DWELL WITH DIGNITY: CREATING A NEW HOME FOR A PRECIOUS HOMELESS FAMILY–IT TAKES A VILLAGE!

 

Some of you may have heard of the inspiring charity called Dwell With Dignity.   Established by Lisa Robison in 2009 and rapidly growing across the nation, this is an organization on a mission to help homeless families leave the shelter behind and re-enter into a home environment in a dignified, warm and meaningful way.  In doing so this sets the wheels in motion for a happier, more adjusted family, the motivation to remain in a home and confidence for a more promising future.  If you aren’t familiar with the organization please check them out here.

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Lisa Robison and Kim Turner, co-leaders of Dwell With Dignity

As a member of the Interior Design Society I was fortunate to have been involved with last year’s Dwell project as well which you can see here  if you’d like to take a peek. 

This year I was co-chair with my friend and fellow IDS board member and designer, Jody.  A hefty undertaking to say the least, one filled with a great many challenges, but a great many more blessings.

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One of the first things we did was establish and work with the design committee to select colors and the basic theme of the space.  Fortunately the resources at the Dwell warehouse afforded us the palette the team wanted to start with.

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Lots of fun, happy colors which is just what we wanted.

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  Since there were several of us who went to the High Point market together we got some of our art inspiration from pieces we saw there.  Like these crisp white frames….

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These simple painted baskets….

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And, this framed paper art.

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Once furnishings and color palette were established we began our workshop phase of re-working furniture, creating artwork from scratch, getting the sofa and chair reupholstered, etc.……

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In the last year the Dwell organization was able to obtain this amazing workshop space big enough for many “workers” to sprawl out at one time and start the task of re-finishing and creating.  Kristy, the art chair, and Melody created this base piece of art above out of a frame, toilet paper roll inserts cut into 1/2 inch pieces and a canvas secured on top.  This would later be painted turquoise and house a collage of family photo’s. 

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  While I sanded and refinished a small side table…..

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Amy and Stephanie (and Holly, not shown) worked on the breakfast nook table.

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Lots of workshops, volunteers to help and meeting of the minds.

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Each home has a hollow core door donated by Dwell and hung somewhere in the home.  It is a signature piece from Dwell.  And each door is given it’s own distinct personality by the team in charge of that particular project.  The door this year was the responsibility of our art chair, Kristy.  But, considering she all but double-majored in art as well as interior design we knew we were in very capable hands.  Here she’s painting some leaves that will be attached to the door that Kathy is painting below with primer..…

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  Not an easy task on a blazing hot, windy day. Smile

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While they were doing their part I was painting the butterflies that would be attached to the door as well….

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Once most of the projects were finished or at least well underway we presented the final designs to Lisa.  Here you’ll notice our take on the framed paper idea for the little girls room.  We eliminated the border, painted black frames (from the Dollar Tree) white, used craft paper as our decorative element and added the flowers for a sweet, feminine, girlie touch.

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Notice the painted baskets…..in the turquoise color…our take on the green ones you saw above.  This dog we recovered with comic strips by mod-podging it on.

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This chair would eventually be painted and re-covered in this fabric for an entirely different look.

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This year, as in last year, Dwell teamed up with another equally passionate organization called Family Gateway to help make this family’s dream come true. A few weeks before the install date was set we found out that this was the apartment we would be working with.  Generously donated by Gateway to house the family, we discovered it was in great need of some TLC.

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So after getting the old furniture removed and the cleaning service in to clean it then it was time to paint.

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And, when I say “it takes a village” I mean it.   That’s my hubby, Doug, and a fellow sweetheart of a designer, Linda….

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My co-chair, Jody’s, daughter (my daughter behind her) Jody’s husband and friend MaryAnne…..

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Yours truly and Jody…..

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My daughter again, my son and daughter-in-law…

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Ashlyn and her family, Melody and her daughter…..

Yes, no less than a village!

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Doug and Alyssa also helped move furniture that day from the workshop to the warehouse as well so it would be ready for delivery the following week.  All I can say is thank God for family!  Our families were the reason we were able to get everything done that day!  Which we desperately needed to do.

This meant we would have everything ready for the installers (all fellow IDS members) the following week which was our goal.

