I love design. But what I particularly love is when my talents are used to transform people’s lives through great design.
So when the producers of NBC’s George to the Rescue reached out to me about the England family, from Ridgewood, New Jersey, I jumped at the opportunity. Mason, five, is non-verbal and communicates through pictures, thriving off very sensory-oriented tools. Richie, who is a year younger on the other hand, is just “on” all the time, chatting up whoever is within earshot and loves to get into things. The boys needed a safe place to play, learn, and just have fun. Their unfinished basement was the perfect spot to make this a reality. The space was as bare bones as it gets, but the design possibilities were plentiful!
I immediately set out to understand what a child on the autism spectrum, like Mason, could benefit from. In discussions with his therapist and others, it became clear what I wanted to do… the word “spectrum” kept repeating itself. That was my inspiration. A multi-colored space full of items not only to stimulate Mason’s needs, but also to be fun for Richie, all while being a comfortable and durable environment for the entire England family.
I chose to go with fairly dark colors to use as my base. Plush charcoal carpeting, with coordinating walls. Black ceilings to give the illusion of a larger ceiling height. Then came the layering of wonderful pops of color on top of that!
I painted a prism of color radiating from the wall-mounted sconces. Installed a large ball pit surrounded by a platform so the boys could not only dive in, but walk up and around the pit to get in from all sides. Then came the décor! This is where Grandin Road really helped me out. The playroom could now be peppered with comfortable, but punchy, pieces of furniture. Items like the Rebecca Swivel Chair, in two different colors, as well as the Dylan Storage Ottomans, made the room come to life! They are pieces meant to look great but function even better. A myriad of colorful and tactile pillows were piled on top of that. The visual play of the textured leather furniture selections with the pompom-type tassels hanging from the Marley Throw Pillows, as well as the nubby linen from the Tena Pillows, was the perfect contrast! The boys are going to LOVE the playroom!
We couldn’t, though, in true George to the Rescue fashion, just do one room and call it a day. Mom and Dad deserved an upgrade as well. Why not surprise them with another little makeover of their master bedroom?! I wanted to create a sanctuary for Rich and Jamie to just lay back at the end of the day and exhale.
For color, I chose gray wainscoting, a pink blush tone on the walls, and dark navy ceiling. I wanted a balance of masculine and feminine so the room would be appealing to both sexes. Next was bringing in a bit of sophistication. The Nail Button Bed was perfection! The Scarlett Bench was the unexpected twist in the room. Lastly, the Artesia Area Rug is the piece tying together the wall colors with the furniture colors. I wanted the space to be boho and beautiful, but still be informal enough to really let Rich and Jamie feel like they could decompress!
The design of these two spaces will forever change the Englands’ lives. This is truly what interior design is all about. Loving your space and truly a happy place!
View all the Grandin Road items chosen by designer, Tyler Wisler, for the England family, George to the Rescue transformation.
Watch the England family George to the Rescue episode.