This particular blog post isn’t exactly timely – I’ll give you that, but it’s important enough to me to post anyway, because it pertains to one of my favorite charities, Dwell With Dignity. 

Although this event was back in October and I never got around to posting this blog – I feel compelled to share it anyway – delayed as it is.   To fill you in on what exactly it is, the Dwell Thrift Studio is:

 “not like any other thrift store. It is a bi-annual 30 day pop-up shop created to provide financial viability and fundraising for Dwell with Dignity through selling the overstock of donated, gently used furniture, housewares, accessories and high end designer finds to the public. All proceeds to benefit the future work, growth, organization and structure of Dwell with Dignity!  Each Thrift Studio has a cast of fabulous designers that design and install vignettes using items from their warehouse as well as items they have donated from their own inventory. All items are for sale to help Dwell with Dignity help families escape poverty & homelessness.”


And, with an array of successful local designers volunteering their time I guess I don’t need to tell you how fabulous these vignettes are.  One after the other – full of creativity and charm.  And, all on a budget.


I mean….would you look at this purple and yellow vignette?  Imagination, creativity, and a little (maybe more) time can refurbish the old and make it new.


Packed full of charm, creativity and sweetness….


Like this purple and yellow game set.   See how taking a dated table and zapping it with this bright yellow and checker board top infuses it with an entirely new personality?   Then add these little purple army men for game pieces….and voila!  Adorable!


The same goes for this re-vamped dresser in this zesty purple paint.  How fun is this?


Everywhere you turn vibrant color rejuvenises an old piece and gives it new life…


Creativity abounds….



Tabletops ring with charm….



Lots of innovative, re-vamped purchases at the fingertips of all who attend (not to mention great ideas for your own projects)..….



And, the fun thing about this is – not only do you get to shop for something fabulous for your home (or someone else’s home)…..


You have the added privilege of contributing to one of the most sincere, heart driven charities I’ve ever been a part of.




Because I’ve been involved with Dwell through the Interior Design Society for a couple of years now I was fortunate enough to go to their private launch party this past fall.


And, after five years of throwing this spring and fall event it was, as expected, a huge success….


Not surprising given the amount of time, energy and love that is poured into this place by Dwell founders, Lisa Robison and Kim Turner and their tireless volunteers.


Volunteers who make sure it’s packed with interesting, carefully refurbished merchandise  – artfully and creatively displayed….


There’s a little something for everyone….


In an array of styles in furnishings, artwork, etc…

As you can clearly see Dwell’s Thrift Studio isn’t just any old thrift store. Smile

If you’re local to the Dallas-Fort Worth area be sure to follow their blog and visit their Thrift Studio in the spring and fall. 

If you’re not local be sure to check out their website at www.dwellwithdignity.org.  There may be opportunities for you in your own hometown. 

And, if you’d like to see a bit more of what Dwell With Dignity is all about check out two of my previous blog posts here and here.

Happy Decorating!



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.


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.


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.


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


  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….


These simple painted baskets….


And, this framed paper art.



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.……


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. 


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


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


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


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..…


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


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


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.


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.


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


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.
















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



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



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


Yours truly and Jody…..



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



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

Yes, no less than a village!


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.


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!


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!


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


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


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.


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…


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!


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

And, more of “the village” IDS helpers:


My friend and co-chair, Jody….


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


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


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!)


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


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


Traci helped unpack and put kitchen goodies away….


Nicole ironed sheets…..


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….

Sofa by CoverAll Upholstery

Photography by Lance Selgo with Unique Exposure Photography

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

Happy, colorful, welcoming….


Photography by Lance Selgo with Unique Exposure Photography

Cozy and full of charm…..


Photography by Lance Selgo with Unique Exposure Photography

A little bit hip….


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


Sweet enough for a princess…




Cozy enough for any little girl….


Countertops we’d all love to have…..


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


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


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….


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


These shy little princesses loved their room…..


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.


  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.


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!

To Dwell With Dignity: A Blessing Most Take For Granted


I am so grateful for organizations like Dwell With Dignity that make such amazing changes in the lives of others.  Dwell was started by Lisa Robison, a local designer and mom with a heart for the poor.  Her vision was to help the homeless obtain a place of their own to dwell as well as the dignity that comes along with it.  This local heartfelt endeavor is now known and copied nationwide.   The Interior Design Society’s local Dallas/Fort Worth chapter, of which I’m a member, was honored to be a part of Dwell’s worthwhile cause in preparing an apartment for a precious, young family of six.


The headquarters for Dwell is nestled in downtown Dallas in this older home that’s been converted into the non-profit organization.  It has grown far beyond their original vision.


This home turned office/workshop is adorable and cozy in and of itself.  Some of you may have seen or heard about them on the Nate Berkus show.  A media avenue that helped catapult them into a national household word.


See the artwork above on the left hand side?  This is a hollow core door that is placed in every single dwelling.  Painted in a theme specific to each home, each with their own personality, these doors are the signature piece representing Dwell With Dignity in welcoming each family to their new home.


After many trips to the Dwell warehouse (which has grown in volume exponentially since it started), and many pow-wows between the committee chairs and design team above – Alba Dorsch, Christine Gee, Denise Piaschyk and Dot Greenlee to name a few…..



And after many meetings with various members – plans were underway to begin working on artwork, furniture, drapes, etc. to ensure the project was completed by install date.



