Office Makeover For Local “Good Guys” Ben’s Bells

December 12, 2011

By Teya Vitu

In a local twist on Extreme Makeover, a new office was revealed on December 12 to an exuberantly delighted Jeannette Maré, executive director of the Ben’s Bells Project.

Jeannette Mare was thrilled when she got the first look at her new office in the Charles O. Brown House.

Maré was kept in the dark for months as Goodmans Interior Structures renovated the new office she will occupy as Ben’s Bells expands Downtown in January into the historic Charles O. Brown House, 40 West Broadway.

Goodmans selected Ben’s Bells from 35 applicants for its annual “Good Guy” award, which brings with it an office renovation worth $20,000.

Goodman’s supplied a white, desk table, open cabinets, four Herman Miller Eames chairs around a low coffee table. The walls, to Maré specifications, were painted ivory, with a strip of pale green at the bottom, and a dark brown stripe in between.

The design mixes historic and modern to ideally fit the 19th century architecture. Scrabble letters spell out “Be Kind” on the desktop, and a string of Ben’s Bells hangs in a window frame.

Ceramic tile artist Lauren Bosmeny framed the existing fireplace in a tile mosaic that incorporates bells and a few dimes. The dime is significant to Maré, who keeps finding dimes and believes they are her dead son Ben reaching out to her.

What would Maré have done had she not received the “Good Guy” treatment?

Jeannette Mare with Rob Stenson, general manager at Goodmans Interior Structures, which awarded her the free office makeover.

“I would have dragged a desk and sofa off a curb side and dragged it in,” she said. “I’ve never had my own office.”

Ben’s Bells is expanding its ceramic bell manufacturing operation Downtown while also staying at its original University Boulevard studio. But Maré is moving her office Downtown. She said Ben’s Bells is up to 27,000 volunteers.

“Oh, my God,” she said as the office was revealed to her. “I could have never fathomed this. This is lovely. This is gorgeous.”

Goodmans coordinated with Herman Miller, Adolfson & Peterson Construction and Shaw Contract Group to outfit Maré’s new office.

Goodmans picked Ben’s Bells because of its breadth of impact, General Manager Rob Stenson said.

“They do something that does not just impact Arizona but has impact nationwide,” Stenson said.