Design Inspiration from a Women’s Shelter

Meet our contributor, Terry Grahl, Founder and visionary of Enchanted Makeovers. She has shared with us her story of design inspiration and how it changed her from the inside, out. Living the dream, Terry has transformed her business into a labor of love. Learn how she touches, and even changes lives through her love of design.

Hello, my name is Terry Grahl, and I’m the Founder and Visionary of Enchanted Makeovers. I’m also a wife, mother to four wonderful children, storyteller, activist, multi-tasker, author, fleamarket fanatic, crazy for handmade, award winning interior decorator and a passionate woman on a mission to inspire people to dream while they are awake, follow their heart, and most importantly, to see each other truly as an extension of one’s self.

A polka-dotted pillow changed my life and my journey.

When I tell people this, most will say, “what?” and then envision a pretty, feminine, polka-dotted pillow, trimmed with a big flowing ruffle. Well, that is exactly what my heart saw when I viewed the old, worn, tattered bed, but clearly not what my eyes saw. That vision was the beginning of my personal transformation.

Opportunities present themselves all of the time. We just have to be awakened enough to see them.

In December 2006, I received a call from a gentleman asking for help. I was an interior decorator, and he was the black tie event coordinator of a local shelter.

He said, “we would be so grateful even if you just painted one wall.” Honestly, at the time, my first reaction was fear. I was fearful of going. I really didn’t know what to expect. I had never been to a shelter.

I decided to make the visit and I took photos to assist with any necessary planning and visualization. But, I still wasn’t sure if I’d take the project, and was leaning towards a “probably not”.

A week had passed since my first visit to the shelter. I hadn’t given it much thought. All I know is that I had this lingering feeling of despair knowing the living conditions of the women and children. How could the women and children in the shelter realize that they were worthy of so much more?

The Whisper Became Louder Until it Roared

“The pictures, the pictures — I must look at these pictures.”

As I downloaded them to my computer, there it was, THE picture. There amongst black metal posts, a stained mattress and an unfinished sheet rock wall was an answer.

There  was something dear to my heart: a polka dot, a safe pattern that has no sharp edges. There on that seemingly ordinary pillow was an answer.

Soon, I was back at the shelter presenting them with a design plan and a vision of what was to come. There was no turning back. I vowed to see this project to completion.

These women and children must not be disappointed again.

She is ME

Transforming the shelter took more than just my decorating skills. It required me to pull out strengths I did know I had- finding, organizing, and leading enthusiastic volunteers and donors nationwide to help me carry out my vision.

Six months later, the makeover was complete and it was amazing. Even more amazing to me was that I had found my true calling. I wanted to use all of my talents and skills to provide refuge, solace, and hope to people, women and children in the shelters, myself, and volunteers alike.

A Leap of Faith

In December, 2008, I decided to close my decorating business, and in August 2009, Terry’s Enchanted Cottage, ultimately became Enchanted Makeovers, an award winning non-profit 501 (C) 3 organization that is recognized internationally. Today, my calling is to transform shelters into beautiful sanctuaries, uplift the human spirit and empower individuals from all walks of life to pursue their dreams.

Terry Grahl, Founder and Visionary for Enchanted Makeovers, Enchanted Makeovers

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