HATTIESBURG - Emily
Howell's "home away from home" just got a little homier.
Howell, a freshman at The University of Southern Mississippi,
was the lucky winner of a free dorm room makeover in a school-sponsored
contest held during Freshman Move-in Day on Aug. 19.
As a result, Howell, her roommates and four students
from the Southern Miss Interior Design program spent Thursday afternoon
picking out colors and hashing out decorating ideas for a radical
transformation of her suite in Mississippi Hall.
"This is going to make living away from home
a lot easier," said Howell, an Oak Grove resident who is living
on campus in part because of scholarship requirements, but mostly
to "get the feel of real college life."
Howell and her roommate, Meghan Davis of Oak Grove,
share a bedroom together and a "common suite" with four
other roommates. Because most of the suitemates had already bought
new bedding before Howell found out she won, Howell decided to renovate
the common suite, a room with couches, chairs and a television used
by all six students.
With the help of the interior design students, who
are also the top four officers of the Southern Miss chapter of the
American Society of Interior Designers, Howell and her suitemates
set some guidelines.
"They said, 'No animal prints,'" said ASID
president Stacie Foster of Florence. "Other than that, they
really want to use bright colors--blues, pinks or orange--to make
it wild and funky. We're probably going to use a lot of geometric
shapes, and maybe paint a mural on one wall."
Foster added, "They know they're not going to
live here for the rest of their lives. It's not something their
moms are going to have to approve, so they want to have fun with
Bound carpet for the room will be provided by Anderson
Carpet One of Hattiesburg, and American Pride paint will be provided
by Southern Diversified Products. "We can match any color the
students want, and the use of our low-odor paint means the occupants
can move right in without having to smell paint for the next few
weeks," said Rocky Pryor, vice president and general manager
of Southern Diversified Products.
McRae's, a strong supporter of Southern Miss, is providing
a $500 gift certificate that can help the makeover winner find just
the right touches for her room.
Howell, who said before this week she'd never won
anything larger than a cooler at her father's office picnic, wants
to make some suggestions and then "stay out of the way."
"We're going to leave most of the decorating
up to the interior decorators. We want them to use their talents,"
Davis said she's glad her roommate won the contest,
and predicts they'll soon have the most popular pad in Mississippi
"It's going to make it a lot more relaxing to
come home and study. But we'll probably have a lot of people over
for watching movies and just sitting and talking," Davis said.
Claire Hamilton, assistant professor in Interior
Design, said the project will take a couple of weeks to complete.