Thistle Farms Redesign with Kelly Watson
This is a story about how a few strangers and some repurposed furniture can change the direction of a life.
New York resident Kelly Watson has over 15 years of interior design experience, first working in business development for Wysop Design before taking the leap to launch her own company, Watson Edits. There, she worked on procuring vintage and antique rugs, primarily from Morocco. She placed a special focus on empowering women globally, making sure each artisan received a gainful wage for the goods they produced.
However, Kelly quickly realized interior design wasn’t enough. “I felt like I wanted to do more and help people, and I love design. We create beautiful things for people. But I wanted to do more - I wanted to help more people.” With this in mind, Kelly set a new goal: a degree in nonprofit management from the University of Pennsylvania.
With a primary focus on using her skills to do good, Kelly connected with Nashville-based nonprofit Thistle Farms, a residential program dedicated to providing work and housing for women survivors of trafficking, prostitution, and addiction. Kelly began working with their ops manager Lynita, using her skills to help make Thistle Farms’ residential houses welcoming spaces for the women who called them home.
Sensing a possible connection, Lynita introduced Kelly to longtime supporter Karen Moore and her organization, Project Redesign. Both Kelly and Karen immediately hit it off over their shared love for interior design and creating homes for people in need.
The next step was obvious: a collaboration had to happen. And the recipient would be the woman who brought them both together… Lynita.
With no plan, Kelly flew to Nashville to meet Karen. The women immediately got to work, and in one weekend, managed to furnish and decorate Lynita’s entire apartment. They selected furniture from PRD’s extensive storage warehouse near Nashville and recruited Project Redesign’s full time mover, Vince, to help them transport it to the apartment. Finishing touches (like shower curtains, kitchen towels, etc.) came out of the organization’s budget. By the end of the weekend, the apartment was completed, including the kitchen living area, guest bedroom, and master bedroom.
“Working with Karen Moore was an incredible experience,” Kelly reflects, “and Project Redesign was the missing puzzle piece between my two words of nonprofit management and interior design.”
The most rewarding part of the whole project, however? Seeing Lynita come home for the very first time after they completed the install.
Kelly still keeps in touch with Lynita, who loves inviting friends and family over for dinners and other events in her new space. Through Kelly and Project Redesign’s work, her empty apartment has finally become a home.
Want to connect with Project Redesign about how you can help with future projects? Contact Karen at firstname.lastname@example.org