DESIGNING FOR GOOD
As a home and lifestyle designer, I appreciate the power of a truly well designed space. A space that is not just visually pleasing, but one that evokes emotion, comfort and joy…and tells a story. This sensory approach to design is especially powerful when it has the ability to persuade, relax and heal and in the eyes of a child, this can be life-changing.
During a chance meeting a few years ago, I was introduced to a non-profit called Special Spaces and was selected as the lead Designer for a project. Special Spaces mission is to create dream bedrooms for children facing life-threatening illnesses. Their focus is to answer one question; where does a child go when battling a serious illness to find peace and comfort? It was at this moment, I knew there was nothing ‘chance’ about this. It was serendipitous—this was simply meant to be.
Each year over 27,000 children are diagnosed with life threatening illnesses in America. Today, due to medical advances most fight their illnesses for five to ten years.
Meet Abigail. A beautiful 16 year that was diagnosed in 2013 with Wegener’s Granulomatosis, an uncommon disease that causes inflammation of her blood vessels, leading to complications in her kidneys, lungs and upper respiratory tract. Despite this adversity, she has a smile that can light a room. What struck me with Abigail, was how a makeover for a teen would be an entirely unique experience to that of a younger child. Teens crave independence and the emotional toll of being isolated from school and friends, can be debilitating. I was inspired to think differently… What if we could create a space similar to a small hotel suite allowing her the conveniences to most everything she would need on her own. In private, day or night. A hotel–inspired space set the stage for what ended up being her very special ‘college prep’ sanctuary.
I’M THE LUCKY ONE
What I wasn’t prepared for was how transforming this experience would be for me personally. What an honor to share my passion for ‘good’—creating a magical dream room for a precious child in need.
When I met this precious 4 year old, she had been battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia for over two years. Nicknamed ‘Warrior Princess’ by her father, this resilient child demonstrated her true fighters spirit while her parents maintained hope. In April of 2014, she completed her last round of chemotherapy treatments. The Princess Prevailed! June of that year, we were able to surprise Raelyn with a Modern Princess bedroom straight from her dreams.