ever Home Therapy book. Oh, and I’ll share a little on what it was like to write a book too.

I wrote a book!

If I’m being honest, I can’t say that it has always been an aspiration of mine to write a book.

Sure, I had plenty of ideas I wanted to share with everyone, but honestly, I never thought I had the time. Between juggling parenthood and an interior design and construction business with Travis while keeping up with social media, I felt like I had enough jobs! Even if I wanted to start another endeavor, it just didn’t seem like there were enough minutes in a day.

But when one of the world’s largest publishing houses (yes, Penguin Random House!) offered me the opportunity to share my knowledge and passion to help people calm and de-stress at home, how could I say no? That’s when everything changed for me, just days before the pandemic started.

That’s right, this book has been in the works for two whole years! But that’s just the actual writing. The concepts that I discuss throughout the book stretch back all the way to my days as a therapist. This blog post is BTS on how I developed the Home Therapy method and what you can expect from the first ever Home Therapy book. Oh, and I’ll share a little on what it was like to write a book too. 😉

Anita in a red dress at her computer

There’s No Such Thing as Coincidence

I’ve always wondered if I wasted all those years of doing therapy with clients (and spent all that money on therapy for myself as well) only to go and pivot drastically in another direction. I spent so many years in school, training for a career I threw away to pursue a creative passion for interior design instead.

But as I finished typing the last word of my manuscript, I knew it was meant to be. The universe knew that I needed to accrue over 17 years of therapy experience, almost a decade of formal interior design, and a lifetime of informal interior design + DIY experience to fully develop what is now Home Therapy.

If I think all the way back, I started putting together my Home Therapy method a long time ago, when I was making house calls as a couples and family therapist. I began to notice that the problems we face in our day-to-day lives are often reflected back to us in our homes—if you know where to look. (My book will tell you!) The biggest pain points you face inside your house are usually indicative of the deeper problems that crowd your psyche and keep you feeling stagnant and unfulfilled.

Even as a licensed psychology intern doing home visits in various parts of Los Angeles, CA ranging from neighborhoods in Malibu and Beverly Hills to East Compton, some of my first questions were: how is your home environment? What is the room set up like? How is the natural light in there? How is the function set up? The furniture or work situation? I often asked how the organizational situation was, because it shed so much light on my client’s thought patterns.

Unbeknownst even to myself, I was already developing many of my Home Therapy methods back then with my therapy clients. I could see it, but I was still on the wrong side of the Home-Therapy equation. I anted more home and less therapy. By diving into the mess itself, I was able to solve real problems for people, getting them to look at their relationships and desires in the process. The doing made the work lighter and more fun for me—and more effective for my clients.

Teddy sitting by the door, ready to welcome you in!

My Book on the Home Therapy Method

Now, some 20-plus years later, and I am so proud to present my Home Therapy Method to you in its final format. This is so much more than a book! Filled with stunning images of real-life designs side-by-side with the real-life problems we solved, it explains how design can harness the power of therapy in this holistic, beautifully-photographed guide. I like to think of it more as a handbook to incorporating self-care and connection into all your living spaces.

Our surroundings are more than just a reflection of our personal style! The right lighting, furniture arrangement, and paint colors have a direct effect on our well-being. Whether you’re looking for better work/life balance or design solutions for your family, it’s so important to start by listening to what YOU want out of the space rather than trying to follow some tried-and-true formula.

There are so many tools jam packed into the book with clear examples of the techniques tailored to individual families—and plenty of room to make them your own, setting up your spaces to nurture your mind, body, and spirit. All you need is a willingness to experiment, but engaging with the process provides results across each of the domains!

Wait. Let me back up: Home Therapy focuses on the four “domains” that must be addressed in each home in order to improve your living experience:

  • The Individual Domain helps you get to know yourself, connect to your ultimate purpose, and discover what you need in each space.
  • The Organizational Domain walks you through decluttering each room and increasing its function so you can be your most efficient self.
  • The Communal Domain inspires you to form more authentic connections with others using good design layout and ideas for gathering.
  • The Renewal Domain is about self-care and creating the right energy for rejuvenation and recharging.

Feeling calm and confident when you step out the door starts in your home, with intentionally designed spaces. With Home Therapy, instead of basing decorating decisions on trends and fads, you’ll be able to create thoughtful, personalized interiors that support your authentic self.

Anita in a mask at an in-home photo shoot

It’s True: Writing A Book is like Having a Baby.

Keep in mind, I was writing this book during the height of the pandemic, which felt crazy at the time! Looking back, this was a good thing. I was given an opportunity to really observe everyone’s reaction to their home without the busyness, without any distraction. And it was extremely interesting to see how everyone reacted so differently.

Some people decided to dig right into a DIY project and fix things proactively, while others decided to eat and bake their way into oblivion and avoid their fears, and still others parted ways with their homes and travel (and sometimes partners). It was like watching life in action. Even though it felt slow, it was actually just that the time in our homes was totally uninterrupted.

Who’d have thunk that a pandemic would offer so many clear case studies to really hone in on my method? With plenty of material to work with, I was better able to identify the different pain points and connect them with common psychological experiences. I spent hours writing and thinking and then writing again.

But the pandemic also made things a lot harder, too. The biggest challenge was in capturing the photography—social distancing made it impossible to schedule a interior shoot, and there were lots of photo shoots in many different homes that needed to happen in order to bring these concepts to life!

Even my own clients had their reservations (with good reason!) for allowing their beloved designer back into their home. Especially with a photography crew in tow. Thankfully almost a year and a half later, things eased up, and I was able to get back into homes so we could take the stunning images that make this book so so special.

I am literally on my tippy toes with anticipation for you to grab the book and have you turn pages, immersed in the imagery. I’m even more excited about the pictures than the words I wrote! They are just THAT beautiful!!! I have to shout out an enormous thank you to Ally and Sara for their skills and eye in making all methods come alive.

Afterall, this book isn’t just a pretty coffee table book, it’s a self help book full of tools to help you feel calm and confident at home. That is my PROMISE to you!

Anita, smiling in her living room with her hands in her pockets

Are You Excited, Too? Time to Pre-Order!

The book doesn’t officially come out in December, but you can pre-order now. Just as any first-time parent—err, author would do, I am meticulously preparing for the arrival of the book by making sure you get exclusive access to sneak peaks, presale links, fun bonuses, and more!

It feels INCREDIBLE to finally share all the details with you! I can’t wait for you to read the book and explore the Home Therapy method in your home and share with me! It is going to be amazing.

Xo,

Anita

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