2020 Design For A Difference: Home is Where the Heart Is

Due to the issues related to COVID-19 in 2020, the national Design for a Difference movement decided to look for local heroes making a difference in their communities. Nominations were sent in from all over the United States and Canada to select a few that would become finalists that everyone was invited to vote on. The Madison area had four individuals in the national finalists voting phase and they were Oscar Mireles, Lynn Aspinwell, Diane Small, Brenda Szarek, and Vickie Tauscheck.

In October the person with the most votes was determined to be the national winner and received a home makeover valued up to $10,000. When the runners-up were announced FLOOR360 was thrilled to find out Oscar Mireles was selected from the Madison area. He receives a home makeover valued up to $2500. We will install the flooring he selects, and provide him with an interior design consultation and recommendations.

Oscar Mireles


2019 Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center Makeover Complete

October 12 – On a cold fall day at 2pm, the leadership team, board members and invited guests were led into the Yahara Room at Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center with their eyes closed. When they opened their eyes they were treated to a whole new redesigned community room thanks to the hard work of interior designers and area businesses who were brought together by FLOOR360 and Design for a Difference to makeover 8,500 square feet inside a 115 year old church. There are 11 rooms total that received a design makeover. The two largest are the Yahara Room which anyone can rent out for their event. Downstairs there’s a redesigned teen and kids room with a loft, a Lego wall and gaming areas. There’s an Art Room and a Fitness Room where there wasn’t one before. The creativity and vivid colors are everywhere like the new logo in the entry and murals in the Yahara Room, Youth Room and Art Room. Points of interest are a sculpture hanging from the ceiling made of 12 brass instruments, a clock made out piano keys, donated road signs decorating the walls, and a colorful mural depicting all the summer festivals with a new Wil-Mar logo.

2019 Makeover In Progress

September 29 through October 11 an army of volunteers from FLOOR360, interior designers on the design team and local businesses worked around the clock in secret to make a special place like Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center even more special. The Design for a Difference makeover details like paint color, floor color, furniture and creative design details are a closely guarded secret until the final results are revealed during a private event with the leadership team and board members of Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center on October 12. This is the fifth year in a row that the Madison community has shared in the joy of giving by giving back to a local non-profit who has given thousands of people so much over the years. A big extra thanks to our media partners NBC15 and BRAVA for supporting the makeover with volunteers and sharing the good news about the giving spirit of the Madison community.

Top Secret Makeover Begins

September 25 – The top secret work has begun on the designs inside the Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center. The all-volunteer design team has been planning the designs since May, and now the floors, the colors, the lighting and all the personalized features of the ‘new’ Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center will be installed. Everyone who works at FLOOR360 pitches in during the makeover, especially the Installation A-Team. But all the creative designing, donation collection, and beautiful details come from the design team comprised of interior designers in Madison. An army of area businesses shares in the joy of giving by donating labor, materials and funds to make a great space for this special place.

The team that works at Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center and all the people that use their services will not see the results of the Makeover until mid-October during a reveal event that is closed to the public. Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center plans to have a public open house shortly after to show everyone what their ‘new’ facility looks like.

Fundraising at Willy Street Fair

On September 14, Design for a Difference design team members Cathy Wall, Audra Johnson, Emili Spencer, Erin Lynett and Laurie Lundgren volunteered a couple of hours to pour beer at the Willy Street Fair. The non-profit recipient of the 2019 free makeover. Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center, sponsors this festival held on Williamson Street each and every year. The total amount raised from the tips was $225 that goes to buying supplies for the makeover happening during the first two weeks in October.

2019 Video Progress Updates

Thanks to our partners at NBC15, we are able to document the progress of the Design for a Difference Design Team from April until October. Here are the first three updates that show the design team as they meet for the first time to each select a room to design inside Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center in Design Update #1, the design team meets with the people who use Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center to determine their needs and wants in Design Update #2, and the design team collaborating on seeking donations and materials they need to bring their creative designs to life in Design Update #3.

