Non-Profit Rehab Gets Free Makeover

By McCarton Ackerman 08/17/12

Fifty interior designers give their time to spectacularly re-create the rooms of Beit T'Shuvah in LA.

Room 211 After.jpeg
Beit T'Shuvah's new Room 211

Think Extreme Home Makeover: Rehab Edition. Los Angeles non-profit Beit T'Shuvah—a full-service congregation and residential rehab housing 120 men and women—has received a free facelift via the goodwill of 50 interior designers. A project called "Designed From The Heart," led by LA designer Heidi Bendetson, completely revamped 43 primary rooms at no cost to the facility. And because each room's designer had total creative control, no two look alike: one room looks like the Gramercy Park Hotel, one resembles a Georgia O’Keefe retrospective, another comes over like a Shabby Chic showroom. The project took five months to complete and was unveiled late last month. "We're in the serious business of recovery and don't have time to worry about how things look," said Beit T'Shuvah's founder and CEO Harriett Rossetto. "But once I saw the rooms taking shape, I realized that beautiful surroundings can be empowering. They will help to give our residents the confidence they need to begin to live a new way of life."

Beit T'Shuvah's COO, Spiritual Leader and Head Rabbi Mark Borovitz—an ex-con and recovering alcoholic who's been sober 23 years—agrees. "Addiction is a statement to the world that says 'I don't matter' and one of our big messages to our residents is that you do matter," he tells The Fix. "This design project has told our residents that their recovery matters to someone and that people really do care about them. It has changed their actions and literally saved lives. We were unsure whether or not some people would pull it together, but knowing someone put in that much effort for them gave them a new lease on life." Each room's designer interviewed the person currently living in that room beforehand to get a sense of what was important to their recovery and their life—producing custom-made results. "Things like asking residents to make their bed used to be a problem before, but now they take pride in their room," says Borovitz. "It looks like a boutique hotel. They wake up and say, 'Wow, this was made for me.'"

Beit T'Shuvah's Room 239 before the designer makeover:

And Room 239 after:

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.