The freshly-painted red door and sage green iron handrails outside The Campagna Center hint at a similar transformation inside the historic building on S. Washington Street.
Members of the D.C. chapter of the International Association of Home Staging Professionals have been working this week to update and stage the common areas of the center. Their effort is part of World Wide Staging Services Week.
The volunteer work culminated in a flurry of activity Thursday as 15 home stagers gathered at the center to assemble and move furniture, hang blinds, repair artwork, paint and otherwise help give the building a facelift.
The Campagna Center offers educational programs and activities—including Alexandria Head Start and the Campagna Early Learning Center—that serve 1,700 children and their families in the city.
"They do so much for the community but they have very little money to maintain the building themselves," said Leigh Newport, the president of the D.C. chapter of the IAHSP.
Newport's group contributed $2,000 to the project and its members raised another $1,000. They partnered with more than 20 other area businesses who contributed more than $5,000 in services and such goods as armchairs, lamps, chandeliers and rugs.
The center's lobby, entryway, board room and dining room all got makeovers.
Among the changes was the removal of a water cooler in the reception area and the construction of an elegant built-in bookcase in its place that will be filled with children's toys and books. The stagers plan to create a children's sitting area next to it with the addition of a small table and child-size chairs.
The center's board room was also transformed with the addition of four bronze chandeliers, new faux wood window blinds, a large rug, six chairs, three end tables and several table lamps. Alexandria Lighting donated the lighting fixtures, while Brooke Furniture Rental gave the center the furniture.
"Resources to address building related needs have always been tough to come by in nonprofits," said Tammy Mann, the president and CEO of The Campagna Center in an email. "The Campagna Center appreciates the generosity of donors who contributed to the International Association of Home Staging Professionals to help make our space more attractive. We are especially pleased that the work done in our main reception area will invite children to explore books and other toys when parents visit the center to register for our programs."
The Campagna Center building, which sits at 418 S. Washington Street, was originally constructed in 1812 as a school. For the past 40 years, the organization has hosted the city's annual Scottish Christmas Walk. This year, the event will be held Dec. 2 and 3. For more information, visit the event website at www.scottishchristmaswalk.com.