Design Update #1

Design Update #2

Design Update #3

Design Update #4

Friday Construction Progress Meetings

On Fridays, the Design for a Difference-Madison design team meets with people from NCI Roberts who are doing major construction changes inside Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center June through October. The design team communicates with the NCI Roberts team on project progression and things like electrical and wiring and how that will fit in with the cosmetic design plans and finishes. During the first two weeks in October, the flooring will be installed and the designers will execute their design concepts for each room. Volunteers will paint, place and assemble furnishings and add lots of creative flourishes to personalize the spaces for the Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center community. But everything is a closely guarded secret until the day the design team reveals the finished rooms to the team leaders at Wil-Mar.

Fundraiser at La Fete de Marquette

On Friday July 12, members of the 2019 Design for a Difference Design Team poured beer for festival goers in the Bistro tent at La Fete de Marquette, McPike Park Madison, WI. There were donation jars on the table for people to help us purchase materials for the makeover taking place inside Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center this year. It was a hot evening but the beer and wine were cold. Soon after pouring beer everyone went backstage next to the main stage to get a bucket to start a bucket brigade between musical acts. As the Design for a Difference video edited by NBC15 played on the big screen, the design team fanned out in the crowd to collect more donations. At the end of the beer shift and bucket brigade, a total of $500 was raised for the makeover!

Design Meeting at Steinhafel’s

On July 11, Steinhafel’s East Madison was generous enough to offer the design team space in their showroom to hold a meeting. Everyone took time at the beginning to tour the showroom, which is where the old American store was on the east side, with more space added on. They discussed the fundraising opportunity at the La Fete de Marquette event and the progress of design planning. Each team has a plan for their rooms now, so they are deep into the phase of the project where they are looking for donations of materials to make their design vision a reality. As always all design plans are a closely guarded secret until reveal day.

Madison College Interior Design Program Meeting

DESIGN CHARRETTE – a collaborative meeting during which members of a team quickly collaborate and sketch designs to explore and share a broad diversity of design ideas.

On June 13, students in the Madison College of Interior Design Program held a meeting at Madison College to talk about their design plans and concepts for the Youth Room – known as a Design Charrette. The volunteers and students are donating their time to make over the Youth Rec Room and Youth Director Office. Watch the NBC15 news coverage about the event that helps demonstrate the reach Design for a Difference as a movement is having on the Madison Community.

2019 Designer Rummage Sale

UPDATE: We raised over $2000 for the makeover this October!

On June 8, volunteers from the Design for a Difference- Madison Design Team – Alexandra Wood, Cathy Driftmier, Brenda Szarek, Tara Buedding, Angela Skalitzky, Alyssa Trautman and Audra Johnson took the first volunteer shift at the Designer Rummage Sale that was held at FLOOR360 from 9am-4pm. This was the second year interior designers donated household decorative items like lamps, prints, dishes, pottery, mirrors, holiday items and furniture to sell to raise money for the free makeover of a Madison area non-profit. This year, FLOOR360 donated leftover quantities of tile and hardwood sample boards for people use in the their D.I.Y. Projects and crafts. In the end, over $2000 was raised after all the sales were totaled.

East Madison Community Center Award Event

On June 7, East Madison Community Center (EMCC) held an event to recognize their volunteers and partners. Issa Snack by Shuga provided a delicious selection of comfort food that everyone thoroughly enjoyed. Design Team members Angela Skalitzky, Tara Buedding, Laurie Lundgren and Audra Johnson attended the event and sat with newly elected Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway at a table in their activity room. After a fun demonstration of double-dutch jump rope, the Mayor helped recognize junior and adult volunteers that make EMCC such a special place. Each volunteer received a certificate and chose a prize from variety of items on display. Design for a Difference and FLOOR360 received their Corporate Partner of the Year award and plaque for our contribution of an interior makeover valued at $600,000 in materials and services. Angela Skalitzky accepted the recognition and said a few words to the assembled crowd.

Design Team Meeting #3 – Concepts & Color Palette

On May 30, the interior design professionals volunteering their time and talents to the 2019 makeover of Wil Mar Neighborhood Center met to review room design concepts and see the color palette. After forming small teams, visiting the space in person, and speaking directly with the people who use the spaces, each team presented their preliminary design plans. The design teams presented their ideas on bulletin boards and power point presentations, then requested feedback or further ideas from the larger group. Over the last five years, these meetings have been a place of collaboration, encouragement and inspiration for the group as a whole.

