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New Nonprofit Brings Dignity To Home Life

Photo: Kerry Kirk

By Diane Cowen

Arica Bibbs strode up the sidewalk to her Houston home, her two sons in tow — one lagging behind and the other racing for the steps to their second-floor apartment.

Monday was a big day for Bibbs, a single mother who has struggled with poverty, homelessness and, sometimes, hopelessness.

But on this day, she’s none of those things. She’s starting the newest chapter in her life, one that has reached a peak with an apartment makeover courtesy of one of Houston’s newest nonprofits, the Houston chapter of Dwell with Dignity.

Last week, she left for a Woman Evolve faith conference in Denver and knew that the Houston chapter planning committee Nancy Cameron, Julie Dodson, Sharon Sudbury Staley and Leslie Carothers and their crew of volunteers and donors had been busy in her apartment.

For the project, she was asked to get rid of all her furnishings and décor — pay it forward by giving it to someone else who needed them.

And in return, her interior design fairy godmothers brought in furniture, art, accessories, even kitchen and pantry essentials, for an entirely new environment.

“I’m elated. I’ve never lived like this before,” said Bibbs, who has two college degrees but has been homeless three times in her life. “I’ve been so busy with my kids and school and work, I couldn’t even think about this. Nothing was pretty, but it is so pretty now.”

http://planetapaz.org/es/biblioteca/nuestras-publicaciones?task=document.viewdoc Houston’s big hearts

Just a few days ago, the Houston Dwell with Dignity workers were scrubbing floors, painting walls and vacuuming carpet. They’d spent months gathering furniture and accessories for their first local project, a home installation they hope will kick-start a fundraising campaign.

“We’ve gotten our first project behind us, now we have a story to tell and photos to show,” said  Kim Turner, who co-founded Dwell with Dignity in Dallas a decade ago with Lisa Robison. Turner came to Houston for Monday’s big reveal. Turner founded the group a decade ago in Dallas before spreading to Atlanta and, now, Houston. The idea here began in 2013, when Cameron had heard about the organization and knew there were enough big hearts in Houston’s interior design community for another organization that helps families live in better conditions.

Next they’ll launch a fundraising campaign for staffing and warehouse space to store donations from individuals and corporations. Their goal now is to have a monthly home makeover project.

Dodson and her friends brought in boxes of accessories and supervised movers from Luxe Delivery and Storage who brought in the beds, sofa, chairs, tables and other large items they’d trucked over.

With every load and unpacked box, the 1,100-square-foot home of Bibbs and her 6- and 13-year-old sons took shape.

“I had an idea that surely, with all the interior design we do — with furniture coming and going, old being replaced with new — surely, we can harvest it and give it back to the community,” said Cameron, of Nancy Cameron Interior Decoration. Today’s project was the local chapter’s first installation, but it didn’t happen overnight.

Photo: Kerry Kirk

From the start, Dodson, of Dodson Interiors, has taken the lead gathering furniture donations and raising money. She generated $7,500 at a dinner with Carson Kressley at the Arbors during Texas Antiques Week in Round Top. Carothers handles social media, and they all have rolled up their sleeves to clean, pack and haul home furnishings into Bibbs’ upstairs apartment near NRG Park. The women removed everything, from furniture to kitchen essentials and even food, and are replacing it all — with donated goods and a budget of $5,000.

The goal of Dwell with Dignity is to transform lives through design: take homes from places that simply provide shelter, to spaces that are beautiful and functional and make those who live in them feel valued.

“I think being house proud is very enabling, especially for kids,” Cameron said. “To have a home where they want to have friends over and the family can have dinner together and interact with one another and not just survive. Having a comfortable bed is important, having a comfortable home is important, with proper lighting to do homework, it’s all uplifting.”

The group found Bibbs through Main Street Ministries, a faith-based social-services agency that helps people overcome challenges, including poverty, homelessness and substance abuse. One of its programs is Family Hope, six months of classes through which people set goals and create a plan to achieve them, said Kathie Hartzog, director of programs at Main Street Ministries.

Bibbs was in the first group of Family Hope graduates. Some 30 people have gone through it and another 20 are participating now. Hartzog said that four more sessions are planned for 2019.

Hard times

The 33-year-old Houston native has had setbacks in her life. She was homeless as a child, then, after giving birth to her first child, she found herself homeless and without a job. She stayed at the Star of Hope homeless shelter for a month.

She earned a degree in biology at Prairie View A&M University, then later, while earning a master’s degree in counseling at Texas Southern University, she lost her job and was homeless again.

