We Transformed a House into a Home for this Family for Under $2,000 — Here’s How It Turned Out
Below is an article originally published on Apr 16, 2019, in OfferUp blog. Go to OfferUp's company page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.
Working at OfferUp is different from working at your standard company. We value top performers and creative minds, but we also stand by a set of core values, dubbed our "DNA." To work here, you must be:
Driven: hungry to always be improving, and curious to seek better outcomes or ways of doing things.
Neighborly: eager to help and elevate those around you, and able to treat them with respect and kindness.
Adaptable: able to embrace change and be open to shifts in focus for yourself or for the company.
Acting on these values in the office is what makes our employees rock stars, but being active in the community is what makes them our living values. We have a special place in our hearts for the Pacific Northwest as it's where we found our humble beginning! It's the place where we set out to become a place that empowers others to connect and prosper, and none of that would have happened without support from the community.
Last year, we volunteered at Seattle's Union Gospel Mission to serve a holiday feast to over 400 people in need. The year before that, we joined forces with Seattle PD to deliver 600 beds to children in need across Western Washington. This year, we wanted to work with a company that shares in the idea that something magical happens when you treat everyone like a neighbor.
"This is Home" is the name of this year's community outreach effort, done in a joint effort with local Bellevue nonprofit Jubilee REACH. They're a staple in the area, and serve the community through four "pillars" of the organization:
Since many of our goals overlap, we decided to work together on a project that captured our values. After all, we are two organizations with core values that ask others to treat people like their neighbor. If your neighbor needed help, wouldn't you want to pitch in?
Jubilee REACH connected us to a family with an urgent need that we knew we could help out with. Appolonia is a single mom to three little ones, who unfortunately lost her home after a series of financial hardships. Due to the instability, her children were placed into foster families until she could pick up the pieces and start again.
Now, four years later and with the help of Jubilee REACH, her family has been reunited and given access to a townhome to live in! As excited and relieved as the four of them are to finally be back together, their new home leaves a lot of space to fill, and they needed help with the interior and all the furnishings.
As many moms can relate, raising three kids on your own is a handful, and the task of furnishing a two-thousand square foot is even more daunting. It doesn't help that the furnishing cost for any home, especially starting from scratch, can be very expensive. ForRent.com found the average person spends over eight-thousand dollars to fill a one-bedroom apartment.
There are plenty of great, affordable and lightly used or new items on OfferUp, so we offered to lend a hand and help find items to furnish the house for Appolonia and her family.
Millions of items are posted and sold on OfferUp every year, and furniture is one of our most popular categories. With a budget of just $2,000, we set a goal to fully furnish Apollonia's new house using items found on OfferUp. Over the course of a few weeks, a small team of employees compiled a list of items the family would need: heavy furniture like bed frames, couches, and dining tables made the cut, and smaller things like hangers, silverware and dish soap were also on the list. When our team picked up the items they bought, some shared the purpose of the purchases by telling Appolonia's story. The response from our community was greater than expected.
Many sellers decided to lower their prices and some chose to donate them instead. Being able to help someone in their community rallied local sellers, and their generous response helped us keep to the budget. In fact, we even managed to find great deals on a West Elm couch and flat screen television — two things that wouldn't be in the budget otherwise.
After weeks of picking up items and storing them in the office, the day finally came to complete the transformation.
On delivery day, OfferUp employees and volunteers from Jubilee REACH worked together to deliver and install the new items. Appolonia and her children each got a bedroom makeover, with the designs in each room matching the style of its new owner.
Augustina, the eleven-year-old, wanted a "grown-up space," so we added teal elements (her favorite color), cat decor (her favorite animal), and a desk for her to do her homework and spend some time on the art projects she loves.
The five-year-old twins, Asia and Azariah, were excited to have their own rooms! Asia wanted a space fit for a princess — so we added pink pieces, with ballet shoes and plenty of cute stuffed animals. Azariah only had two requests: trains, and as much "Blank Panther"-related items that we could fit.
Appolonia was hesitant to make a request for her room. She wanted to focus on making the house special for her kids — all she needed was a bed big enough for the four of them to fit if they wanted. After all she'd been through, the team came up with an idea for her: how about something cozy and relaxing? A real retreat for a mom who deserves a space that represents how far she's come.
After hours spent cleaning, moving, and keeping the family's cats entertained in the spare bedroom on the third floor, the home installation was complete.
Keep reading to check out their reactions to their completely transformed home:
Appolonia and the kids had the same reaction when they first set foot into their new home: they looked around and took a deep breath, as if to say, "I can finally relax." While the new toys and furniture were nice, having a comfortable and safe space that was all theirs was all they wanted.
When we met Appolonia, she mentioned that ever since being reunited with her kids, all she wanted was a new family photo. Before move-in day, a couple of people from our team took the family to a nearby park for a photo shoot. Those photos are framed and now take center stage in the living room design.
Welcome home, Appolonia, Augustina, Asia, and Azariah! Congrats on your happily ever after.
If you'd like to learn how to become involved with Jubilee REACH, you can check out their website here. How do you give back to your community? Let us know in the comments!