Next, Laurie Lundgren owner of Laurie Lundgren Color and Design presented the color palette for the makeover. Like everything else involved with the makeover, the specific colors will remain a secret until October. Laurie said she used murals and the festival posters on display inside Wil Mar Neighborhood center as the inspiration for the colors she chose. Each design team will select colors from this palette for painting their individual rooms. One color palette is always chosen to preserve a cohesive look that covers the 9,400 square foot facility.

Design Team Meets at Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center

Room Teams

Art Room – Lori Jolin – Lori Jolin Design LLC, Kate Terrien, Deb Kreger – Deb Kreger Designs, Laurie Lundgren – Laurie Lundgren Color & Design, and Ivan Acierno

Yahara Kitchen – Team Bella Domicile includes Abbey Weiss, Lori Leistico, J. Ivory Travis, Tasha Frie, Teresa Smejkal and Dondi Szombatflavy

Yahara Room – Cathy Driftmier – Driftmier Design, Brenda Szarek – Autumn Light Interiors, Tara Buedding – The Happy Home Organizer

Youth Kitchen – Team Cabinet Masters includes Katie Merical and Todd Hultman

Mendota Room – Karen Kavanaugh – Kavanaugh’s Restaurant Supply, Mari Johnson – Kavanaugh’s Restaurant Supply, Erin Lynett – Marling Lumber

Administration Offices – Team Steinhafel’s includes Patti Stindt, Cecelia Henson, Debbie Gray, Shannon Piper, Michelle Kahl

Youth Room and Youth Director Office – Team Madison College of Design includes Emili Spencer, Ashley Ahlstrom, Claire Pellegrini, Heather Ripp, Heidi Horn, Jenny Metcalf, Kelly Cliff, Sherri Helmke,

Entry – Michelle Schildgen – Sketchworks, Cathy Wall – Cathy Wall Design, Angela Skalitzky FLOOR360, Callie Cannon FLOOR360

Fitness Room – Courtney Wollersheim – FLOOR360, Alyssa Trautman – FLOOR360, Sonja Gage – Waunakee Remodeling, Jacqueline Jorgenson

Food Pantry – Marissa Martinie, Deb Kreger Deb K Designs, Claire Tomm, Kim Schachte

Small Meeting Room – Anne Trienklin, Dani Frank – Distinctively Dannette, Crystal Schliefer

Computer Lab – Elisabeth Pieper – American Family, Ashley Gries – Cassa and Co., Melissa Keyzers – Creative Business Interiors

*Some Design Team members are not pictured

Meeting on Location

On May 9, the Design for a Difference-Madison design team met at Wil Mar Neighborhood Center for the first time. Everyone on the team works on one space inside the facility from now on, since they broke into smaller teams after their first meeting in April at FLOOR360. The objective for the day was to review the spaces, floor plans and conditions while interviewing the people that use the spaces everyday. This meeting is certainly one of the most crucial during the six months the design team works in their spaces. The information the design team gathers from the team at Wil Mar Neighborhood Center informs all the design decisions made moving forward. The interior designers know what questions to ask to determine the personality, style and preferences which leads them to choose a particular theme or color or feature for the spaces.

Designer Rummage Sale Fundraiser

Save the date! The second annual Designer Rummage Sale is right around the corner on June 8 9am-4pm at FLOOR360 Madison 5117 Verona Road in the Design Mart. Shop for a great cause! Interior designers will donate their gently used and sometimes new household decorative items and furnishings. All proceeds from the sale go towards buying materials for the 2019 free makeover of Wil Mar Neighborhood Center. Contact Angela Skalitzky with donations or more information askalitzky@floor360.com

April 2019 – Design Team Meeting #1

On April 25, over 30 interior design professionals that committed to volunteering their time and talents for the 2019 Design for a Difference Madison interior makeover of Wil Mar Neighborhood Center on Jenifer St. in Madison met for the first time at FLOOR360. The main purpose of this meeting was to review the floor plan and photos of the fourteen rooms inside the facility. Then each person states their preference for the room they would like to be responsible for designing over the next six months. Since there are over 50 designers on the complete design team, each room will have a dedicated small team composed of 4 to 6 people.

