One Room Challenge Week One: Meet Our Family + See the Design Plan

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One Room Challenge Week One: Meet Our Family + See the Design Plan

It’s Week One of the One Room Challenge and it’s only fitting that we begin by getting to know the family that will soon receive a Dwell with Dignity Atlanta home interior!

We first met Tie and her 3 boys during a special dinner at the Rainbow Village community house. After a long and typical day beginning at 3 AM shuffling to and from her workplace, taking her two youngest boys to and from school and after-school programs, and before going to college for her evening classwork, Tie finally sat down for dinner in the Rainbow Village dining room. 

Tie sweetly smiled throughout the meal, lovingly looking upon her happy children, but the anticipation and fear of a new chapter was clearly weighing on her soul. This special dinner was Tie’s official graduation from the Rainbow Village two-year, live-in program for families escaping homelessness. Tie has excelled in every way possible during her stay at Rainbow Village and her graduation ceremony is a much deserved event to celebrate her achievements and send her off with blessings into the next chapter of her life.

Tie’s journey to this moment at Rainbow Village was a frightening uphill battle of deep sacrifices, physical pain and emotional scarring. With 3 sweet boys looking up to her, trusting in her and following her lead, one evening Tie packed all she could into the trunk of her car, asked her children to get in and then heroically closed the door on an abusive relationship. Not knowing exactly what to do now, but knowing that leaving was the most important next step, Tie and her boys found themselves homeless taking up temporary residence in hotel rooms whenever possible but sometimes spending nights in their small sedan.

Providing stability and safety for her family was of utmost importance for this courageous mother. Tie began calling homeless agencies and churches to seek the help that would allow them to survive. One of her calls was to a local Catholic church where Barbara D, a volunteer staffer, answered the phone and instantly recognized the voice on the other end as the former full-time caretaker for her husband. A couple of years earlier, Tie had been instrumental in tending to the every physical and emotional need of Barbara’s husband during his final year of life. Now hearing that Tie was in trouble, Barbara sprung into action and helped her connect with Rainbow Village.

It was then that the joy came back into Tie’s life. Her perseverance was strengthened and her fears began to subside as she committed to the Rainbow Village mission and programs. Over the course of the next two years, Tie took countless courses on life skills, finance, parenting, and more while her boys enrolled in top-quality after school care, tutoring, sports clubs and extracurricular activities with Rainbow Village.

Tie and her boys found a new community that was rooted in admirable values and surrounded in safety. This was exactly what they needed to get back on their feet, regain control and once again feel true joy and happiness. But on the night that I am meeting Tie for the first time, though she is filled with joy and faith again, the fear of the unknown is clear when you look into her eyes.

She receives hugs and hears testaments to her hard work and the character of children from mentors, staffers, teachers and friends. Well wishes are abundant and every single person in the large dining room knows without a doubt that Tie will be successful in her next journey. But the Dwell with Dignity team understands her fear and that is where our mission begins.

We believe that your home should reflect your best self. It should be a place of comfort, an inspiring destination to live out your dreams and a safe haven to nurture yourself and your loved ones. Often times the joy of a new home quickly wears off when you are confronted with the costs and effort associated with adding furnishings. Although our families have overcome homelessness and now have a roof over their heads, they often still do not have a bed to sleep on, blankets to keep warm, the tools to create meals, and tables to do school work and to dine together.

In the most simplest of terms, Dwell with Dignity’s mission is to make a house a home.

The Design

  • Dwell with Dignity Atlanta One Room Challenge Before Living Room
  • Dwell with Dignity Atlanta One Room Challenge Before Dining Room
  • Dwell with Dignity Atlanta One Room Challenge Before Dining Room

Cate Dunning and Lathem Gordon of GordonDunning have put together an immaculate design plan for Tie’s 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment! After spending an evening getting to know Tie, our lead designers quickly realized how hard Tie works day in and day out to provide for her 3 boys. Immediately GordonDunning set out to build a design that would encourage relaxation but also keep Tie and her young family feeling energized to keep going and excelling!

Color, brightness and life are iconic elements found in every GordonDunning space and Tie’s home will be filled with them! Cate and Lathem crave colors and believe that they signify new life and joy. With Spring upon us and a new chapter of life for Tie and her family beginning, GordonDunning will be designing with bold, bright geometrics expertly mixed with modern florals.

Cate and Lathem are founding members of the Dwell with Dignity Atlanta family and have seen first hand (many times!) the impact that a complete home can have on a family. They are absolutely in love with telling beautiful life stories and showcasing family dynamics through design, and this project will be no exception. Tie’s space will incorporate inspirational moments from their past that lay a foundation for cultivating years and years worth of new family memories. The perfect mix of feeling at home combined with the excitement of a new future!

As GordonDunning creates their layouts and sources their furnishings, they are keenly keeping in mind that this home needs to adapt and grow to help Tie’s family continue to set and achieve their stability goals. Every detail of the apartment home has to work hard for our family – we are thinking creatively about storage solutions, dedicated school work spaces, the ability to host out of town family members, and fun areas that encourage family time memory making.

The Dwell with Dignity team knows that our families work hard we are dedicated to making sure that their homes do nothing but improve their day-to-day well being.

Volunteer with Dwell with Dignity Atlanta!

Up Next…

We will host Volunteer DIY Workdays where we will build headboards, give new life to family furniture, create an ottoman and add thoughtful details all over the place!

Want to volunteer? Sign up here!

Help us support this Atlanta family! Donations are instrumental in providing linens, kitchen items, mattresses, towels, pantry staples and more. Donate here!

Need to catch up? Read the One Room Challenge Intro Post here.


Dwell with Dignity designs and installs complete home interiors for families who desperately need an environment that will support health and wellness. Our mission is to help families escape poverty and homelessness through design; one household at a time. We empower families to lead their best lives and to thrive in a safe, functional, and beautiful environment.

Dwell with Dignity works with agencies that have programs in place to take families from homelessness & poverty to self-sufficiency.  Often times, after a family has received all of the counseling, training, and support from our partner agencies, they find themselves struggling to provide a home in which they can thrive. Dwell with Dignity addresses this critical economic need through our mission.

We create inspiring home interiors with the labor of dedicated volunteers and with the generosity of our donors. Dwell with Dignity works with interior designers and members of the trade to furnish the families’ homes including all furniture, art, bedding, kitchen supplies, food in the pantry and their first night’s meal. Our goals are to bring good design to those less fortunate, inspiring them to maintain a standard of living they can be proud of and thrive in.

We feel that if we can change a person’s environment, we can change a person’s outlook on life. When we provide our families a place to be proud of and thrive in, we have set the stage for breaking the cycle of poverty and setting up future generations for success.

Help Support Our Mission >

By |2018-08-08T04:32:13+00:00April 4th, 2017|Atlanta, Our Blog|1 Comment

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Managing Director, Dwell with Dignity - Atlanta

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