Room Service Atlanta: The Journey Begins


I've been working my fingers to the bone with Room Service Atlanta, and I'm so glad to finally see everything take off!

The Nicholas House has 12 residential rooms and the capability to house up to 45 people at a time. In addition to residental rooms, there's also a cafeteria, adult education room, computer room, child center/learning room, and 2 common areas (entryway and lounge).  The shelter is located in the Grant Park neighborhood of Atlanta  in a house that's 108 years old, so you can imagine what that means for the residential rooms--most are very small and none have closets, as it wasn't very common  back in 1903.

Monday we assembled (most of) the designers and did a group tour of the facility. Each designer selected a room, took photos, and jotted down important measurements. The smallest room accomodates a family of 2 (1 parent, 1 child) and the largest room can house a family of 10 (can you imagine 2 adults and 8 children in a space that's slightly larger than your Master Bedroom?? Humbling experience.). I initially selected one of the smallest 2 person rooms, but last minute changes meant me taking a 3 person room upstairs.  Here's a look at the room I'll be transforming:
This project is heartbreaking but also so inspiring--it's easy to wake up in the morning, read blogs, and go about our daily routines forgetting that we really are lucky. On any given night in Atlanta, over 1200 family members are without a place to stay, 800 of whom are children. 
The Nicholas House is a transitional shelter, not an emergency shelter, which means families can stay up to 2 years while they work to get back on their feet. Most residents stay an average of 9-11 months before transitioning into a more permanent place of their own.
Without firsthand experience, it's hard to imagine what it would be like to have your entire family in one room.  If you had to leave your home today, how would you decide what to take and what to leave? Summer clothes, winter clothes, important papers, heirloom furniture, electronics, toys, books, magazines, cooking utensils, etc--imagine you, your family, and all of your possessions in one room. It's not pretty, it's not always comfortable, but step by step they're doing what they can to rebuild their lives.
I'm so, so honored to be a co-founder of this project.  It's such an inspiration to see what people can do when they come together to give back to their community. Our installation dates are April 25-29, and I'm excited to get started on my plan! Over the next few weeks I'll be documenting my design process and keeping you abreast of the Room Service Atlanta milestones along the way.  A great big thanks goes out to our Participating Designers, for without them this wouldn't be possible:
If you're interesting in lending a helping hand or donating goods, please click here or leave me a comment indicating so--your donations are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated!