When the San Francisco Design Center asked Melinda Mandell to partner with The Ronald McDonald House Stanford, she couldn’t wait to get started. Located in Palo Alto, CA, the RMHS houses families as their critically-ill children receive treatment at neighboring Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. With a waiting list of 40-50 families each night, expansion was crucial, and with the new building comes a need for fresh design.

Over the past year, Melinda and her team have designed and furnished three peaceful rooms in the new building, completely pro-bono! Her rooms offer a place of healing and hope for the families in a turbulent time. We wanted to learn more, AND take a tour of the special space:

Hi Melinda! This project is so special. What can you tell us about it?
The Ronald McDonald House Stanford, in Palo Alto, CA, plays a vital role, housing families as their critically-ill children receive treatment at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. Currently, RMHS has a waitlist of 40-50 families each night. With their brand new building opening this spring, they will more than double their current capacity, and meet the need of every family on their waitlist!

48 Interior Designers were recruited by the San Francisco Design Center to partner with The Ronald McDonald House Stanford in creating their new building.

Over the past year, Melinda Mandell Interior Design has designed and furnished three peaceful rooms in the new building, completely pro-bono. From the outset, the goal set by MMID is that these rooms give families – going through stressful and physically taxing treatments – a sense of home, of safety, and of hope.

That is so wonderful — you’ve truly given them a place of healing! Tell us about the rooms you’ve designed. 
My rooms are carefully assembled, but not too serious. The spaces incorporate organic textures, and friendly colors like soothing blues, bright greens, and russet reds. In the sitting room, lots of light spills in through the playful, pierced sheer drapery, illuminating soft natural textures like the raffia console, the soft wool rug, and the cerused wood desk. Allusions to nature are seen in all three rooms – animals, water, wood, and the sun – subtle and universal themes. The patterns I have chosen are meant to bring a smile. Overall, my goal was to create relaxed, uplifting spaces that remain approachable to all guests – both children and adults, traveling here from all over the country. The end result is one that lifts moods and sparks imagination! 

Can our Bay Area readers see the space in person?
Readers are invited to tour the new Ronald McDonald House Stanford, and see Melinda Mandell Interior Design’s rooms in person through Sunday, February 28th: 10am-3pm at 520 Sand Hill Road, Palo Alto, CA 94304. For Tickets: RMHStanford.org.

We can’t wait to check it out! Why are projects like this important to you?
This project is so meaningful to me because, via design, I am caring for families that are traveling through trauma, illness, healing, and grief. I take my responsibility very seriously to create a safe environment that will comfort and nurture them.

RMHS is inspiring because it is not just the physical home-away-from-home for families with critically ill children, but it is a much-needed supportive community! While the hospital treats children’s physical health, RMHS supports the emotional capacity of families. This is why I took this project on, designing and furnishing three comforting, peaceful, and nurturing spaces for families and children as they travel the path of trauma and healing.

We love that. Thank you for sharing your designs with us, Melinda!

For a closer look, start the slideshow!