It’s time to share the design plans for LaTanya, who will be getting a feel good home makeover this weekend! This post is in collaboration with Amazon Home.
A Plan Takes Shape
Years ago, we made a vow to use brand partnerships to uplift others. Despite our best efforts, things have never quite clicked perfectly. In our line of work, the stars have to align to bring a project like this to life. We’ve had wonderful conversations with nonprofit organizations doing incredible work in the social justice arena, but lack of manpower, budgets and timing constraints have all prevented us from getting projects off the ground. And then early this year, Casey from DIY Playbook reached out to me with the idea to team up and make something happen once and for all, because, well, as Lucy likes to remind us: Teamwork makes the dream work. It was the jumpstart we needed!
Although now retired, Casey’s mom, Jan, spent years working for Ignatian Spirituality Project, helping those recovering from homelessness and addiction. Through her time at ISP, she met LaTanya at a transitional housing center, and over time the two became friends. Since then, LaTanya is thriving and passing along her knowledge through her employer, the nonprofit Cara Collective. I have SO much to say about LaTanya; she’s warm, friendly and giving. She makes you feel happy with your whole heart. But I’ll pause so that you may learn more about LaTanya’s life and background through her own words. Casey is also sharing more about her connection to LaTanya and our journey to this point on her blog! Throughout this process, both Casey and I will be sharing the experience on our blogs and Instagram, so be sure to follow along with @thediyplaybook, too.
Next, we needed a sponsor. Ideally someone who was as passionate about the project as we were, someone who could provide everything from the ground up, and Amazon Home stepped up – big time! Not only was the Amazon Home team excited to help us with LaTanya’s project, they’ve been fully supportive from our first Zoom meeting, aka, The One Where Kim and Casey Cried. Amazon Home encouraged us to think big, shoot for the moon, and give LaTanya a house she could call a home.
When we spoke with LaTanya, we found out she was in the process of moving into the second floor of a Chicago two flat, shared with her elderly aunt and uncle living in the unit below hers. The apartment itself is full of vintage charm – original wood millwork, arched door casings, delicate brass hardware and plaster walls. And as with most one-hundred-year-old Chicago homes, there have also been repairs and updates over the years – modern lighting, carpeted rooms and windows replaced.
LaTanya’s Living Room
Her front door opens right into the living room, and the living room flows into the dining room. In these photos, she’s currently holding all her belongings in the dining room, in order for us to make some repairs and refinish the hardwood flooring in the bedrooms. Almost everything you see in the current dining room will ultimately make its way into her second bedroom, which will be used as a home office.
LaTanya’s Dining Room
The plan is to give both her living and dining rooms a complete head-to-toe makeover. Once the items above – a loveseat, television, media console and mattress – make their way into the bedrooms, both rooms will be completely empty and ready for us! Currently, LaTanya has a round glass 4-top table in the kitchen, which was a gift from a friend and is the only item of hers we’ll be bringing into the dining room and working around. Aside from that, we are starting from scratch! Which brings me to…
The Mood Boards
… the mood boards! We learned that LaTanya is not afraid of color (Not even orange?, I asked, to which she replied, Oh, yes! I love it all.), but she’s especially drawn to blues and golds. We learned that she loves to dance, enjoys the horror film genre (my girl!) and prefers clean lines, geometric patterns and sparkle. As Scott, Casey and I pulled together our mood boards, we decided to call this style Eclectic Modern. Set to a moody deep mauve backdrop, it includes solid furniture pieces, brass and black accents, leather and velvet.
Paint is Prestige Paints SW6032-PCM | 1. floor mirror | 2. ottoman | 3. coat rack | 4. chandelier | 5. media console | 6. sonos move | 7. frame tv | 8. console lamp | 9. curtains | 10. side table | 11. sconces | 12. art triptych | 13. sofa | 14. square pillows | 15. round pillow | 16. swivel chairs | 17. coffee table | 18. brass butterfly | 19. rug
The dining room chandelier is the star of this room, alongside the blue velvet curtains to tie in the living room colors. Four of these armchairs will make for cozy dining seating, while still being wipeable! To fill the long wall, we’re pushing together two of these sideboards and stocking it up with all new dishes, glasses and baskets for organization. We learned that LaTanya is always the invitee, rarely the one who invites. She’s looking forward to finally having a space where she can welcome others in for Sunday brunch.
Paint is Prestige Paints SW6032-PCM | 1. faux tree | 2. chandelier | 3. rug | 4. dining chairs | 5. vase | 6. curtains | 7. basket | 8. sideboard | 9. lamps / shades | 10. mirror | 11. candlesticks | 12. wooden bowl | 13. vases | 14. baskets
What you don’t see in these mood boards are all the items that contribute to a functional, enjoyable space. Things like throws, a large blanket basket, coffee table books, potted plants, dinnerware, kitchen essentials, serving platters, glasses, and family photos will all be included in this makeover. But here’s the best – maybe my favorite? – part: LaTanya wants to be completely surprised by everything, and she has asked not to see our mood boards. We’ve been eagerly counting down the days until we can share this with her!
How You Can Help
LaTanya works for Cara Collective, a nonprofit organization helping those in poverty find employment through education and access to resources, while also advancing employers toward equity and inclusion. We asked them to create an Amazon Gift List of items that will help further their commitment to the community. Items include everything from hand warmers to janitorial equipment, dress shirts and shoes for job interviews.
This weekend, it all kicks off! Casey and I will be sharing the real-time progress on our Instagram Stories, so be sure to tune into @yellowbrickhome and @diyplaybook on Instagram. My parents are coming in to help us with Lucy, so that we can be fully dedicated to the project, alongside a handful of volunteers. We can’t wait for everything to unfold, and we hope you’ll join us for the journey!
PS: Be sure to check out Casey’s blog post today, too!