Designing Hope Ronald McDonald House Hudson Valley

By Kelly Fitzpatrick September 29, 2022

On Thursday, September 22nd The Ronald McDonald House of The Greater Hudson Valley (RMHGHV) opened its doors for the Designing Hope Press Day.  Located next to Maria Ferrari Children’s Hospital, the house serves over two thousand families per year.  This service to a special population includes two hot meals per day and respite for families that need to be close to the care of the children’s hospital.  When experiencing the crisis, stress, and heartache of a sick child, this type of support has a monumental impact on the families, both physically and emotionally.  

In June of this year, The Ronald McDonald House of The Greater Hudson Valley, began the Designing Hope Project with the intention of creating greater comfort for families in this home-away-from-home.  It was the collaboration of ASID NY Metro and Aspire Magazine that locked in the renowned designers, sponsors, and vendors to make this dream a reality. The entire house was redesigned with designers taking on a room each including the 12 bedrooms, two laundry rooms, a nursing room, the kitchen, conference room, common spaces, and outdoor terrace.  

Prior to the redesign, the house was functional, although less than inspiring.  It offered a place of rest, but as a charitable organization perpetually working to serve so many, it struggled to offer more than the basic amenities.  The designers stepped in to redesign the house as one of comfort, hope, and love.  Thoughtful touches are on display from the moment you enter, including shelves of toys for siblings, books for readers all ages, a piano, flowers, an abundance of food, and murals and messages of care.  

I’ve had some personal experience with a house of a similar nature, and walking in brought back those feelings of being cared for by a network of people you may never meet, you may never know.  Seeing those thoughtful touches during a time of challenge in your life does truly help to soothe the soul.  If a space can serve as an embrace, if offers just that.  It speaks to a network and a legacy of community and does much to provide strength to the families that are doing their best to be a source of strength for their children.  

I was honored to be a part of the Press Day and to see the work of the designers firsthand, as well as to hear more about the intentions behind their work.  From The Secret Garden by Tammy Bolden to Chromotherapy Healing by Charles Pavarini III & Randall Tarasuk, the entire house was a feast for the senses.  

Each designer took their unique approach and specific talents to their room, and despite the range of aesthetics, the entire house came together with unity and cohesion.  There was not a space left that did not have a signature stamp on it.  From whimsy, to avant garde, to retreat like each designer carefully envisioned the experience of the family spending time in the space and what textiles, objects, and decor would be the greatest sense of comfort.  

Other designers included:

Alexis Hughes

Barbara Bell

Barara Lewis

Barbara Ostrom

Bjorn Bjornsson

Christine Ortiz

Diane Durocher

Isabel Byrnes

Kim Radovich

Lori Miller

Melissa Anderson

Monica Stoller

Rachel Laxer

Suzanne Goldberg

Tobi Schmidt

Vanessa Deleon

The Showhouse organizers were Katharine Posillico McGowan, ASID NY Metro President and Elissa Grayer, ASID NY Metro President-Elect.  Corey Damen Jenkins of Corey Damen Jenkins & Associates served as the Honorary Design Chair.

And while this was a tremendous gift of love from the designers and their sponsors, it has to be said that the community of people working at The Ronald McDonald House of the Greater Hudson Valley are also most deserving of recognition and reward.  In speaking with the staff, and while my children were being very generously cared for by them (particularly the absolute kindred spirit and gift to the world that is Tricia Robbins) so that I could speak with the designers, it was obvious how much this work is connected to their very core identities.  You could not work in a non-profit with a mission such as RMH without being a special type of person and the beauty of the people here in the Hudson Valley breaks the mold.  Seeing their house transformed was just as meaningful to them in the care they can offer, as it is to the families who have relocated back in now that construction is complete.  

RMHGHV shines brightest with the support of the community and volunteers are always needed, particularly when it comes to meal prep for the dozen families living in the house on a daily basis.  If you are interested in supporting please reach out to the amazing Events and Volunteer Coordinator Ashlyn Hay at

Additionally, please check our calendar of events for more information on the upcoming Dashing for Dylan annual community event taking place this weekend!