Thursday, January 24, 2013

Dark And Dreary

In late 2011 we followed the Room of Her Own project that we worked on with The Alpha House of Tampa.  In Phase I of this project, we brought in design teams from all over Tampa to renovate the 20 single residence rooms in this facility that houses homeless pregnant teens and pregnant mothers in crisis.  The project was a tremendous success, bringing beautiful new rooms and lots of attention to the needs of these moms and babies.  Plans were made to continue the renovation work through other areas of the facility as funds became available.

Thanks to a very generous donation from a member of our community, at the end of 2012 we were able to accomplish Phase II of the project, which was to renovate a three-bedroom, semi-independent apartment in a different wing of the building.  This apartment houses three teen moms and their infants, and is considered a step-up from the single dorm rooms.  In order to be moved to the semi independent apartment, the moms have to demonstrate their commitment to Alpha House's program of helping the moms gain the skills and knowledge that they will need when they are ready to move into the community environment again.

Though the apartment did allow for some degree of independence--having it's own kitchen, bathroom and small living room--as you will see from these "before" pictures, it didn't offer much in the way of a stimulating environment.

Dreary gray walls, industrial gray carpeting, gray laminate cabinets, mismatched furnishings with no personality and outdated bath tile and fixtures...just not much to say for itself.  Well, along with the donor, a contractor was found (almost by accident!), who immediately offered his own services for the project at no charge, and proceeded to round up subs who were willing to donate their time--and often materials--for electrical work, tile and flooring, plumbing, sprinkler and fire! 

Without the talent and kindness of John Martinez of JSM Custom Builder and his terrific team, this project could never have been realized! 

Once the funding came in, the contractor was literally ready to start demo the next day, which meant that fellow designer Cynthia Keenan of CK Design and I had our work cut out for us.  We immediately made selections for flooring, tile, cabinetry and paint colors.  Then we became the whirling-dervish shopping team for furniture, accessories, appliances, art, linens...everything needed to set up housekeeping for these girls.  And this all happened, start-to-finish, in less than five weeks.

Do I have your attention?!  Good!  Next week you'll see the reveal.