One of the design team members Michelle Schildgen, Director of Branding at Strang and an interior designer made a presentation to the group on April 25 as well. Michelle met with the leadership team at Wil Mar Neighborhood Center on an earlier date to gather information about what they want to convey with the new design in relationship to their programs, services, mission and vision. Michelle then presented her findings from that meeting to the design team which contained artwork, neighborhood images, descriptive words, personal quotes and future goals. It’s a valuable resource the design team can refer to in combination with the personal interviews they each will conduct with Wil Mar Neighborhood Center stakeholders during the next design team meeting.

2019 Makeover Recipient is Wil Mar Neighborhood Center

Spring into Design April 3, 2019

On April 3, 2019 representatives from Wil Mar Neighborhood Center gathered in the FLOOR360 Madison Showroom during Spring into Design to watch as it was revealed to the assembled crowd that they would receive a free Design for a Difference Madison makeover in 2019. There were about twenty total people from Wil Mar in attendance, and only four knew in advance they were selected to receive the makeover. When the video showed the good news about sixteen people clapped and shouted for joy at the surprising good news.

About Wil Mar Neighborhood Center

(from their website) The Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center provides a foundation for our ever-widening community: a place for all people to learn, grow and celebrate. Over the last 50 years, Wil-Mar has served and supported hundreds of thousands of people. As the east Isthmus community continues to evolve, Wil-Mar maintains the foundations of health, vitality, and acceptance that make our community the rare and wonderful place it is to call home.

Keep visiting for continuous updates about the makeover process or fundraising events now until mid-October!

February 2019 – Selection Committee Meets

In February the Design for a Difference Selection Committee met at FLOOR360 to review all the nominations sent in for consideration for receiving a free makeover. The committee looks at photos and reviews the applications which include location, building condition summaries, what the non-profit organizations do and their mission statements. The goal of the meeting is to determine a short list of organizations that the selection committee can visit in person and meet personally with the leadership teams.

Pictured left to right – Audra Johnson FLOOR360, Cathy Driftmier Driftmier Design, Dena Frisch BRAVA Magazine, Nina Gehan Centro Hispano, Bob Tobe FLOOR360, De’Kendrea Stamps East Madison Community Center, Angela Skalitzky FLOOR360, Shawn Rewald NBC15, Tara Buedding The Happy Home Organizer, Jennifer Rosen-Heinz Freelance Writer.

East Madison Community Center Makeover Reveal Day!

On October 14, 2018 the leadership team, board members and program participants of East Madison Community Center saw their ‘new’ facility for the first time after moving out for two weeks. It was an emotional day for the 44 designers who planned, designed and worked to make the spaces special for the people involved with the Madison area non-profit. In the end, 12,800 square feet of space was re-imagined and designed specifically for the people who use it the most. FLOOR360 would like to thank over 250 Madison businesses who donated time, funds and materials to make the design plans a reality. The total value of the makeover is over $600,000!

Makeover September 29 -October 14

On October 1, 2018 the inside of East Madison Community Center began it’s transformation! Volunteers from FLOOR360, Supreme Structures, flooring installers and more began the demo process and flooring prep. The details of the design are a closely guarded secret that will not be revealed to the public until the leadership team and board members of East Madison Community Center see it for the first time on October 14. No one from the East Madison Community Center is allowed in the building between September 30 and October 13. Here are a few photos from the first few days, black and white photos are used to preserve the secrecy of paint colors and flooring and designs.


