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Giving Back Room “Adoptions,” Makeovers and More Illustrate the True Spirit of the IDA

Written by Jane Trabert Schmitt
Imagery by Photography by Courtesy of IDA of Western New York

It’s a beautiful thing when an organization that gives a boost tom families in need gets a boost itself, and that’s precisely what happened at the Ronald McDonald House of Buffalo.

In recent years, the gracious brick structure at 780 West Ferry Street – which dates to 1895 and now serves as a “home away from home” for families of seriously ill children receiving treatment at nearby hospitals – got some help of its own from the Interior Design Association of Western New York.

Members and strategic partners teamed up on a variety of redecorating projects at the nonprofit, which opened in 1983 in the former mansion and has hosted more than 17,000 families from around the world at a time when they most needed comfort and support.

The IDA’s goal was simple and heartfelt: to make what has always been a special place even more special for those who stay there. ”Our commitment to the community is there,” said designer Michelle Peller White, who led the IDA team with fellow designer Robert Reeder.  “You know, we all have been so blessed in our lives and careers, and to be able to give back to our community is a huge part of the IDA spirit.”

The multi-phase project started in 2011, when the association decided to donate the proceeds from an annual fundraiser. House officials, in turn, asked if the IDA would be interested in utilizing the money for a much-needed re-do of an upstairs guest room. A second “room adoption” soon followed.

“It was wonderful,” said Lynn Hughes, house manager. “One conversation led to another and they used their creativity and prowess to pull it all together. I think they understand the Ronald McDonald House’s mission and they all worked so hard to make it what we wanted – a comfortable, clean, safe environment for families going through difficult times.”

Hughes added: “You can’t put a price tag on the donation of time by these professionals.”

Also on their to-do list were the NFL-themed family room and elegant living room. At holiday time, meanwhile, the house comes alive with twinkling lights and festive trimmings, courtesy of the association.

 “So many people came together to make it all happen,” said Peller White, adding that members supported the project with artwork, lighting fixtures, fabrics, furnishings, electronics and more. “This has been such a wonderful experience and I have seen the friendships that have grown from it.”

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