Boston Design Center Team Lends a Hand at Heading Home

April 17, 2019

Text by Boyd O'Rourke    Photography by Design Services: BDC

To head home means a return to community, a return to a nourishing shared space that goes beyond just the creature comforts of food and shelter. This spring, in partnership with Heading Home, a non-profit organization providing programs dedicated to ending homelessness in Greater Boston, members of the Design Services team at the Boston Design Center will oversee a full redesign of the Bellevue Shelter common space. The team and I will be working with showrooms at the Boston Design Center that have graciously donated product and with local business owners who have willingly donated their time and services. Working with the BDC showrooms and trade professionals has been incredibly gratifying, and their response to the project was reflexively swift and generous. More often than not, their response was, “What do you need and when do you need it?”

Good design can change lives; we know this to be a psychological truth. There is no greater joy than to exist in a space that supports us. Conversely, it can pose a great challenge to thrive in a space that does not reflect our inner desire for peace, for community. Take a look at the growing trend of home design shows on television and streaming platforms (e.g. Tidying Up with Marie Kondo); the arc follows the stories of men and women whose sanctuary, their very home, is the source of their personal distress. Through the simple act of engaging the space and caring for something so intimate as their nest, their lives are transformed in very real and very lasting ways. Design is a means of community-building; of creating a scene for our daily rituals, to elevate and enrich, to remind us of our worth and to inspire us to persevere.


As partners with Heading Home, the professionals in the Design Services Program at the BDC aim to use their skill and knowledge to help create a warm, inviting space for those in transitional housing. Undertaking this project was a great fit for Design Services. Enhancing lives through enhancing spaces is who they are; it’s what they do.

By putting an emphasis on solving the growing crisis of family homelessness, Heading Home has successfully become one of the area’s largest providers of housing for homeless families. Annually, Heading Home serves nearly 1,500 homeless people in the greater Boston area, spanning from infancy to elderly, with a majority of its population being young single working mothers with 1-2 young children.


This year’s participating brands include:

Partners in Design
Boston Design Center
DWR Contract
Cowtan and Tout
Farrow and Ball
MWI Fiber-Shield
Ace and Acme
S.L. Kiernan and Co.

Written by Boyd O’Rourke,

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