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Safe house layout and inspiration

I’m SO excited about this project, guys! We’re going to be making over a bedroom in a safe house for victims of sex trafficking. This will be the first place they come when they are rescued off the streets of Atlanta. They’re coming out of a life of abuse and exploitation, for the first time into a place of safety, rest and hope. And WE get to be a part of that! How cool is this. I mean.

By the way, YOU GUYS. Let’s just talk about you for a second. I have gotten so many emails from you asking how you can help and how you be a part of this project. There are several ways for you to get involved. Stay tuned to a future post for more on that!

Okay, here’s the room right now:

The team from Out of Darkness has given us some goals for the room, considering where these ladies are coming from:

  • Needs to sleep two women.
  • Must feel comfortable, warm, homey, inviting: not too pristine or fragile.
  • Should evoke feelings of peace, refuge and safety.
  • Nothing that feels too much like a hotel.
  • Bonus points if we can incorporate symbols of freedom, like butterflies or doves.

Most of the girls only come to the safe house with about seven days’ worth of clothes, so we also need a little bit of clothing storage, although there’s also a nice little closet they can use for that.

Fun challenge, right?! I know. I’m giddy.

The challenges

This room is SMALL. Also: it’s in a basement with zero windows, so there’s no natural light at all.

First up: designing the layout.

The room is very small, with a little bump-out closet with sliding doors:
This is the other side looking toward the closet doors:
I played around with the idea of doing bunk beds for space reasons.
But the ceilings are low in that room and I thought it might feel claustrophobic on the top bunk.

So we decided to go with two twin beds, in virtually the only configuration you can do in this room:
I don’t love how tight it’s going to be between the closet doors and the bed, but we’re looking on the bright side here: you can pick out your clothes in the morning without getting out of bed! It’s LUXURY!

For clothes storage, we’re going to find one small dresser that will also double as a shared nightstand. (Not an easy task, I’m finding!)
See how tiny that room is?

I mean, COZY. It’s cozy. Like a nice little nest.

BTW: Here’s a post on how to space-plan your living room!

Next up: the inspiration

I recruited my good buddy Erin to help with this project, and we started brainstorming.

Right now the rest of the Safe House bedrooms are decorated with quilts, wrought iron beds and lots of warm colors. It’s beautifully decorated in a traditional style and feels very homey and comfortable.

Quilts say: comfort. Home. Love. But they’re usually very traditional or country. How can we get that feeling of comfortable, cozy, homey, with a modern, young spin?

Then we found this photo and we were both zapped with insta-inspiration!
barn quilt
It’s a quilt design, but it feels modern and updated. What if we could do a modern, almost avant-garde take on a quilt? Happy, vibrant colors in a graphic layout, but still textural and cozy?

We’re going to bring back the quilt, y’all! We’re working with a super-talented, very sweet friend who’s going to actually make quilts for us, and the quilt design will be our lead piece. (Click here to learn how to make decorating easy by finding a lead piece!)

We’re still working through the rest of the design decisions, so I’m going to share where we are – and ask for your opinions! – in the next post. We need to make some quick decisions and get moving!

What do you think about this plan? Can quilts be modern and fresh?

Let's connect


  1. Love the quilt inspiration. It’s so happy, cheerful and pretty!

  2. This is such a great project.

    Have you considered an L layout for the beds?
    Like this
    or this

    All the best. Looking forward to the “how you can help” post!
    Greeting from Germany

    • Love these inspiration pictures of the L-shaped beds! I think it would be functional and help with making the room seem bigger! What a great opportunity! Good luck with everything!

  3. love the inspiration pic and the layout you chose was exactly what i was picturing when i saw the space and knew it needed to sleep two! because the only other way would be bunk beds and just no thanks.

  4. I love the plan! Quilts are ABSOLUTELY modern and fresh. I’m a quilter, and my favorite thing about quilts is that someone took the time to choose the fabric and pattern, cut the pieces just so, stitch them together, and bind it with love. They ooze comfort and love and security and beauty and absolutely do not have to look like some old rag you found at your great grandma’s house. EXCELLENT choice! :o)

  5. What about daybed type beds with drawers underneath?

  6. Would there be enough space to loft or lift the beds for extra storage underneath?

  7. That barn quilt. I’m obsessed. Like, I may need another barn quilt in my life. Can’t wait to see what you do with this space. It’s going to be amazing.

