Transitions… Designing for a Difference, and the winner is…

My entry was submitted to IDG for my Design For A Difference nominee, and I was sure that I was going to win for the Hetrick-Martin Institute… A few months passed and I hadn’t heard anything back, and to be quite honest forgot about the contest. Then I got a phone call at literally 5:30am while heading to the KITV4 station in Hawaii to film a couple of design segments for the morning news!

On the other line was was Kathleen Callahan and Mark Brunetz (IDG’s National Spokesperson) letting me know that I was the Northeast’s Regional Winner! Yeah babe!… I got the kids $2,500 worth of new flooring to help spruce up their space! AWESOME!

I was also told that besides earning this win, I was going to be able to help out the National Winner, Leslie Ann Schifferns with her charity! I as well as the other 3 regional winners would join Leslie Ann in Spokane, WA to help with transforming Transitions. Transitions is a program working to end poverty and homelessness for women and children in Spokane. We were going to be working in the Transitional Living Center (TLC).

Their Key Values are…
Respect For Human Dignity

We believe in the dignity and inherent worth of individuals and respect their right to self-determination.


We believe that the fullness of each person is realized in relationship with others.


We believe each individual is a work in progress on a journey toward integration of mind, body and spirit, with the hope of financial stability, emotional, physical and spiritual peace.


We believe in advocating for what is right, honest and moral both for whom we serve and with whom we serve.

 A few short weeks later I was off to the Pacific Northwest…

in flight
Upon arrival, I was quickly introduced to the other Regional Winners: Deanna Whetstone, Lisa Schmitz and Vivian Dowsett… We were excited and ready to help Leslie Ann tackle that space! And what was that space? Well we were going to be renovating what was called the “Community Room” at Transitions. The director at TLC described its function as a place where the women and children were able to gather, hang out and socialize as well as transform into a weekly counseling space, not to mention the drop off location for donations! Yeah, this was the catch-all, do-all space in the residence, but it was just… Ugh. SAD.

Transitions 2
The room was a conglomeration of a recliner closeout sale from a thrift store kind of aesthetic. There was really no aesthetic. It was all the reject furniture from donors, all left in this one room to age. The walls were a lovely shade of “medical scrubs” blue, the dull lifeless carpet was stained and worn. Nothing in the space was from the same era, color family or style genre. Yikes!

Speaking personally I thought this was a great place, Transitions is a great place, doing great work, but this room was a poor representation of all the good that is being done. This communal space was not inspiring, it wasn’t an environment where I would feel like my life is moving in the right direction and I’m ready to make those leaps and bounds back to normalcy. This space read to me like a bittersweet slap in the face. I get it, I understand non for profits and charities in general are all in situations where they need to make the little money they are allotted stretch farther than humanly possible, but it’s like a reminder to these strong driven women that even though they are making their family’s lives better, they are still only getting another person’s cast offs. These women deserve better!

The IDG Design For A Difference team was in place! We had our work cut out for us, but we were going to bust our butts and give this space, and the women of Transitions a space they could be proud of, and deserving of!… Next steps, The Makeover!!!