In commemoration of its 30th anniversary, IA Interior Architects’ Seattle office donated the services of its staff to a series of community organizations and charities in the Seattle area. To accommodate a staff of nearly 100 volunteers and varying areas of interest, the office collectively chose several organizations among its team. All organizations selected were local, to keep IA’s impact within the community.
“When you give money, you quickly forget who you gave to,” says Dave Kutsunai, principal and design director in Seattle. “When you give your time, it sticks with you forever.”
Team members in IA’s Seattle office are passionate about sustainability and wanted to learn more about organic farming. Oxbow Farm and Education Center connects community members to local and sustainable food and farm practices. The group of IA volunteers cleared a length of native hedgerow, planted 130 native shrubs and trees, and mulched throughout the planting areas.
“They had a great attitude and kept on working despite the crazy bouts of wind, rain, and sun we experienced throughout the day,” says Bridget McNassar of Oxbow. “”They were very determined to plant every single plant, though I usually put out more than I think we can do, just so we don’t run out.”
“Oxbow put us to work, but they also shared their history, their organic farming practices, their personal backgrounds, and their fresh raspberries,” says Tim Sircoloumb, IA Seattle. “They were extremely welcoming and we all felt like Oxbow farmers by the end of the day.”
Pasado’s Animal Sanctuary is an organization that rescues dogs, cats, and farm animals from neglect and abuse. The organization’s 85-acre facility outside Seattle is home to hundreds of adopted animals that provide educational opportunities for the surrounding community to help stop animal cruelty. The IA group was put to work hauling sand, planting grass, weeding, painting, and staining animal shelters.
“I could tell the IA group was detailed-oriented,” says Eve Firestone of Pasado’s. “When they were finished, the gravel was level and no tools were left behind. Trust me–this isn’t always the case!”
“I’ll never forget the 300-pound pigs prancing around us laying down for belly rubs!” says Rosie Alyea, a designer with IA. “I befriended a donkey named Chester, who was heavily abused by his owner, and he was the sweetest thing. I miss him even today.”
Founded in 1989, Rebuilding Together Seattle is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization that provides free home repairs for low income, elderly, disabled, and military veteran homeowners. IA staff worked on the home of Marla, a senior who works at a women’s shelter, and Rania, her daughter who attends high school. Among the home improvements were a refinished exterior deck, new house numbers, interior and exterior painting, repaired screen doors, and new flooring installation in the bathroom.
“The IA team had a really unique perspective on making things more functional with small jobs,” says Mike Lahoda, a program associate at RTS who worked with IA. “It was great to have their skill set.”
“To be able to make her home more livable, and just talking about her home and neighborhood was a true delight,” says Michael Janicki, CAD technician IA in Seattle. “I have not forgotten helping her that day with the company of IA colleagues.”