The Ronald McDonald House was in the middle of significant change when I stepped in. 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.  



The problem became apparent the minute they started painting the walls; it no longer felt like the Ronald McDonald House. 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. 

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

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 making us feel alive—a source of energy and fun. We can depend on red to increase appetite, energy, joy, and cooperation. 

Red fuels our passionate pursuits.

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. 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

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