It was a team effort between members, but some of  the chair heads for each committee put in countless hours above and beyond to pull the project off. Kudos to Dot, Denise, Barbara, Jodi and Christine for your extra dedication!  Jodi Clark, a very talented artist and designer, (top left with the glasses on) was lead designer in charge of artwork.  Myself and others were there to follow her lead and help bring her vision to fruition.  Cutting, painting, sanding, re-framing – you name it she had us doing it.  Amazing what you can create for pennies with a little time and energy!


This dated chair on the left, donated by IDS member, Barbara Gilbert, became this cool chair on the right.  Thanks to Coverall Upholstery for recovering this chair pro-bono! (See what cool fabric can do to an old “tired” piece?) And, thanks to Childress Fabrics for working with us on the fabric!  With a project like this “It takes a village” is an old adage that certainly holds true.



All the preliminary preparation was completed just in time to install the week of the reveal.  It was a busy install week and a lot of work.  There were drapes to hang and tons of cleaning to do….


Rods to cut and install with limited tools.  Here Christine broke the hacksaw trying to saw through a wooden rod.  (They finally gave up, took it home and cut it with a proper saw!)



There was ironing to do, lots of goodies to assemble….



Fun to be had and beds to make…..








More ironing to do and chairs to recover….



And lots and lots more cleaning….


And, in the end here’s a glimpse at what this very special family gets to claim as their own. To “dwell with dignity”……a blessing most of us take for granted.  Have you ever thought about that?  Losing your home……to feel as if you’ve lost your dignity?  This made all involved humbled, grateful and honored to be a part of this.  Here you see artwork designed by Jodi and painted by members (yours truly included), chairs donated by Taylor King, the coffee table donated by lead designer, Denise Piaschyk, fabric by Kasmir, drapery labor by Shirley Oliver and the rods donated by Williamson Supply. Did I say it takes a village?


All the dishes, kitchen appliances, silverware and utensils were donated by Nathan Grace.


Dwell donated this amazing light fixture, perfect for this space.  All the electrical needs were provided by Sandro Jenson, the flooring was donated by American Tile and Pro Source.


Notice the traditional hollow core door?  Donated by Dwell and painted by none other that Jodi Clark herself.


Member Linda Boylan cut down grass cloth and papered the back of the shelves.



Look at this spacious master bedroom for the young couple and their youngest baby.  All you see here was either custom made, recycled or donated.  The sweet baby bedding was donated by Wee Dreamscapes.



Remember the ladies painting these pictures above?  Here they are framed, installed and looking adorable.  Most of the bedding was donated by Peacock Alley.  These pillows were custom made by member, Christine Gee, the coverlets were purchased retail by IDS.


How sweet is this?  A round piece of wood painted cream, letters painted in all sorts of colors and glued around the board to frame this round mirror that’s been mounted onto the back board. Super easy, inexpensive and cute!


A basket of stuffed animals for the sweet little kiddo’s, ages two and three.


A more “grown up” space for nine year old big sister.


A recycled old computer desk, painted and jazzed up for a girlie girl.


Teen dwell, comprised of teenagers in local area schools, made this fun arrangement by gluing flowers on the these branches.


When all was done we were a happy lot….proud of a huge undertaking on a shoestring budget.


Lisa Robison, founder of Dwell With Dignity, and her son stopped by when all was complete to see the apartment before the family arrived that afternoon.  She told us Nate Berkus (who did the apartment upstairs for his TV show) would be proud to give us his seal of approval!  Even though we were all thrilled with the end result and were confident in the final product I have to admit that was very nice validation!


When “reveal time” arrived, lead designer, Denise Piaschyk, project manager, Christine Gee and a member of the design team, Barbara Gilbert were jumping out of their skin waiting for the family to arrive.


Dot Greenlee, president of IDS, co-project manager and an integral part of the entire Dwell project went to get the family….(Have you ever seen such a beautiful bunch of kids?! So cute I thought I’d melt!)



We were so happy to welcome them into their new home.  You can see from their faces what a blessing it was to have been able to share in this.  (I’m crying again just writing about it!)


The children were so thrilled with their new rooms…..as were their parents.  When was the last time you stopped to thank God that your children had a roof over their heads?  When they’ve been without…..the gratification is real, it’s heartfelt and it runs deep.



One of the things that touched the family as much as anything were these amazing family photos taken by Denise, not only a fabulous designer, but a talented photographer. She took the family out a week or so ahead of time and snapped some precious professional photo’s.  We framed the pictures and sprinkled them all over the house.  A personalized touch specific to the family.  They LOVED them!  It was so moving just to watch the look on their faces when they saw their sweet family in these beautiful photos.


She loved seeing Daddy and baby sister in this picture.   Special kudos to Denise for providing them!


We made sure each family member had a goodie basket and the children had a new boxes filled with toys.




I mean……could you just die!  I wanted to bring them home with me!


A happy, grateful family embracing their new home….the little girls excitedly asked me several times….”Do we get to move in today?!”  And, happily, the answer was “Yes……today you move into your new home.” A moving experience I will forever cherish.



And, this incredibly precious, sweet, beautiful family will forever be in my prayers.

Other designers not listed above who participated in the project were Kristi Mastrandonis, Nicole Arnold, Kathy Prior, Annagae Li, and Lindsay Ward.  Our thanks to all the vendors and volunteers for their contributions to this amazing project.

Happy Decorating!


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