A few weeks ago I got a call from Eric Newman, CEO of the Roc Solid Foundation, a non profit organization that benefits kids with cancer.  He wanted me to meet with him about doing the event design and coordination for their fundraiser event on March 31st {click here to purchase tickets…it’s going to be a blast!!}.  While the event details didn’t entirely work out for SBD to help, we got to talking about Roc Solid’s temporary corporate office located in Eric’s detached garage.  He asked me to come by and take a look at what they had so far to see if I had any suggestions or ideas.  I went by that weekend and Eric asked me to help him finish the project before their open house on March 2nd {it was 2 weeks away…}.  Aside from the time crunch, the other huge design restriction was the budget.  Knowing that the office was a temporary fix and that they would outgrow it within the next few months, Eric only wanted to spend $1,000 on decor for the space and he and his volunteers were going to do the work.  You know I love a good challenge, so I immediately accepted the job.  Here’s a video of a walk through of the office space before:

Roc Solid Office BEFORE from amy stanley on Vimeo.

Every design has a starting point…something that isn’t going to change and that you have to work around.  This project’s starting point was the blue cabinets, blue office chairs, and blue countertop material that were donated from Town Bank, a huge supporter of Roc Solid.  They take up a majority of the space, so I wanted to bring in some other colors and textures to balance out the space.  For the concrete floors, we decided that the most efficient way to finish them was to do an epoxy finish {vinyl would cost a lot, laminate would buckle if any moisture seeped through, and carpet would mold}.  The finish turned out light blue with Roc Solid Blue specks {yes it’s a trademark color} and despite a few trouble spots (hidden beneath rugs ;) was perfect! We also had a small amount of wood patterned vinyl donated that we chose to use at the entrance to the space to create a little entry/seating area.

After the floors were done and the color set, I chose the paint color…a calming blue-ish green that would incorporate the colors from the cabinets, floor, and green accents.  Once the room was painted, we had to make a decision on the backsplash material.  Eric really wanted a stainless subway tile backsplash, but it would have cost 75% of the budget.  We had to come up with plan B…..the trash pile outside of the garage.  Seriously.  With the picture below as the type of outcome in mind I was able to convince Eric that it would turn out to be a pretty kick ass feature in the space.

I went to the office one day with Cara Cauldwell, their director of development, and we pulled out all of the salvageable wood scraps from the trash pile, removed screws and nails, and attempted to clean it up a little bit.  A few days later I went back and laid everything out on the ground in the exact pattern that I wanted Eric to install it and he installed it when he got off work.  We decided to stain the wood to make it look a little bit less rustic (I mean there was literally dirt, paint, and nail holes all over this wood).

Lighting in this space was another issue.  The previous tenant had installed flourescent lights on the ceiling that were efficient but extremely unattractive.  While we couldn’t get rid of them completely, we did install a chandelier that would hang above the conference table.  I bought the chandelier and ceiling medallion from Lowes ($120)…a grey linen shade with black and white nautical images on the inside.  Since we weren’t really trying to stick with a nautical theme, I replaced those images with black and white images of the kids Roc Solid has helped over the past few years and surprised Eric with it.


For the furniture in this space, I wanted to stick with the natural element of the backsplash.  I found a tabletop at Home Emporium ($115) that was made by gluing pieces of reclaimed wood together.  We stained it and then used contemporary metal legs from Ikea ($99) for supports.

The chairs were donated, but I still wanted to create an entry area in the front of the space with two wicker chairs ($69 each), frames from Habitat with scrapbook paper ($6 each), a plant stand that I repainted ($20), wicker and glass vase ($20) with a hydrangea and branch arrangement on one side.  The pillows were from my house…a little big for the chairs, but what can you do! The other side has a console table from Ross ($79), faux succulents ($12), and a bamboo screen ($19).

The plantation blinds that I bought from wal-mart were missing the installation brackets (fail) so we had to do with just curtain panels.  The panels used to hang in my bedroom, but they had bronze grommets….with a silver sharpie paint pen, I corrected that in about 10 minutes ;)

 I had Eric use the same stain that we used for the table and the backsplash on two 2x8x10 pieces of lumber that we hung staggered on the wall as shelves above the desks.   The ‘inspire’ word art came from Ross ($12) and I added the moss to the bottom to make it less cheesy.  Candles came from Micheals ($8).  Branch, wicker balls, frames, and vase all came from Tj Maxx and the stones were from the dollar store.  I finished the shelves off by adding the fish from my kitchen and the 3 candlesticks for height because it seems like all of this stuff could be put in or came from my house…I guess I like blue and green ;)


If you start with the before pictures you can see that this space has come a LONG way thanks to Eric’s commitment and hard work as well as all of the other volunteers who worked in this garage over the past few weeks.  I honestly hope that this space will provide an inspiring atmosphere {even if it is temporary} for the Roc Solid crew to continue the amazing work that they do.  Fittingly, today is their first out of state build…the first of many to come.  They’re growing and doing some amazing things!!

One of the main reasons I left my last job was because I didn’t feel like I was actually helping people.  In the 4 years that I worked there, I never really got to meet any clients and didn’t see any of my designs completed…a pretty depressing fact for a designer.  This project, completed in 2 weeks, was not only an amazing before and after project but I actually got to help people…people who dedicate their lives to helping kids with cancer.  I can honestly say that my work with Roc Solid has made me a huge supporter of what they do and I will continue to volunteer and help this company with whatever I can as they continue to grow.  If you want to donate or volunteer your time, be sure to head to their website or Facebook page for more information!!