San Diego-based Interior Designer Susan Wintersteen started her design firm Savvy Interiors in 2002 when she sought a creative outlet for her design passion and talents.
Susan’s business has blossomed ever since leading her to pursue new creative ventures. She opened up her own showroom and design space inSIDE by Savvy and founded her inspirational non-profit organization, Savvy Giving by Design (SGBD). This heart-warming organization makes over spaces for children with medical challenges at no cost to their families.
One of Susan’ favorite quotes is
“You have never really lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.”
Inspired by this notion, she felt like she had the capacity to contribute more to her community as a creative professional. As a mother to five daughters, Susan knew that she wanted to help out children and an opportunity arose when she met a young girl named Kasey in her local community.
Kasey had to undergo months of grueling cancer treatments in the clinical environment of the hospital. Susan knew that she could help design a beautiful and comforting new space for this young lady that would uplift her spirits and help with her recovery. With the help of funds from the community and the generous work of subcontractors, Susan was able to complete the install in just a few days and give Kasey the bedroom of her dreams. Kasey was 13 at the time of her diagnosis for Rhabdomyosarcoma, was homebound for the 52 weeks while enduring chemo and radiation. Happily, she is now cancer free.
This successful install sparked the launch of Savvy Giving by Design in 2014 and in its four years of existence has added nine affiliate chapters around the country. SGBD helps families to “bridge the gap” between hospital care and care at home. Chapters are found in San Diego, CA; Mobile, AL; the Ozarks region; Tampa, FL; Rhode Island; Denver, CO; Charleston, SC; Central Texas; and Philadelphia, PA.
Many people are not aware such children need their own space in the home that can support them in their treatment, healing, and ultimate recovery from serious illnesses. SGBD now helps up to 10 families a year with children in medical crises. Designers and contractors offer their services by creating home spaces, without incurring costs for families who are often burdened with the expenses of medical care. These beautiful spaces allow children to heal, and siblings also get a smaller-scale design of their rooms as they provide so much essential support and love for their recovering siblings.
SGBD allows families to focus their energies on their child while designers and contractors take care of the logistics of the child’s healing space. Susan shared that some of the considerations that go into a child’s new room are using both hard and soft surfaces that do not hold allergens, organic fabrics that are easy to clean, and furniture and products that are safe for all ages.
SGBD rooms are fun, unique, and customized for each and every child. For children recovering from serious illnesses, efforts are made to ensure that a child can recover successfully in their new environment. A recent room reveal for a young man named Isaac paralyzed in a car accident, showed off the design considerations made for wheelchair accessibility in not only the newly redecorated room, but also the whole house.
With each and every project in chapters across the country, the local community steps up to help out the children who are often overwhelmed by their medical situation and the long road to recovery. One young child shared with tears in her eyes, “She gave me peace.”
Watch the A Room to Heal Video here.
We encourage you to go to visit the Savvy Giving by Design website and explore the stories of children whose lives have been transformed by design. Below are just a few images from recent projects showing children who are absolutely astonished and moved by the great rooms created by SGBD.
Susan is ready to take Savvy Giving by Design to the next level and aspires to start a chapter in all 50 states by 2025. She wants to more children across the country to get the rooms of their dreams that will help them recover and heal from serious medical challenges. She urges interior designers and creative professionals to not only become a Savvy Giver but also consider starting up a chapter in their local community.
A great way to support SGBD right away is going to their Facebook Page and liking the main page and your local affiliate so you can keep up-to-date on fundraising and room reveals. You may even want to contribute with your own experience and design expertise. Spread the word about this amazing organization who seeks to help kids across the country experiencing the most difficult times of their lives with the gift, comfort, and love of a well-designed bedroom.