For our third semester, Creative Collaboration was a studio class that challenged our ability to work in pairs and larger groups. Our major project was participating in the 2009 AAHSA (American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging) conference at McCormick Place. In case you haven’t heard, senior living design is BIG BUSINESS, and the retirement communities of the future—for those who can afford it, of course—are going to be more like boutique hotels or day spas than institutional purgatories. Hey… whatever the Baby Boomers need to remind them that they are in fact mortal!
This project was to redesign the small one-bedroom apartment of a real resident at Catholic Charities’ Ozanam Village, which is an independent senior living facilities for low income residents. Two designs would be chosen from the class to be built out during the three-day conference. Kind of like an HGTV show, live. The class was first divided into pairs. I partnered with my good bud and school road dog Neelu McGibbon. We came up with a concept we called Curiosities, based on the curios (knick-knacks) we saw in Mary (the resident’s) apartment. We focused on flexible space (sliding partitions) and re-purposing vintage furniture. I thought our design was great, but the judges ultimately chose Matt and Diana’s teams. Matt is an architect and Diana was a practicing ID in the Middle East before she moved to Chicago, so I think that stands to reason. But in my mind, Neelu and I won Rookies of the Year! The judges especially liked how we presented our materials, arranged in a little “curiosity cabinet”. Ain’t nobody else did that!!
Psst, don’t tell anyone, but this box is not vintage. We found it at Cost Plus World Market, LOL.
The team posters and models were mounted on a side wall at the conference.
Day One of the build-out. I was put in Matt’s group. We had union carpenters doing most of the sawing and screwing, but they taught us lots of practical stuff, like how to mud walls and lay out the floor. They were such teamsters!! I was a little irritated that one of them kept my Purdy sash brush.
Making important fabric decisions. Though some of the furniture we used was donated, we had a $2000 budget.
One of my contributions to the project was to put a mosaic tile top on a round side table. I used samples from the Harrington atelier! Refinishing or adding tiles to a plain piece of furniture makes it more special, I feel.
The final result.
It was my idea to put branches on the walls as art. We had ordered a wall decal, but it didn’t arrive in time. Gotta think quick!
The nightstands in the bedroom were also my idea. We got them at this amazing used hotel furniture warehouse (total fire hazard, now closed), sawed the backs of them off, painted them white and mounted them directly to the wall.
More last-minute branch art. Spray painted gold.
Ready for early retirement.
Oh and did I mention that… our team won?? Yes yes y’all!!!
The whole class.