Good Works Makeover
St. Helena's library before the Good Works Makeover
Affection and affirmation may permeate the air, but St. Helena's decor couldn't escape being budget- and durability-driven. The bland living room—brightened only by photos of the girls, tacked to one wall—was Elaine's challenge

"Group homes and hospitals tend to have the same institutional furniture," concedes St. Helena's program director, Emily Collins. "It's all meant to be functional, not pretty." Out went the industrial carpeting and in came a glistening wood floor, as well as the subtle architectural detailing of new radiator covers and baseboards.
St. Helena's library after the Good Works Makeover
Elaine replaced the motley pieces of furniture with a new library across from the dining area. Bookcases hold a library of 200 new books, donations Elaine solicited from Random House. As ever, Elaine's ability to solicit contributions extends far beyond the physical. Donations include a one-year subscription to Netflix for the house, and for each girl, a $100 Levi's gift certificate, Hold Everything weekend luggage, and a Dennis Basso faux-fur-lined suede coat from QVC.

The super-duper gift, though, is a group session with Harriette Cole, a nationally syndicated columnist, author, and radio host who specializes in teaching the finer arts of conversation and manners.

Black folding screen from Arteriors Home; bookcase from Drexel Heritage; storage boxes from Hold Everything; and photographs from Longstreet Collection, with frames from Larson-Juhl.
St. Helena's living area before the Good Works Makeover
Lowe's, the Good Works' construction partner, did its most extensive renovation to date, starting at the top. The fluorescent fixtures "were like cell block D," Elaine declares. Lowe's rewired and installed recessed incandescent lights that cast a warmer glow.
St. Helena's living area after the Good Works Makeover
New furnishings are equal parts comfort and quirk, grouped into two hipster living sections: In an area that was once an altar, a lounge is anchored by two Hold Everything sofas and a pair of chairs covered with soft neoprene cord; to the side of that, two lacquered chairs frame a sideboard.

The new living-room design is graphic, comfortable and built on an earthy palette. The girls themselves instituted a no-food-on-the-sofa policy: "People can eat at the table but not on the couch," says resident Ashley Diggs.

Green graphic folding screen from Moxbox; striped pillows from Dransfield & Ross; draperies and other pillows made from Kravet fabric; blinds from Hunter Douglas; "Hairy" Bertoia chairs from DouglasHomer; illuminated side table from Storehouse; carpet tiles from InterfaceFLOR; and Dennis Basso floor pillows from QVC Inc.
St. Helena's living area before the Good Works Makeover
Gone are the bland bookcases and exercise equipment. Instead, highly stylized furnishings create a vivid textural tableau along the wall.
St. Helena's living area after the Good Works Makeover
"I wanted it to feel fun, young, and super residential," Elaine says.

Mirrors and lamps from Arteriors Home; sideboard from Home Decorators Collection; lacquered red chairs from Red Egg; Beatricia Sagar paintings from Cheryl Hazan Gallery.
St. Helena's dining area before the Good Works Makeover
Lowe's removed a second doorway to create a dining area, which was then filled with art.
St. Helena's dining area after the Good Works Makeover
A dining/homework table sits under a hanging lamp made of twigs. Huge faux-fur throw pillows are scattered everywhere; the girls find them irresistible. "It's like a mosh pit," Elaine says.

Dining table from Blu Dot; chairs from West Elm; white wall sculptures from Wingard; bird's nest pendant light fixture from Birch & Willow; turquoise vases from Arteriors Home; and area rug from Hold Everything.
Oprah, Elaine Griffin and St. Helena's residents
Good Works Makeover
Oprah hears O at Home staffers rhapsodizing over St. Helena's and decides to see the place for herself. One of her favorite sayings, she tells the girls, is from the poet Emily Dickinson: "I dwell in Possibility." Oprah looks at the girls, then the room, and back at the girls. "What I see here is not just goodness," she says, "it's possibility."

Underneath the welcoming arms of Oprah, a few of St. Helena's residents settle into their new digs. Front row, from left: Latoya Davy and Monica X. Thompson. On couch: Ashley Diggs, Danielle Jones, designer Elaine Griffin, Katherine Dundon and Jessica Joseph.

Just before Oprah leaves, she gives her seal of approval. "This room is to die for," she says. "The old furniture was a little blocky, but now it's a real living room, a beautiful space where you can live and enjoy and experience and be."

Sofas, nesting tables, and lamps from Hold Everything; coffee table from West Elm; and paintings above the sofa by Sean Cavanaugh.