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Design for a Difference is a national interior design initiative where floor covering showrooms partner with interior designers to make a difference to charitable causes. This year, Design for a Difference has evolved from a contest into a community movement, where a number of socially-conscious International Design Guild (IDG) showrooms around the country will be working with the local designer community on a makeover of a space for a non-profit or charity location in their area – expanding the footprint of the program and making a difference to more local causes.

CSA LogoThis year, Interiors & Textiles in Palo Alto is partnering with the local business community and design colleges to deliver a communal space makeover for a very deserving non-profit charity organization: The Community Services Agency (CSA).

CSA provides access and information to emergency services, primarily food & shelter to help elderly and lower-income families and individuals in the Mountain View, Los Altos and Los Altos Hills areas. In the prosperous Silicon Valley, where typical housing costs are often exceed $4,000 – $5,000 per month, the effects of income disparity are particularly severe for low-income families. CSA’s mission is to be “the community’s safety net, providing critical support services that preserve and promote stability, self-reliance and dignity.“ They provide emergency financial assistance, a food & nutrition center that directly distributes food to those in need, and social services for the elderly and homeless.

The Design For A Difference Mountain View program will deliver a makeover for the communal lobby space at CSA, including the information area, waiting area, internet access points, and helpdesk. The overarching design principle is Dignity and Self Respect, providing an environment that is functional in its approach to helping its constituents, creating an open and welcoming experience, while still providing areas for private discussion and counsel. The transformation is to create a space that is a “Welcome Center” for those in need of CSA’s services for the community.

The design project will start with space planning, as well as fundraising during the summer months, culminating in an intensive remodeling over a long weekend in thefall. Be sure to check back on the page often to keep up-to-date with progress.

Previous Design For A Difference Winners

2014: National Design for a Difference winner Stephanie Stroud gave nominated charity Operation Breakthrough a $25,000 makeover that not only enhanced the space but transformed the lives of all who visit! Stephanie along with the other 4 regional Design for a Difference winners, and Madden McFarland Interiors took Operation Breakthrough, a charity that aids underprivileged families in the Kansas City area, and totally transformed the space. Creating something functional as well as beautiful, revived the space and all those who inhabit it. Watch the video for before and afters that will give you chills, commentary from the designers, and the heartwarming response of the families of Operation Breakthrough that now get to call this space home.

2013: IDG showroom owner Gina Cook of Gina’s Design Center in Spokane, WA won the debut of the Design For A Difference contest to help make over Transitions, a Spokane charity offering transitional housing for woman and children. Talented designers renovated the common area and transformed the space from bland to beautiful for the families living at Transitions.

  • Mark Brunetz introduces the Design For A Difference program.

  • Design for a Difference Mountain View is officially in motion! Today, the design teams and management from the International Design Guild met with management and staff at CSA for a project briefing and orientation at the CSA facility in Mountain View.

    DFAD Group Photo

    Leading the team is renowned designer, author and TV personality, Mark Brunetz, together with senior members of IDG Krista Eliason (President) and Chelsea Demers (Business Analyst). From the local design team we have Fred Wee, owner of Interiors & Textiles Design Showroom, along with local design students Milan Chen, Michelle Talley, Eileen Lin and Diane Forese.

    Together, the design team met with CSA management and staff – Tom Myers (Executive Director), Marvin Sabado (Director of Finance & Operations), Jesus Fuentes (Receptionist) and Natalie Usack (Homeless Services Director).

    The meeting started with an informative overview of the center’s operations, the type of constituents that the organization helps, and their needs. This helped frame the overall day-to-day operations, how the communal space is generally used, the bottlenecks, and the overall needs of the space.


    IMG_4425Then followed a walkthrough of the center led by Director Tom Meyers. Tom explained more about the daily operations in the context of the room layout, flow of activity, areas of usage, hot-spots, and areas that need a little extra design consideration, such as private areas for sensitive conversations.

    The meeting wrapped up with a round-table discussion with the whole team where each member from CSA was able to voice their thoughts on the project needs and special considerations that the design team should factor in to their concepts. All-in-all, a productive meeting, and the design team certainly has a lot to work with in their initial planning.

    Check back with us later in July, when the design teams will meet again to discuss their initial concept plans!


    Local business Interiors & Textiles joins celebrity designer Mark Brunetz to spearhead Design For A Difference benefiting Community Services Agency

    Mountain View – November 4, 2015: Community spirit is alive and well in Mountain View, as a range of local and national businesses join local sponsor Interiors & Textiles in supporting this year’s Design For A Difference beneficiary, Community Services Agency (CSA), a non-profit, safety-net agency that provides a wide range of services from rent and utility assistance to case management to low-income individuals, families, seniors and the unhoused in the Mountain View, Los Altos and Los Altos Hills areas. To date, Interiors & Textiles has received over $75,000 in community funding, goods and services to execute the design makeover for CSA including funding provided by LinkedIn.

    Under the mentorship of interior designer, Mark Brunetz, co-host of Style Network’s Clean House, the design team consists of Mountain View area design students Milan Chen, Diane Forese, Eileen Lin and Michelle Talley. The makeover includes the complete renovation of the lobby space in order to create a more welcoming and inviting environment to help the families feel at ease and connect to the caring staff when they come to receive services at CSA.

    Mark Brunetz will be on hand to unveil the newly renovated space at CSA on November 17th, 2015, and available for an interview. In addition, the makeover process will be filmed by a Los Angeles based production company for release in early 2016.

    Maureen Wadiak, Associate Director at CSA, comments on the makeover, “Families in need barely have the financial resources for the basic necessities let alone the extras and so too the agencies that help these families often make do with their facilities ensuring that charitable gifts go directly to the people in need. Being chosen as the charity makeover for Design For A Difference and the amazing outpouring of community support is overwhelming and illustrates how the local community believes that the most vulnerable members of our community deserve a pleasant, inviting environment to come for help.”

