Two years ago, we wrote about one of Dallas-based Dwell with Dignity’s projects here in Atlanta. They’d just teamed up with HGTV host and Atlanta Magazine’s HOME columnist Egypt Sherrod, Westside retailer and artist Steve McKenzie, and blogger Dena Stormer (Hearts & Sharts) to equip a three-bedroom apartment for a single mom and her two children. As noted then, DwD—which furnishes residences for families struggling to overcome poverty and homelessness—has always enjoyed strong support from our local design community. And last month, the ATL became home to the nonprofit’s first official chapter outside Texas.
ADAC and AmericasMart veteran Amanda Macy Hall has been hired as full-time managing director of the local office. “I will never forget the first time I met Lisa and Kim,” says Hall, referring to founder/president Lisa Robison and vice-president Kim Turner. “They told story after story of families that have been forever changed by gifts of beautiful homes ripe for building successful futures. Lisa and Kim’s dedication to social change and energy for serving were contagious! I was instantly inspired and deeply impressed by the work that our interiors industry could do for those in need. I knew right then that I had to help!”
Since 2014, DwD has served ten Atlanta families. Strong support has come from retailers like Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams and AuthenTEAK, as well as local showrooms like Christian Mosso, Tritter Feefer, Peacock Alley, Gabby Home, and Classic Home. Last fall, ADAC hosted the first Atlanta Thrift Studio, a month-long pop up shop that is the organization’s largest fundraiser (this year’s event is scheduled to open September 28). In Dallas, the opening night party typically attracts a sell-out crowd of more than 500 designers and consumers. In 2016, the Texas bash raised more than $120,000 in its first three hours—eventually yielding $420,000 through tickets, furniture sales, and sponsorships.
Already this year, the Atlanta chapter has helped a mother and her eight-year-old daughter move into a townhome. The project was spearheaded by Niki Papadopoulos of Mark Williams Design Associates and James Wheeler of J Wheeler Designs. Roswell-based agency HomeStretch nominated the family because of the mom’s hard work in her life skills training courses.
Hall says they hope to tackle at least five more projects here this year. The organization needs furniture donations (especially bed headboards and frames, new mattresses, dining chairs, table and floor lamps with shades, dressers, and small desks), moving assistance, financial donations (often used for household goods like pots and pans, as even pantries get stocked), and volunteer help. Email Hall to learn more about opportunities.
With their clients’ daily needs met, DwD has seen children’s test scores and grades improve. In permanent residences, families can spend more time together and enjoy more stability. In fact, DwD’s projects—nearly 100 since its founding in 2009—prove what designers have always known: There’s nothing like a beautiful home to inspire a happy life.