An ACU student will design and renovate a local Abilene residence during the month of April with the help of local businesses.
Haley Buffington, senior interior design major from The Woodlands, initiated the project and introduced the idea to ACU interior design faculty members.
‘Project Merge,’ the official title of the renovation initiative, was inspired by a campus wide event at Texas State University. Buffington saw a need for a service project in the interior design department, and felt this was a perfect opportunity.
“I loved their idea and wondered why something like this wasn’t happening at ACU, especially for our department,” Buffington said. “I wanted to [create a project] that involved using the skills and knowledge we are using for the Abilene community.”
Buffington, along with three other interior design majors, went through a selection process of homes in the Abilene area that would be willing to allow students to renovate their homes. The family chosen is a multi-generational family, with the great-grandmother and great-grandchildren all living together. Buffington said the family will be treated as clients and building trust is part of the client-customer relationship process.
“We began with an initial meeting just to talk with them, learn about them, build a relationship and see the house,” Buffington said. “Then we come back and take some photos and measurements.”
The students and staff have collected new bedding, accessories, paint and hardware thanks to donations from local businesses. Southern Hills Church of Christ will assist with in the renovation process within the next two weeks to prepare for the reveal on April 29.
“The family will be staying at a hotel in town for the weekend and we will bring them home for a reveal Sunday evening,” Buffington said. “We are so excited for them to see everything.”
Kitty Wasemiller, interior design professor and ‘Project Merge’ program director, is impressed by the hard work and dedication the students are putting into the project.
“This project has been completely student driven from the start; it was sparked by their desire to serve the needs of real world people,” Wasemiller said. “I have been so impressed with the sheer determination, joy, organization and diligence displayed by our students who are behind this; inspiring for sure.”