February 2018 – Selection Committee Meeting

Design for a Difference Selection Committee
Selection committee: Jennifer Rosen-Heinz, Cathy Driftmier, Tara Buedding, Angela Skalitzky, Sharyl Kato, Karen Menendez Coller, Nina Gehan, Bob Tobe

During January, various non-profit facilities in the Madison area filled out a nomination form on the FLOOR360 website and included photos of their spaces. In February, the selection committee met to review all the nominations for a 2018 makeover. The committee consists of Jennifer Rosen-Heinz a community volunteer and freelance writer, Cathy Driftmier owner of Driftmier Designs and national ambassador of Design for a Difference, Tara Buedding owner of Happy Home Organizer and national ambassador for Design for a Difference, Angela Skalitzky VP Retail Sales and Design for FLOOR360 and project manager for Design for a Difference Makeovers since 2015, Sharyl Kato Executive Director of The Rainbow Project 2016 makeover recipient, Karen Menendez Coller Executive Director of Centro Hispano – 2017 makeover recipient, Nina Gehan Development Director of Centro Hispano, and Bob Tobe Owner of FLOOR360.

March 2018 

East Madison Community Center
East Madison Community Center group photo at FLOOR360 Spring into Design event after it was announced they would receive the 2018 makeover

Spring into Design March 21

On March 21, FLOOR360 hosted the annual Spring into Design event in our showroom. All the flooring displays were moved out and the catering, stage, screen, silent auction, t-shirt sale was moved in. Our keynote speaker was Mark Brunetz, celebrity designer and national spokesperson for Design for a Difference. Amy Pflugshaupt NBC15 anchor, served as host, and Bob Tobe, owner of FLOOR360 spoke about his passion for Design for a Difference. A crowd of 350 gathered in the showroom to watch a video officially announcing that East Madison Community Center (EMCC) would receive the free 2018 makeover. Tom Moen Executive Director, and De’Kendrea Stamps Assistant Director were notified in advance of the event so they could bring some friends from the East Madison Community Center and speak to the crowd. 

April 2018 

Facility Measure and Before Pictures

The first Project Update in the 2018 makeover process is creating an accurate floor plan of the East Madison Community Center.  Alyssa Trautman Interior Designer at FLOOR360, Angela Skalitzky Vice President Retail Sales and Design at FLOOR360 and Chuck Maier Measuring Specialist at FLOOR360 went room to room at EMCC to document measurements to present to the Design Team at their first meeting in late April.

Design Team Meeting #1 at FLOOR360

A majority of the 38 design professionals that committed to volunteering their time and talent for the makeover process gathered in a large conference room at FLOOR360 in late April. Since the measures were taken of East Madison Community Center, a flooring plan was printed and hung on the wall so everyone could see it. A smaller version of the floor plan was given to each designer to keep. The objective of this meeting was for the designers to review the existing conditions of all the rooms by reviewing photos and commiting to making over one or more of the rooms in the facility. For example, a team of student designers and their teacher from Madison College will make over the computer lab. All the photos and plans and design team assignments are saved on a Google drive for everyone to see and share. 

MAY 2018 

Design Team Meeting #2 at FLOOR360

The design team met again to finalize the small teams assignments for the different rooms inside East Madison Community Center and review the overall color palette for the facility. In the near future, we’ll have pictures to post with the design team members in their rooms. Laurie Lundgren is an interior designer and color specialist who presented the group with her recommendations. Each small design team will select colors for their rooms from the overall color palette. But the actual colors selected must remain a closely guarded secret until Makeover Reveal Day this October. But here’s a tease to show you how many the designers have to choose from. 

The secret color palette for East Madison Community Center

May 12 Brat Sale Fundraiser

On May 12 from 10am – 2pm Abbey Weiss from Bella Domicile coordinated a Brat Sale and Fundraiser at Miller and Sons Supermarket in Verona. The proceeds made from the sale will go towards the makeover of East Madison Community Center this October. The funds raised will go towards purchasing things that are not donated like furniture. Design Team members took shifts working at the brat sale stand in the parking lot and they are Abbey Weiss, Angela Skalitzky, Dani Frank, Lori Jolin, Laurie Lundgren, Tara Klingbeil, Cathy Driftmier and Dondi Szombatfalvy. During the event East Madison Community Center Assistant Director De’Kendrea Stamps stopped by to show her support too! 

