Annie Ross Kicks Off!

The Annie Ross House, our partner philanthropic,  is a transitional housing program that gets families back in the position of having a safe and comfortable place to live. These homes are somewhat temporary – from four months to a year or so – and aid the family in the process of getting back on their feet. The ‘things’ that are donated go into the homes and, in the ongoing effort to keep them housed, become the belongings of the homeowner. Our role in this partnership is readying homes for families in need to occupy. We have officially kicked off our program with them. There are currently FOUR properties in the queue for design work & staging. This means we will continue to look for volunteers.

But what does this mean? Is it enough to toss in some furniture and hope for the best? Or are we serving better by giving the same thought to the resident that we would give to our paying homeowners? Taking in the needs they may have physically, the people living in the home together and how they interact together. Possibly using our talents and our design to encourage strengthening the relationships.

We were given not much time to prepare for our first project. In fact, once we had confirmed the relationship between the organization and our chapter, we have four homes coming up in fairly short order!! The first one was the smallest – a two bedroom cottage. The team jumped right to it. Cheryl Belozer, took team lead, Brian Kemnitz handled the organization, set up and execution of the painting, while Susan Adams-Messmer, Sue Lass and John Thompson jumped right in. A wonderful warm neutral paint was selected to warm up the formerly stark white walls. Eventually, all the units will be similarly warmed up with the occasional accent wall thrown in to jazz up individual spaces.

Brian Kemnitz, our wonderful painter
Cheryl and her hubby Martin
John Thompson
Brian hard at work
Sue Lass

Day two of the project was load in and staging day. Again, Cheryl, Sue, Susan and Pam Sandall were on hand to transform the empty (but freshly painted!) shell, into a warm family home to welcome it’s new residents.

Our first project completed was for a mother & daughter. We had the opportunity to meet these two ladies while the painting was going on. The mother was gracious and grateful and the daughter was exuberant and even got to help with a few last minute paint touch ups, which thrilled her! The unit they have moved into is a very small two bedroom cottage – kitchen, living room, two bedrooms and a bath. Our “shopping” was pulled completely from donated items, and the end result looked pretty great, especially knowing everything was someone else’s castoffs! See our processes and successes below.

Sue Lass readying moms room
Cheryl & Martin getting the young girls room fluffed.  Note the cute headboard…was plain white – now painted in the girls favorite colors!
Mom’s Room – a little shabby chic
Young girls room

As a final note, these homes have a constant need. If you have household items, decor items or furniture to donate, please contact us. We’ll connect you with this great organization.

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Dream House: The House that Annie built.

 Last week, Barbara Barry  came to Parker Furniture to promote her new product. She was an eloquent speaker.   One of the most poignant comments that she made  that resonated in me was ” Believe the dream, make it happen… Just believe in yourself”  It was her passion in her dream that became real. It was in all the beautiful things that she created that she shared with the world.

Her graceful elegant manner was most enjoyable. It was truly one of the best lectures about design that I have been to in my 23 years in the design business.  As one that has been through much ” Believing the dream, making it happen , being in the right place at the right time” is exactly what it is about.   The hope  to achieve  happiness is the dream for many. Although, there are many  that have not had the chance to fulfill their vision. As creative  business men and women we have the opportunity to bring great joy in creating a warm, inviting home for families to reboot their lives,Having a refreshing environment can be a very healthy and healing. It is a time  to be calm, silent and bring oneself to be able to hear that voice to hear the dream. The stress of trying to care for your family can overwhelm those consumed with the unknown. Helping others to achieve that dream has been something that our local chapter of the Interior Design Society as been diligently preparing to partake.

As an opportunity to help our community, the Portland Chapter of the Interior Design Society will be working with the Annie Ross House to bring our homeless families a nice, warm inviting place to live while they transition back into the work force and back on their feet to provide for their families.  a volunteer group will paint, prepare,decorate.  In an effort to give back to those in need, if you would like to help  support this cause, much needed house ware items, bedding and furnishings are needed You can contact your interior design professional or any member of IDS. Or you can make your donation directly to the Annie Ross House. For more info, Please see their website at

Annie Ross House is an emergency shelter for homeless families with children. It is one of the few shelters in Oregon that allows homeless families to stay together, including mothers and fathers, daughters and sons of all ages.

Over one thousand homeless children and their parents have found safe, clean shelter and help to regain their self-sufficiency at Annie Ross House since it opened in 1986.

More than just a bed, Annie Ross House also helps homeless families with: food boxes and nutrition information, job search and success skills, parenting skills and support, self-esteem and confidence, accessing medical care, and finding permanent housing.

Annie Ross House was named after prominent local philanthropist and community activist Annie Ross Roberts. Born in 1868, daughter of a pioneer Oregon family, Annie Ross worked as one of Milwaukie’s first teachers.

Annie and her husband Thomas Roberts lived on Lake Road — just blocks from where the shelter stands today — until her death in 1958 at the age of 91

Tomorrow, our first volunteer group will start to get a special place ready for a special family.This family will have a chance to rest and get back on their feet.Maybe this period in their life will give them a chance to dream. Maybe the  dream of family will come alive…

Take a chance to help someone believe in their dream. Give  your time or your donations. Please check out the link on the IDS website for more information.

thank you,


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Get Involved in Committees!

Business Strategies – Donna DuFresne & John Thompson – This committee will be integral in the monthly meeting planning process.  Please email either of these awesome designers if you’d like to be included in either the planning or the execution! Donna or John

Membership/Greeting Committee – Pat Starnes & Karen Rickerson – It’s imperative that visitors to the meetings feel included.  Pat wants all of you gregarious types available to meet and greet our guests and members as they arrive at the meetings.  Call or email Pat to be a part of her team.

Philanthropy – Pamela Sandall & Cheryl Belozer – We all want to give back.  Our members are no exception.  Our new Philanthropic partner is The Annie Ross House.  We will have something for everyone, from appreciative receipt of donated items, to hands on design work for their families.  If you’d like to help in any way, please contact Pam.

Vendor Relations – Amy Troute & Brian Kemnitz have taken up the gauntlet with this committee and are setting their sites on building strategic partnerships!  If you’re a vendor and need help connecting, contact either of these two:

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