No Clownin’ Around: The Ronald McDonald House of Long Island's Project Design House

The Ronald McDonald House provides a place to eat and sleep for families of sick children being treated at a nearby hospital—all at absolutely no charge. Similar types of residences can feel sterile, a little depressing, and have zero personality. After spending all day in a hospital, the last place you want to unwind is in another hospital-like space.

by Leslie Segrete  |  on 11-03-2014

Well that is certainly not the case with The Ronald McDonald House of Long Island.

The facility has a location right near where I live, next to Cohen’s Children’s Hospital, which worked out perfectly when it teamed up with Kravet, the fabric and custom furnishing design house, and forty interior designers to renovate the property’s interiors. I was thrilled to participate. I’ve never done a show house before, because I think they’re a little wasteful—the design goes up, and then comes down. But not here! All our designs will last and serve an important purpose during a difficult time. It’s amazing to me that when we consider our living spaces at home, we fuss over every little detail so that our rooms feel comfortable, beautiful, and inspiring. Yet when it comes to treating people who are desperately in need of comfort, beauty, and inspiration, we shelve those priorities in favor of materials that are solely cleanable and cost effective.

So for this renovation, I wanted my space to be everything you’d want to have in your home—maybe even more.

I chose to make over laundry room. Obvious pick? Not so much! I actually did this because I thought more people would have the opportunity to use the room and find something really lovely and peaceful in an otherwise mundane chore. The wall coverings were provided by Winfield Thybony through Kravet, flooring by Jamie Beckwith Designs, lighting by Curry and Company, and cabinetry by Ikea.

The wall coverings inspired the rest of the room. I just loved how elegant the wallpaper looked. It had a glimmer of gold and calming shades of purples and violets. For the ceiling, I chose another Winfield Thybony paper that was a metallic, plum sequin. It was such an unusual choice to paper the ceiling, but for this small space, it really created an illusion of space. That’s the key to maximizing a small space—you want to make it functional without feeling small. As for the flooring, it was a knockout! A modular engineered walnut in the shape of a sextant. Listen, Jamie Beckwith was so generous to donate her goods. I’ve never worked with her before, so for her to say, “Here you go! It’s my pleasure,” well, that was so amazing to me. That woman is lovely, through and through.

Best of all, I loved seeing what creative, generous people could do when they put their design yaya’s to good use!

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Leslie Segrete Designs, LLC.

Designer for Travel Channel's Hotel Impossible

Designer and Carpenter for TLC's Trading Spaces and While You Were Out

Co-host of The Money Pit Radio Show

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A design isn't finished until somebody is using it.

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