Always a paycheck or tragedy away from being homeless, Bibbs felt trapped in poverty. Without a car and living in public housing, all she could find was a minimum wage job in a thrift store that was within walking distance. Each time she got a better job with better pay, her rent was increased. When she earned enough to buy a car, she no longer qualified for food stamps.

She was engaged to be married and pregnant with her now-6-year-old son when her fiance was killed in a car accident — one more tragedy added to a long list. But she found Main Street Ministries, and its Family Hope program helped her set goals and see how she could achieve them.

“I think it’s going to make them feel so valued and encouraged. Just the fact that people around them continue to believe in them and want to encourage them,” said Hartzog of the Dwell with Dignity makeover. “The boys know how hard she works. It will make them feel the same, they’ll feel so hopeful.”

Before the transformation, Bibbs had only the basics. There was a small sofa and TV in the living room. Her sons had small beds and little more. In her own room, she slept on the bare mattress from a sleeper sofa that she laid on the floor of her room.

Now, though, a beautiful bed with an upholstered headboard and blush-pink bedding is centered in her room, and a nightstand with a lamp sits nearby. Her clothes are hung on matching hangers, and fluffy new towels are stacked neatly in the Jack-and-Jill bathroom the family of three shares.

An upholstered sofa, chair and rug provide a place for the family to hang out in the living room, and a table and chairs off of the kitchen is where they’ll share meals. The boys’ room is decorated in blue and red with matching twin headboards and bedding. A rack on the wall holds Texans T-shirts and hats, plus a couple of Astros hats.

It’s not just the big stuff — furniture and accessories — that are new. Dwell with Dignity brought in new dishes, glasses, pans and kitchen essentials. They even asked Bibbs for a grocery list, and when she arrived home Monday, it was to a refrigerator and cabinets filled with fresh food.

Cameron, Dodson, Staley, Carothers and others called on friends and their own regular vendors to gather everything for Monday’s project. Some of the furnishings are new, but other things were gathered from resale shops and big box stores like Target and Ikea. Donors include the delivery company, which provided free labor, but also furniture and accessories from a long list of stores and showrooms: Rug Mart, Downright, Peacock Alley, the Joseph Company, Lam Bespoke, Stetzel and Associates, the Longoria Collection and the Ken Kehoe and Codarus showrooms.

A special donation came in for the boys — a Texans football autographed by J.J. Watt — a treat that Dodson acquired through her interior design clients Matt and Laurie Schaub. Matt Schaub is an Atlanta Falcons quarterback who earlier in his career played for the Texans.

Perhaps the best gift of all was in a small utility room accessed from her balcony: a washer and dryer.

“Now I don’t have to walk a mile to do my laundry,” Bibbs said, grinning ear to ear. “I had to carry baskets full of heavy laundry to the laundromat. Now it’s right here.”

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Designer Profile: Sharon Sudbury Staley, FASID

Originally Seen in the November edition of Houston House & Home

Thornblade-Bathroom copyGrowing up in the industry, Sharon Sudbury Staley shares the same passion for exquisite furniture as her father, who was president of the Furniture Association.
A Houstonian, she lived in both Meyerland and Bellaire, and she also attended Bellaire High School.

Where did you get your early training as a designer?
My father owned three furniture stores in Houston, and I worked for him until he retired. I had signed a lease to open a furniture store on Westheimer only to find out that they were starting to widen the street. Mary Ann Bryan (Bryan Design Associates) offered me a job, and my first project was the Houstonian Hotel. She was the first President of ASID in Houston. I had the opportunity to work with many great designers while at her firm, and we are all still active in the design community.

What is your most memorable or challenging job?
I think every job creates memories. Some are more challenging than others. Designers are problem solvers, so I try to listen to clients’ needs, wants and desires. I think clients have a vision of what they want their home to look and feel like. They just do not know how to achieve that on their own. We are very aware of budgets and always try to get the best values for the products and services we suggest. My most challenging installation was a ranch that had a short deadline, and when we arrived a week before, there was no working plumbing or air conditioning. It was a miracle that job got installed – but thanks to my staff and a very hard working crew from Thompson delivery, it happened.

What do you suggest for the holidays?
Make it memorable. Families are all about memories at the holiday time. My parents died several years ago, and the kids/grandkids did not want to change those memories and/or traditions. I was really surprised how much we all cared — even down to the food that as prepared.

What is your own style?
My home is comprised of pretty eclectics. I just want it comfortable and inviting for my family and friends

What do you do when not working?
I love being with “GIGI’s kids. That consist of my grandchildren, my neighbors’ kids and several very special children who are near and dear to my heart. They are my light of my world. I feel singly blessed to have them in my life.

