Noreen Martin-Hulburd has decorated everything from office suites to hotels in her 33 years as an interior designer. But until recently, she had never worked on a raffle prize.
When fundraisers from St. Jude Children’s Hospital contacted Martin-Hulburd, who owns A & R Furniture and Interiors, about sponsoring and staging their newly-built Central Coast Dream Home, she couldn’t turn them down.
St. Jude is a pediatric treatment and research facility in Memphis, Tennessee which treats children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. The Nipomo home is one of 37 being raffled off throughout the nation to benefit the hospital.
The cause hit home for Martin-Hulburd; she lost her late husband, Tom Martin, to pancreatic cancer five years ago.
“I know what a family goes through — the chaos and dysfunction that comes into the home,” she said. “When I learned that they don’t deny any child, I had to get involved.”
There was just one catch: she and her staff had only two days to get the home furnished in time for its grand opening in August.
She and aesthetics designer/artist Steve Kalar of San Miguel, who donated two paintings for the home, did a walk-through of the three-bedroom, 2,321-square-foot house, which is located in the Monarch Dunes Village development.
The home is described by its builders as a “coastal cottage.” It had upgraded features like granite slab countertops and stainless steel appliances, but no real style direction. So Martin-Hulburd and Kalar went with a transitional look and a relaxed, California feel.
“The house didn’t dictate something period or country. Traditional would have looked stuffy,” she said. “We wanted to put together a home that a real family could live in.”
With notes and measurements in hand, A & R Furniture staff in Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo hurriedly pulled pieces off their showroom floors. They put the interior together in one day, including furnishings and accessories.
In selecting décor, the staff took cues from what is popular with their customers.
“Because we live on the coast, we tend to carry things that are fun and different, like beachy furniture and accent pieces,” said Lorie Norkus, A&R Furniture sales and design consultant.
So they included tropical furniture such as a Tommy Bahama rattan-accented dining table and bamboo-style dining chairs. In the living room, they paired a dark brown leather sofa with a wicker settee. A contemporary tropical fabric enlivens two chairs in the den. A watery aqua hue pulled from Kalar’s painting is repeated in the chair fabric and a decorative jar that sits on a bamboo-style side table.
They kept the bedrooms fairly traditional.
“We wanted to make them as cozy and inviting as possible with luxurious bedding and plush surroundings,” said Martin-Hulburd.
The design team also wanted to offer visitors ideas on the effective use of space. In one bedroom, they created an office with a desk and daybed. In the living room, they turned the furniture on a 45 degree angle to set it apart from the dining area and make the space seem larger.
Admirers of the St. Jude Dream Home’s interior design need not win the grand prize to take home some of the pieces on display. The home will be given away unfurnished, but a second drawing will present a winner with $7,500 worth of furniture from A & R Furniture and Interiors. To register for the furniture giveaway, you need only visit the home during one of the weekend open houses that run through Oct. 3. The winner can select pieces on display in the home, or go on her own shopping spree.