Designing Spaces

If you can dream it, you can do it!


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GIMME SHELTER PART 3: The “Pinch Me” Reveal

By Jane Dagmi

(The big reveal show just aired, so now I can post my perspective thru my pictures.)

It was on Valentine’s Day when Joy Stewart went back to live in her four bedroom home. The Designing Spaces Dream Team had been working diligently on a remodel that included light structural repairs, a new paint job inside and out, a renovated kitchen, a household of new furniture and decorative accessories, and a couple of televisions. Up to a half hour before the dramatic reveal, the house was still being tweaked. Last minute adjustments included hanging art and mirrors, and putting the TVs together.


The living room furnished with new leather seating from Standard Furniture is pretty much done.

Tuesday Morning Ladies: Wendy Moses-Mearls, Florida district manager, and Cindy Kahn, director of merchandising at home base in Dallas are still accessorizing the kitchen.

O2 Media’s PR Director Amanda Dugan is on TV assembling duty

Joe Campbell puts the finishing touches on the front entrance.

Meanwhile a crowd assembled outdoors. There were teachers and cops. There were executives and volunteers from participating non-profits. There were city officials. There were reporters and camera crews and representatives from the Miami Dolphins organization.

Wayne Roustan reported on the story for the Sun Sentinel. Here he interviews head Dream Team carpenter Joe Campbell.

Host Debi and David with Rebuilding Together Broward’s Executive Director Sandra Einhorn and President Allan Weiss

Ed Greeley (center) of Sleep Pro with his wife and biz partner

Local commissioners Gary Frankel and David Hilton

Neighborhood friends hanging out with Michael the amazing volunteer

Former Dolphins player Troy Drayton came along to share in the spirit of giving.

Joy finally arrives at the scene

All teary eyes on Joy.

KC did not bring the sunshine but he did give Joy her new keys

Going in the new house for the first time.

Joy, her kids, and manufacturers alike were all speaking words of praise and gratitude. The benefits of both giving and receiving were apparent. Joy’s oldest son Michael, age 24, called the event “truly life changing.”

Now that she has a trundle bed in her  pink and princessy room, 7-year old Keneaka can have sleepovers

Standard Furniture’s armoire features beaded trim and floral mounts

Kids from the neighborhood peek through the window. After the taping, they were invited in.

The eat-in kitchen, with a new bar height gathering spot, is now a cheerful space for meals, homework, and passing time.

Tuesday morning supplied accessories such as cookware, art, and bedding.

“I get to sleep in my own bed, have my own space and covers.”

“We never had a surprise like this before in our life!”

Checking out the goody bags from the Dolphins organization.

And in Joy’s words…

“Pinch me I want to see if it’s real!

Joy (with Deputy Ragauskas) placed the experience “somewhere between 9th cloud and infinity.”

When I left, Joy was happily testing out her new Sleep Zero Gravity bed — the first one of its kind in Florida.


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GIMME SHELTER, PART 2 – “The Writer Gets the Story”

By Jane Dagmi

Designing Spaces Head Writer Trent Meeks, in blue shirt, at the reveal show.

Trent Meeks loves his job. For over 10 years, the college lit major has been head writer at Designing Spaces TV. While Trent scripts a ton of individual 6 minute segments about products or services that offer solutions to common household problems, these multi-part emotionally compelling “Spaces of Hope” series give him an opportunity to string his words for a cause. Creating a storyline that pairs willing and generous partners with grateful recipients feels especially rewarding.


For the current “Spaces of Hope” show, Trent jump-started the creative process in Joy Stewart’s backyard where he and Joy spent the better part of an afternoon chatting. Trent did not bring a recording device, nor did he sit opposite Joy scribbling down notes. He listened intently with the primary goal of making Joy feel relaxed and comfortable enough to share her personal story. “There are things I learned that are not in the show. Joy is reliving things that are quite painful.” he says. Later, he would return to the office and start outlining the main points.

Trent works closely with director Carl Smith (center) who keeps the action moving along.

While each Designing Spaces Dream Team member has a specific role, these two and three-part shows are huge collaborations. Trent, along with the director and executive producer, organize the storyline.   they must give air time to the show’s partners while and making sure to capture the emotional angle too. In this particular series, an abbreviated list of players includes non-profits such as Rebuilding Together and Kids in Distress, the Broward County Sheriffs Office, plus national manufacturers such as Standard Furniture, Dow Chemical, and Sleep Pro Bedding, and local retailers such as Tuesday Morning and Budget Blinds.

Joe Campbell is Designing Spaces chief construction guy.

Furniture will soon be unpacked

Volunteers keep the progress moving along.

Trent and his colleagues set the pace so that the story unfolds proportionally between all 3 episodes. They set the stage, explain the problem, and then work on a solution. Since this is a renovation project, the first show tackles some of the structural issues with latter episodes focused more on decorating. Trent acknowledges that the biggest challenge is maintaining a balance between all show components so they work in conjunction and don’t feel forced, canned, or gratuitous. He’s got to get the commercial messages of the show’s partners across, while entertaining and enlightening the audience

Trent provides the show’s hosts with a basic script which they can personalize.