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Sharon Staley Elected to Phi Mu Foundation 2014-2016 Board of Trustees

PrintPhi Mu Foundation is pleased to announce the 2014-2016 Board of Trustees. At the 2014 Phi Mu National Convention, the Foundation membership elected Diane Eggert, Zeta Iota; Kris Bridges, Delta Nu; and Sharon Staley, Alpha Chi, to serve four-year terms as Foundation Trustees.

The Board of Trustees convened and elected Diane Eggert to the position of Foundation President and Andie Kash to the position of Corporate Secretary/Treasurer. The Bylaws of Phi Mu Foundation also direct the Phi Mu National Council to appoint two Trustee positions. National President Beth Monnin, Rho, and Vice President Jennifer Jardine, Beta Tau, have been appointed by National Council to serve on the Phi Mu Foundation Board of Trustees. Beth Monnin will serve as Chairman of the Board.

Diane Eggert states, “I look forward to serving with the 2014-2016 Board of Trustees as we implement the Strategic Plan, continue to cultivate and steward donors and fulfill the mission of Phi Mu Foundation. I greatly appreciate the trust and belief that the membership of the Foundation has shown in this Board of Trustees. “

Join Phi Mu Foundation in congratulating the 2014-2016 Board of Trustees.

2014-2016 PHI MU FOUNDATION TRUSTEES

Beth Maxson Monnin
Chairman of the Board
Rho, Hanover College

Diane Hawkins Eggert
President
Zeta Iota, North Dakota State University

Andie Burchett Kash
Corporate Secretary/Treasurer
Delta Eta, Georgetown College

Kris Shetler Bridges
Trustee
Delta Nu, Michigan State University

Jennifer Jardine
Trustee
Beta Tau, Drexel University

Becky Nowland McKenzie
Trustee
Epsilon Gamma, University of Tulsa

Sharon Sudbury Staley
Trustee
Alphi Chi, Texas Tech University

Pam Kropf Wadsworth
Trustee
Eta Iota, University of Arizona

National Association of Professional Women Announces Sharon Sudbury Staley, President of Sharon Staley Interiors, as 2014 Professional Woman of the Year

napwGarden City, NY (PRWEB) March 25, 2014 – NAPW honors Sharon Sudbury Staley, FASID, RID of Sharon Staley Interiors as a 2014 Professional Woman of the Year for leadership in interior design with this prestigious distinction. As the largest, most-recognized organization of women in the country, spanning virtually every industry and profession, the National Association of Professional Women is a powerfully vibrant networking community with over 600,000 members and nearly 400 Local Chapters.

Sharon Staley is a recognized industry leader who provides exceptional furniture design solutions for her clients. An expert in color, fabric and furniture styles for residential and commercial interiors, Ms. Staley is President of Sharon Staley Interiors. Growing up, her father was the president of the Furniture Association and owned his own furniture stores in Houston, so it appears as no accident that Ms. Staley followed in his footsteps and became the renowned design expert that she is today. A recipient of numerous awards, Ms. Staley is an ASID Fellow and former ASID TGCC President. She received several ASID Presidential Citations and ASID design awards. Ms. Staley is a registered interior designer in the state of Texas and is a board of trustee for the Phi Mu Foundation and is on the advisory board for the Texas Nature Conservancy.

“There is no project too large or too small. We will work with you to create a home that is uniquely you,” says Ms. Staley, whose passion is to provide each and every client with a diversity of styles that suit their individual lifestyles and personalities.

About NAPW

NAPW provides an exclusive, highly advanced networking forum to successful women executives, professionals and entrepreneurs where they can aspire, connect, learn and achieve. Through innovative resources, unique tools and progressive benefits, professional women interact, exchange ideas, advance their knowledge and empower each other.

Sharon Staley Featured in June 2013 Issue of Houston House and Home

Houston, TX (June, 2013)

Designer Jason Boughton wanted to create a space that “greeted guests with open arms.” He arranged for displays in the foyer and upstairs landing to show family photos, artwork, and select furnishings. He selected a neutral color palette to create a connecting cohesiveness but enlivened it all with touches of color.

Designer Sharon Staley wanted the great room to hows family gatherings and to reflect the rustic ambiance found in elegant Italian country homes. She chose a tailored sectional sofa by Kravet, selecting a coral color found in other parts of the home for fabric. A table bench provides extra seating, if needed, and a large traditional rug anchored the space.

