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Visit the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service website, and you’ll see this: “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?” Each year, Americans across the country answer that question by coming together on the King Holiday to serve their neighbors and communities.” In researching this post, I learned about some awesome ways those with a passion for interior design or crafts are volunteering their skills and talents to make a difference in other people’s lives. I share two of them with you.

  • Bhutanese Kudzu Basket Project – Atlanta: A call to help Bhutanese refugees, victims of ethnic cleansing new to the Atlanta area, led to a repurposing of “the vine that ate the South.” With the support of volunteers, the refugees have been empowered to harvest kudzu growing near their apartment complexes, use traditional techniques to weave baskets and sell them at local shops, festivals and farmer’s markets. That’s how I learned about the Bhutanese Refugee Support Group Atlanta. The work of these refugee artisans help pay for rent and other essentials. I hope they open an Etsy shop someday!

  • Blissful Bedrooms – NYC: NPR recently reported about this nonprofit “committed to transforming the bedrooms of young people living with disabilities.” These stellar bedroom makeovers are all the work of volunteers. And the transformations make a tremendous difference in the lives of these differently-abled young people who are frequently confined to their bedrooms. The reveals when they first enter their new Blissful Bedrooms are joyful times a zillion!

Do you felt toy animals for an orphanage or knit blankets for a domestic violence shelter? Have you donated your interior design talents to renovate a chapel or your handiness with tools to help winterize a senior citizen’s home?

Let us know. We’d love to hear from you on this MLK Day.

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So, I spent a good portion of September traveling to New York, San Francisco and everywhere between while Husband stayed home doing what he does best: building things. And one of those things he built? Well… you’ll just have to see for yourself:

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Tune in one hour earlier this Sunday night at 9/8c for the season finale of  HGTV Showdown. Former Showdown champs Vern Yip and Angelo Surmelis team up with carpenters Anthony Gilardi (team Vern) and James Lunday (team Angelo) take on this disjointed and dated kitchen/mudroom.


How will Vern and Angelo tackle this challenge? Will they add new flooring? Remove the wall dividing the two spaces to create one large kitchen? Bring in new cabinets or new appliances? What would you do to update this room?

 On the topic of your thoughts, how would you caption this photo?

hhgsd304_guy-funny-blog-smallKimando gave us this gem: “Napkins are plentiful as Anthony and Vern practice the ancient tradition of rubbing a kitchen god’s head to bring them luck in their kitchen renovation.”

Think you can come up with something better? Well, bring it on! Head on over to the Showdown blog and show us what you got!

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We’ve got a fresh, action-packed episode ready for you this Sunday night at 10/9c. Host Jamie Durie challenges our celebrity teams: Sabrina Soto (Get It Sold) and Drew Lachey (host of HGTV’s $250,000 Challenge) versus Matthew Finlason (The Stagers) and Kristi Yamaguchi (yes, Olympic Gold Medalist Kristi Yamaguchi) to see who can best update this seriously dated bonus room in just four hours.

basement-before-blog-smallWill they ditch the ugly flooring? Pry the barn wood off the walls? De-plush the support beam? What would you do to update this room?

On the topic of your thoughts, how would you caption this photo?:kristi-jamie-blog-small

I’d say, it looks like Charlie’s got a new Angel. Got a better one? Head over to the Showdown blog and bring on the funny.

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If you haven’t checked out HGTV’s new show, Dear Genevieve, what are you waiting for? It’s one of the network’s newest makeover shows, and it’s hosted by a designer you may recognize. I first fell for Genevieve Gorder when she was an unpretentious, bouncy, barefooted designer on Trading Spaces whose work was almost always wow-worthy. As the host and designer of Dear Genevieve, she’s slightly more composed but just as passionate. From what I’ve seen so far, Genevieve carries her own show with grace and exuberance and offers up plenty of good design and creative ideas to boot.

If you’ve missed Dear Genevieve, here’s a look back and a sneak peek of the episode premiering tonight at 8:30 p.m. On the show’s premiere, Genevieve went above and beyond for a family of six, even taking them to get their first family photos in more than a decade for wall art that’s truly memorable. Genevieve created several storage solutions and activity zones and left this deserving family with a stylish, functional space. Check it out!

Before: A Space Plan That Wasn't Working and a Lack of Storage, Organization and Style

Before: A Space Plan That Wasn't Working

After: Fabulous for the Entire Family

After: Fabulous for the Entire Family

In tonight’s episode, Genevieve takes on a dark, paneled basement.
Before: Boxed-In and Mismatched Basement

Before: Boxed-In and Mismatched Basement

After: Colorful and Current
After: Colorful, Current and Personalized

Like what you see? Get in on it! Upload your problem room(s) here and Genevieve just might knock on your door! Be specific about your design dilemma, and be sure to show off your family’s personality in your video.

And, please. Tell us what you think about Dear Genevieve.
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Today marks 45 days until Christmas! For those of you who can’t get enough of the holidays, stay tuned to HGTV. Last night, Deserving Design’s Vern Yip and his team of elves gave an early gift to a very deserving homeowner. Gloria Bernard has spent most of her life helping others. This wife and mother makes quilts for those in need including disaster victims, homeless, homebound and soldiers and their families. Gloria won a new French Country kitchen. She got her wish for butcher block countertop, maple cabinets and an island complete with a rooster focal point. The wall between the kitchen and dining room was removed, so Vern continued the theme into that space. Vern purchased three sets of dishes and housed them in new corner cabinets.

Before: Old, Outdated, Mismatched

After: Clean, Charming, Functional

A dining room ready for holiday entertaining.

Vern’s team didn’t stop with the kitchen makeover. They also focused their attention in a room that easily could have been overlooked – the downstairs laundry room. What was once a cramped, cluttered multi-purpose space where Gloria quilted, washed clothes and even cut hair became a jaw-dropping transformation. Vern’s team replaced an ugly drop ceiling with cracked copper finish tile, painted the walls in a deep, soothing green, and created three storage stations. A glass-topped center work table holds a sewing machine and more baskets for storage. “My laundry room” is spectacular,” Gloria said. I would have to agree.


Before: Cramped, Cluttered, Unattractive


After: Stylish, Sleek, Inviting

For more of Vern’s style tips and to see when you can catch this special holiday episode, visit the Deserving Design show page.

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