The Ronald McDonald House on Monument Avenue is all decked out for the holidays with giant roped garlands, king-sized ornaments and red velvet bows. Home to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Richmond, the grand 1913 house provides a comforting home-away-from-home for seriously ill children and their families.
Their basement playroom is now decked out too, thanks to the generosity of a team of local designers and vendors. Georgia Kukoski of Closet Factory; Kathy Corbet of Kathy Corbet Interiors ; painter Muffy Barden of Barden’s Decorating; Seth Woods of Woods Refinishing & Restoration and Leisha Schutt of LHS Designs came together to change lives through decorating and design.
Kerry Blumberg, executive director of The Ronald McDonald House, knew the much-used playroom badly needed an update. It was a hodge-podge of donated furniture and toys spilling messily out of open shelves. “For families going through difficult and stressful times it did not create an atmosphere of respite and relaxation,” she explains.
When Kukoski got to work designing custom storage, she quickly saw the challenge. “When I first saw the room it was so overstimulating and that is not what these families need,” she says. “When I started on the cabinetry design I realized that they really needed more. They needed paint, flooring, lighting and accessories to really serve the families at the RMH.”
Inspired, she contacted friends and colleagues, asking them to help out. “Everyone I asked was thrilled to work together on the project,” she says.
The Ronald McDonald House now has a colorful, calming and organized family space where kids and loved ones can gather to watch TV, connect electronically, play a game, do puzzles, fold laundry or simply sleep on the couch.
“The playroom is now happy and cheerful place for the families to go and get away from all activity,” says Corbet, whose designs for the playroom embraced the practical, from laminate wood flooring and a hard-wearing coffee table to a stain-proof, prettily-patterned rug and a peaceful paint color.
Ronald McDonald House’s Blumberg knows the makeover means even more. “Our families are going through one of the most difficult times in their lives," she says. "They have loved ones who are hospitalized or are in the midst of intensive day therapies. We strive to help them find moments of ordinary life during an extraordinary time. This playroom renovation does this.”
“Ordinary life is an extraordinary gift!” she adds.