When Robin Wilson called Steven Ambers in early 2012 to lightheartedly ask why she hadn't received a holiday card from his family that year, the conversation took a surprising twist. The interior designer hadn't been removed from the Amberses' mailing list.
Instead, the L.A. resident and his wife, Cindy, had lost everything in a fire on Christmas Day 2011 when a menorah candle fell over during the sixth night of Hanukkah in their Beverlywood home.
"It was that moment when you say, 'I'm going to do something bigger,' " Wilson recalls. She sprang into action to help them build a new house.
Wilson, a New York-based designer and owner of Robin Wilson Home, who specializes in eco-friendly design and products for asthma and allergy sufferers, encouraged Steven and Cindy Ambers to go green. And she secured donations and discounts from companies that manufacture environmentally responsible and sustainable products.
More than $250,000 in labor, services and products were donated to the solar-powered "Eco Bungalow," as it was dubbed, designed and built by architect Eric Porter and Becker General Contractors.
The response from sponsors including Kohler, Flor and Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams "was unbelievable," Wilson says. The sentiment is echoed by Cindy Ambers, who calls their new home, which they moved into early this year, "a dream come true."