A Sheltering Space

A few weeks ago, I (Jennifer Sergent) asked the good people here at Hardwood Artisans if they might consider donating a piece of furniture to a local domestic violence shelter – the original post about the less-than-beautiful conditions is on my own blog, here.

Well, not only did they say “yes,” but they decided to build an entire room of furniture for the project, and designer Katie Grech is working on the overall design and color scheme. They also asked two local artists to donate paintings for the wall, and the wife of one of the artists, who is a potter, is donating a bowl.

Owner Ricardo Berrum, Katie, and our marketer, Julianne Yurek, went on a tour of the shelter last week with organizers from Knock Out Abuse, a charity that supports victims of domestic violence. They signed up to design the biggest of the shelter’s bedrooms, which needs to accommodate a family of five.

They will build a custom bunk bed with a trundle bed underneath for the project and a few other pieces.  Here are a few examples of what the bed will look like:

Bunk Bed in red oak

Bunk Bed in red oak

Loft Bed with Pedestal Bed, bookcase headboard and armoire all in maple

Loft Bed with Pedestal Bed, bookcase headboard and armoire all in maple

Loft Bed with Pedestal Bed, bookcase headboard and 4-dr dresser all in birch

Loft Bed with Pedestal Bed, bookcase headboard and 4-dr dresser all in birch

“We want to make sure everyone has their own bed. I really want to create a space that feels like home, that feels calm and makes them feel safe,” Julianne says.

This particular shelter houses families for up to four months, which is more than double the typical stay at most shelters, so it’s important to have a space that feels welcoming and home-like.

The beds, along with dressers they are also building, will be a light birch – a really strong species of wood that can stand up to the abuse of children and several people coming in and out. The color will also complement the blue-green colors Katie wants in there.

The color combination “is very serene,” Julianne says. “It’s perfect for a calming atmosphere, and warm enough so it doesn’t feel like a doctor’s office.”

Artist Bill Firestone is donating this 11” x 14” painting, which is in keeping with the colors of the room:

Bill Firestones painting he is donating to the shelter

Bill Firestone’s painting he is donating to the shelter

“I think this painting could work well. There are nice greens and blues. It’s calming,” Bill says.

Bill’s wife, Stephanie, is donating this bowl, which can be used in the kitchen or dining area:

Stephanie Firestones bowl she is donating to the shelter

Stephanie Firestone’s bowl she is donating to the shelter

In addition, local artist Romina Pereira is producing a custom painting specifically for the room.

The room already has a newly donated rug and window treatments, so Katie will be working with those. Also in the plans are a mirror and a comfy chair. At least one dresser planned for the room will be the proper height to put a baby-changing pad on top. The team is still contemplating how to accommodate all the storage needs in there, so the room doesn’t end up looking like it does now:

We all need proper storage space

We all need proper storage space

“Storage needs are really important,” Katie says, “because they accumulate a lot while they are there.”

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