  8. So cool that you got this opportunity, good luck!

  9. This is such a fabulous project! And that quilt idea is perfect. Quilts are SO fresh and modern. I know because my great grandmother made lots, and she was the modernist, freshest…..okay, yeah, she really wasn’t. But I trust you to modernize quilts in all the best ways 🙂

  10. I have always felt that tartan is the coziest of patterns! Also, I don’t see it often in hotels either, especially if the material is fleece or flannel. It makes me think of a warm, homey, cozy winter cabin with family. I guess it is more traditional than modern, but I’m sure there are ways to modernize it.

  11. I may be biased because this is what my Mum basically does full time but quilts can totally be modern! She loves taking traditional techniques and adding in modern fabrics. She even does photo-manipulation mini-quilts that turn into art pieces. It’s really quite amazing! Here’s her store if you need any more inspiration: (I wouldn’t be a good daughter if I didn’t do some shameless promotion)

  12. As a quilter myself, I completely prefer the more modern takes on quilts. The old fashioned quilts are nice, but nothing I would ever want to actually use in my own home. I have a lot of pins on Pinterest of modern takes of classic quilt designs. LOVE the coziness factor you will be bringing in with quilts!

  13. What a cool project to be a part of!! I love it!

  14. Super exciting! Have you thought about doing storage beds and a floating nightstand? That worked out really well in the safe house project I worked on a few years ago in Arlington, VA. Here are some pics of the designer’s room who chose that path –

  15. I love that you are embracing quilts. I firmly believe that they can be both modern and comforting. I am currently working on an abstract unicorn quilt…definitely not your grandmother’s quilt (although I’m sure your grandmother was very nice).

  16. Love what you are doing, using your talents to help those around you is always a good idea! There is a actually HUGE modern quilt movement (but I guess quilts are always “modern” when they are made!) online. The “modern” movement has been going on for about 10 years, the last 3-5 it has really grown due to blogging/Pinterest/etc. just google modern quilt or look it up on Pinterest and you will find some amazing ones…although, like your inspiration quilt barn, a lot of them are old patterns done in fresh colors and sizes to make it more modern-so what goes around comes around!

    • Pat Hoffman says:

      Quilts are alive and well!! I belong to 4 quilt groups thru facebook and there are many more with members worldwide. Good idea using them!

  17. I love that you are doing this project. This type of ministry is so important and you end up getting more out of it then you realize. We built some kid’s furniture for a women’s shelter and were so blessed to be a part of it. I don’t know what your plans are for the beds, but I thought I’d share some options here for you.

    If you are getting used beds and storage is needed, I think you could make quick work of this underbed storage:

    If you might consider building something from scratch, here’s a storage bed from the wonderful Ana White’s site:
    (Headboard is optional, of course.)

    This is like the plan directly above, however it is a bit more complicated using drawers instead of just baskets and such:

    Lastly, if you decided to use the option of another’s suggestion (size permitting) of putting the beds in a corner, here’s another build option:

    Can’t wait to see what you come up with! God bless!

  18. I think its so awesome you’re working on a project like this! Have you thought about using loft beds for maximizing space? Then you could put a dresser or a desk underneath, or whatever! A great website for loft bed construction plans is Also, Amy Smart of does some amazing modern quilts. You are hands-down the funniest blog writer I’ve read in all of blog-land! Good Luck with your project!

  19. As someone in her mid-20s, I totally <3 triangle-patterned quilts!! They feel very modern and fresh but can still be super cozy with good batting inside, etc.

    Have you seen Red Pepper Quilts?
    This is my favorite of hers – maybe another inspiration piece?

    Can't wait for the post on how we can get involved!

  20. I work at a Christian university where the favorite space-saving trick in two-person dorm rooms is to raise the beds high enough to put a dresser underneath. It’s not as high/claustrophobic as a top bunk, but it gives you a whole lot of storage space that you wouldn’t have with a regular twin bed.

  21. I love quilts – I don’t care what pattern they are. They’re so homey and comforting to me. I agree with the L bed, a bed with drawers underneath or a higher bed. We had our boys in an attic bedroom at one time and my husband built a VERY simple, low, loft bed for our son out of 2 x 4s specific to our ceiling height. It was high enough to fit a short dresser and book shelf underneath but low enough so that we didn’t hit our heads on the ceiling. I painted it black and our son still loves it and uses it to this day (even though he doesn’t have to anymore).

  22. Quilts can totally be modern and fresh. Check out these: and and
    I’m sure whatever you decide will be great. What about a popup trundle day bed situation? I’ve seen some neat upholstered day beds and it could go flat against the wall opposite the door with a narrow night stand and lamp on each end. It would be enough storage for delicate things and each girl would have her own distinct space.

