Joy Street Initiative’s Design Giveaway for a Deserving Frontline Worker

Today, I’m sharing a design we completed for a very deserving nurse and mother of two. But first, a little backstory…

Every quarter, Joy Street Design donates 10% its profits to our non-profit organization, Joy Street Initiative (JSI). JSI is dedicated to improving lives through transforming spaces for local nonprofit organizations. In the last year, our work has been focused on Oakland’s Elizabeth House (transitional housing for women with children who have experienced homelessness, domestic violence, addiction or poverty). We most recently transformed this bedroom and were planning  to work on their music room next.

But...the time came to start the music room came, COVID cases were growing, and they simply weren’t letting people in. (Understandably.) We had the funds set aside, just waiting — and then we had a new idea for what to do with it.

Hosting a Design Giveaway for Frontline Workers

We’ve all experienced a lot lately, and without our frontline workers, I’m honestly not sure what the world would look like right now. Definitely worse. As I also saw how many people were doing things for us (nurses, doctors, hospital technicians, firefighters, grocers, the postal workers, etc.), and I knew I wanted to do something for them.

My talents lie in design, so that’s the direction I went. Whose life could we make better by volunteering our services to redesign their space? 

Enter: Instagram giveaway. 

Now, this wasn’t your typical giveaway. I didn’t want it to be a meaningless lottery. I really wanted these hardworking (even brave) people to feel honored and appreciated. So we created these guidelines:

  1. Nominees had to be nominated by someone else.
  2. The nominator needed to write why this person should win our services.
  3. The nominator had to post the nomination on their Instagram feed so that the person received the recognition and gratitude in real time (even if they did not win).

The submissions flooded in and winners were chosen...

Meet Our Grand Prize Winner

We awarded our Grand Prize to a nurse in the D.C. area, named Memuna. Not only is she immunocompromised (and keeps working anyway!), but she also has two kids. To keep safe, her kids had to go stay with their grandmother, seeing their mom only at a distance, while she continued taking nursing shifts and caring for others. We were brought to tears by her selfless commitment, to others and to her family.

When we talked to Memuna, she identified her principal bedroom as the room she would love to have us design. She sent us some photos so we could take a look at our starting point...

before principal bedroom transformation nurse design giveaway joy street initiative

It was a decent-sized space, had good natural light, and some good furniture pieces.  However, there were some glaring issues - the carpet had an iron stain, room darkening window treatments were needed (for when Memuna worked nights and slept during the day), and there needed to be more color and life in the space. 

Now, I strongly believe that doing something nice for someone shouldn’t be done halfway or burden them with additional tasks. So when I saw that the carpet had known better days, I decided we had to take it out, even though it meant doubling our original budget of $5K.

Thankfully, we weren’t alone in our desire to give back. We were able to get the support of several kind-hearted vendors who donated goods or services to help make the design beautiful and complete:

Without their help, we would not have been able to complete this transformation without sacrificing on quality or the other projects we had planned.  We are forever grateful to our partners and were happy to pay for the other items and services that completed the room. 

Now that we had a feel for the scope of the project and those eager to help, it was time to design…


Bedroom Design Inspiration: Deep & Soothing

As we would with any project, we worked with Memuna to understand her design preferences, the colors that brought her joy, and how she wanted the space to feel. Soothing, definitely soothing. Her input and our vision came together into this design concept…

bedroom inspiration teal violet plum green jewel tones moody soothing bedroom
bedroom color inspiration moody deep jewel tones teal plum garnet navy
We chose moody teal and violet hues for deep yet joyful relaxation. 

bedroom inspiration cream headboard benjamin moore river blue currey co lighting rose duvet

Installation Day

Once planned, ordered, and shipped, this room needed installation! By lucky coincidence, we had a client project wrapping up in D.C. around the same time. So we scheduled everything to arrive while we were there so we could install it ourselves. 

Look at this transformation!!

principal bedroom cream headboard white curtains ceiling teal walls joy street initiative

I know most people are leaning toward white walls these days, but a dark, moody shade… well, it speaks for itself, right?? The room feels larger, more comforting, and is so much more joyful than before.

currey and co lighting black gold fixture white curtains blue walls white ceiling moody soothing bedroom loloi rug

We kept the ceiling white for spaciousness and brightness, and we hung white drapery to visually raise the ceiling. And I genuinely don’t know which one I love more… this stunning light fixture by Currey & Co. or the Loloi rug that has “joy” in every colorful stitch!

upholstered headboard principal bedroom design modern furniture loloi pillows rug teal wall

This stunning, textured headboard (donated by Coco to the Trade) adds comfort and softness to the room, while a modern end table keeps the design clean and crisp. Also… those Loloi pillows?! Pattern heaven. Seriously.

bedroom joyful restful design abstract art teal walls white dresser mirror joy street initiative

And last but not least, we added a new dresser, some decor, and this stunning multi-colored abstract painting to bring the whole design together.

When she came home to her new space, Memuna couldn’t believe it was the same room. There was laughter, tears shed, and a whole lot of hugging. But best of all, she now gets to smile, relax, and be just a little more at peace in her new space. And she deserves it. 

kelly finley design giveaway joy street initiative nurse frontline worker

— Kelly

For more about Joy Street Initiative and how you can get involved, go to

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