A lovely remodel/home makeover story out of Brazil that I recently spotted over at TreeHugger:

Dona Eunice Silva, a retiree with a massive heart and a tiny fixed income, runs what can only be described as a community center/sewing cooperative/orphanage hybrid out of her home in the city of Nova Iguaçu on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. When Dona Eunice and her husband first moved to the Green Meadows section of Nova Iguaçu, they were disheartened by the staggering number of neglected children and struggling, single mothers in the area with nowhere to go.


So, Dona Eunice began to take them, both children and mothers, under her wings. And we aren’t just talking about a couple of abandoned kids. After starting out with a total of eight children, Dona Eunice and her husband have legally adopted nine children and taken custody of another 18. In many cases, the children were dropped off for day care services and never picked up by their parents. In addition to her full-time charges, dozens of additional children — at one point as many as 200 — spend the day at Dona Eunice’s safe haven of a home otherwise known as the "Mother Eunice House" where they attend preschool and receive breakfast, lunch, and a snack. Some of the mothers of the children also spend their days there, working in a sewing cooperative that Dona Eunice established on the top floor of her home. The cooperative allows these disadvantaged mothers to generate an income while also being close to their kids.


Well, Dona Eunice’s very good deeds did not gone unnoticed as the Brazilian TV program Caldeirão treated her bustling, seen-better-days home-turned-community center to a full makeover courtesy of eco-friendly design studio Rosenbaum. Although Dona Eunice also received car repair and entrepreneurial assistance, including branding and the launch of a website for her sewing cooperative, it’s the handiwork of Rosenbaum that really inspires. The whole thing was carried out using plenty of recycled materials (hmmm ... wonder what soft drink company was somehow involved in a big way?) and cheery primary colors throughout. And in addition to revamps of the sleeping quarters, play areas, and classrooms reserved for Dona Eunice’s sizable brood, the sewing cooperative also got an eye-catching redux. And, as you can see below, outdoor vertical gardens using upcycled plastic soda bottles were also installed as part of the makeover.


Great stuff. Here's hoping that Dona Eunice keeps it up while inspiring those around her. Head on over to Rosenbaum’s website for plenty of before and after photos of the space and to Costura Unida to learn more about Dona Eunice’s cooperative (in Portuguese).


Via [TreeHugger]


Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Big-hearted Brazilian mamma of 27 gets big green home makeover
Dona Eunice, a saintly 61-year-old Brazilian mother of 27 adopted children who also runs a sewing cooperative for unemployed mothers, is treated to an upcycle-h