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Lifestyle // Good Neighbors
Christina O’Connor

Jean Wall and Joan Robinson-Whitaker

Jean Wall and Joan Robinson- Whitaker

Photo courtesy Cover Look Photo Corps

As co-owners of Designer for a Day, a local design firm, Joan Robinson-Whitaker (pictured on right) and Jean Wall visit clients’ homes to arrange rooms into beautiful living spaces. This year, the pair decided to share their skills with the community and launched the Designer for a Dream campaign to provide a nonprofit organization with a design makeover.

“We wanted to offer something to the community with what we do best, interior design,” Wall says.

“We decided to work with nonprofits because they are all running on shoestring budgets just trying to make it work, and the last thing they can worry about is their interior design,” Robinson-Whitaker says.

The company accepted applications from organizations throughout the state and announced winners last week. Life Foundation, which is dedicated to the fight against HIV/AIDS, and March of Dimes, which works to improve the health of infants, tied for first place and will receive design makeovers. “They are both great organizations that do wonderful things,” Robinson-Whitaker says.

Plus, Kahi Mohala, Kumu Kahua Theatre, P.A.R.E.N.T.S. Inc., Central Union Church Thrift Store and YWCA of Hawaii Island also will receive a half-day consultation service via the company’s website.

Although Robinson-Whitaker and Wall say this is their first charitable activity as a business, it seems that the company itself was derived at least in part from the co-owners’ altruistic nature.

“We wanted to do something to be able to respond to the economic situation at the time,” Wall explains of the origins of the company, which they founded three and a half years ago. Unlike other design services, Designer for a Day charges a flat fee and also utilizes furniture and accessories their clients already own.

The Designer for a Dream projects will get under way soon. Designer for a Day will be assisting March of Dimes in a move to a new location and implementing space-saving techniques. It will work with Life Foundation to redo its conference room.

“We hope to make a difference for these organizations,” RobinsonWhitaker says. “When you work in an office, that is a huge part of your life. You want to be in an environment that is comfortable.”

“We are excited to be helping great organizations that help people, and doing what we can do in our way to help them out,” Wall says.

The company has invited interior design students at Chaminade University to collaborate on these projects to provide them with hands-on design experience.

For more information, visit designerforadayhawaii.com.

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