Volunteers provide a 'life-changing' makeover for Palatine group home

  • Little City resident Debbie sees her newly transformed bedroom for the first time Wednesday after Abrams Home Solutions volunteers updated a group home for disabled adults in Palatine.

      Little City resident Debbie sees her newly transformed bedroom for the first time Wednesday after Abrams Home Solutions volunteers updated a group home for disabled adults in Palatine. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Residents of a Palatine group home operated by Little City gather with some of the volunteers who gave the property a makeover Wednesday once the work was complete.

      Residents of a Palatine group home operated by Little City gather with some of the volunteers who gave the property a makeover Wednesday once the work was complete. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Abrams Home Solutions volunteer MeLisa Feely cleans the front door glass at a Palatine group home Wednesday as she and more than 30 other volunteers worked all day to update the residence for disabled adults.

      Abrams Home Solutions volunteer MeLisa Feely cleans the front door glass at a Palatine group home Wednesday as she and more than 30 other volunteers worked all day to update the residence for disabled adults. John Starks | Staff Photographer

 
By Eileen O. Daday
Daily Herald correspondent
Updated 9/19/2019 12:44 PM

A group of eight women who live in a Little City group home in Palatine arrived back at their ranch house Wednesday day to experience the "great reveal."

While they were gone, a group of 35 professional home stagers descended on the residence and performed a complete makeover, from top to bottom.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The stagers paired up and each one took a different room. Armed with their own tools, as well as pieces of furniture, a crate of baskets, material, lamps and other stock items they rely on, they transformed the residence in less than eight hours.

"Think of the big reveal you see on TV, only a thousand times better," said Jenny Abrams, who owns Abrams Home Solutions in Schaumburg. "We stage homes for families every day, but these are women who can't advocate for themselves or have no voice. It's incredibly satisfying."

Admittedly, they took on a big challenge.

In choosing a Little City group home, they adopted a six-bedroom ranch that is home to eight senior women with disabilities.

In prepping for the one-day makeover, the stagers took into account each resident's dream bedroom, as well as input from Little City on how they could give residents more space, reduce their risk of falling and help with ambulatory needs.

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"It looked pretty run down," said Heather Robak of In-Out Staging in Inverness. "We're trying to make this more like a home for these women, that is bright and cheerful."

Before the big day, owners of Paintegrity in Schaumburg came through and painted the entire house, including separate pastels for each bedroom, while the Lake Zurich-based Junk Remedy came in and cleared out excess clutter and worn out furniture.

Stagers planted fresh mums and shrubbery, with fresh mulch in the front yard, before landscaping around a back patio, including adding a conversation grouping of furniture.

Inside, each bedroom received new linens and curtains to coordinate with their color theme, as well as accent pillows, throws and other features. They restored floors throughout the house, while reorganizing the kitchen cabinets and adding a new chandelier and backsplash.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Other touches included a new dresser, desk, curtains, lamp and baskets, all donated by Ikea.

Lois Phillips of Palatine took on the challenge of brightening the laundry room and reorganizing the utility closet.

"I'm loving it," she declared.

Both Abrams and Robak and the rest of their stagers are members of the Greater Chicago Chapter of International Association of Home Staging Professionals. Once a year, chapters participate in the "Worldwide Staging Service Week," typically timed with Sept. 11.

Chapter members have refurbished homes for single mothers served by Fellowship Housing in Hoffman Estates and transitional residences for survivors of domestic abuse served by WINGS, based in Palatine.

Each year, they look for bigger projects to accommodate their growing number of staging members and affiliates. Members of the Schaumburg Business Association suggested Little City. The 60-year old agency serves children and adults with disabilities at its main Palatine campus and in 14 community-integrated living arrangements, or group homes.

Executive Director Shawn Jeffers described the one-day project as making "life-changing differences for people with developmental disabilities."

"There are few gifts greater than turning a house into a home," Jeffers said, "and that is what they did for these eight women today."

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