I am thrilled to finally share this fulfilling project with you! For the 8th year in a row, Sherwin-Williams® is hosting National Painting Week, a week dedicated to showcasing the community spaces refreshed across the country over the past two months. I teamed up with Sherwin-Williams to choose a local nonprofit I was passionate about and offer them a little makeover. Obviously, you all know how I feel about dogs and pets, so the Humane Society of Utah was my first choice. I met with their team and selected a room that was in need of some serious TLC… the behavior room. This space houses three employees and every single dog that comes into the shelter passes through this room. The team analyzes their behavior, provides rehab and a plan for any dogs who have special behavioral needs (the timid, abused, aggressive, etc.), as well as counseling for adoptions. It’s really a space that sees a lot of action for both dogs and humans. Despite the large size, I knew this was the space I wanted to tackle. Click through to read all about it, see the before images, check out the process, and of course to view lots of cute pups.
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I haven’t told many people this, but I was attacked by a dog pretty badly last year. I personally know the need and importance for behavioral assistance and rehab for distressed pets, so this room just felt right to me and was a total passion project that brought me so much joy. I wanted to provide a functional office for the employees who work here, but also give the dogs a room that felt cozy, comforting and had more of a residential feel… as opposed to a scary, clinical commercial space. Hopefully the updated room makes the transition easier for everyone! Here is what it looked like before…
Designing a commercial space that felt “homey” was a challenge in itself, but making it durable and dog-proof added another level of complication. This is what the team asked me for…
- A space that felt “homey”
- A fresh paint color that adds a pop of color without overwhelming the space
- LOTS of storage
- A third work station
- Durable furniture (they clean up a bunch of messes)
- Better privacy (they had poster boards and dog blankets taped to the doors & windows to prevent dogs from getting scared of people passing by)
- A better solution for cords
- A place to hang & store their personal items (jackets, purses, etc)
- Washable dog beds
- More seating
- Furniture that is easy to clean, move around, and mop under
This is what I had to work with…
Their wish list was long, but I desperately wanted to give them everything they needed. Sherwin-Williams chipped in to complete the space, on top of paint & supplies, and I matched their donation to make their entire list a reality. The room is 25 feet long by 17 feet wide, so it was a large space and I was able to furnish the entire thing and meet their requests under budget! I really tried to stretch the budget, so everything you’ll see in the space is very affordable.
Thankfully, volunteers helped me paint the entire room on a Friday. I couldn’t have done it without them! Our local news even showed up to cover the project and I was so excited to see the Humane Society of Utah getting some good press. The shot below was snapped by Jeffrey Allred for the Deseret News.
I opted for a neutral, calming light blue from Sherwin-Williams titled North Star SW 6246. It’s really the perfect hue that keeps the space feeling light & bright, but adds a nice pop of playful color without being overwhelming. I loved it as soon as I popped open the can, but it dried even more beautiful than I had imagined. Speaking of drying, I used Emerald®Interior because of its durability. It can be wiped and cleaned, and I know it will withstand dogs and lots of use because that’s the same product we use throughout all of our renovations. It’s the best of the best.
I wanted to share some fascinating psychological reasons I selected this paint color. According to scientists and psychologists, blue is a non-threatening color that evokes a peaceful, tranquil, secure, and orderly mindset or environment. It’s crazy that a paint color can bring feelings of calmness or serenity to mind. Research has also shown that people are more productive in blue painted rooms. It has even been shown to lower pulse rate and body temperature.
Given this is the “behavior” room, I felt like it was my duty to consider all of these things when choosing a paint color for the people who work here- AND for the dogs that pass through this space.
Once the space was painted and cleared out, Emmett and I returned on Saturday to assemble furniture, put the space together, and play with dogs. The Humane Society of Utah’s project coordinator snapped this photo of us in assembly mode. Dior, the cutie rescue chihuahua, was our supervisor for the day.
While I would’ve loved to see the reaction of the employees who work here, we tackled this during a weekend (I wanted to make it as less intrusive as possible), but they emailed and were really stoked about the space. Check out how it turned out…
I gave them a TON of storage, which was high on the request list. I’m assuming they’ll keep everything from dog treats & toys to office & cleaning supplies in this giant wall unit.
