Submitted by Robert Sands
Recently, PRISC hosted Landis Pinkham and Tricia Wollard, the owners of Cottage Junkies, the antique furniture store from Washington, at Rose Haven. I approached them about helping us with the interior design of Rose Haven for several reasons. One, it is an old farmhouse and one of the major themes of their shop is just that, chic rustic farmhouse/cottage. We are very sensitive to the history of 219 E. 3rd and want to accommodate as much of it as we can in the design. That theme fits perfectly into our concept and design for Rose Haven. Third, the work they do incorporates flair with function.
We gave them the grand tour to show them that the inside is now down to bare bones after one long 6-month “demo day” (made famous by Chip and Jo Jo). When I say bare bones, I am not kidding. We asked them to start on a journey with us (as we develop the vision of Rose Haven, there have been and will be many journeys) as an innovative living environment for female Veterans recovering from substance abuse.
This is where their flair and function come in, and also our enthusiasm for Rose Haven. Essentially, the interior of Rose Haven is a blank slate waiting to be written on, a canvas waiting for the paint, and an opportunity to explore how to design from the ground up a “healing and restorative” space for residents who will have come to our haven to pause and gather wits and help develop and hone community-building skills. And don’t forget staying true to the authenticity of the house as a historical symbol to the neighborhood and the community. We aren’t restoring the house as an ode to its original state as the house as gone through many original states– we have seen many as we have taken the walls and floors down to the skeleton. What we are doing is staying true to the house as a warm and trusting home for families and residents spread across 6 generations of Washington history.
We are in the beginning of this journey, but there is research out there to help guide us on a design that incorporates elements and features to create a nurturing and healing environment. As a residential facility that will be the home for female Veterans, not just a halfway house or a way station, it is important to make the house feel like a home, and not a sterile environment with minimal creativity. For our population, the day to day to living environment must be more than neutral, or the lowest common denominator of design. It must reckon with the kinds of color that comfort, not test, it must be sensitive to setting the “feel” of the interior, creating openness while at the same time hearkening to a safe and non-threatening space. Features to consider will include the use of open space, colors, and light, the familiar and comfortable feel of the tables, chairs, and dressers we acquire to forge a personal intimacy, and the design of rooms and common areas that help build community of residents. Art as well plays an important role in the healing design.
Seldom, does circumstance present an opportunity to innovate and create.
The journey begins.