As exciting as luxury cabinets, appliances, faucets and backsplashes may be, there’s something far more meaningful –and beautiful — that a kitchen can bring to a family.
“A well-designed kitchen and dining space empowers people to have a true family life,” said Lisa Robison, founder and president of Dwell with Dignity.
Based in Dallas, Dwell with Dignity helps families escape poverty through design and for long time readers of Hadley Court, you know we’ve written several times about Dwell with Dignity and the wonderful work they do.
Today, we thought to share what they’ve done in the arena of kitchen renovations, because of our focus here on the blog over these past two weeks on all things kitchen, due to #KBIS2015 and Leslie Hendrix Wood attending #BlogTourVegas.
And, we sincerely hope more of Leslie’s #BlogTourVegas sponsors might want to get involved with Dwell with Dignity after reading this post. Dwell With Dignity’s founder will also be speaking at the upcoming Design Bloggers Conference in ATL, that Leslie Hendrix Wood, Leslie Carothers and Lynda Quintero -Davids will be attending.
In the last year, Dwell with Dignity coordinated several kitchen renovations for needy families, usually in small apartments or first homes, often transforming dark, dingy, cluttered and unorganized spaces like the one below to an inviting, comfortable and organized space, offering a fresh start to the recipients.
The before-and-after transformation above was part of a “Homes4Heroes” project for veteran families, and featured countertops and tile donated by Daltile. The mother in the family, Trista, beamed as she shared with Robison of an experience with her daughters following the renovation. “She talked about being in the kitchen with her apron on, and her two daughters, aged 11 and 9, were there with her helping her make dinner as her husband spoke to them from the living room. She was thrilled to have a gathering place to bring the family together.”
The kitchen table below was set for a young single mother and her 3-year-old daughter to celebrate the completion of a renovation done by Dwell with Dignity in collaboration with a local chapter of the International Design Society (IDS). “The mother was so excited to have the opportunity to teach her daughter table manners for the first time,” said Robison.
Here’s what the kitchen looked like before Dwell with Dignity’s transformation:
Whenever Dwell with Dignity completes the design of a space, they stock all the kitchen cabinets with new pots, pans, plates and utensils and fill the pantry and refrigerator with food, with the help of Nathan Grace Real Estate and The Container Store. They also cook the first meal for the family and set the kitchen table, always with fresh flowers.
“Because of their new kitchen and dining space, many of these families are empowered for the first time to have a place to celebrate birthdays, holidays, special occasions and to have play dates,” said Robison. “It gives the children a place to do their homework. It breaks the cycle of eating on the run in front of the TV and gives them a place to enjoy the social parts of life and create special memories.”
The before and after kitchen below was done for a family nominated by the Genesis Women’s Shelter, a mother and two girls aged 4 and 6:
“This was such a tiny apartment, and I love how we were able to get really creative with storage,” said Robison. “The mom loves to cook, and we were able to create storage on the wall for spices and utensils, because they only had one drawer to work with. I also love the blue color and the decorative Mexican plates above the cabinets, which bring in the mom’s heritage.”
While the majority of the projects Dwell with Dignity did in the last year were for families, they also did two community spaces, including this colorful and whimsical — but very well designed and functional — kitchen and dining space for The Ebby House, a home for young women turning 18 who have aged out of foster care and are in transition:
“We wanted the kitchen and dining area to be a happy place,” said Robison. “We wanted to create an inviting place to foster community, but it also had to be very functional to make it easy for 12 girls to prepare and clean up meals.”
Here’s a look at The Ebby House gutted kitchen space before Dwell with Dignity’s loving and skilled touch:
The profound impact of an inviting kitchen space is poignantly portrayed by Dwell with Dignity in this 3-minute video highlighting their 2014 kitchen renovations. As the video states, “New kitchens bring new hope…new kitchens bring fresh starts…and healing…they restore pride…and joy…they turn stress into stability and peace.”
I don’t know about you, but this makes me appreciate my own kitchen more and not take for granted all the joyful and special occasions that a kitchen makes possible. And it makes me so grateful for the work of Dwell with Dignity, giving others the opportunity to experience an essential part of gracious living!
If, after reading this, you’re encouraged to find out more about Dwell With Dignity and how you can get involved, make a donation, or just help them spread the word about their work, please click through to their website here:
Kim Darden Shaver
Leslie Hendrix Wood
Founder, Editor In Chief
Gracious Living. Timeless Design. Family Traditions.
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Photo 1 & 4: Credit to Ruda Anderson of RUDA Anderson Photography.
Photos 3, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11 & 13: Credit to Lance Selgo of Unique Exposure Photography.
All other photos courtesy Dwell with Dignity.