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Home makeover: Walkabout House

A new television set sits over a fireplace

A new television set sits over a fireplace on Dec. 2, 2014, in a gathering area of The Walkabout, a teen shelter in Freeport. Parts of the home were redecorated by members of the Interior Design Society of Long Island. Credit: Ivy Neal

The Walkabout, a Freeport residence for homeless youths, was in desperate need of updating. Like so many nonprofit facilities, there was no money in the budget for such a project. Luckily, the Interior Design Society of Long Island was looking for a project for its Pay It Forward Committee.

Started in 1974, The Walkabout is run by the Family & Children's Assocation, which is headquartered in Mineola. Youths ages 16 to 21 can stay at the residence for up to 18 months rent free. During that time, they must either be in school, working, actively searching for work or involved in skills training for independent living. It is open to both girls and boys.

The designers had to consider both functionality and durability.

In addition to a new flat-screen television, the living room now has comfortable seating that encourages lounging. It also used as a meeting space or a place to hang and read a book.

"The room had beautiful bones," says interior designer and committee member Sherry Schmidt, owner of Sherry Schmidt Designs in Huntington. "We wanted the kids to walk in here and feel uplifted."

Adds Joyce Mullen, director of marketing and communications for Family & Children's Association: "The makeover made the residents feel loved and cared for. It turned a sad space into a home."

Here's how they transformed The Walkabout's living room into a place where residents don't just walk through, but sit and stay awhile.

SECTIONAL SOFA, $2,198, from Raymour & Flanigan Furniture, Garden City.

ACCENT PILLOWS, donated fabric and fabrication donated by The Magic Window, Garden City.

HUNTER DOUGLAS FAUX WOOD BLINDS, donated blinds and hardware  by Lauren Spielholz of Larry’s Design Center, New Hyde Park; installation donated by drapery consultant Steven G. Karp Window Treatments of Huntington.

TRANSOM WINDOWS, existing. Rather than curtains that cover the entire window, the designers wanted to expose some of the room’s great architecture, as well as give the room a brighter feel.

TABLE LAMP, $72, from Elements for the Home, Carle Place.

END TABLE, $213, from Raymour & Flanigan.

ARMCHAIR, $400, from Raymour & Flanigan.

FAUX WOOD TREATMENT ON BOOKCASE, donated. The existing bookcase was needed for storage, but the back was an unattractive unfinished plywood. Artist Debbie Viola, owner of Custom Art, Finishes & Murals by Debbie Viola of Massapequa Park, chose to give it a more interesting look.

PAINT, $700, Wool Skein and Extra White for the trim donated by Sherwin-Williams; applied by Farley Painting & Carpentry, Queens Village.

WALL SCONCES, $154 (for two) from Elements.

50-INCH FLAT-SCREEN TELEVISION, $1,455. This includes both the TV ($585), and Playbar, labor and mount ($870). All provided by Sights-N-Sounds, Seaford.

FIREPLACE, existing. By mounting the TV above the fireplace, this area becomes the focal point of the long, narrow room.

AUDIO CABINET, existing.

FLOORING, existing.

COFFEE TABLE, donated by Bonnie Reich, founding partner of Symmetry Closets, Farmingdale.

FLOOR LAMP, $105, from Elements.

BOOKCASES, existing. Artist Debbie Viola also added her artistic touch to these pieces.

AREA RUG, donated from Harry Katz Carpet One Floor & Home, Mineola.

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