On 14, Mar 2014 | One Comment | In | By roomtodream
Designed By: Leah Cantor and Shalini Sookar
Managed By: JR Richardson | Room to Dream Board Member
It was an honor and a thrill to work with the Room to Dream Foundation in creating a new bedroom for Sean. Meeting Sean and his family was nothing less than inspiring. The Bennetts are an extraordinary family whose incredible strength has seen them through the roughest of times. Sean’s chronic illness challenged him both mentally and physically and he had courageously endured over two years of treatment. Finally feeling well, he was beginning his non-treatment life and was excited about starting his freshman year of high school. Sean explained that he wanted a fresh new space to help him stay focused on his studies as well as a place to relax and feel calm.
During our initial meeting, Sean shared his dreams of a raised platform bed, a place to do his homework, and help with organization. Sean’s passion for sports was reflected in his enormous collection of signed memorabilia which included over 75 baseballs and numerous autographed shirts and hockey sticks. Astro, the family’s black lab (and Sean’s partner in crime), also shared the bedroom and needed a special place of his own. Our challenge was to transform the small dark room with red walls and heavy drapes into a light and airy new space that would feature Sean’s collections, provide space for him to hang out with friends, and most importantly offer an organized area where he could spread out and focus on his schoolwork. Our vision was to create an inspiring space into which he could grow – a true room to dream.
To provide Sean with more space, we designed a custom platform bed incorporating architectural elements which were not only functional but fun. We were fortunate enough to join forces with Gary Rousseau of Herrick & White who worked with us to create a true built environment. Integrated 30” deep drawers incorporated below the mattress platform provided ample space for Sean’s clothes and a special alcove below the bed offered Astro his own space to “chill out” in his hip new dog bed. Our vision of creating a prominent feature to house Sean’s prized baseballs culminated in a design integrated into the outer side of his headboard. An open niche of shelves with rabbeted wells to hold each ball created a colorful, organized, and accessible display.
Other unexpected custom details added elements of surprise to the space. An architectural post not only anchors the bed but also provides an opportunity for Sean to improve his agility. The post features rabbeted circular wells backed with Velcro to provide targets for the assortment of velcro covered wiffle and ping pong balls we created. Other details include custom built stairs leading up to the bed illuminated by tiny wall lights and a custom hand rail fashioned out of Sean’s mini hockey sticks. During the “reveal” Astro expressed his excitement as he beat Sean up the stairs to test the new mattress.
To visually enlarge the space and add a sense of lightness to the room, we envisioned integrating a grand gesture into the overall design. To achieve this, we designed a continuous panel of drywall clad in a light linear bamboo textured wall covering which runs up the bed wall and across the ceiling leading the eye up and across. Sleek linear fixtures with LED strips flanking each side of the ceiling panel replaced Sean’s old ceiling light/fan providing a much needed boost of light output.
Addressing Sean’s need for a place to study, we created a custom L-shaped desk area which included cabinetry with both open and closed storage. For a fresh look with a clean contrast, we selected a zebrawood laminate surface for the counter tops and a white gloss surface for the cabinet base. Having chosen a neutral paint color as a backdrop for Sean’s colorful collections, we chose to let the floor speak loudly and act as the pop of color in the room. A vibrant combination of striped FLOR carpet tiles mixed with whimsical colorful shag solids created a warm and welcoming footprint bursting with pattern and texture.
We are grateful to our dedicated “dream team” as well as our generous teams of volunteers who contributed their time, energy, and humor to make the project a success. Gary’s team worked tirelessly not only building but assembling the magnificent work they created. We are also indebted to Andy Donovan whose electrical expertise and dedication was invaluable. We especially want to thank the Bennetts for their warmth and kindness and for welcoming us into their family. Before departing for their weekend away in preparation for the “reveal”, Sean’s Mom went above and beyond the call of duty and left all the volunteers heaps of freshly baked treats for which we were very grateful.
The big “reveal” couldn’t have been more rewarding as we watched Sean’s eyes light up in amazement. Each gasp expressed delight as he recognized his favorite belongings in their new places. After the initial shock subsided, Sean announced firmly that he was not coming out his room for the rest of the day and asked “do I really have to go to school tomorrow?” He then declared that his close friend from across the street, who was there to support Sean during the reveal, would be moving in. We wish Sean the best and feel so privileged to have made a difference in his life as he continues to get stronger.
Thanks to the Dream Team who made this makeover possible:
Designers: Leah Cantor and Shalini Sookar
Project Manager: JR Richardson
Custom Millwork: Gary Rousseau and his team at Herrick & White
Lighting Consultant: Lucy Dearborn, Lucia Lighting (advised on and supplied all lighting)
Master Electrician: Andy Donovan, Donovan Electric
Electrician: Bob Worthington, Richard Brothers Electric
Drywall Installer: Tom McKoan, Captain Drywall Inc.
Wallpaper Installer: Walter LeBlanc
Mike Banks and his team from the Sherwin Williams Store in Allston, MA
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