Alma Project: Work Clothes Closet

October 21st, 2014

Hi everyone! Today I’m excited to share another project I’m working on in my local community. Long time readers know over the years we’ve donated our time and raised money for our local charity of choice, the Committee on the Shelterless (COTS) and we’re at it again this fall. Years ago we dubbed our efforts the “Alma Project” after the first house we adopted and the name stuck.

COTS has helped thousands get back under a roof of their own and provides almost 350 beds every night. The kitchen serves over 124,000 meals a year and delivers over 750,000 pounds of food annually, and the award-winning program has helped thousands to rebuild their lives.

The latest project is one for a community Work Clothes Closet/Store to help complete the Work Ready training program. Once the clients in the program are trained in a trade, skill, or service, the new COTS Work Clothes Closet will provide them with clothing to reenter the workforce.

The project received some local press a few weeks ago…

local paper feature

It’s hard to read so here are the important points…

Training and attire are the biggest self confidence boosters for people reentering the workforce but purchasing clothing is beyond the income level of COTS clients. The Work Clothes Closet is the latest space transformation I’m working on with a team, it will provide not just professional attire for men and women, but trade clothing too (chefs, construction, etc.).

A local commercial property owner generously donated downtown space to serve as the Work Clothes Closet and house the attire for the program. No money will change hands, this store is run on donations, and by the COTS volunteers, and the good will of the people !

Here’s a peek at one corner of the space when we started a few weeks ago, it’s 2,200 square feet so there is much to do including building two dressing rooms, painting the ceiling, walls, and floors, and constructing garment racks, shelves, and display cases.

cots work closet 1

A local volunteer contractor has already prepped the sheet rocked walls with topping compound so we’re ready for the next step which is primer and paint on the walls (pale gray) and a porch and floor paint for the cement floors (navy blue).

We’re going with an industrial style for the space, working with the exposed pipes and incorporating garment racks and rustic shelves in that style, like these.

garment racks shelves

 

Thus far, Lowe’s has donated building supplies for garment racks and shelves. Thank you Lowes !  lowes building supplies Glidden is donating paint for the walls, ceilings, and cement floors. Thank you Glidden!

glidden donated paint

World Market is donating gift cards to purchase light fixtures, scarves, and jewelry, we’re excited to pull this space together!

cp world market donations

If you’re a brand or store, large or small, that would like to contribute email me at centsationalgirl[at]gmail.com. This Work Clothes Closet project is an unfunded  COTS project that relies on donations and volunteers so if you’d like to help out we’d appreciate it!

What we need is LABOR, so if you’re local, you can come on by this Saturday between 11 and 4 to help paint that would be wonderful but note you need to fill out a quick application first (screening required) and email me to let me know you’re coming at centsationalgirl[at]gmail.com so I can share the downtown Petaluma address.

If you’re handy with power tools, we will be building garment racks and shelving these two weekends: Nov 15th and Dec 6th so we could use help with those projects too.

We have no need for clothing right now, we have garment donations, and we’re relying on some local vendors for trade clothing and boots. We do need to raise money to build the partitions to create two dressing rooms so if you’re inclined, donate an amount to the Alma Project via the PayPal button below, or you can or send a check via snailmail to my PO Box made out to “The Alma Project”.

We’re planning on a December Open House so I’ll take pictures of all the projects and share the big reveal then ! ..

…. 

5 Reasons to Invest in New Windows

October 20th, 2014

On my list of things to get excited about, room reveals or seasonal decorating certainly rank higher than home improvement projects like toilet repair or how to install a sink. Boring. The topic of new window and door replacement was equally dry to me but I’ve had a change of heart on the matter. I now think installing new windows and doors is a hot topic, especially when you witness the true life transformation of ugly to pretty over two days which results in a huge crush on of all things your windows. 

When we first bought the fixer upper house in Las Vegas my initial thought was to cover the old windows with layered window treatments but Matt is the real estate appraiser and gave me the “honey, this makes sense” speech because he knew that new windows would add value to the home, especially when we sell it in a year or two.

So today I wanted to share the reasons why we believe it was a wise investment. I know, that sounds like a commercial right? And I hate to sound like a commercial but when it happens to you, new windows are a real true to life “OMG I’m so glad we did this” experience.

5 reasons to invest in new windows

We got a few bids over the summer, and chose to work with Home Depot since they had a 10% off deal and we liked their rep. We bought a combination of double hung and a custom picture window for the living room, two light sliders for the bedrooms and sunroom/dining room, divided light for the front windows to match the neighbors homes, and a new French rail sliding door for the family room.

The installer took perfect measurements and the windows were ready five weeks later. Home Depot sent very courteous and experienced contractors who arrived on time and did a fantastic job on the installation process. Their supervisor stopped in twice to check on work and our satisfaction. It took two full days to replace the first and second story windows and the sliding door, we chose the Simonton brand, and we’re so pleased with the results for these five reasons.

1) Aesthetic - The new vinyl windows look a million times better than the old aluminum ones. The new white frames are modern and fresh, more light (but not heat) enters the house, and the view of the trees and yard are visibly clearer.    

old windows sunroom

 

new windows in sunroom

This room is my favorite in the house, it’s a bonus room with a high pitched ceiling that is just off the kitchen and designed as a formal dining room but I think it’s better for a home office, it has a view of the pool and it’s such a bright and cheerful space.

new windows after

  

2) Temperature Control  The old owners had applied dark window film on several of the windows to restrict sunlight and over time it had bubbled and peeled off in places. The new windows have insulating “low E glass with argon gas” which blocks UV rays so the temperature stays lower. According to their website, low E glass is “a transparent metallic oxide coating applied to the glass surface that allows short-wave energy to pass through but reflects long-wave infrared energy for greater thermal efficiency.”

old hall new hall window

Standing next the new windows in the Las Vegas sun you can feel the temperature difference that the new windows offer. Before the new windows, we would stand next to them and feel the heat coming through but we’re no longer pelted by sun and heat and there is a much clearer view of the yard. 

3) Energy Savings -  With energy efficient windows, we will receive local energy rebates that will add up to major savings. New windows cost thousands of dollars but the lower heating and cooling bills are definitely something to smile about and will pay for themselves over the course of time.

energy efficient window rebates

   

Read the rest of this entry »