I was also able to budget for three workstations… complete with desks, rolling office chairs, task lighting, and cord organizers / surge protectors (I figured I’d let the employees set those up however they prefer).
Another big ask was additional seating AND storage. These rolling filing cabinets double as seating and storage. They’re really the best of both worlds. I’m not going to lie- assembly was tricky, but these things are very well made and are super functional!
I knew their seating situation desperately needed upgraded. The armless sofa they previously had was duct taped, wobbly, and covered in dog blankets to extend its life.
I opted for this faux leather sofa that will be easy to clean and mop under. I paired it with a metal outdoor coffee table that is also easy to maintain.
Now employees (and dogs) have a cozy place to lounge. It certainly feels homier and more residential with a warm colored sofa added to the space.
Another need was fluffy WASHABLE dog beds. When talking with the team, they told me they were short on bedding. I knew that request HAD to be met.
Their new beds are made of outdoor fabric and can easily be tossed into the washer without unzipping, removing foam, and can be tossed directly into the dryer to re-fluff, making it easier & faster for employees to clean them.
I think it’s safe to say more dogs will be lounging and living the life in the newly updated behavior room. This gal, Kiwi, is still available for adoption if anyone is interested. She’s a total sweetheart and would’ve let me cuddle her all day long.
The humans also received upgraded seating. I found these budget-friendly faux leather (adjustable) office chairs and knew they would perfectly compliment the navy desks and soft blue wall color. I love how they warm up the space; and the best part? They’re honestly very comfortable.
I made sure to scatter large hooks throughout the room for dog leashes, collars, harnesses, and employees’ personal belongings. They also asked for a dog-proof lidded trash can. I told them to update me and let me know if a dog figures out how to get into this one. Only time will tell!
Kiwi quickly figured out where the treats live and attempted to steal a cookie from the jar, so I’m thinking they might need to shift that to a higher or enclosed location. Haha! It was probably my fault for feeding her so many snacks.
Remember the before image with the taped-up poster boards and dog blankets over the doors & windows? I frosted their glass at both entry points into the room in a color blocked fashion (you guys know I’m a color blocking addict). It’s just tall enough, so that large dogs can’t see out and become frightened, but the employees can still easily view who is at the door or passing by.
I also frosted the windows that bridge the gap between this room and another office (shown below) for better privacy. I didn’t want them to have to rig or tape things up and cover my freshly painted walls.
I truly admire the Humane Society of Utah’s staff for helping homeless pets every single day, even though it’s a tough job that I’m sure is emotionally challenging. I can’t even describe how great this project made me feel just by helping and contributing a small amount.
I also want to send Sherwin-Williams a GIANT thank you for helping me with this project because it certainly wouldn’t have happened without them. I feel incredibly lucky to work with partners and brands that care about our community and give back in big ways.
I know lots of you will ask where products came from for this makeover, so I’ll drop a “Get the Look” collage below. If you’re looking for the perfect paint color or budget friendly office furniture, these items fit the bill!
01: Sherwin-Williams North Star SW 6246 paint // 02: ranarp task lamp // 03: wall clock // 04: fejka artificial fern // 05: gradvis plant pot // 06: alex blue desk // 07: faux leather desk chair // 08: rolling filing cabinet seat // 09: grid gallery wall kit // 10: faux leather sofa // 11: cookie treat jar // 12: outdoor coffee table // 13: cotton blanket // 14: hallan locker storage unit // 15: campig hook // 16: branas basket // 17: mjosa trash bin // 18: plush pet beds
To my new friends at the Humane Society- I hope you enjoy your new office space. It was truly my pleasure helping bring to life a more functional room for the sake of dogs looking for their forever homes!
I’d also love to hear what you guys think about the finished space? I know this was a long post, but I couldn’t narrow down the images and had so much to talk about. If anyone wants to adopt a fur baby, let me know and I can put you in touch with my new friends!
