If you’re new here or just catching up, I’ll start off by giving a little recap of this incredible charity design project that I had the pleasure and privilege of being a part of…A community of 70 military homes in San Pedro (about 30 minutes south of L.A.) had been vacant for decades and a group of ambitious and resourceful people, together with Volunteers of America, got permission to reclaim the homes, refurbish and decorate them for homeless female veterans and their children. It’s devastating that there is a population of homeless veteran mothers at all — to have an opportunity to be part of this project was humbling and a really great way to start off the year.
Volunteers of America secured $5000 for the decor of each of the homes. And for any of you who may have done any decorating, $5000 is a lot of money, but not to decorate an entire two bedroom home. We needed to get everything from furniture to bedding, accessories, art and appliances. Many people spend that just on a sofa! But, if you know me then you know that I love a good budget decor challenge…And to make matters even more exciting, I got to decorate one of the homes with my sister, Faith, who is also a designer, master thrifter and just all around extremely talented.
So the first thing I knew I needed to do was get a friend on board — I asked World Market to help out and they generously agreed to donate thousands of dollars worth of furniture to the home (and thousands goes a really long way at World Market.) The rest we got mostly on Craigslist and through other private donations. Between the donations that we secured and the $5000 from VOA, we decorated the entire home on about $11,000.
Today, I’m excited to share the *after* pics of the downstairs. While the home was really nicely refurbished, as you can see from the above pic it’s not exactly brimming with personality. (You can see the beginnings of the project here.) And here is what we ended up with…
In the living room:
Ain’t she purdy?!? We didn’t start out with a theme or anything, we had some really great World Market basics, like the tufted velvet sofa and ottoman and the always practical jute rug. We knew that the family had kids, although we didn’t know the ages, so we erred on the side of toddler friendly. Then after that, we kinda left it up to fate (and Craigslist) to make the rest come together.
And come together it did! We found the vintage tulip-base table on the classified site, Krrb, and this amazing mud-cloth upholstered chair? It was found by my sister on the curb, as in, the actual curb just as someone in a fancy West-Side house was getting rid of it.
And I love the way the capiz chandelier lends a coastal vibe to the space. With accents from various pockets of the African continent from Morocco to Mali, the living room was shaping up to feel kinda eclectic-African-modern.
To pull the look together I found some mud-cloth fabric and just kinda went to town (find similar here). We added it to the inside of trays, framed it for our gallery wall and I made the throw pillows using scraps of mud-cloth and kuba-cloth in front, drop cloths on back, and filled them with thrifted and donated pillows.
Faith found the baskets at a thrift shop. Score! (Find similar ones here.) We hung them by fastening a bit of wire to them in a loop in the back, and hanging the wire loop on a nail.
We found this vintage Mexican cabinet on Craigslist for $50. Yeah baby. (I couldn’t find any super similar, but there are some interesting ones here, if you’re interested.)
We painted this accent wall in Nectarina by Behr. And we used a large, thrifted mirror to open up the room–makes it almost feel like there is a window there.
And in the kitchen…
Echo Park lighting company Brendan Ravenhill Studio donated one helluva pendant lamp.
This is my favorite corner in the kitchen. This little secretary desk fits snug in that awkward spot between the fridge and the wall, giving the mama a little work spot — or even just a place to catch up on her favorite magazines, pay bills, etc…
And we also outfitted the patio. We found the wooden patio set on Craigslist. (similar here). It was a huge project, and this was just half of it…so stay tuned for the rest later on in the week! Let me know if you have any questions and I’d love to hear what you think of the project.
Design by Faith and Justina Blakeney
Photography by Danae Horst (thank you Danae for donating your services for this amazing cause!)
And thank you to World Market for hooking it up and to Volunteers of America for giving us this opportunity.
Thank you so Sarah, Judson, Fabrizio and to all of the other folks who donated their time, talents and wares to this project.