May 31 Design Team meeting #3

The majority of the design team gathered on location at East Madison Community Center (EMCC) on this day to see their spaces for the first time and talk to the leadership team and the kids who use the spaces everyday. The 38 interior design professionals who are volunteering their time on the Design Team have broken out into smaller groups to take responsibility for areas like the entrances, hallways, kitchens, offices, conference rooms, library, storage room, pre-teen room and teen room. The smaller groups of the Design Team met in their spaces with their clients to take measurements, hear how the rooms are used, and identified likes, dislikes, needs and wants. Now the creative design brainstorming begins!

JUNE 2018 

June 21 Design Team Meeting #4

Due to the top secret nature of the design plans, the majority of this meeting must remain confidential! It can be reported that there is a design theme in the works for the entrances and hallways that could be carried through to the office spaces and gathering places inside East Madison Community Center. The rest of this meeting revolved around final planning for the first annual Designer Rummage Sale on June 23. Earlier on same day as Design Team Meeting #4, NBC15 came to shoot Angela Skaltizky with some of the rummage sale items Alexandra Wood gathered and arranged for the video shoot. The story aired on Friday June 22. 

June 23 Designer Rummage Sale Fundraiser

The Designer Rummage Sale event was organized by Alexandra Wood, an interior designer who owns her own business and volunteers on the Design Team. The concept was to request donations of household items from Interior Designers and sell the items to the public, and put 100% of the proceeds towards buying supplies for the interior makeover of the East Madison Community Center. The sale was a runaway success raising $4500 for the makeover! Big thanks to all the interior designers who donated items, to the volunteers who worked at the sale, to the bakers who baked goodies and sold them, and especially to the shoppers who shopped for a good cause. Everyone agreed the Designer Rummage Sale should be an annual event held every summer. Some of the items for sale were wicker patio furniture, framed prints, framed mirrors, coffee tables, pottery, lamps, throw pillows, bedding, wall art and more. 

August 2018

August 2 Design Team Meeting #5 at FLOOR360

The whole Design Team is in the donations and acquisition stage of the makeover now that they each have a room assignment, met with the EMCC group, and created a design plan to make their rooms special. The facility design plans are a secret until makeover reveal day this October. But we can tell you about the meeting on August 2, where the whole design team gathers at FLOOR360 to review their individual needs lists and shares ideas about asking for donations. This is the part of the design process where the whole Madison Community can get involved and share in the joy of giving and create a special place for the people who work at and use East Madison Community Center.  As our media partner, NBC15 captured the meeting and some of the items on the design team needs list to help get our community involved in the Design for a Difference Movement. A POD container has been delivered to store all the items acquired for the makeover and with our generous community to support us we’ll fill it soon!

August 23 Design Team Meeting #6 at East Madison Community Center

On August  23, Todd and Eric from Supreme Structures met to talk about what they can do to help with the top secret plans the design team has for the interior makeover of East Madison Community Center. They went to the front entrance way, storage room, kitchens, a conference room and the pre-teen room. Supreme Structures helped a lot with the 2017 makeover of Centro Hispano and they’re reviewing plans and requests for this year’s makeover. The design team also reviewed samples of the flooring that was donated to cover 12,500 square feet of the facility! 

September 2018

September 13 Paint Schedule Review at East Madison Community Center

Angela Skalitzky and Courtney Wollersheim reviewed the paint schedule that shows what colors are going on the walls in which rooms. A Sherwin-Williams representative met them there to see the different spaces and review measurements. While they were there, it was obvious the East Madison Community Center team has made a lot of progress with packing to move out and make room for the makeover during the first two weeks of October. The East Madison Community Center staff has no idea what the Design Team has planned for the makeover including – flooring, paint colors, new furniture, wall hangings, accessories or room themes.

September 19 IKEA Shopping Trip

Thanks to Elks Lodge #410 in Madison and Exhalted Ruler Lynn Aspinwall for funding the shopping trip to buy fun things for the rooms at East Madison Community Center! Since the makeover is top secret, the photos need to be in black and white so we don’t give anything away. Angela, Courtney and Alyssa loaded up the FLOOR360 van with all the goodies and brought them back for the design team to place in their rooms during the makeover this October.