  23. I might think about covering up those mirrors (maybe putting translucent contact paper over them or something). Especially for the person in the bed in front of them, the slightest shadows can be creepy and disturbing to rest and relaxation, particularly to someone who has been so traumatized. Feng Shui says no mirrors that can disturb sleep!

  24. This is such a great project. All the best!
    Your inspiration quilt design is very pretty. I love modern quilts! Some use a black background, some use very modern and contemporary designs. Search around and see what you find! Maybe you can paint a floor cloth to make an inexpensive, sturdy rug in a modern quilt pattern or perhaps a wall hanging for the skinny wall next to the closet (or even a design for the doors of the closet?) to use a quilt design in a new way.
    I like the suggestions about an “L” configuration for the beds and drawers underneath for a bit of storage. I’m excited to see what the room looks like when you’re done.

  25. Have you considered partially lofted beds with storage underneath? That way you gain some space for dressers or other items but the beds aren’t bunked all the way in the air leading to the claustraphobia. I can’t find a good photo example but I know we did it in college with our loft beds in the dorm room so we were only a few feet off the ground but there was enough room for a dresser, small fridge, etc. under the bed.
    Just a thought!

  26. We did some artwork over the weekend that those quilt patterns on the side of the building reminded me of.

    I find them to be strong, but you can do softer colors.

  27. Quilts can definitely be modern and fresh! I love quilts! And they are the complete opposite of “hotel.” I think you have a good idea going. One tip I would have for you is to choose bed frames with very low profile footboards. My two boys share a small bedroom, and they have low footboards. It makes the space feel less closed in. Not sure where you’re getting beds, but we got ours from Bunk Bed King in Dallas, TX. Their prices are very reasonable, and they have free shipping. We’re really happy with ours. 🙂 Here’s a link:

  28. Please! NO BUNKBEDS! It needs to feel like theirs for the time they stay there, and bunkbeds in this situation will make it feel more institutionalized no matter how pretty you make it. That’s all I have to add because I know whatever you do will be beautiful! I’ve heard first hand what bunkbeds mean to kids who are without anything, that’s why I practically screamed it at you. I’m sorry!

  29. I also want to throw in my vote for either a day bed (that was my first thought) or even better a loft bed. If you can’t get the beds off the ground then maybe platform beds with storage underneath.

    Personally I LOVE the idea of the loft beds and having stuff underneath. I’ve mainly seen that in kids’ rooms – and there is such an innocence to it and they have a fun fort-like feel which also evokes safety and security.

    I agree that bunk beds usually have a transient quality (ie you’re passing through/there temporarily because it’s camp type of vibe) and the low ceilings you mentioned make it worse with a claustraphobic feel.

  30. You should take a look at the Fresh lemon quilts blog. I’m sure you’d find it inspirational.

  31. Modern quilting is a popular trend in quilting these days. Modern, graphic designs with bold colors make very fresh and vibrant quilts. You can see a few examples here:
    There’s even an online guild devoted to modern quilting, with members from all over the world:
    and a conference devoted to modern quilting:

  32. Your inspiration quilt with large blocks in happy colors is perfect for teens! Large blocks will piece together quickly and can be machine quilted quickly, too. I think the beds in your floor plan are in the best placement. Underbed storage, in any configuration, will invite clutter. About the dresser between the beds: The one in your floor plan is too tall and too wide for comfort. My suggestion is to get a shorter 2-drawer night stand for socks and undies. Put two plastic drawer units or one non-woven fabric unit (or a small wood dresser painted white) in the closet for knit tops and pj’s. Most likely, the only clothing they need to hang are jeans and button-up woven tops. If, by some chance, they have a dress or two, it can hang to the right or left side of the drawer unit in the the closet. Don’t forget about non-woven or plastic bins for the closet shelf. Here’s a fairly decent looking non-woven drawer unit:
    There’s plenty of storage space in the room, and I’m sure they won’t have and don’t need five long tons of clothes like the average (spoiled) American teenage girl. Also, I suggest a short, white bookcase for the wall by the door, but back it up to the side of the closet instead of the wall that adjoins the hallway.

  33. P. S. Would there be room to switch the sliding closet doors for bi-fold doors? Bi-folds would permit better access. Also, here’s a photo of a closet with built-in’s. (I know you know how to do this!!!) One girl could have the top pole and the other the bottom pole.

