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Home » PEOPLE AND PLACES in MA » MASSACHUSETTS (all topics) » Empowerment by Design
A Computer Rendition of the Finished Room
Empowerment by Design

Part 1

By Mark B. Oliver | September 23, 2010

A Massachusets designer and local couple team up for an ambitious home renovation on a budget.

The housing market is a very obvious casualty of the economic woes affecting both New England and the country as a whole, with a great many houses remaining unsold.   Families who might otherwise have moved find themselves unable to do so and options limited as household budgets tighten.

Effie and Paul Donahue have lived in their three bedroom colonial house in Waltham, Massachusetts for twenty years.   The recession has greatly reduced Effie's working hours and Paul has been unable to work following an accident last year.   The downstairs living area was in need of renovation but with money being tight, there seemed little prospect of any work being undertaken in the near term.

Effie is a devotee of Craig's List, the online website that advertises everything from job opportunities to personal effects for sale.   It was while browsing the site one day that an advert caught her eye; an interior design firm offering an 'empowerment package.' The homeowners would work with the Owner and Chief Designer of the firm to produce a fully designed space at a fraction of the usual price.   With only a very limited budget of low four figures to complete two rooms, Effie was reluctant to contact the firm, not wanting to waste either of their time.   Curiosity though got the better of her and she made contact with (m) + charles beach INTERIORS.

“I designed the Empowerment Design Package to provide the homeowner with maximum value for money,' explains m charles. 'The main reason interior designers aren't involved in the majority of projects is the perceived large expense and the belief that a design expert is simply unnecessary.   I wanted to provide homeowners with a full design package at a flat rate ($799) and work with them to establish the most cost effective way of achieving the desired results and most importantly work within their set budget.”

m charles visited Effie at her home, and they both found they fed off each other's excitement for the project.   m charles suggested improvements that had never occurred to Effie or her husband and was bold with his color suggestions.

“Like a lot of people I'm petrified of color as it is so easy to get it wrong, which is why our living room is a neutral beige.   I found m charles to be very descriptive and I could envision precisely what he was suggesting.   When we saw the computer renderings we were completely blown away.”

m charles and Effie sat down to discuss how they were going to realize her dream. Part of those discussions involved what Effie and her husband were able to do themselves, and in which areas professional help would be needed.   This is where the empowerment aspect comes in explains Effie.

“By being part of the process, it gave me the confidence and ability to take control of the situation rather than being a passive observer.   I can buy the fabrics and paint, my husband is able to do some of the work and a good friend has offered to help with the painting.”

“Our discussion formed the basis of the fifteen page detailed plan that I produced for Effie,” m charles continues.   It explained in detail Effie's wants and needs and how they were to be achieved from the 'space definition' to the lighting and fabrics.   m charles remains actively involved in each project until the very last detail is completed.

Work has just begun and ONE is going to be there throughout the process, charting the progress and the ups and any downs that Effie and m charles encounter.

In the tradition of the best cliffhangers, to be continued...


(m) + charles beach INTERIORS

470 Atlantic Avenue, Boston, MA 02210

(508) 361 7030


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