Sometimes, my days are filled with awesomeness.
This past week I was fortunate enough to have a day that was beyond anything I could have wished for.
I was in Kansas City, MO to do a living room makeover for a very deserving family that was chosen by one of our retail partners, Furniture Mall of Kansas and Habitat Kansas City.
This is Morgan. The woman who was chosen for the makeover.
She moved to Kansas from Chicago for a better life. She's a single mom of 5 kids. She was homeless and a volunteer with Habitat KC. Eventually she wound up helping to build the home that she lives in today.
Morgan and her family have lived in that house for about a year, but without any furniture to call their own. She had a few hand-me-down pieces, but as she said...the home didn't feel like it was really theirs. She's beyond grateful to have this place to live and was looking forward to one day, being able to afford some new things. She never thought she could afford to have it *designed*.
On Wednesday, April 22nd I met Morgan. We spent about an hour together in her house. She showed me around proudly. She told me her favorite color was purple, her journey into this home and that she hoped to have a new place to sit one day.
I asked a lot of questions about her likes and dislikes. I took a few pictures of the room that was going to be transformed. Then, I told Morgan that I had to go do a little shopping.
The next day, I showed up at 8am with a small crew to help transform her living room.
Morgan greeted us all bright-eyed and nervous and said that the day before (when we first met) she was in shock. She couldn't believe this was happening to her. For her. She wasn't sure it was real. But today, it felt "Very Real!"
She had taken all the kids to school and was planning on being out of the house while we worked on it. I assured her that I was going to design a space that she could be proud of, as well as be comfortable in.
She said, "I know you don't have a lot of time, but anything you do will be a blessing. I don't need a lot. A great place to sit and watch TV would be so wonderful." Morgan then left her home and waited for us to call her back for the reveal.
We painted, cleaned the floors, hung drapes, moved in a rug, furniture, and a lot of accessories. Oh, and of course there were baked goods.
By 12noon we were ready to reveal the new living room and Morgan was on her way back.
You can see the video of her reaction and the reveal HERE.
The total room transformation only took four hours.
The personal transformation that happens to all of us, that are involved in the process, lasts forever.
Watching Morgan walk into her home and seeing her eyes, is something I cannot describe or truly explain. It's a transformative, goose bump moment experience.
The way we live in our space is powerful. Morgan's story of survival and perseverance is inspiring, so being able to be a small part of her continuing journey to a better life was unbelievably moving. There was not a dry eye in the room.
A very BIG *Thank You* to Kris, for being a painting ninja and an awesome human being. I will forever think of you as "Our Little Squeaky". To Sarah, for truly being the kind of person you wish for, if you were to ever find yourself in a fox hole. No matter what the scenario. She is magic. To Brent, for literally cleaning every surface he saw and for his unflappable manner. To Dave, for pitching in and doing anything that was needed--including knowing when to get out of my way, when I started whirling around the room like a tornado, as soon as I realized we were less than 30 minutes away from *reveal* and I still had so much to do. Good times.
Also, the whole team from the Furniture Mall of Kansas for donating everything that was put into that room. Thank You SO Much for your support. And of course, the amazing group of people from Habitat Kansas City. You kids are so inspiring!
Here's how Morgan's room took shape:
1) Adding color to the walls (Valspar Midnight Fog) was crucial in helping to contain this room as the place to gather. I chose a darker color and left the moldings and ceiling the original creamy white color. The two worked really well together. Plus, the darker color on the wall helped to hide the TV a bit. It really stuck out on the wall with the lighter color.
2) Starting with a great neutral rug was a swell way to build the room. Plus, it was a fantastic contrast to the dark wood floor.
3) We hung grey curtains to add softness and add a layer of neutral color.
4) Under the TV I placed a grey console table so that it (the TV) didn't feel like it was floating on the wall. Plus, this gave the room a very grounded focal point that we could build around. Adding artwork around the television helped to make the room less about JUST the TV.
5) I chose a sleek, grey sectional sofa in order to get as much seating in as possible. This was also a great neutral foundation to be able to add Morgan's favorite color, purple. By bringing in lavender accent pillows I was able to start the color building process.
6) I added a set of high back chairs in a grey flannel-like style fabric and a smaller sofa for additional seating. With five kids, as well as guests, you can run out of seating pretty fast. Also, the addition of easy to move floor cushions, behind the sectional, is another great way to add seating for unexpected guest. Plus, it allows for another opportunity to bring in color and a bit of layering, which makes for a more interesting looking room.
7) Instead of a coffee table, I added two ottomans. One storage ottoman in front of the smaller sofa and a cocktail ottoman in front of the sectional. This allows for soft surfaces...perfect with little ones running around AND they are great for putting your feet up. Adding a tray to the ottomans makes them easy to use as coffee tables.
8) Creating seating zones allowed for Morgan to be able to entertain in this room without feeling too cramped. A small bistro table and a set of chairs in her favorite color, can be the place she sits in the morning, before work, with her breakfast. The cabinet, to the left of the table, is a great way to add height to the room, as well as much needed storage.
9) Details are always important. They really help bring any room together, plus they can make a space personal and tell your story in your home. My hope is that as Morgan and her family continue to build a life in their new home, they add more personal details that are a reflection of their evolving life and style.
Morgan, thank you for the privilege of allowing me to be in your home and for making me feel so welcome. It was an honor to be a part of this.