"There is certainly a red for everyone" — Christian Dior


When I stepped in, the Ronald McDonald House was in the middle of significant change. Hard surfaces such as flooring, countertops, lighting, and tile had already been chosen. The plan was to make the Ronald McDonald House go from a preschool vibe to a cool hospitality environment for families. Instead, it felt like winter had settled in and covered everything under a blanket of cold snow. Icy white walls were specified along with purple, black, and white honeycomb pattern fabric and lime-green walls. They didn't need change; they needed growth and renewal! 

Their color conflict became apparent when they started painting the walls; it no longer felt like the Ronald McDonald House. 

Panic set in, and I got the call.

The tree was about to be cut off from its root. The color red was nowhere in sight, and it became my job to bring it back. 

Red is the color of the root chakra or Muladhara. It helps us feel grounded and able to withstand challenges. Emotionally, red is viscerally provoking and makes us feel alive—a source of energy and fun. We can depend on red to increase appetite, energy, joy, and cooperation. 

 Tapping into the sovereign color baggage of this brand led to a creative design story that expressed what the administration wanted the families to feel while they healed, with shades of red. The energy of the color red can fuel our most passionate pursuits. A mindfully layered color strategy with paint, custom and ready-made furniture, art, lighting, and beautiful murals was executed promptly. The magnetic qualities of the red were pulled together by an inclusive color palette that brought out the best in every color and everyone. 





"Gretchen created warm and engaging environments that make our families feel immediately comfortable no matter where they are from or their circumstances. She brought in so much color and vibrancy; it helps families to make memories immediately and allows our physical space to mirror our mission. Thanks to her, our Ronald McDonald house embodies compassionate hospitality." 

— Jessica Jarratt Miller, Chief Executive Officer, Ronald McDonald House Charities

From My Bag To Yours,


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