We always say The Feel Good Makeovers are our absolute favorite part of this job. In the past, we’ve worked with the amazing Pen + Napkin team to furnish and decorate homes for families transitioning out of homelessness, and last year we partnered with them to help these Feel Good Makeover Takeovers go national. Recently our friends at Pen + Napkin wrapped another project where they completely furnished and decorated two four-bedroom houses in partnership with another amazing organization called CherishedLA. If this project sounds at all familiar, you may have seen it promoted on our Instagram stories, and if you are one of the many who donated, THANK YOU.
If up until now you haven’t heard of CherishedLA, I want to first highlight the incredible work they do. I chatted with Kayla, their program coordinator, to get the story behind this organization that changes lives:
She explained, “CherishedLA is a two-year, faith-based residential program for single, female adult survivors of sex trafficking. We walk alongside women on their journey to recovery, healing, and stability. Our Founder, Kate Wedell, is a survivor herself and we emphasize trauma-focused narrative therapy in our programming. Kate started CherishedLA in 2011 with outreach and support groups to help other women in similar situations to what she had experienced. We have since grown to include our residential program and a social enterprise. In the social enterprise, residents receive job training making organic bath and body products, fair-trade jewelry, and clothing.”
After seeing and hearing about the work they do, we were not at all surprised that CherishedLA and Pen + Napkin would make a great team.
When I asked how the two organizations came together, I learned Catie (Founder of Pen + Napkin) saw Kate (Founder of CherishedLA) speak years ago before Pen + Napkin even came to exist. She felt that God was connecting them even back then. When CherishedLA needed help with their two safe houses, Kate spoke with the Pen + Napkin team about what a partnership would look like. She explained the importance of creating beautiful spaces for survivors to have, to do their healing during transition. This sentiment obviously resonated with Pen + Napkin who know how a furnished home can change lives. Catie presented the project to their Pen + Napkin 101 Class that is full of passionate designers eager for project assignments and soon had enough people sign up for both installs. Then they got to work.
Both homes were mostly empty and needed some love. The first home was completed by two design students who go to SFSU (which speaks to the fact that you don’t have to be a professional designer – you just have to be willing). This second home design that you are about to see was led by Catie, with help from CherishedLA and eager volunteers. Together, they created a fully furnished and decorated home for the residents to heal and enjoy.
Poly & Bark donated all the large pieces for the living and dining room. The two sofas and accent chairs create a cozy conversational space that is big enough for all residents to enjoy. A large area rug adds another layer of warmth.
Bright and happy colors were essential to creating an inviting oasis, which was achieved through art, decor, greenery, and of course, paint.
Oh, how CUTE are these place settings? I love the multicolor floral napkins and that flower arrangement centerpiece is a beautiful touch.
Each bedroom is painted a different color because when the project began, several residents who had been with the program for a while wanted to get involved with the design. Each resident chose the color for their room and painted it themselves. Then the designers who helped with the project worked within the color palette to build designs that would be happy and welcoming.
Catie and the Pen + Napkin team wanted to do more than just furnish the home. Furniture is obviously important in making a house feel like a home, but decor is also essential to bring personality and life to a space. She wanted to transform a generic room to a room that can really provide an environment for hope and healing with beauty and intention. We love the neon light signs and plants that bring literal light and life to the rooms.
Not only is each room a different color, but they are also decorated differently to feel welcoming and personal. Each room has its own display of art including motivational typography, photos of different cities, and abstract paintings.
There’s Pen + Napkin’s fearless leader, Catie, hanging some art in one of the bedrooms.
Motivational art and typography are sprinkled throughout the home to encourage the residents to stay positive. This area of the home is equipped with art supplies so the residents can create art and explore their creativity.
This “Never Give Up” neon sign adds a playful touch and acts as an uplifting reminder to the residents.
The last thing they did was create a beautiful garden (unfortunately not pictured) that was a dream of the CherishedLA team ever since they opened the homes. They had a painting of this dream backyard and one of the designers (Jenae Noonan) saw the painting and decided to help make it a reality. She took several of the elements in the painting and created an amazing garden.
It is always our honor to promote Pen + Napkin and share their mission and work with the world, and today that’s especially true because we’ve been introduced to another incredible organization. We know these two homes will bring so much joy and healing to the residents, thanks to the devoted staff and volunteers from both organizations.
Now we’d like to give a huge, tremendous, overwhelming thank you to everyone at CherishedLA and Pen + Napkin for devoting their time, energy, and focus to make the world a better place and for allowing us to have a small part in sharing their incredible work. We cannot sing their praises enough and encourage everyone to follow both CherishedLA and Pen + Napkin, and consider volunteering or donating if you can. You can check out Pen + Napkin’s next project here.