Orange You Glad?

Michael Tavano RMHLI

Orange You Glad There’s a Ronald McDonald House?

Interior Designer Michael Tavano’s Whimsical Suite for Kravet’s Project Design

New Hyde Park, NY, October 8, 2013 – “If ever there was a cause everyone can get behind, it’s this one,” said Interior Design Michael Tavano of the Ronald McDonald House makeover he and other top designers took on to create a lovely, lively place for families to stay while their seriously ill children are treated at the nearby medical center. “This is a rare opportunity,” he said, “to really change someone’s quality of life at an impossibly hard time, simply through design.” Tavano chose lively, uplifting colors for his guest suite re-do, with a soothing blue “sky” overhead. Many of the clever and fun ideas in Tavano’s suite are ones anyone could take home and apply to a master suite, guest room or child’s bedroom.

The real-world demands of such a project include designing with textiles, finishes and furnishings that are practical, but the overriding mission for Tavano was to make the room fun, relaxing and inviting. He achieved this by using lots of washable outdoor fabrics by the project’s sponsor, Kravet, featuring a bold tangerine flame stitch which he selected based on his key paint color choice from Benjamin Moore: Fiesta Orange. Picking up on a current decorating trend, both the dramatic high headboards and box springs appear upholstered, but Tavano’s workroom MT Custom actually created easily removable and washable custom slipcovers to achieve an upholstered look. He added furniture pieces in cool driftwood tones and pure white, to ease the look the saturated hues and commissioned a feature wall to be painted in vertical stripes bringing all of the colors of the space together. Overhead, a sky-scape of spherical pendant lights is clustered at various levels. Says Tavano, “I wanted something soothing and fun for people as they drift off to sleep, so I added a crown molding at the top of the main walls and above it painted the walls and vaulted ceiling blue to make a sky and the lights could be planets above or balloons drifting by or soaring beach balls or whatever someone imagines them to be.”

Everything in the room was thought through so as to be soothing and cheerful. Underfoot, a sunset orange custom cut carpet in pure wool from Karastan creates cushy comfort, but is also there for design reason. “The room is a trapezoid because the facade of the building is curved. The effect can be disruptive for those inside the room, but the oval carpet, placed off-center, visually fools the eye into thinking the room is rectangular.” says the designer.

Tavano was the only designer who chose to remove the room’s closet and replace it with an armoire, to give the space a truly residential feeling. The armoire, from nearby furniture retailer Behr’s, has special meaning. “Mr. Behr had close family members that had once stayed at this Ronald McDonald House, so when we asked if he would donate the Sonoma Driftwood Armoire for our suite, even though it is a large donation he was overjoyed to be able to give back to this special place that had helped his family stay close to an ill loved one,” said Tavano, adding, “I think it was serendipity at work.”

Another good karma touch is the jauntily striped feature wall, which Tavano commissioned from two decorative painters who are graduates of the nonprofit Alpha Workshops Studio School. The school provides tuition-free classes in decorative arts and painted finishes to individuals living with HIV/AIDS. Some program graduates assist in the production of Alpha’s award-winning products for the home, and others find employment in the design industry and related fields, as the school’s training results in technical mastery of gilding, glazing, Venetian plaster, faux finishes and the like. Says Tavano, “Everything from Alpha has a superb reputation among top designers. I was so pleased that these two talented graduates agreed to create my uproarious, stripe-y wall.”

Also at work on this room was the custom workroom of which Tavano is co-founder and creative director, MT Custom. In addition to the custom slipcovers for the beds, MT Custom executed Tavano’s vision for custom bedding, an upholstered, shaped and reticulated window cornice, roman shade and opulent drapery panels. The Roman shade is made to be let down at night, and has the sky blue tone overall, adding to the room’s soothing nighttime persona. During the day, three different Kravet fabrics in tones of orange and yellow surround the window, creating a foil for the cool green trees beyond.

The room is loaded with conveniences including an en suite bath with colorful tile from Stone Source, low upholstered benches in the driftwood finish for stowing luggage or dressing with ease, two large mirrors, a flat screen television with dvd player, a desk and desk chair, and a cozy bentwood rocker for parent and child to curl up in quietly together.

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PR & Marketing for Michael Tavano:  Jan MacLatchie 917.843.4092

PR & Marketing for Project Design:  Ann Feldstein 516.532.3632

PR & Marketing for RMHLI: Deepak Thadani 516.467.7927

 MTavano_Headshot 11597About Michael Tavano Michael Tavano is an Interior Designer, Product Designer and stars in the BBC’s hit series House of the Year. He is also co-founder and creative director of MT Custom, Manhattan’s couture workroom, which handcrafts custom draperies and upholstery for the country’s most highly respected architects and designers. He frequently applies his design expertise to the tabletop, creating pop-up jewel-box dining spaces for top charity events, and serves as an entertaining expert for America’s esteemed legacy tabletop brand, Lenox.

Michael has been editorially featured in The Wall Street Journal, Bon Appetit, WWD, NBC, Veranda and LUXE. His room designs have graced the ELLE Décor Modern Life Concept House NYC 2012 and the Ronald McDonald House of Long Island Project Design 2013. He joyfully serves on The Alpha Workshops Steering Committee and on the Board of Directors of the Max Michael Rosenfield Foundation. His online portfolio is offered at


About Project Design The country’s most talented designers will take part in Project Design 2013, an innovative fundraising show house project spearheaded by Kravet Inc. The Ronald McDonald House of Long Island will receive a head-to-toe makeover as the 18 bedrooms, kitchen, breakfast room, five common areas, first floor restrooms, and three laundry rooms are completely revamped by 26 of the most prominent tastemakers in the industry.

The finished product will be celebrated with a Designer Showcase Gala on October 10th, during which the newly designed areas of the house will be unveiled. RMH-LI will then host an open house that will run from Friday, Oct. 11 through Monday Oct. 14 when community members will be invited to tour the new rooms for a donation fee.

Project Design 2013 is a groundbreaking initiative in the design community because it is the first time that such a large scale show house project will stay open and serve the needs of the community in an ongoing way. The project will not only provide RMH-LI with the repairs and renovations it needs, but it will also showcase the powerful and positive impact the design world can make when working together for a common cause. The designers found a house full of care, compassion and love and helped to reflect those feelings into a redecorated physical environment so that parents can focus solely on the healing of their child. RMH-LI is a home-away-from-home of over 1,000 families each year.

About Ronald McDonald House of Long Island

The Ronald McDonald House of Long Island is the 100th House of over 300 Ronald McDonald House programs worldwide. Located in New Hyde Park on the campus of the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York, the House accommodates families in a warm and supportive environment. For 27 years, RMH-LI has been a home-away-from-home for over 18,000 families in the United States and more than 80 countries around the world who are dealing with the pain of having a child undergoing medical treatment at nearby hospitals. For more information about RMH-LI, log on to

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