Monday, January 5, 2015

The Living Room Heals

When I moved to Winston-Salem back in 1987 one of the first people I met was Susan MacIntosh. Actually, she and her husband Jeff were my landlords and next door neighbors. She is someone I've long admired, someone who was good to me when I was first starting out (she let me paint my apartment how I wanted! No contractor beige there :) and we've kept in touch over the years. When I found out she had founded The Living Room Heals  I knew someday I would do one of their makeovers. Through The Living Room Heals, volunteer designers provide no-cost room makeovers for people dealing with difficult situations or chronic conditions. What an awesome way to use what we love to do to give back! Early last year I told her I would love to take on a project in the fall, and as it turned out a commercial project opportunity came to them from another non-profit group. Perfect!

My project was a playroom and nursery at a local agency that serves area children. What I found on my first site visit were bright primary colors on the walls which made the space feel too intense and stimulating. They had a good selection of basic child-scaled furniture pieces including bookcases and tables, but what was missing was a place for older children and adults to sit. This space serves children of varied ages, so it was important to create an environment that was appealing and playful, without being too juvenile. The staff of the facility wanted to soften the look of the rooms.

Playroom Before
Nursery Before

Bright primaries were replaced with soft greens, blues, and yellow. We were able to provide a slip-covered settee, a glider rocker with new seat cushions, new rugs including a custom painted floor cloth, we repainted an existing wooden rocking chair and gave it a new seat cushion, repainted their existing toy boxes, provided two additional bookcases, made and installed new window treatments and gave the space a new layout that created zones for the variety of activities they have. New custom painted art pieces and a framed inspirational word cloud piece finished the space.

Playroom After

Playroom After

Nursery After

Will F Creating the Painted Floorcloth
(Ping pong table size!)

Additional seating was a priority, and the perfect scale settee was found but it needed to be recovered. As it turned out the upholsterer who originally said they could do it backed out, and another one could not be found in the time frame needed! Nooo!! Not being one to back down from a challenge, I took it upon myself to make a custom fitted slip cover. Thank goodness for great how-to videos on You Tube :) Admittedly I was a bit nervous - I didn't want to mess it up, but I was not going to let them go without seating! It turned out great, and in the end it was a better solution than reupholstering it - this way the cover can be removed for cleaning when needed. Things have a way of working out!

One of the fun features of the main playroom is the art display. They already had boards installed on one wall which were not being used for anything, so we painted them an accent green, installed clips, and made it a functional display for the children's artwork.

Art Display and Painted Toy Box

Paint was the star of this makeover and was made possible by the generosity of Sherwin Williams, LMI Builders, and Aull Paint Company. Not only was it used to transform the walls, it was used to transform furniture pieces, create the floorcloth, and art for the walls! Fabrics provided by MomentumTextiles completed the look in the seating and window treatments. Home Depot provided a gift card which covered many of the supplies needed, including a new drapery rod. A special thanks goes out to Jay Sinclair of J.Sinclair Photography for taking "after" photos!

Doing this project was so much fun! Together our team made a big difference to the center and created a space that will enhance the lives of children for many years to come.


Pam said...

Very nice, Karen! Much more inviting and soothing!

Karen Newman Fridy said...

Thanks Pam! :)

pharmnc said...

Karen, this is fabulous!! What a transformation!