The Make-A-Wish Foundation is an exceptional group of people offering happiness in challenging situations. They declare:
“Each day Make-A-Wish New Jersey grants the wish of a child diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition in the Garden State. We believe that a wish experience can be a game-changer. This one belief guides us in everything we do. It inspires us to grant wishes that change the lives of the kids we serve.”
As a designer and mother, I see this as a wonderful and much needed gift to the children and their families.
After offering to design a Make-A-Wish Room Makeover, I was lucky enough to be connected with Nate, a soft spkoen teenager and his very friendly family!
Nate is 16 years old and was to undergo several operations during the few months we worked together. He asked for a “Game Room” themed bedroom where he could play his beloved games on a large screen TV to wile away the hours he needed to spend in bed. His preferred (and current) colors in the room were red, black, and blue. He also requested a small refrigerator since his room is on the second floor and far from the kitchen.
The Design Process
My goal was to lift his spirits. Being home alone can be quite challenging for a teen, especially along with operations and other medical interventions. The small room was quite cramped and the home was an older cape. The requested colors (black, red & blue) were already in the room, dominated by a sharp red. I chose to soften the environment with various shades of blue, including the checker-board carpet tiles. This color shift provides a more calming effect.
Other than games, I installed a cove light along a full wall with an LED light strip that reflects colors onto the ceiling. He will be able to control the changing light colors remotely from his bed according to his mood.
The new adjustable bed (which was very excitedly received) was quite large which dictated that all the other furniture in the small room be scaled down. Existing storage cabinets remained, and a small desk and refrigerator completed the TV wall opposite the bed. New hanging shelves adjacent to the bed provides shelving for additional storage and display as well as an alternative night table.
Months were spent in the design phase followed up with product orders and seeking donations. People and companies have been extraordinarily forthcoming and generous.
During a condensed four days in October, we finally embarked on the transformation of the room. There was great anticipation by the family and much excitement from the volunteers that helped make it all happen.
The Rutgers fraternity TKE, who had previously “adopted” Nate, took apart the existing room to prepare it for the makeover. Their flag will be displayed prominently in the room as a token of their relationship.
The incredible volunteers (listed and thanked below) cleaned and prepared the room to receive new products. The spackler was desperately needed after the electrician left us with several holes which were necessary to accommodate our needs in “this old house.” Volunteers did most of the actual work. My longtime fun-loving representative from Benjamin Moore was my savior, directing me and the other amateur painters. We then had to install carpet tiles, move furniture and put up the TV, shelves, and posters.
New friends were made and great experiences were shared by all. Nate’s always helpful mother spoiled us with grilled cheese and brownies. We also met the dragon lizard, Dragon, who lives in the home.
Nate now has a new room to enjoy. Game on, Nate!
This has been a rewarding and heartwarming experience beyond what I had expected. If you have been involved in a Make-A-Wish Room Makeover, tell us about your experience.
Thank You and Sources
Please patronize the following companies that helped us in our Make-A-Wish Room Makeover endeavor.
Thank you to our volunteers, who included students from various universities who are currently doing cooperatives at Johnson & Johnson, where they were encouraged to participate for hours at a time.
Thank you to our professional volunteers such as the spackler and the carpenter from Pat Gagliano.
Thank you to my friend and knowledgeable paint advisor, Diana M. Rattazzi of Benjamin Moore.
Thank you to the Benjamin Moore paint store, Kucker Haney Paint Company, located in Hamilton, NJ who kindly donated several gallons of premier Benjamin Moore paint including chalkboard paint for a creativity wall.
Thank you to Window Works of Livingston, NJ for the new wood blinds to keep the sunshine from interfering with the gaming experience!
Thanks also go to The Northwest for their immediate offer to donate the Rutgers logo bedding and other fun logo products.
Products partially donated include:
Floor Carpet Tiles by Interface’s FLOR. Thank you Amy Hill of the Brooklyn FLOR store for your assistance.
Adjustable Bed by Sleep Comfort, thanks go to Freddy at the local Sleep Comfort store who directed me to their corporate offices where Kellie Weiland was instrumental in bringing it home!
Other products were purchased with an allowance from the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Thank you Kelsie,our amazing coordinator who kept us on track and within budget.
Thank you so much to to the individuals who gave their time and effort: Iris Cooper, Michael Cherrix, Yisroayl Peer, Adam Bindas, Elisabeth Barnett, Valerie Alia, Roxy Kravets, Robert Cueto, Christopher Bartlett, Sarah Kelly, Meredith Dessel, Christine Rinaldi, Devin Everett.
Interior Designer Pat Valentine Ziv of PVZ Design, LLC designed the space, coordinated the purchases and contributions, and assisted in the implementation of the design.