Interior designer Brian Patrick Flynn, Décor Demon founder/editor and host on home makeover shows TBS’ Movie & a Makeover and HGTV's Decorating Cents, was recruited by Editoratlarge.com to renovate and "glamorize" five lounges across the country. The project is an initiative by TeachersCount, a non-profit organization that supports educators, and Staples, to make the environment more comfortable for teachers while they take a break or prepare for their next class.
Flynn designed all of the spaces without having stepped foot into any of them. "We did it all through picture texts—hundreds of them. I'd step aside from a live TV shoot to text back things like 'notch out a space for the outlet, move the shelf three inches to the left and sand and spackle those tiny holes on the upper left hand corner'," he said.
The schools selected include Samuel W. Bridgham Middle School in Providence, R.I., Woodward Park Middle School in Columbus, Ohio; Edmunds Middle School in Burlington, Vt.; Kennedy Middle School in Springfield, Mass., and Solomon Plains Junior High School in Plains, Pa. The National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers identified these schools based on need, age and condition.
In cases like 40-year-old Kennedy Middle School in Massachusetts, the lounge hasn’t been renovated since the school was built. Each lounge was missing vital furniture like shelving, as well as essential equipment including refrigerators and microwaves. Flynn made over lounges using his own resources, as well as a $2,500 stipend from Staples for furnishings and supplies.
“Educators need to feel appreciated and valued, and as we all know, a culture of appreciation can be the seedbed of a thriving community,” said Diana Burroughs, Executive Director of TeachersCount and facilitator of the Teachers Lounge Makeover Initiative.
“Teachers need a professional, comfortable and inspiring place where they can come together and work as valued colleagues,” said Demos Parneros, Staples president of U.S. Stores.
Photos by Sarah Dorio