Designer Spotlight: Anita Yokota | Fireclay Tile

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Designer Spotlights

Designer Spotlight: Anita Yokota

By Kali

Designer Spotlight: Anita Yokota

Anita Yokota believes homes are more than living spaces. As a practicing therapist for 15 years, Anita spent her career helping others with psychology. Today she uses design to help her clients but the principles of mental health are still the hallmark of her work. We sat down with Anita this Asian and Pacific American Heritage Month to discuss her attitudes on design and her experiences in the industry and country as an Asian American.


Tile Shown: 2x8 Tile in Dust Storm.

Meet Anita!


Can you tell me a little about yourself? How did you make the journey from a therapist to an interior designer?
After over 15 years of a successful therapy career, I gave it all up to follow my true passion...design! After so many years of being a therapist, I was feeling emotionally and physically burnt out, but I still wanted to help people...it’s what I love to do.

Whether you're starting your day or calling it one, feel instantly at ease in this bathroom created by designer and licensed therapist Anita Yokota. Vertical 3x9 Ceramic Tile in organic Rosemary calms the senses as it catches the eye in this stunning at-home sanctuary.

Tile Shown: 3x9 in Rosemary

Growing up in a household of an architect and a real estate broker, I sort of naturally fell into design - it was always something that I gravitated towards and enjoyed doing. I love empowering people to think meaningfully about their homes, to really understand their homes as the foundation of a happy and successful life.

Tile Shown: Handpainted Tile Sanxenxo in Custom Motif.

My background as a therapist informs all my interior design projects because, after all, these are the homes that we really have to actually live in! My designs emphasize wellness from the inside out, creating thoughtful spaces that empower my clients to live their best lives.

Tile Shown: 3x9 Tile, Mosaic 2x2, Star and Cross, mini star and cross in Cardamom.

Whether you're starting your day or calling it one, feel instantly at ease in this bathroom created by designer and licensed therapist Anita Yokota. Vertical 3x9 Ceramic Tile in organic Rosemary calms the senses as it catches the eye in this stunning at-home sanctuary.

Tile Shown: 3x9 in Rosemary

Are you still a practicing therapist? How do you feel that being a therapist has affected your design process?
No, I’m not a practicing therapist, but I am fully licensed and commit myself to continue my education. Being a therapist has 100% affected my design process because it informs my interior design. I use the psychology of intention to design functional homes where we can deeply connect.

Tile Shown: Verticle 2x8 Tile in Dust Storm.

You recently shared a powerful piece about being an Asian American amidst the attacks on the AAPI community. What made you decide to share your story?
For me, it wasn’t even a choice to share, I knew in my heart that I had to share my voice and my story to do my part. I want to continually increase understanding and awareness of what we, in the AAPI community, go through. It was too important to not say anything.

Tile Shown: Handpainted Tile Sanxenxo in Custom Motif.

You said that you had to find your voice again when you became a designer, how do you feel that your heritage is reflected in your design style?
As a creative and a designer, it feels really invigorating and exciting to incorporate elements that reflect my heritage. For example, I used Fireclay's Sakura Collection in the Japandi kitchen remodel. The Sakura Collection is inspired by Japan's stunning landscape and beautiful woodblock prints, so it was fun to reflect my heritage in a modern way.

Tile Shown: Summit in Neutral Motif

I love putting a spin on tradition and giving a nod through design. It’s important to recognize who I am holistically, as a designer and a person. These tiles also helped my clients reflect on their own heritage as Japanese Americans, they were really drawn to the aesthetic so it was the perfect fit!

Tile Shown: Summit in Neutral Motif

Do you feel that the design industry has become a more inclusive community since you first became a designer? How do you feel it could become more inclusive?
I definitely see efforts being made, but, at the same time, I do still think there’s a long way to go as far as diversity and inclusivity in the industry. I think it’s important for the design industry to understand just how crucial it is to continue to support and amplify the voices of all groups of people of color; to not give up on that mission. In my article, I encouraged everyone to educate themselves about how Asian Americans have contributed to the success of this country. It’s so crucial to connect the historical dots - we're all Americans, regardless of race or background.

Tile Shown: Handpainted Tile Sanxenxo in Custom Motif.

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Month! How can people best support and elevate the voices of the AAPI community? Are there helpful resources that you wouldn't mind sharing?
I think I just want to reiterate the importance of reaching out to the people who you personally know, who you’re friends or colleagues with, and don't give up - offer support in whatever way that person might need. I think it’s also important to find different avenues to provide support and to speak out - it doesn’t have to be on social media, even though that’s one powerful avenue to take. You could volunteer, find organizations that support AAPI and contribute in whatever way you can. When you see microaggressions or discriminatory acts happening in everyday life - at the grocery store, the mall, the gas station - please speak up, in a safe manner, and support us. Your voice is important and there’s strength when we join together.

You can read more about Anita and how to be an American Asian Ally on her blog. You'll find helpful resources and ways to support the AAPI Community there too.

If you love her tile style, you can also shop Anita's sample pack--she chose these colors because of their calming effects and timeless appeal.

Anita Yokota Sample Pack

Each pack includes 2x4 ceramic tile samples in Dust Storm, Cardamom, French Linen, White Wash, Daisy, Gypsum, Rosemary, Flagstone.

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