Q&A with Sharon Staley:  

  • How do your clients’ tastes or personalities influence design projects? Each client brings their own flavor to the design process: styles or colors they are drawn to, needs they have for each space to make it the most successful for them.
  • What’s the first thing you ask a client when starting a project? What is the most important thing you wish to accomplish?
  • What initially drew you to interior design? My father owned successful furniture stores here and Houston and was also president of the Furniture Association, so I grew up in the industry, sharing my father’s passion for quality design.
  • How can a potential client know if a particular designer is a good fit for their project? A client will know when they’ve found the right designer for them when they feel truly “heard.” A good designer listens to what the client wants and applies her talent, knowledge, and experience toward making a space tailor-made for the client.

Full article with photos/captions is shown below:

The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) To Host Luncheon Featuring Hutton Wilkinson With Tony Duquette

Hutton WilkinsonHouston, TX (August 18, 2011) – Sharon Staley, 2011 ASID (American Society of Interior Designers) Texas Gulf Coasts Chapter President, will host a luncheon featuring design icon Hutton Wilkinson on Wednesday, August 31, 2011. The luncheon will be at The Junior League, 1811 Briar Oaks Lane, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and it will benefit chapter scholarships. Prior to the luncheon, there will be a private reception from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Hutton Wilkinson is the owner, creative director and president of Tony Duquette Inc. He designs and markets fine jewelry, as well as, a collection of home furnishing for Baker Furniture, textiles for Jim Thompson Thai Silk and tabletop accessories and interior decorations under the registered international trademark, “Tony Duquette” and Tony Duquette Inc.

Wilkinson will share his tales of Duquette drama and design, along with stunning photographs. Luncheon guests will also get a sneak peak of his new design book, “Tony Duquette: Hutton Wilkinson Jewelry.”

Seating is limited and ticket prices start at $100, which covers the luncheon and talk.

$150 includes the private reception. Also sold at the luncheon will be books by Wilkinson.

Visit www.asidtgcc.org to purchase tickets. To reserve a table of (10), contact the ASID office at asid@asidtgcc.org or (713) 626-1470.

A Benefit: For Those Seeking Ideas & Inspiration and for a Local Children’s Hospital

Childrens Memorial HospitalHouston, TX (April 20, 2011) – The Gulf Coast Chapter of American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) tapped 19 of its 18,000 members to help decorate, for public viewing, a Regan custom home in the residential community of Sienna Plantation. The proceeds from the ticket sales benefited Children’s Memorial Hospital. The ASID Home supported the vision to make the house ADA (American Disabilities Act) compliant to provide the homeowner with options for an elderly family member, a small child or an individual with special needs. Sharon Staley, ASID Current President, created a family friendly gourmet kitchen with cabinetry that resembles furniture featured throughout the house. Accented with slate floors, the custom class, slate, and stone backsplash picks up the subtle sparkle of quartz in the granite countertops, mirrored by a copper range hood. All the designers put forth their best work to support Children’s Memorial Hospital.

Sharon Staley Interiors is a high-end interior design firm specializing in residential new build and remodel, hospitality and high-end commercial spaces. Her homes and environments reflect a variety of client’s tastes and lifestyles. Sharon has received numerous accolades including ASID Fellow and former ASID TGCC President, several ASID Presidential Citations and ASID design awards. Sharon Staley Interiors is well versed in all styles of interior design, from period design to contemporary and all things in between.

Phi Mu Foundation Elects Houston Business Leader and Incoming ASID President, Sharon Staley, To Its Board Of Trustees

PrintPeachtree City, GA (October 2010)– During the Foundation Business Session of Phi Mu’s National Convention in Phoenix, AZ., Foundation members unanimously elected Houston-based newly elected ASID (American Society of Interior Designer) Texas Chapter President and Interior Designer Sharon Staley to the 2010-2012 Board of Trustees.
Staley will serve Phi Mu Foundation as vice president of Donor Relations, bringing her considerable expertise to this leadership position. “I am humbled and honored to serve my sisterhood in this way”, said Staley, a 1969 inductee of Phi Mu from the Texas Tech University.” It is my goal to ensure that no Phi Mu woman would ever be forced to leave school because of finances. We can absolutely accomplish it if we work together!”

The Phi Mu Foundation is a 501(c) 3 corporation, and the fundraising arm of Phi Mu Fraternity, the second oldest women’s fraternity in the country. The Foundation exists to fund educational, leadership and life-skills programming for the more than 200,000 members of Phi Mu. For more information, visit phimufoundation.org.

Sharon Staley brings over 40 years of experience to the industry. She is the president of Sharon Staley Interiors, an exclusive interior design firm. She has also received numerous accolades including ASID Fellow and former ASID TGCC President, several ASID Presidential Citations and ASID design awards.

Sharon Staley Interiors is located at 5320 Gulfton Suite 6 Houston, TX 77081. For more information, please contact her at 713-668-9689 or sharon@sharonstaleyinteriors.com