ROOM TO REBLOOM GIVES DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SURVIVORS SECOND CHANCE
What do interior design and domestic violence have to do with each other? Well, imagine starting from zero, rebuilding your life and then creating a whole new space for your new life.
Since 2012, the hardworking people at Room to Rebloom have been doing just that for domestic violence survivors and their families in the Washington metropolitan area. Founded by Enid McKitrick, the nonprofit works to empower low-income women, who’ve been victims of domestic violence, through interior design. Their motto: “Design. Heal. Grow.”
“We’ve given [the women] a sense of purpose when it comes to their home, a sense of commitment [and] dedication to something that’s new and different,” said volunteer interior designer Kia Weatherspoon. “This type of dedication to one thing, to their own space that’s clean, thoughtful and has a purpose – I think that’s really changing their lives.”
At Room to Rebloom, it’s about more than redesigning homes – it’s about creating spaces, where women can go to feel safe, in control, and strong enough to stand on their own two feet. The clients are involved throughout the entire design process so they feel a sense of ownership.
“I wanted to bring empowerment to a group of people who were very disempowered and the obvious choice was domestic violence survivors,” McKitrick said. “We want these women to feel that they’re worthy of having beauty in their lives.”
STRIVING FOR BETTER
To become a client of Room to Rebloom, the women must already have their own housing, whether it’s a one-bedroom home or an apartment. Furthermore, they must be referred by an organization or program that provides domestic violence survivors with emergency and transitional services and other resources that may come in handy during this difficult time in their lives.
“Without these services, many women end up returning to the abusive relationship, and we need to be sure that a client is stable before we can invest our resources,” McKitrick said. “Once she’s ready for independent housing and has found an apartment, that’s when she is referred to us and we assign one of our designers to work with her.”
Part of Room to Rebloom’s success has to do with the fact that several companies donate furniture, home décor, paint and other much-needed materials. The companies include Ikea, Sherwin Williams, House of Ruth, and the American Society of Interior Designers.
In a way, the newly-designed homes serve as the final step for these women to be able to go on and live the life they’ve always wanted and more importantly, the life they deserve.
“Everyone deserves good design. And the people who need it the most don’t know they don’t have well-designed spaces, they don’t know how to ask for it and they don’t get it,” Weatherspoon said. “You can’t put a dollar amount on how creating these spaces can make people [want to] strive for something better just by putting them in an environment that’s outside their norm.”