Making Wise Use of Space

Our most recent project was for a family consisting of an uncle, his twin nieces and his seven- year-old nephew who came to the US from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They arrived in the fall of 2020, and by the end of January 2021, the uncle had secured full time employment and was paying his own rent and utilities.

The family lives in a tight apartment with two bedrooms, a living room, a kitchenette, and a bathroom. When we arrived for the home visit, we learned that the uncle and nephew were sharing one bedroom, while the girls were sharing the other. This project’s designers Beth Krakow and Tracie Moore recognized that this arrangement gave the uncle no space to call his own. Their solution was to move the uncle to the smaller bedroom where he could have a full bed, a matching nightstand, a newly painted dresser and a chair. He had requested keeping just one piece of their furnishings - their satin blue and ivory curtains. So, the bedding, dresser and artwork were all coordinated in these colors. The designers then fit bunk beds and a twin bed in the bigger bedroom - in similar hues, but with a kid-inspired twist. They moved what had been the TV console into the kids’ room, turning it into a dresser, and fit a long new desk in there as well. Selena, our volunteer seamstress, recovered a pouf so that its colors coordinated with the new scheme. In the living room, they created more space by changing out the large, well-loved coffee table for a smaller one with leaves that can be opened and folded down. A sectional piece that consumed a lot of the space was replaced with a lighter colored tan chair that one of our volunteers had personally reupholstered. Two comfy floor pillows were added for extra seating that can be stood up against a wall as space is needed. And, the former TV console was replaced with a set of cubbies to allow for extra storage. The family’s limited dishes were replaced with a mix and match set with some simple blue accents and stored in their glass-front hutch in the living room. In the kitchen, where the family had a few folding chairs and a table too small to seat them all, Beth and Tracie went for some fun pops of color inspired by a painting of fruit that was recently donated to us. The designers selected some bright yellow stackable stools that could slide under a tall movable island and by personally painted its tall legs a Caribbean blue to bring those happy colors through. To carry the theme though to the bathroom, they selected a shower curtain and accent pieces in blue and natural colors. This project made great use of donated furnishings from Furnish with Love friends. We wish the family all the best on their continued journey!