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Interior Design Students Give Our Little Haven A Makeover

May 14, 2012

Interior Design students
Interior Design students unveil their new design at Our Little Haven.













Students in St. Louis Community College’s Interior Design program recently finished a semester-long project that focuses on real-world work experience and community outreach.

On May 11, 22 students and program coordinator Erin LeClerc unveiled the installation of a living room and play room at Our Little Haven, a local nonprofit located at 4316 Lindell Blvd. that works with children suffering from abuse and neglect.

Our Little Haven’s residential treatment facility is housed in a 100-plus-year-old building, presenting a challenging space for students to tackle.

“This has been a wonderful learning experience for the students, but also an emotional one as they begin to see how interior design can make a positive impact on the lives of these children,” LeClerc said. “This group of students has a tremendous amount of compassion, and they are simply amazing.”

The students, working in four teams, were required to submit design plans, make formal presentations and complete the project within tight budgetary constraints. An anonymous donor contributed $3,000 to the project, and the students raised $2,000.

The teams had to creatively figure out how to best spread this money over four rooms in need of everything from new flooring and furniture to window treatments and paint. As is often the case, budgets can be difficult to keep. When old carpet was removed and revealed plywood instead of wood floors that the students were planning to refinish, their budgeted expense of $400 turned into $1,800.

“Giving students hands-on practical experience and preparing them for work is at the heart of the Interior Design program,” LeClerc said. “This experience will be the first opportunity many of the students have to see one of their designs actually built and installed.”

Second-year student Jenny Potashnick is excited about the project and her chosen career.

“For years, we’ve been planning what different spaces will look like and not getting to take it to the next step,” she said. “It’s great that we actually get to see a project come to life.”

The best part of the project, according to the students, is that the Our Little Haven will have a brighter space for children who are dealing with a very difficult time in their lives and they helped make that happen.

The partnership with Our Little Haven has worked out remarkably well, according to Scott Hummel from Our Little Haven.

"This is a wonderful gift from the students, Erin LeClerc and the STLCC community," Hummel said. "Sharing time and talent with us is another great example of the leadership STLCC has been providing our community for 50 years. This remarkable gift is accepted with gratitude and awe.”

The Interior Design program is offered at STLCC’s Meramec campus and is part of its Center for Excellence. For more information, contact Erin LeClerc at 314-984-7156.