Healing Hangouts

Suite Dreams turns sweet 16 this year with several great new projects. Here’s a look at five delightful spaces


Detroit-area residents Kay Ponicall and Kris Appleby started Suite Dreams 16 years ago as a nonprofit organization that teams up with local designers and the furniture and home décor industries to create healing spaces for children who are ill. Everything from the child’s likes to special accommodations — like cabinetry for medical supplies or wheelchair-accessible flooring — goes into the designs. “These rooms are so important because the children often spend the majority of their time there,” says Ponicall, who adds that the Rochester-based organization has overseen “hundreds” of completed designs and makes it a goal to create two or three spaces per month. Here, we get a glimpse of the spaces created by some of the hardest-working and creative volunteer designers in the region.

Glam? Yes Ma'am!

Designer Kristin Smith goes to town with a bit of sparkle, damask, and soothing grays

BACKSTORY: For her bedroom, 15-year-old Caroline, shown below, requested beaucoup glamour. “She showed me some of her favorite looks on Pinterest,” says interior designer Kristin Smith, also shown below, of Birmingham-based Jones-Keena and Co. “To give the family respite is why I love working with Suite Dreams,” she says.

LUXE LIVING: Donated by House of Bedrooms, the rockstar bed has a regal tufted linen headboard. Two whitewashed dressers with faux-bois overlays, from Target, also serve as night tables. Note the damask-patterned wallpaper, donated by Kravet, of the Michigan Design Center (Thomas Brothers in Troy donated the labor). The custom wool rug, donated by Professional Rug Works in Troy, has a cool checked pattern.

THE LIGHT FANTASTIC: Studded with crystals, the room’s sparkly chandelier, from Home Depot, adds glamour. The lamps are by Currey & Company, donated by Tim Shelton. All reflect beautifully off the walls and ceiling (painting donated by Jones-Keena and Co. — Jeff Balch).

BLUE NOTES: A comfy egg-shaped chair, donated by Jones-Keena and Co. and reupholstered by Daniel Boike with a cotton velvet fabric donated by Robert Allen, adds pizzazz. A blue velvet pillow (donated by Designers Guild) adorns the bed.

SHEER DELIGHT: Room Dress provided labor for the window sheers, which were donated by Duralee at the Michigan Design Center, and Designs Designs donated labor for the stationary panels, which were donated by Schumacher at the Michigan Design Center.

PRACTICALITIES: A white lacquered console table can be used as both a vanity and a desk. —jones-keena.com

Bunk House in the Attic

Thinking of his own childhood, Michael Coyne creates a great spot for a quartet of brothers

BACKSTORY: For his room, 12-year-old Aidan, shown below, asked interior designer Michael Coyne, also shown below, of Michael Coyne Design in Troy, for a space that was better designed than what he had, and included more color. He was excited that he would be sharing it with three of his brothers. “He and his brothers will enjoy the bunk room as much as I did in my family home, with my three brothers,” says Coyne, who has been on the Suite Dreams board for years. “Who needs a lot of room when you can be camp-like with your siblings? Childhood can be a rough road to navigate, especially with medical issues I can’t imagine. I’m privileged to contribute to Suite Dreams.”

SOLUTIONS: “Because the boys’ attic room was very small and had a sloped ceiling, bunk beds were the only way to go,” Coyne says. “We included two bunk beds, plus another bed to act as a bridge (connecting the upper bunks). That created a space underneath, for both a dresser and some lime green semi-structural bean bag chairs. Another challenge was the big age range of the kids; I wanted to make the room somewhat child-like, but also not offensive to a teen,” he says.

CAPPING IT OFF: Coyne decided to skim-coat the room’s existing paneling, and paint it off-white. Then he covered one entire wall with the kids’ baseball cap collection, while another wall has framed celestial-themed maps.

COLOR CODE: The room’s lime green, navy, blue-gray, and taupe color palette is both boyish and inviting. “I didn’t want to do white because it gets so dirty,” Coyne says.

THE ART OF GIVING: Donations include painting, done by Jeff Steinke, as well as art, accessories, bedding, and furniture from Michael Coyne Design. —michaelcoynedesign.com

A Guy's Den

Cheryl Nestro ‘goes wild’ with wolf art, camouflage bedding, tree trunk lamps, wooden fish, and more

BACKSTORY: “Kevin (shown below), is 13 and needed a new floor so it would be easier for him to get around in his wheelchair and easier to move his medical equipment,” recalls interior designer Cheryl Nestro, also shown below, of Tutto Interiors in Northville. A new, dark walnut Pergo floor was donated and installed by Everlast. Nestro then set her sights on creating an outdoor-themed room that would incorporate Kevin’s favorite animal, a wolf, as well as outdoor colors such as blue and green. Nestro says Kevin’s instructions to her were to make sure there were no girl colors. “I’ve been intrigued with Suite Dreams ever since it began,” she says. “While I’ve always been a supporter, this is the first time I’ve done a Suite Dreams room.”

