Reportage - Restore NY renovation project

Giving-back

Last week, I volunteered for a project renovating the office space of a non-profit organization called Restore NY.  Restore NY is dedicated to helping foreign women getting out of human trafficking and prostitution in New York City - needless to say, getting to hear what those people do on a daily basis was rather inspiring. I got involved in this project thanks to a professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology and Pratt Institute - Carmita Sanchez: she has been working with Restore NY for the past year since they signed the lease for this new office space.

In January 2016, the team was in such a rush that the most urgent tasks got taken care of: the walls got painted and the floor replaced so the team could start working. Meanwhile, students at FIT started elaborating floor plans based on the following requirements:

  • Create a conference room that offered more privacy (the short-term solution was creating a room with a curtain - not sustainable to hold training, meetings, etc)
  • Create a layout to fit at least 10 working stations.
  • Add touches of red, the color of Restore NY. 

Three teams suggested designs and collaborated to eventually present a finalized layout to Restore that approved it and started searching for vendors to get the necessary material. Given the nature of the organization, funds were limited so the idea was to have students and anyone who wanted to volunteer to mount furniture, prep walls for painting, install and clean. That is also why it took so long: the work could only take place during the week for the glass doors to be installed and on consecutive days to be convenient to the Restore NY team who needed to relocate during that time period - it also had to be tied to the Academic calendar for students to participate.

The waiting and work areas are now clearly separated and a white board has been created so that people can write and sketch above their working station.

The waiting and work areas are now clearly separated and a white board has been created so that people can write and sketch above their working station.

Main space with conference room.

Main space with conference room.

Main working area - that can now fit 12 people.

Main working area - that can now fit 12 people.

The result? In 3 days, the glass doors got installed to create a new conference room area, the entire room and ceiling got repainted, furniture delivered, mounted and installed, a new white board is now available for writing notes and sketches and the space is overall more functional. Thanks to the company Space Plus that offered 50% off the glass doors needed and the furniture company Poppin that graciously offered chairs and filing cabinets. 
Restore NY has been very happy with the results and could not wait to get working in that clean and nice space!