First Round of Room Makeovers Go Off With A Bang….And a Few Tears


By Josh Silver

This past Saturday, March 24, 2012, marked the first round of room makeover reveals for Beit T’Shuvah’s Charity Design Project.  A small crowd of residents and designers gathered at the entrance to the first door.  It was a scene reminiscent of children about to open their holiday gifts.  A scene where the only people more excited than the residents are the designers who get to watch their recipients’ faces light up.  For the residents, it was the first time they were allowed to see their new rooms, after 3 weeks of displacement.  For the designers, it was a chance to see, first hand, how their creative contributions will change the lives of these residents.

Working for a charity like Beit T’Shuvah can be a truly unique experience and people seemed to come out of the woodwork (literally, even carpenters) to help with this project.  Silvia Lombardo and Gabriella Toro are two designers who joined creative forces on Room 205 of the male corridor.  For these two women, working with Beit T’Shuvah was a wholly new frontier.   Silvia and Gabriella are the owners of their own design firm, Cippananda Interior Design, where they specialize in high-end clientele. When they were asked to take on the Charity Design Project, “We just said yes without even thinking,” says Gabriella.  “We all have someone that we know with this problem [addiction]…,” says Silvia, “and so it was a rewarding experience.”  Their goal for the room was to create a relaxing and peaceful atmosphere; a comfort zone where the residents could have everything they needed in a small space.  By all accounts, it was a smashing success.  The two men who received this gift ran around the room like kids in a toy store.  Trying out the beds, playing with the dimmer switch (something never seen in a primary care room before), and exploring the wondrous space of their new closets.  The room’s color scheme, black and neutrals, created a clearly masculine atmosphere.  This once dormish-looking room had been transformed into a haven of comfort and style.

Before and After PhotosAfter PhotosCindy Teitelbaum and Lauren Wolf are another dynamic duo.  Their firm, Pastiche Avenue, is more than a business venture—it’s a personal one.  As their website reads, “Large or small, our projects deliver on your vision.”  They have done just that here. “[The residents] need a place to unwind,” says Cindy.  They employed “soothing colors” and “sustainable items” to create a unique and resilient experience for each resident that will pass through these rooms. Pistachio green walls and dark wood furniture are the new rejuvenating yet utilitarian accents.  Not to mention a flat-screen television that will surely become the envy of the female hallways.

All of the residents who were recipients of the transformed living spaces reacted with stark amazement.  Many of them have never lived in a room with so much care and passion put into it.  There was laughter, tears, gasps of shock, and loud exclamations of joy from both the residents and the designers, who were overjoyed that so many of the residents appreciated their hard work.  Designers were flanked by family members who came to the Mini Reveal to observe their loved ones’ life-enhancing work.  With Heidi Bendetson, Founder of Designed from the Heart, and co-chair Rhonda Snyder working as sort of masters of ceremonies for the reveal, everything went off without a hitch.

It wasn’t just the residents and designers who were elated to see the unveiling of Beit T’Shuvah’s transformation.  Beit T’Shuvah staff members popped out of every corner, anxious to see the rooms.  Many of the staff members are former residents themselves.  “This isn’t the same ol’ Beit T’Shuvah,” says Inga, a Resident Intern at Beit T’Shuvah.  As Cantor Rachel Goldman Neubauer walked into a new room, she shed a few quiet tears of bliss and whispered, “I haven’t been in here since I was a resident…it looks amazing.”

Of course, this emotional day was only the beginning.  Work has already begun on the second block of bedrooms at Beit T’Shuvah with another Mini Reveal scheduled in just 3 weeks.  The work that these designers are doing has already made a lasting impact on all of Beit T’Shuvah.  On behalf of the Beit T’Shuvah community, we couldn’t be more grateful.

Stay tuned for more updates, as the heart-thumping, tear-jerking transformation of Beit T’Shuvah continues to take flight.

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9 Comments

Filed under Beit T'Shuvah, Charity Design Project, Current Events, T'Shuvah

9 responses to “First Round of Room Makeovers Go Off With A Bang….And a Few Tears

  1. Heidibendetson

    what a wonderful post Josh, thanks…it brought tears to my eyes…

  2. rongoldberg

    Well done Josh. And the rooms do look great. All the honor to those who gave and give so freely of themselves.

  3. Susan

    Not to burst any bubbles, but where do the residents get to keep their belongings? This room looks great for a short-term stay, or as one room of many the individuals have as personal space, but people live here for months at a time and this is their only space. Having this sort of design imposed on me would have really raised my anxiety levels when I first arrived as a BTS resident. Every other facet of a resident’s life is dictated by the program. Where can the resident go for a measure of necessary psychological relief? I really don’t understand how someone can be expected to live in a small room whose closets are for decoration and not function.

    Great publicity. Not so great for actual living.

    • Alison

      You are not bursting any bubbles…. I think if you came here and saw these rooms you would see how functional everything in them really is and how much the residents love them. These designers have worked so hard donating their time and resources to make these spaces “great for living” not just for publicity. If you woudl like to come have a tour of the project so far we would love to have you. Please feel free to contact the development dept at 310-204-5200 and we’d be happy to set up a tour.

    • Heidibendetson

      Hi Susan,
      I don’t know what your room looked like when you lived at BTS but I image storage wasn’t so great …the designers not only took form into mind but function and created peaceful and useful spaces for healing and comfort…you should go and see the rooms before you judge them here on the blog..the residents though are the true judges…they are very happy…and I hope that you are happy for them Susan.

  4. Russell

    Beautifully redesigned rooms. What a difference and who would not be delighted to call this their home.

  5. I’m so glad everyone liked the reading about the rooms. The designers are doing great and I look forward to covering the reveal for the next block of rooms. Also, Susan…The designers took every detail into account to make sure that the rooms would be durable for years to come. The picture may not do it justice but there is definitely ample storage space. Thank you for the valid concerns.

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  7. Omaha

    Wow! Looks phenomenal!
    Did BTS move to Malibu?

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