COLOR-FULL: The walls were covered with an Army green-colored, textured grasscloth Thibaut wallpaper that was donated by Duralee Fabrics. Above the window, a navy-and-white plaid valance was custom-made and donated by Selvaggio and Hayes.

INTO THE WILD: Nature-themed accessories, purchased at the House of Bedrooms, include two silver tree trunk lamps for the nightstands, two metal tree-shaped book ends to hold video games, and three wooden fish — painted green — to hang from the ceiling. The piece de resistance is a 24-by-36-inch framed poster of a wolf.

X MARKS THE SPOT: “Kevin loves his Xbox. When we first saw his room, it was sitting on top of a chest with its wires exposed, so we had Curt Derby, an electrician, come in and attach the TV to the wall across from Kevin’s bed. Curt was nice enough to donate his time,” the designer says.

CAMO COOL: The bright blue and tan camouflage-print bedding was purchased at Target, and the grayish-colored ash wood nightstands and dresser were purchased at the House of Bedrooms. —tuttointeriors.com

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!

A fresh lime-green and teal palette with pops of black, selected by designers Jeffrey and David King, is the perfect choice

BACKSTORY: When interior designers and Suite Dreams board members Jeffrey and David King of JKI Interiors in Birmingham first met with 11-year-old Ella, shown below, who is battling synovial cancer, and her two younger sisters, the trio was well-prepared. The two older girls had been busy mining the internet to get ideas, and particularly liked a “girly” look that had teal and white stripes.“That became our inspiration,” says David, shown below. “We find it very moving to help a child in need,” adds Jeffrey.

CHALLENGES & GOALS: “One of our biggest challenges was appealing to three girls of different ages and styles,” David says. “Our goal was to make the room feel lively and fun, so it reeks of positive energy.” The transformation began with Dijon Ivezaj, owner of ND Painting in Oxford, who painted the bedroom with teal and white stripes.

BASKET CASE: To cater to the girls’ interests, the designers put hobby baskets on the ends of the beds. Ella’s is filled with craft projects, plus a book about owls (her favorite animal).

SHEER MAGIC: Vantay Draperies in Madison Heights donated the window treatments, which are “four feminine white sheers that are airy and flowing, so Ella’s aspirations can go as far as she would like and her dreams can come true,” Vantay owner Diane Taylor says.

DREAM CATCHERS: The beds were sponsored by Scott and Dana Marcus, of Orangetheory Fitness, and the dressers by House of Bedrooms in Bloomfield Hills. The bedding (Pottery Barn Kids) complements sheets with a bow design (note the monogrammed shams).  

CLOSET COUTURE: Weschler Construction knocked out a wall and added two double doors. Then Reid Glass installed mirrors on the doors. California Closets decked out the interior space. (All of the aforementioned services were donated.)

DETAILS, DETAILS: David placed a makeup vanity and a Lucite chair on wheels in what was previously “an unusable, skinny space.” McLeod Carpet donated the carpet, which consists of green squares in both high and low textures to mimic the look of grass. —jeffreykinginteriors.com

Crafting a New Look

Because her young client likes to make things, designer Sharon Kory whips up lots of storage amid a calm and soothing space

BACKSTORY: Fourteen-year-old Maya is very big on crafting, and wanted to have a lot of storage space in her bedroom for her craft supplies. She also asked designer Sharon Kory, of Sharon Kory Interiors in Birmingham, if she would be able to find a bigger bed and a desk. (Maya and Kory are shown below.) Instead of her room’s former color scheme, which featured primary colors, Maya hoped for a calm space with soft colors. “When Suite Dreams asked me to do a room, I accepted immediately,” Kory says. “Many of these kids have a tough road, and a healing and warm environment can make all the difference in a family’s experience.”

STORAGE APLENTY: To provide more storage space, Kory chose a full-sized bed, donated by House of Bedrooms, that includes drawers at the bottom. The desk she selected has a hutch.

CRAFTY COOL: “I placed a chalkboard on one wall and a bulletin board behind the desk,” Kory says. “I also set out glass jars (for storing art materials) on the shelves of the hutch.”

GOING FOR GOLD: Next to the bed, a brushed-gold acrylic lamp is pretty on a night table that has a glass top and gold-colored legs. A full-length gold mirror hangs on a wall next to the closet.  

BLUE HEAVEN: One wall sports a seafoam blue, vine-themed wallpaper mural that was designed and donated by the Detroit Wallpaper Co. The other walls are painted with Sherwin-Williams’ Aquastone blue-hued paint. Detroit Spectrum donated the installation of the wallpaper and also the painting of the walls.

WINDOW MAGIC: On the bed wall, Kory draped a wide floor-to-ceiling, lined sheer curtain to act as a pretty screen behind the bed.

EYE CANDY: Maya likes papier-mâché lanterns, so Kory added two over her bed in a matching color scheme. —sharonkoryinteriors.com


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