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Posted: Friday, April 16, 2010 11:00 pm

A localized version of a national design show has come to the Valley, and a Tempe interior design company is competing.

Sheknows.com is a local, online network for women. They organized an interior design contest, similar to The Learning Channel’s Trading Spaces, where designers compete under time and budget-limited rules to re-design a space in a residential home.

Two design teams were involved, and each team was given 48 hours and $2,000 to re-design a room for a separate working mom.

Maria Bailey Benson, owner of Nyla Simone Home in Tempe, and several other store designers were paired with a mom who wanted to convert a loft into a functional space to relax, spend time with her husband and 4-month-old baby, and use as office space.

Before the contest began, Benson and her team had only seen video footage of the mom explaining what she wanted to use the space for, as well as some general room information, like dimensions.

The mom told the designers she didn’t want anything white in the room. After the re-design, the room had white legs on the desk, white cabinets, and “she ended up loving it,” Benson said.

At the end of the weekend, the family had a new space that Benson describes as neither contemporary nor traditional.

Benson’s team soaked up the $2,000 budget with seating, a ceiling fan, a custom-built desk, and other items. Candles and accessories were borrowed from other rooms in the home.

“We enjoyed doing it and want to do it again,” Benson said. “It proves we can work with any budget.”

For complete bios of the designers and families involved, video footage of the re-design process, or to vote for your favorite room, visit http://www.sheknows.com/sheknowstv/homestretch.


Kathleen Gormley is interning this semester for the Ahwatukee Foothills News. She is a sophomore at Arizona State University.

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