Upward Bound: LA Designers Create Happy Spaces for Homeless Families

by , 02/01/10

social responsibility, sustainable design, green design, social design, sustainable architecture, green renovation, upward bound house, los angeles

A crowd that included actor/activist Don Cheadle gathered last week to celebrate the completion of the Upward Bound House Family Shelter in Culver City, Los Angeles, what is undeniably one of the prettiest and most cheerful homeless shelters we’ve ever seen. Once the site of a rundown motel with transient tenants, this 18-unit complex received a complete make over by an all-star cast of Los Angeles interior designers. With no budget at all, designers used their creative muscle to transform dark and dreary motel rooms into bright and uplifting spaces for homeless families in need.

social responsibility, sustainable design, green design, social design, sustainable architecture, green renovation, upward bound house, los angeles

Since this was a voluntary project, designers relied entirely on generous donations from familiar vendors and their own resourcefulness to outfit the living spaces, often upcycling gems found on Craigslist and refurbishing them by hand. Each of the spaces exude cheer and optimism, offering the families who will live here temporarily a welcoming and uplifting home — something that that they have not had in quite some time. Each room is designed to accommodate parents and their kids.

Among the stand-outs were the living suite designed by well-known eco-designer and author Kelly LaPlante of Organic Interior Design which contradicted elegant simplicity with thoughtful doodles. Kelly found the chairs and table on Craiglist and painted them fire truck red with eco-friendly non-voc paint. Vanessa De Vargas, lead interior designer for the project, adorned her cheery room in her trademark hue, Turquoise, as well as vintage finds and a graphic headboard. Nicole Sassaman chose a palette of grays and pinks and even recruited her daughter’s school friends to donate toys for the incoming families. Rachel Winokur of Etta Designs brightened up her space with gorgeous eco-friendly wallpaper and re-used high-end sample fabrics to create accent pillows. Nadia Geller used reclaimed wood to create a simple headboard and donated blue jeans to create pillows for the bed. Elizabeth Bomberger based her room design on vintage chinoiserie panels and found her dining table on Craigslist for $75.

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  1. powerhouse February 18, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    i love your work elizabom

  2. powerhouse February 18, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    will you add us to the waiting list i’m 48 she’s 15 yrs old

  3. powerhouse February 18, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    please contact me when you have an opening i hope soon because something is making me sick where i’m living and it’s an emergency for my sake and my 18 yr old dauhter whose on campus

  4. Megan @ WorldofGood.com February 7, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    Fabulous project – I would love to hear how the families enjoy their beautiful digs!

  5. eTTadesigns February 1, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    Great post Haily! It was a wonderful experience and an incredibly supportive collaboration between the designers and vendor donors. I am honored to have been a part of this projec t.

  6. ELIZABOMB February 1, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    Hi this is Elizabeth Bomberger from InSight Interiors, one of the designers who worked on the Upward Bound project. You can see my design on the 1st picture of page 2 and the 2nd picture of page three of the article. If you liked my work and need a designer you may contact me at insightinteriors1@gmail.com. Thanks!

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