PeggiJune 3, 2019 at 5:37 am
Awwwww! What a lovely, amazing project! Of course the room looks fantastic, and you added SO much function. Those lockers and file cabinet seats are genius. I love that Sherwin Williams chooses to highlight their products in this way. How terrible and frightening that you were attacked by a dog. Aggressive dogs always surprise me and break my heart. Speaking of heartbreaker- that Kiwi!! Great job, Sarah & Emmett!
SarahJune 3, 2019 at 12:52 pm
Thanks so much Peggi! They’re really an amazing company for giving back. It was a very fun and rewarding project. I feel lucky to have been apart of it! Yes- it was a tough time… being the dog lover I am. I wanted to bring Kiwi home!! She was SUCH a sweetheart.
ColleenJune 3, 2019 at 6:18 am
What an incredibly amazing project and transformation! Sooo wonderful you contributed to such a worthy cause. I have adopted two beautiful dogs from a local humane society over the years and the building was ugly, scary and not the best environment. I can’t even express what you have given the employees, dogs, and people visiting the facility. You and Emmett are truly the kindest, most generous people. Wow! Our little Bert is 19 years old and we adopted him as a senior at 12, he is the best dog we could have ever asked for and so many wonderful animals need a home. And Yay to Sherwin Williams for being your partner on this fabulous project! I love there paint and will continue to buy their products. You have started my day/week with a very warm story that speaks to my heart. Happy Monday!
SarahJune 3, 2019 at 12:54 pm
Thank you Colleen! I love hearing that you rescued your two dogs. Cash is a rescue, but Crosby was born on a local farm nearby, so we got him from a family. I hope the employees and dogs are loving the new space! Give Bert some snuggles for me! I’m so happy you liked this one. Have a great week :) xo
Kaitlin JenkinsJune 3, 2019 at 7:50 am
I have worked in/for animal shelters since I was 15 years old- and this is by far the nicest and most beautiful room in an animal shelter I’ve ever seen. These employees and animals are so lucky to have such a wonderful and useful space! Great work!
SarahJune 3, 2019 at 12:55 pm
Awwww I love hearing that! I started volunteering at the Humane Society in college and dog walking, so they’ve always been an organization close to my heart. I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to give back to them. Their employees work so hard for the animals!
StacyJune 3, 2019 at 9:24 am
You did such a beautiful job here! And thanks for the window frosting inspiration – I’ve wanted a full glass front door for a while but haven’t pulled the trigger because while I’m desperate for the light, I do worry about privacy. This idea might work! I also used your curtain bleaching tutorial over the weekend and they came out beautifully, so thanks for that, too :)
SarahJune 3, 2019 at 12:55 pm
Thank you, Stacy! The frosted window film was really quick and easy. I think it cost under $50 for the doors and windows, if I remember correctly. I’m happy to hear the curtains worked well :) xo
JessicaJune 3, 2019 at 12:47 pm
What a beautiful project and cause and an even more beautiful outcome! The room looks gorgeous!
SarahJune 3, 2019 at 12:56 pm
Thanks so much Jessica! It was really a fun project to orchestrate. I can’t complain when it comes to design and dog snuggles :) my two favorite things. haha! xo
MeganJune 3, 2019 at 3:10 pm
Looks amazing. Can I ask where you got the dog prints for the gallery grid wall? I saw you linked the frames but not the art itself
SarahJune 4, 2019 at 9:18 am
I printed free vectors from the internet! I have a post with a downloadable link coming to the blog on Friday specifically for the gallery wall :) Stay tuned! xo
KarenJune 3, 2019 at 11:35 pm
That is so awesome! As a lover of dogs and owner of a rescue [from Puerto Rico no less] I LOVE this space! Kudos and well done!
SarahJune 4, 2019 at 9:22 am
Thank you, Karen! I’d love to learn more about the adoption process or bringing a dog home from an international country. That is amazing! I’ve had friends rescue dogs in Costa Rica and I always wondered how that works. Give the pupper some snuggles for me. xox
ArdithJune 4, 2019 at 4:05 pm
OK, I am so late to this party, Sarah. There are such wonderful, well-deserved comments here. So all I can say is…what they said! And hello, Emmett. Cheers, Ardith
SarahJune 4, 2019 at 4:16 pm
Aw thank you Ardith! It was such a wonderful project to be apart of. I was more than happy to help :) xo