Before & After: The Hartland Hotel Charity Project

Today I’m sharing a charity design project I worked on that started with an email from the team at One Kings Lane. They were working with the Hartland Hotel, a location providing affordable supportive housing to those transitioning out of homelessness, located in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood. Their task was to give the common area a design makeover that residents would love coming home to. When they reached out to me to see if I’d join forces with them as the designer for the charity project, my answer was an instant “yes!” One of my greatest passions is elevating the way people feel through beauty and design and I was so thrilled to try and do this for the residents at the Hartland Hotel.

Here’s what the space looked like BEFORE I began:

One of the reasons I’ve crafted a career for myself in interiors is because I believe whole-heartedly that the spaces we live in have a profound affect on the quality of our lives. Have you ever noticed that when you’re in a beautiful, welcoming space your productivity and happiness instantly grows? That’s the power of beauty and I’m endlessly energized by bringing that to others. Needless to say, I was excited to get started.

The first task at hand was to come up with my inspiration. I wanted to liven up the space and give it personality, while still creating a calm and serene feel for the tenants to come home to. I decided a deep blue on the walls, Benjamin Moore’s Hudson Bay, would be the perfect starting point. I also chose this color to tie in with the blue floors, which we couldn’t change, to help make them look more intentional. For the furniture and decor selection, I had a bit of a design challenge on my hands: for upkeep reasons, I wasn’t allowed to use any upholstered furniture, and also had to provide seating for 12-15 people. Not an easy feat in a small space that you’re trying to cozy up. But I worked within the constraints, thanks to One Kings Lane’s vast selection of home furnishings, and must say, I’m totally pleased with the results.

I tempered the vibrant blue paint I chose for the walls with some large pieces of artwork. To create a curated look I pulled light-colored pieces, in my signature neutral tones, that really pop against the dark walls (I used the same strategy for the furniture palette). I also mixed in a few mirrors to help bounce the light around the room so that it feels bright and happy.

And speaking of happy, the most special piece in the space to me is a custom art piece by the talented Timothy Lamb that reads “Home Is Where the Hart Is,” which is the Hartland Hotel’s motto. When the tenants first saw the custom piece, they went absolutely crazy for it, which was pretty wonderful to witness.

Seeing it all come together on our installation day was a moment I’ll never forgot. During that twelve hour day, I got to really know some of the tenants and hear their inspiring stories of overcoming trying times. It made me feel even more honored to have been invited into their home and to have the opportunity to hopefully bring them a deeper sense of home, beauty, and peace through design. I saw firsthand the way the tenants’ faces lit up as they watched the space take shape, and for me that’s what it’s all about: bringing a slice of beauty to someone’s world.

To read more about this project, you can head over to the One Kings Lane blog and read my interview.

(A special thanks to Ali and Emily at One Kings Lane for partnering with me. And a huge thank you to Kelli Ryder, who graciously assisted me on this project!)

Photography: Aubrie Pick