Basically, Trent’s got to keep everyone talking  — including the show’s hosts Debi Marie and David Jones with whom he has worked for a long time. Trent knows their best points. He provides parameters for setting the scene but never makes them “slaves to my verbiage.” Trent says, “They take it and make it their own.”

Trent Meeks has a pretty cool career and he’s done a really fine job with this show.

Part 2 airs Thursday a.m. at 7:30 AM on Lifetime.

To see Part 1 featuring Joy Stewart, click here.


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NEED: Gimme Shelter

By Jane Dagmi

Pre-makeover: Joy Stewart’s House “as was”.

On February 14th, on a modest street in the Kimberly Village section of North Lauderdale, FL I attended my very first LIVE reality TV home makeover reveal. Just like when I watch it on TV, I cried. But unlike when I watch it at home, I joined by many teary-eyed folk including police officers, neighbors, teachers, executives, local politicians, TV producers,  and reporters as we anticipated the Designing Spaces’s Dream Team welcoming Joy Stewart and her four grandchildren into their newly renovated home.


There was a police escort on Welcome Home Day
News crews waited to capture unrehearsed emotion.
Joy and her family join hosts Debi Marie and David Jones and KC from KC and the Sunshine Band for a moment before going inside their newly refurbished digs.

The transformation was a community effort that began in December, after a detective and a deputy from the Broward County Sheriff’s office discovered Joy Stewart and the ill-equipped, unhealthy, and unsafe house where she was raising her grandchildren. Joy stepped up to the plate when the kids were abandoned by their mother. The officers raised money within the department and solicited donations from stores so that Joy and her family could have food, hot water, new clothes, and toys over the holiday. Officer Doug Lashbrook  told me, “We see it all and are numb to a lot of things, but this hit a soft spot.”

The kitchen had no “hearth of the home” personality nor working fridge
Flooring had taken a beating over the years.

As the holiday spirit evaporated, the officers urged Joy to apply for assistance at Rebuilding Together Broward, a non-profit that assists needy home owners — especially those who are elderly, disabled and veterans — with home repairs so that their primary shelter can be safe, secure, and manageable. RTB reached out to Designing Spaces TV who put their Dream Team on the case immediately. The two entities rallied support from Kids in Distress, The Miami Dolphins, Tuesday Morning, Standard Furniture and others.

stay tuned for transformation.

I cannot show you anymore of the “after” part. I am sworn to reality TV secrecy.

The story unfolds in 3 parts on Lifetime. The first episode airs tomorrow, April 4th, 7:30 a.m. The 2nd and 3rd parts will air on Designing Spaces on April 11th and 18th respectively.


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We XOXO (Rescue) Dogs

I was very excited to attend the red carpet premier of the newest Designing Spaces’ “Pet Spaces of Hope“. The episode, featuring improvements at Big Dog Ranch Rescue in Wellington, FL, airs on Lifetime Thursday morning at 7:30 and features valuable information for dog owners, potential dog owners, and part-time canine caregivers like me.

I brought my kids along. Whenever possible, I like to expose them to a world beyond their friends, school, and what they think they know. I had been invited last minute and hadn’t a clue where we were headed. But I heard there would be dogs (and we XOXO dogs) and I heard there would be cocktails and hors d’oeuvres (my favorite!). I put in the address and followed my GPS.


The great lawn via iPhone Panorama

We turned right into a wildlife preserve, and I was immediately intrigued. I was in a part of Jupiter, FL that I had never seen, never heard of. We followed the directions down rural roads, past some beautiful homes, and then thru the big iron gates of the Russell Ranch, a tremendous Alpine-style party house on a hunting preserve.

The valet took my car and we stood at the entrance to the party. Our eyes scaled the large estate, and then panned for dogs. We arrived just as the “Paw-parazzi” (I did not make that up) were shooting canines and VIPs from BDRR. My girls were smitten by the pups. I too loved seeing these lovable and adoptable canines held by beautiful women in fancy dresses. But of course, I was dieing to see the house. Giddyup!

Setting out on my venture.
We entered the front hall.

I ventured through a small part of the 24,000 sq ft. home decked to the nines in “upscale hunting lodge” decor. The house had stone floors, wood ceilings, suede and leather upholstery, ornate iron work, feathered centerpieces, and lots of taxidermy. Room after room was decorated in rich, warm earth tones differentiated in tribal-inspired fabrics, plush patterned rugs, and heavy window draperies.

Here are some of the design details. a personalized floor mosaictrophies look down on the great room.

Hats for all.

Fringe binge bar stools.

Quintessential steer symbol pillow with optional bling bag.

Ornate iron work features an outdoorsy theme.