    She adds, “The newly designed space will provide a more welcoming yet functional environment for us to serve our clients.”

    “Design For A Difference provides an incredible platform for local and national businesses to collaborate with designers and truly have a positive impact in the communities where we live,” said Fred Wee of Interiors & Textiles. “We are excited and honored to create a magnificent space for CSA and the families and staff to enjoy. With the support of a national organization like the International Design Guild, a local business like Interiors & Textiles can bring the scale of national resources to a local project.”

    Stepping up to join Interiors & Textiles in fulfilling the makeover are local and national businesses including: Hunter Douglas, California Closets, Steel Case, Duro Design, Herman Miller, Diamond Construction and Building Maintenance, Jean Luc Renson Painting and Dunn-Edwards Paints.

    Design For A Difference is the only community-driven designer movement that spans both the U.S. and Canada. Sponsored by International Design Guild, a co-op of home décor showrooms specializing in high-end floor coverings, the program partners its socially conscious showrooms with other businesses and interior designers to makeover much needed spaces at local charities.

    As Co-Founder and North American Spokesperson, Mark Brunetz explains, “A truly inspiring space can build self-esteem and create endless opportunities for personal growth and development. In addition to transforming spaces, Design For A Difference is about having a positive impact on the human spirit.” He adds, “Working closely with the staff at Interiors & Textiles and the inspired local design team, this makeover promises to be the gift that keeps on giving.”

    About Interiors & Textiles

    Serving the Peninsula region of the San Francisco Bay Area since 1955, Interiors & Textiles provides premium flooring and window covering products and services for the residential consumer. Dedicated to a customer experience that is professional, enjoyable and satisfying, the design staff and installers have the knowledge and expertise to ensure your flooring and window covering needs and expectations are met and exceeded. For more information go to http://www.interiorstextiles.com.

    About Community Services Agency

    For over 50 years, Community Services Agency has been providing vital social services for residents of Mountain View, Los Altos and Los Altos Hills. The agency provides a safety net of financial, food &

    shelter services so independence and self-sufficiency can be restored and maintained. The non-profit organization’s clients may be a young, working poor family or an elderly person looking for companionship. For more information go to http://www.CSAcares.org.

  • Watch Mark Brunetz introduce details of the 2016 Design for a Difference initiative.

  • Interiors & Textiles of Palo Alto Recognized With Multiple Design Awards For Charity Makeover Project

    Design for a Difference project awarded Design Excellence Gold Award by American Society of Interior Designers, and Hometown Heroes Recognition by Community Services Agency of Mountain View

    Palo Alto, CA – October 10th 2016. Interiors & Textiles is proud to announce that it has been recognized by two leading organizations for its recent participation in the Design For A Difference project – a national movement who’s mission is to reimagine and revive an interior space of deserving non-profit organizations across the nation, giving back an intangible benefit of space, design and dignity to organizations that are working hard to benefit our communities.

    Design for a Difference originated as a design contest whereby interior designers, partnered with a local floor covering showroom to makeover an interior space of a local charity. In three short years the contest has transformed into a national movement that benefits local community non-profits. Teams of interior designers, in this case many of the students from local design schools, participate in projects to make-over the interior spaces of charitable organizations who would otherwise be unable to fund these activities, yet the outcome delivers a tremendous sense of warmth and a welcoming environment to those sidelined by our commercial society.

    Interiors and Textiles, a local Flooring and Window treatments retailer, undertook the recent remodel of the lobby of Mountain View’s Community Service Agency – a non-profit organization providing a social safety net for disadvantaged residents of this central Silicon Valley city. Supported by major funding from Linked In and in-kind product and service donations from national and local suppliers and contractors, , the team transformed the CSA lobby into a “Welcome Center. The project incorporated a new space layout, furniture, lighting, flooring, paint and motorized window coverings in order to provide a better welcoming environment and experience, and to enable a more private and dignified space for those seeking counsel and support.

    Having seen the results of this project, the American Association of Interior Designers awarded Interiors & Textiles with a Gold Award in the category of Community Service Commercial Project. In addition, the Community Service Agency recognized Fred Wee of Interiors & Textiles as a 2016 “Hometown Hero” – an award that “recognizes individuals and businesses in our community that have had an impact for the better on our community”.

    “We are humbled and honored to have been recognized for this project”, said Fred Wee, Owner of Interiors & Textiles. “The income disparity in Silicon Valley continues to increase , and CSA continues to do a remarkable job of assisting those who are, in many ways, casualties of the Bay Area Boom. We are so proud to have taken part in a project that benefits CSA and its clients, and also the local design community, particularly student designers that participated in this project”.

    Nationally known interior designer, and TV personality Mark Brunetz spearheaded the design project, and interior design students were selected from West Valley Interior Design program and Canada College Interior Design program along with several local contractors who contributed their time and services to the project.

Design Excellence Award

The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) recognized the Design For A Difference reimagination of the Community Services Agency welcome center. The Gold Award for Community Service Community Project was presented by the Peninsula Chapter of ASID, and the awards presentation gala was attended the Fred Wee, Mark Brunetz, and the Interior Designer Team.

  • Fred Wee and Mark Brunetz
  • Design Excellence Award
  • ASID Awards - Designers Talking
  • Project Interior Designers
  • Award Winning Team

Hometown Heros

Each year, the Community Services Agency (CSA) recognizes leaders who have positively contributed above-and-beyond to the local community. This year, CSA presented Fred Wee with a Hometown Heros award for the Design for a Difference project.

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