  34. What about a horizontal Murphy bed on each wall? Some cool ideas with storage both over and under the bed (fold-up desk for instance). Or the beds could be left down to showcase the quilts, and you’d have a little more floor space than with traditional twins.

    Is it a given that the closet framing stays? If it could come out, the bed on the right (further from the door) could be flipped 180 degrees. Each occupant could have her own two walls, with a curtain dividing the space diagonally.

  35. I love that you’re doing this. I also love modern quilts. LOVE them. I’ve pinned a few if you’re interested.

  36. Love the quilt-spiration. Very fresh and modern with a cozy vibe

  37. I love all your ideas, especially the quilt design. This is such a worthwhile project. I have one question though; is a basement bedroom without a window egress code in your area? It certainly isn’t where I live.

    • I was wondering the exact same thing about whether a bedroom without windows is up to code.

      I like the design ideas and look forward to seeing how it turns out!

  38. Ok, so reading this really struck a chord in me, and after going through the comments I’m actually really surprised no one’s mentioned this, so here goes.

    Has anyone thought to ask surviving victims what they think about things like doves, quilts and bunk beds vs regular beds? I think this is an extremely valid point and I’m not sure if anyone has done this already.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think what you’re doing is amazing and inspirational, but the “symbols of freedom”, “butterflies or doves” thing to me seems like people are trying too hard. To a teen or older, at least. Preteen maybe. But I just feel like maybe someone should talk to surviving victims to see what they think would be the ideal atmosphere to live in directly after being in their previous situations.

    Maybe you’ve already done this and butterflies and doves aren’t as cliche to them as they seem to me in this situation.

    If so, please continue with this amazing work. 🙂

    I love your quilt inspiration, btw. I just turned 24, and I’m totally smitten with that quilt and those bright colors. I can’t wait to see how the room turns out, and I hope in the future you can meet – if you haven’t already – some of the survivors who get to stay in the safe room you designed for them. 🙂 I also look forward to seeing your post about how I can help kids in their situation.

    Keep doing what you do, girl. 😉

    • Thanks for the thoughts! The people we work with are there working with the victims every day, and these ladies are all just as diverse with different opinions and likes and dislikes as anyone else. (So I don’t think one person’s opinion would necessarily represent the opinions of the other ladies who might stay there.) I think it’s our job to interpret the request for symbols of freedom in a way that feels updated and modern.

  39. What about a daybed with a trundle? That will sleep two people and will use only half of the space. I love daybeds!

  40. I love what you’re doing for these girls! When we lived in South Philly, we had to come up with something for bedrooms that were little more than glorified closets. Our ceilings weren’t high enough for loft beds, but I did find “jr” loft beds. The only ones I was able to afford were from Wal-Mart, but they sell them elsewhere, too. There’s about 3 ft clearance under them, so not enough room to be seated at a desk (at that age), but we WERE able to create little “nooks” under them for reading or (in my son’s case) playing video games. My daughter’s dresser was under hers for awhile. My son is 13 and still using his. My daughter upgraded when we moved and she got a larger bedroom, but used hers until she was 14 and could have continued using it. I like the L configuration, too, but please no regular bunk beds…they seem too institutional to me. Good luck! Can’t wait for the rest 🙂

  41. I love the idea of modern quilts! I just made a Pinterest board on the subject. Here are some of my favorites: and – Different colors may suit your needs better, but I love the modern design.

    What a great project to be a part of! I look forward to hearing more about ways we can help. 🙂

  42. Quilts can be modern and fun if Kelly is doing them. #youcandonowrong

  43. Sun Denning says:

    —How about DIY bed frames that can be folded up to the wall to make more floor space..

    —One more idea for storage for clothes and personal items, draws under the beds. Who use plastic drawers for our kids’ rooms, but DIY boxes with simple handles would work too..

    —You could do the L shaped config if you allow a little over lay of the beds.. just the head of one over the foot of the other…


  1. […] post Safe house layout and inspiration appeared first on * View Along the Way […]

  2. […] I’m SO excited about this project, guys! We’re going to be making over a bedroom in a safe house for victims of sex trafficking. This will be the first place they come when they are rescued off the streets of Atlanta. They’re coming out of a life of abuse and exploitation, for the first time […]The post Safe house layout and inspiration appeared first on * View Along the Way *.  […]

  3. […] a quick note about the last post. We talked about how we’ll lay out the bedroom, and you guys brought tons of awesome ideas in […]

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