Friday, October 11, 2013

The House that Love Built :: Project Design 2013, Part II

On Wednesday I had the incredible opportunity to attend a house tour on Long Island. This wasn't just any house tour - this was the Ronald McDonald House tour sponsored by the wonderful Kravet company, Anthony Baratta and New York Cottages & Gardens Magazine.

If you have a moment to see it, to please do so. Bring the children - bring the family. These amazing transformations were made possible by the talented designers, contractors and volunteers who tirelessly donated their time and their talents to this amazing project - as well as the hundreds of companies who donated their products to help transform a wondrous, but tired looking haven for those families in need.

Over the past 27 years The Ronald McDonald House of Long Island has helped over 18 thousand families stay together while their children undergo necessary and often extensive medical treatment. Whether for a night or a year, these families are guaranteed a bed and a roof and a safe place to be. The price for a night's stay is a mere $25 and if a family cannot afford that, they pay what they can, and even if they can't pay, they won't be turned away. The Ronald McDonald House understands the importance of keeping families together with their children. For more, please read here. 

Suzanne Costa created this room and believes that "One moment in nature makes the whole world kin."
She says that the time you spend in nature is a soothing time. She created a room that would fill the heart with peace and quiet, surrounded by beauty of natural wood and organic textures. Filling the space with handmade crafts from local artists was important to her. The tree, transported from Washington, Connecticut, fell victim to Hurricane Sandy. Here it offers peace and whimsy where Suzanne hopes that a child will sit and read a book about the animals that have been supplied. The theme is carried into the bathroom where the wise owls in the Fornasetti wall covering in the bathroom to the floating hand crafted vanity illustrate this designer's attention to detail. 


Nick Olsen created the whimsical, circus-like room below.

Nick McGukin created this whimsical, fun room that celebrates children, childhood, art and the artist.


I just had the opportunity to chat with Jennifer Mabley and Austin Handler, the husband and wife duo behind Mabley Handler who created the soothing room below that draws from the sea. Touches of bright color add a youthful energy to the space. Their inspiration was The Beach House, which is what they've chosen to name the room. They wanted to create a retreat - a happy and cheerful place offering respite and relief. The room's design inspiration came from the wonderful Serena and Lily headboards and the Phillip Jeffries wallpaper. The wallpaper, which may look like grasscloth, is actually a vinyl replica. The couple was drawn to the texture as well as the color. Vinyl can be wiped down and can handle more wear and tear than grasscloth can. The wear and tear was another reason the headboards were so appealing to Jennifer and Austin - other than their sheer beauty, of course. The headboards can easily be wiped down and will hold up much longer than fabric. Michelle Hatch's bright and cheerful pillows offered the perfect pop of color.

Anne and Gail Tarsoff of Tarsoff interiors created this soothing oasis...


The following room was designed by my talented friend Jennifer Mehditash. We chatted a little bit about the inspiration behind the room which she chose because of its view of the playground. This, she says, helped her to focus on the children and the families that needed to stay strong for them. She thought about the room’s functionality which was inspired by meeting the families as they toured the house together and then she focused on their needs, particularly the lack of storage for their belongings that included clothes, medicines, papers and other items. Jennifer know that she wanted to create a fabulous closet that would be able house all sorts of different things.

Finally she thought of her own happy place, Portugal. The colors that Jennifer chose, the blues, whites and pinks are dominant throughout Lisbon as are the flowers and the light, that are so prevalent in the room’s theme. The final spark, she said, came from the first Kravet fabric she chose. The Windsor Smith Andalusia which she used on the headboard was the foundation for the room’s pattern and color scheme.

While I haven't focused on most bathrooms, I did hers, as her keen attention to detail and her inspiration is continued throughout that space as well. 


Bunny Williams designed the playroom. Her inspiration came from a closet. Below, in her own words:

"I noticed a small dilapidated closet located in the Play Room.  It was filled with all types of whimsical dress up clothes and fantastical play props.  On the front was a little sign: NORA’S CLOSET.  It turned out there was a little girl named Nora from The United Arab Emirates, who made such a long journey with her father to stay at the house and had previously been in many hospitals all around the world.  Her main joy was to gather all the children staying at the house, play dress up and put on skits for the staff and families.  It soon became the highlight and enjoyment of everyone’s stay! My dedication of the window I designed at Newel and the Playroom is to the memory of Nora, and with the hope we all can remember and cherish from time to time, our inner-child." For more visit Bunny Williams' here.

I wish I could showcase each and every magnificent room in the house for you to see! I hope I have given you a small taste of the beauty and talent that resulted in the renovated, rejuvenated house that serves as a home away from home for so many appreciative families.

If you live in or near the Long Island area I encourage you to come take a look at the showhouse which will be on display through Monday, October 14th. For more information please see top of the page. Your visit will help so many future families.


I was honored and touched when I was asked to be among a small group of bloggers to come view Project Design 2013 at The Ronald McDonald House on Long Island. I knew I was walking into an amazing project, but truthfully I had no idea how amazing this project would be... I had no idea how touching and heartfelt the experience would be... I had no idea that I would be so completely touched and captivated - by the generosity of the Kravet family, and the other amazing sponsors, Anthony Baratta and New York Cottages & Gardens and the product donated by too many generous companies to mention... by the designers and the contractors and the volunteers who gave of themselves so tirelessly and selflessly to the adorable face behind the mission... I wish I had written their names down - the mother and her precious little girl who spoke to us, who graciously thanked all for giving her and her daughter a warm and loving place to stay during a very difficult time in their lives. I think I couldn't write her name because the tears were too thick to see through! Children shouldn't feel pain and shouldn't experience the illnesses that they do. They should be happy and carefree and running around with smiles on their faces. But life can be unfair -cruel, even - and when that happens how wonderful that a place like The Ronald McDonald House is there to care and comfort these children and their families!

Thank you for reading this far!


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