I recently had the honor of being asked by the Make A Wish Foundation to design a new bedroom for a teenage girl named Cyrel who lives with severe disabilities. We began by determining how her room would function with the dual goals of creating an enchanting bedroom as well as an inviting space where family and friends could gather with Cyrel.
The fresh color palate (Peony Pink and Wales Green by Benjamin Moore) was inspired by the fabric in the bespoke curtains chosen to create a feeling of lightheartedness. A hip new graphic patterned recliner donated by Belfort Furniture, and a new aubergine love seat helps people visit in comfort. A new eco-friendly bamboo floor donated by Lumber Liquidators adds to the feeling of warmth in the space.
The entry to her room was hand stenciled, inviting Cyrel and her visitors into this special new space of her own.
Next we considered what kinds of equipment would enhance Cyrel’s life experience. A smart TV was installed over her bed on a flexible mounting arm donated by Omnimount that swivels, raises, lowers and tilts for viewing in all kinds of positions. A raised cart was built by master woodworker, Jon Haberman and his apprentice Laurent Diot that houses a large beanbag chair. This device rolls and allows Cyrel to be in her most comfortable position while also at eye level with folks who are in the room with her.
The third factor in the design process considered how to reflect and enhance Cyrel’s adolescent developmental stage of life. The task of understanding oneself in relation to others prompted a wall of pictures showing Cyrel with family and friends from her specialized school. (Not pictured for privacy reasons). A myriad of other features were added to enhance Cyrel’s sensory experiences and reflect a teen sensibility. A light producing speaker system creates not only a varied auditory experience but a fun visual experience as does a lava lamp and the custom made overhead light fixture. Other senses are stimulated by scrumptiously textured blankets, a touch friendly fiber optic lamp, scent diffusers and scented hand lotions, Girl Scout Cookie flavored chapsticks, and an entire shelf of thoughtfully selected and donated nail polish. I go back and forth – is it nail polish or is it art?
It has been an honor to be able to work on this project with Cyrel and her family. Experiencing their strength and the generosity of so many people who contributed their time, or their products has been profoundly moving. My many thanks go to Make A Wish of The Mid- Atlantic for this amazing opportunity. To learn more about the ways they enhance the lives of children and families click here.