By Jennifer Rosen Heinz | Photography by Shalicia Johnson
Since 2015, FLOOR360’s Design for a Difference has brought the interior design community and local businesses together to provide local nonprofits with interior makeovers. The 2020 recipient announcement is coming up soon. Overall, more than $2 million have been donated to execute five interior makeovers for local nonprofits. In 2019, over 200 businesses and 50 interior designers came together to provide Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center with a complete interior makeover of over 9,000 sq. ft.
Wil-Mar is the center of life for the east side Madison community. For over 50 years it has occupied a more than 100-year-old church building at the corner of Jenifer and South Brearly streets, providing services and space for organizations ranging from childcare to community groups.
In transforming Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center’s interior, designers Tara Buedding, Cathy Driftmier and Brenda Szarek may have had the tallest order of all— redesigning the facility’s landmark space, the Yahara Room, in the former church sanctuary. “Thank goodness Genesis Painting was able to come in and bring their scaffolding. There was no way we would have gotten all the way up there to paint,” said Buedding, a DFAD “lifer.” The group transformed the space from dingy and well-worn to clean and soaring. Large-scale floral murals painted by artist Christy Grace and the installation of exterior-style lighting help give the indoor space a distinct open-air feel, echoing Wil-Mar’s beloved annual outdoor music festivals. The food service and storage areas in the back, donated, along with the adjoining kitchen area, by Bella Domicile, come together to create a warm coffeehouse-style space.
As a special nod to the importance of art, designers Lori Jolin, Laurie Lundgren, Ivan Acierno and Kate Terrien transformed a crowded, messy storage space into a dedicated art room. “We were inspired by the pop art culture that was a trademark of Wil-Mar in the 1970s, and we reached out to the artist Howie Green, whose famous painting ‘The Hippie Musician’ was the perfect style and fit for the space. He gifted us two of his images to use.” The designers also built tabletops for the space which they painted to look like artist’s palettes.
“By now, our vendors and people in the design field in Madison know about Design for a Difference and are quick to line up to donate and help. We couldn’t do this without our FLOOR360 team and the support of our flooring supplier partners Jaeckle Distributors and Shaw Floors” said FLOOR360 owner and CEO, Bob Tobe.