Designs For Dignity: Decluttering, Giving Back Made Easy

As a designer with Space Defined, I delight in working on so many beautiful homes on Chicago’s North Shore.

At the same time, however, I am constantly reminded that many have so much—while others have so little.

I am often asked by clients for recommendations on where they can donate furniture that is no longer needed in their homes. I realized that I was in a unique position to help get furnishings from my clients’ to Chicagoans in need.

Recently, I had the opportunity to meet with the founder of Designs for Dignity, Susie Fredman and their Executive Director to discuss my vision. After hearing all that Designs for Dignity has been doing for the last decade, bringing this initiative under their wing made perfect sense.

Designs for Dignity provides pro bono interior design services to area nonprofits to create interiors that reflect dignity, respect and comfort for the individuals they serve. As a new board member, I am working to implement the Heart Homes Initiative as a program of Designs for Dignity.

Together, we believe that all people are entitled to and nurtured by living and working within comfortable and safe environments. We believe that design can help to heal and inspire those who have suffered.

While Designs for Dignity has been wonderfully successful in providing design support to non-profit agencies for their community spaces and public areas, it is our hope to further the reach by helping individuals move from homelessness to homes. Both the staff of Designs for Dignity and the board of directors are thrilled to be working with me to develop the Heart Homes Initiative.

Below are the before and after photos of Gilda’s Club Chicago where Design for Dignity partnered with NEWH a hospitality network along with 5 design teams. We did 5 counseling/meeting rooms for them.


How does this work? If you have any furnishings in good condition (tables, dining chairs, sofas, loveseats, reading chairs, end tables, cocktails tables, rugs, lighting, artwork, etc.) that you would like to donate to Designs for Dignity, we will arrange for these items to be picked up from your home. (You will be provided with a tax receipt for all donations.)

As part of our Service Grant Program, recipients of these donations will be chosen based on their individual needs. Individuals will receive interior design services rendered by Design for Dignity’s Heart Homes Initiative. (Furnishings that can not be used for the Heart Homes Initiative may be shared with one of our nonprofit partners, Howard Brown—an organization that that helps poor and underserved minorities’ access healthcare with greater dignity and respect.)

If you have any items you are interested in donating, please email Jennifer Sobecki at or call 773-293-3259. Please provide digital photographs of all items you wish to donate with your e-mail submission. You can also mail photos to: Designs for Dignity/Heart Homes Initiative, 5215 N. Ravenswood, Ste. 203, Chicago, IL 60640. I would also be available to come to your home to see/photograph your donations.

Of course, we would also welcome any financial contributions you would like to make to this wonderful organization. (Checks can be made payable to Designs for Dignity). If you would like to learn more about Designs for Dignity and our Heart Homes Initiative, please visit

Heart Homes Initiative needs list:

  • Sofas/Loveseats (clean, free of rips, stains — no re-upholstery needed)
  • Chairs (dining chair sets, reading chairs, children’s chairs)
  • Tables (smaller scale dining tables, cocktail tables, end tables, smaller console tables)
  • Buffets/sideboards/china cabinets
  • Book shelf units/dressers
  • Accessories (table and floor lamps, lamp shades, framed art)


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