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We had so many wonderful people who volunteered their time and resources to help it humbles the heart.   Sandro, a much respected electrician, not only did our electrical, but stuck around and did countless other jobs for us as well.  Here you see him putting together the bunk beds that we were able to obtain from a company called Generation Trade at the last desperate minute thanks to Dot, one of the design team members.  Shout out to Dot and to Generation Trade!

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Uptown Services Dallas, an impeccable, furniture delivery and set up firm donated the man power to pick up all the furniture from all over the metroplex that was being re-upholstered and donated.  And, I must say, his employees were some of the nicest, most courteous, hard working employees I’ve seen.  Highly recommendable service!

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A & A Granite And Silestone generously offered to provide new countertops for both the kitchen and the bathroom. 

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Labor and materials!  Again, I just can’t say enough about them.  Courteous, timely, efficient….oh, and the countertops……beautiful!    

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Rodney Jaynes of Buffalo Creek Doors and Floors took care of our plumbing and even brought both his grandsons to help us out.  They were amazing helpers.

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Dick Lewis, of Lewis Furniture Repair spent all morning touching up all the kitchen cabinets, going to great lengths to match the stain and give the cabinets a new, clean, fresh look. 

Again it’s humbling….the generosity of people…

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While our amazing vendor volunteers were doing their thing the rest of us were doing our part.  Designer, Christine, also acted as our handiest of handy-chicks.  Yep, she could put any man to shame!  She put on door knobs, re-caulked the bathroom, worked on outlets, hung drapery rods…..we don’t know what we would have done without her.  Kudos Christine!

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Here she is with Holly and I – caulk gun in hand.

And, more of “the village” IDS helpers:

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My friend and co-chair, Jody….

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Our sweet designer pal, Linda….doing whatever we needed her to do…..

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Dot hemming up the drapes that were spec’d a tad too long….

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This is me painstakingly painting the grout in the entire shower surround.  It was a dirty pasty black when I started.  When I was finished it was gray to match the tiles.  Our handy-chick, Christine, showed me what to do.  (I think I spent a whopping five or six hours on it.  Whew!)

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Barbara and Kristy working on some more last minute art….

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Kim, who did an awesome job on the pillows and valance in the little girl’s room….

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Traci helped unpack and put kitchen goodies away….

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Nicole ironed sheets…..

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Kathy and Linda bought all the household necessities and help put them away.

Yes, again…….it takes a village.

And, in the end, after all the hard work and challenges we ended up with this….

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A home that not only this sweet family could call their own, but one any of us could live in.

Happy, colorful, welcoming….

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Photography by Lance Selgo with Unique Exposure Photography

Cozy and full of charm…..

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Photography by Lance Selgo with Unique Exposure Photography

A little bit hip….

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A whole lot of precious……a little girl’s dream room….

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Sweet enough for a princess…

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Cozy enough for any little girl….

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Countertops we’d all love to have…..

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Brand spanking new grout!  (Well, sort of – new looking anyway!)

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And, an elegant master bedroom replete with the style and sleekness of a five star hotel..

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A wonderful space for mom and dad to rest and retreat.

 

So we were especially excited when it was time to show the sweet family their new home….

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And, I’m so happy they graciously allowed me to share their photo’s. 

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These shy little princesses loved their room…..

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And were especially happy to peek behind the armoire doors and find these new Barbie’s and Barbie toys to play with the Barbie dollhouse our “handy-chick”, Christine donated.

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  A sweet, precious family who’d had a turn of bad luck and ended up in a homeless shelter could now rest easy….and call this beautiful apartment…..home.

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The overwhelming joy it was for Jody and I to see the joy, relief and gratitude in the faces of this precious family was beyond humbling to say the least.  We were overcome with emotion……and feel honored, moved and grateful to have been part it.

  Blessings to this sweet family!

Happy Decorating!

1 comment for “DWELL WITH DIGNITY: CREATING A NEW HOME FOR A PRECIOUS HOMELESS FAMILY–IT TAKES A VILLAGE!

  1. Barbie
    June 26, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    Sheri! Great story ! Thanks for sharing and a big thanks to the ‘village’. Such a blessing to share your servants heart 🙂

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