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Volunteer Spotlight

Selena Hutcheson is a talented and dedicated volunteer who touches almost every project we install in some thoughtful way. She takes the towels, sheets, comforters, curtain panels, and linens home to wash, dry, iron and label. When Selena delivers them to the warehouse, they are hanging in beautifully organized groupings, labeled with each room name. That is a huge gift when you are scurrying around trying to furnish an apartment in one day.

Even more impressive than her organizational skills are her sewing skills. For our latest project, she made a bolster pillow by padding a long swimming pool noodle and sewing a fabric cover. She hems curtains, adds texture to plain items with trim, reupholsters items, and much more. Here's a bit about Selena and how she got started on her design journey...

Even as a little girl, I was passionate about decorating. Out of my 3 siblings, I was the only one who spent time rearranging my furniture and making pretend houses from pine straw in the woods beside our house. One of my childhood besties had wicker furniture for her Barbie house. Of course, I nominated myself to be in charge of arranging Barbie’s furniture! I was the only one in my family who went with my parents on their frequent Sunday afternoon drives to look at new homes. At age 10, I told my mom I was going to be an interior designer when I grew up. Even though I went in a completely different direction in college, I never lost my passion for beautiful design.

After many years working in the legal field, I chose to become a stay at home mom. After taking sewing classes and making window treatments for my own home, I opened a home based custom soft furnishings workroom in 1998. Since then, I have invested much time in learning all I can about the custom soft furnishings fabrication business, earning various professional

certifications and attending numerous workshops and national tradeshows. Currently, I am active in several online workroom groups and started learning upholstery a few years ago. As a subscriber to the blog of one of my favorite designers, Tobi Fairley, I read a post in 2014 about Tobi being named Honorary Chair of a Dallas fundraiser. After reading that blog post, I was curious to learn more about this organization, Dwell with Dignity, which has a similar mission to Furnish with Love's.

I loved the idea of helping families coming out of homelessness and was thrilled when some years later a DWD Atlanta chapter was started. I immediately signed up to volunteer. In completing the volunteer questionnaire, I responded that my skills were “sewing and light upholstery.” The first time I volunteered, I thought I was going to be upholstering headboards, but was handed a paint brush instead. This was shocking to me, as someone who had never painted anything. I quickly learned that all help was appreciated and latex paint is very forgiving!

When DWD closed their Atlanta chapter, I was so glad that Furnish with Love was born. Volunteering with FWL is something that is a great fit for my skills. Being able to share my talent this way is so rewarding and I love seeing the finished projects that the incredibly talented designers create for all the wonderful Furnish with Love families. It truly is a joy to see the happiness a beautifully designed and furnished home brings to these familys' lives.

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