The challenge: Roshee Cryer-Greene had recently moved, with her two young sons and her wife, into an old, traditional house in St. Paul. Their dining room was bare of furniture, and the family particularly needed a table and chairs for eating meals.
The designer: Stefani Ellenbecker, editorial director of Wit & Delight, the popular St. Paul-based lifestyle blog, witanddelight.com
The back story: Cryer-Greene won a free makeover after overcoming significant hurdles in her life. She grew up with a mother who battled addiction, and by the time Cryer-Greene was 19, she had two children herself and was in an abusive relationship. Determined to create a better life for herself and her boys, she left the relationship, and ended up moving in and out of various shelters. “I just wanted a home,” she said. She ultimately completed a program through Project for Pride in Living, saved money to rent a house, and finally achieved self-sufficiency.
Cryer-Greene, who volunteers and does fundraising for Still Kickin’ and other nonprofits, had been awarded its hero of the month award, for her success at improving her life, and her efforts to help others in difficult situations do the same. “Just because you’re down and out, there’s still hope for you,” she said.
Design help needed: The family’s empty dining room had lots of potential. “It’s really spacious and has a lot of natural light,” said Cryer-Greene. But she didn’t have furniture, and lacked confidence in her ability to create an appealing, homey space there. “I’m horrible at decorating.”
Ellenbecker visited Cryer-Greene at home to measure the space and talk about her family’s needs for the dining room. At first, all Cryer-Greene wanted was a table and chairs so the family could all eat together. But Ellenbecker talked her into accepting a few more pieces, and together they shopped Article’s website. “Picking out items was really fun for me and Roshee,” said Ellenbecker.
They chose a sleek midcentury modern-inspired dining set of walnut-hued wood, upholstered in charcoal gray, with six chairs, so the family of four can also seat guests. “It’s an older traditional home, but the furniture is more modern,” said Ellenbecker.
Cryer-Greene is an avid reader, so they selected a bookcase with open shelving. “One thing I really wanted was a bookshelf. I have a ton of books,” she said. A light-blue rug, a small contemporary-style hutch and a floor lamp completed the look. Ellenbecker also arranged Cryer-Greene’s family photos, plants and a few pieces of artwork, and even styled the tabletop. “It was fun to see the transformation,” said Ellenbecker.
The result: When Cryer-Greene’s boys came home from the park and saw the completed dining room, they were amazed, Ellenbecker said. “They asked, ‘Is this room going to stay like this?’ ” Cryer-Greene also delights in their new dining room. “It looks pulled-together. It adds a lot,” she said. The family now eats all their meals there, and also enjoys game nights at the table. “My boys love it,” said Cryer-Greene of their new space. “It’s home.”