Last week a group of local designers headed by Jill Sorensen finished up the makeover of a local women’s shelter for victims of domestic violence.  To say it was an awesome experience is an understatement.  I partnered up with Rebecca Ilgenfritz of Acanthus and Acorn to do the living area/entry and a bedroom of the house.  Here’s what the living area looked like the first time we visited:


The shelter is affiliated with a local thrift store so we were able to “shop” the thrift store for items for the shelter.  (SO much fun!!!)  Many of the items used were also generously donated by people through Knock-Out Abuse.  We kept the existing furniture & found more furniture, lamps, artwork & accessories at the thrift store/ donations haul.  We all met at the house for a big painting day and – with the help of a group of local volunteers- added color to the drab house & some of the furnishings.  Rebecca and I used fabric remnants to sew pillows, we painted lamps, Rebecca kindly stole her daughter’s curtains, and we purchased new shades for all the lamps at Target.   Here’s the space now:
{The “new” room}
We popped bright pink peacock feather Liberty of London shades on the existing lamps and used shots of pink throughout the room.
We wanted to create a space that would encourage the women to hang out with each other & linger.  Of course it’s all very “use-what-you-have” but I think the end result is fun & cheerful.
The bedroom we redid currently belongs to a mom and her two small children. The rooms have to function for an entire family and hold all of their belongings.  Here’s a close-up of the bed before:
And here it is now:
Here’s a shot taken by Rebecca of the room before:

{Photo by Rebecca Ilgenfritz}
And here it is now:
{Photo by Rebecca Ilgenfritz}
Rebecca generously donated the beautiful antique iron twin bed and the new bunk bed was also donated.  We chose a pale aqua for the walls (that worked perfectly with our pillow fabric) to give the room a relaxed, restful feeling.

Here’s a photo of the lamp before:

And here it is now, piled atop thrift store books for some added height:
Here’s the nail polish-stained dresser before:


And here is is now:

I love it!  All of the accessories were free from the thrift store and we added yet another Target shade to the painted urn lamp.  The green leaves in the little white vase are actually just “weeds” I picked from outside the house so they can very easily replace them with new ones.  The vintage weathered frame prints are insanely beautiful.  We spied them in the office at the thrift store and practically begged for them, keeping our fingers crossed that they weren’t already spoken for.  They’re not hung symmetrically as the dresser isn’t perfectly centered on the wall & the visual weights of the twin bed and the bunk bed are so off, so a perfectly symmetrical grouping just didn’t feel quite right.
While taking the mattresses of the bed, we found that one of the mattresses had a beautiful vintage-floral pattern on it in the colors we were using.  We loved it!!  We decided to keep it under the bunk bed to be pulled out for a fun spot the kids could play on:
How much fun is the gold-and-cream rug?  (Thrift store again!)  It hides some stains on the carpet and is another soft spot for kids to play.  The bulletin board (below) was painted in the same aqua as the walls so it will simpy recede and we added a little tray with wooden back massagers on it.  Using a back massager is one of those things I used to love doing with my mom when I was little, so we thought the family might enjoy them and be able to do a little “massage train.”  When the family was shown their new room, the kids immediately picked them up & started playing with them wondering what they were.  I love toys that spur interaction.
We used more leftover fabric to cover the box spring on the bed (this one had been with me since college & I’m so happy it’s finally found a good home!!)  I love the little painting we found (another thrift donation!!) and hung next to the bed:


And one last picture (because you know I’m a picture nut):
I really can’t thank all of the people involved enough for such a rewarding experience.  Cathy (the director of the shelter) is one special lady (& had to deal with our constant questions & emails) who cares so much about these women and helps improve their lives daily.  Jill Sorensen masterminded this whole thing and is the founder of Knock-Out Abuse.  She’s such a upbeat, generous talented (and gorgeous!!) person.  Danielle, Ellen, Jennifer Sergent, the volunteer painters and the crew from Hardwood Artisans were such a huge help in getting our spaces finished in time and there’s no way we could have done it without them. The other designers involved- Raji Radhakrishnan, Denise Willard and of course Jill Sorensen & Danielle Sigwalt are all just amazing people and I’m honored to have gotten the chance to work with them.  It’s definitely a bonding experience and you really feel as if you’re part of a team and I know I’ll be seeing more of these new friends.  And last but not least, to Rebecca for putting up with my baby-child-smashed-rarely-any-free-days schedule, working so hard to make this project happen and for parterning up with me.  I’m so happy with how everything turned out.
Here are some links to all of the people involved.  Check out all of the gorgeous before & afters of the other rooms!!


Rebecca Ilgenfritz: Acanthus and Acorn
Hardwood Artisans – I highly recommend them for any built-in/ furniture work you need if you’re in the area.
Raji Radhakrishan: Design Dossier – mother’s refuge
Denise Willard: Dream Design Live. – playroom
 Jill Sorensen Live.Like.You. — go here for a wrap up post complete with videos
To check out the full article on the entire project by Jennifer Sergent, go to DC by Design.  You will not BELIEVE how amazing the other rooms are!!!
Finally, if want to help, check out Knock-Out Abuse to find out how.  If you live in another area, consider contacting local shelters to start a project of your own.  It’s one of the most rewarding experiences you’ll ever have.  I’m going to cherish the memory of the mother & her two adorable children (a little boy & a little girl) walking into their new bedroom forever.  It was better than anything you can imagine.  I keep playing it in my head over and over.  She just kept saying, “It’s beautiful,” as she and the kids slowly took the room in.  The kids scooped up the back massagers and started touching & exploring everything and it’s amazing to see that even 2-4 year olds appreciate something like this.  I didn’t want to leave, but standing there staring at them through the doorway forever was probably not cool.  The mother was so thankful and I’ve never had a more deserving client.  This is really what it’s all about.