Animal aesthetic: Bear sconce above tiger.

Beyond the adventurous Western decor, it was just a fabulous place to host a luxe party with dogs.

Newly adopted Luke with his owner.Words of gratitude and acknowledgment.

…and everyone ended up in the kitchen!

Designing Spaces and its partners have been working with Big Dog Rescue Ranch over the past year on a makeover that provided a more comprehensive and better organized facility. Improvements to the rescue include an operating room (compliments of Butler Schein Animal Health and Leading Edge), more efficient storage rooms, and a year’s worth of pet food donated from By Nature.


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THE “LABOR OF LOVE” PROJECT: The Reveal

By Jane Dagmi

It’s 8 a.m. and the Kids In Distress “Labor of Love” reveal has just aired on Designing Spaces. That means that I can finally show you some of the photos that I took when I went to see the kids recreation center makeover. It was a major improvement as you will see.

This is the main space before

It was ho-hum blue and brown with a tired rug and artwork stapled to the walls.


This is the main space after

New laminate plank flooring makes the space bright and fresh. Red accents give it energy and artwork is easily pinned onto cork. Miss Luzette, the art teacher, is so happy and so thankful.

The other side of the room has a large flat screen so everyone can see, even if sitting in the back of the room.

There is now a little game room with checkers, fuseball, a pinball type of game, and board games.And there is a small teen lounge just beyond it.

The Designing Spaces Dream Team created a library with the help of Carl Buddig & Co. and Reading is Fundamental.

I love the abundance of natural light, the sky/cloud Ikea lights, the big whiteboard and all the books!!

Now onto where Miss Luzette keeps her art supplies and projects.

This is the craft storage room before. Scary!

Now Miss Luzette has several rooms devoted to storage.

I love this last one because of those wall mounted laundry lines.

Check them out closer.

I could be really happy here. I have already invited myself down to play art teacher’s helper. Just waiting to hear.

If you missed the show, you can watch Part 1 here and Part 2 should be in the vicinity soon.


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THE “LABOR OF LOVE” PROJECT

By Jane Dagmi

(I XOXO meaningful work and recently got involved in a project with Designing Spaces, Kids in Distress, generous donors, countless volunteers making a difference, and a couple of very cute kids.)

This evening is the big Reveal Party at Kids in Distress (KID)…which I will be missing since I am out in Seattle. But there will be plenty of people on hand to celebrate the “Labor of Love” project — this year’s “Spaces of Hope” collaboration between Designing Spaces, KID, and generous donors. At tonight’s Reveal Party design improvements to the KIDS lounge and play center will be unveiled. It’s a before-and-after celebration starring the Designing Spaces Dream Team, KIDS employees, community volunteers and sponsors who made the transformation possible either via funding or muscle. On August 2nd and 9th, Designing Spaces will air the “Spaces of Hope: Labor of Love” show.


Entering the KIDS campus.

While the reveal party unfortunately coincided with a pre-planned vacation, I was able to get my butt down to the KIDS Wilton Manors Ft. Lauderdale headquarters last week to see, at the very least, the beginning stages of “Labor of Love.” My first visit happened to coincide with Florida Panther Ed Jovanovski’s visit. Ed came down to lend some star power to the project. He painted, hung out with some of the kids, gave out t-shirts and signed autographs. Need I tell you, because you can see for yourselves, that Ed is totally adorable. That’s all…excitment over, now down to work!

Ed in the middle with Mark Dhooge, KIDS Pres/CEO, far rightI had to shoot the jersey so I’d be sure to spell his name correctly!

Being in the midst of painting, cleaning, unpacking — basic renovation chaos — felt familiar. During my tenure at Country Living Magazine, I was involved in many house projects whereby we would decorate from A-Z, beginning with the paint and ending with the perfect teeny weeny props. The Designing Spaces “Labor of Love” project would include fresh paint and vinyl “wood” flooring throughout, decorative changes in the main play room, plus the creation of a library and teen area.

Just some tools of the trade.

Ross and his son Joel measure out cork for the back wall.

One side of the large common area.

Library to be, compliments of Reading is Fundamental

Teen Room painter volunteers are from Blue Interactive,In addition to checking out the project, KIDS Marketing Manager Brittany Soule took me on a campus tour. The 5 acre campus is a gated community consisting of about 15 buildings including a pre-school, shelter, state-of-the-art dental clinic, and eye care clinic. Many of the buildings feature beautiful painted wall murals. There are also lots of nice playground areas. I was particularly intrigued by the highly organized warehouse where donations are received, inventoried, and stored.

The warehouse (top) and dental clinic.

When I left Kids in Distress last Friday, The Designing Spaces Dream team was installing the flooring with many more upgrades and installs to come. I am excited to see the end result, filled with books, games, electronics, furniture, artwork and most of all kids! When I am back from my trip, I will definitely head down to see. Of course, I probably shouldn’t blog about it till it airs later this summer. Stay tuned.

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