Winter 2024

Breathing Room

At the Ronald McDonald House, Breathe pampers pint-sized patients with a day at the salon.

Words by Lisa Waterman Gray  |  Photos by Nate Sheets


ast spring, a new amenity opened inside the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kansas City: a temporary home at the Children’s Mercy downtown campus for out-of-town families who have traveled here for their critically ill children’s medical care. Since the completion of Breathe, many local hair stylists, nail technicians and massage therapists have volunteered to pamper these rmhc-kc patients and their families. Young kids battling hair loss can choose colorful knitted “wigs” donated by the Magic Yarn Project, while older kids may receive custom wigs from celebrity hair designer Trenton Lee.

Lisa Schmitz, owner of Lisa Schmitz Interior Design, created this serene, welcoming spa environment with colleague Alicia Berg in cooperation with the non-profit Design for a Difference.

“This International Design Guild program helps interior designers support their communities by creating beautiful and functional spaces for those in need,” says Paul Madden, operations director at Madden-McFarland.

“Although the salon was primarily designed for youth undergoing treatment, we aimed to create a space for all ages so parents and family members could find a sense of retreat, too,” Alicia explains.

Lisa and Alicia incorporated hardwood floors, high ceilings and plenty of natural light. Salon chairs line the matte brass-accented cabinetry and flank multiple hair-washing stations. Curved edges adorn the boutique’s tall mirrors, cabinet hardware, wall lights, small tables and upholstered chairs.

“LSID was thrilled to provide our skills in creating just the perfect atmosphere, allowing families to breathe,” Lisa says. 


Interior Designer: Lisa Schmitz Interior Design, @lisaschmitzinteriors

Ronald McDonald House: @rmhckc
Design for a Difference:

This project was made possible in part by donations and discounts.

Art: Ampersand (100% donation)

Flooring—Hardwood: Shaw Hard Surfaces (25% discount);
Carpet: donated through Shaw Contract

Salon Furnishings—stylist chairs, pedicure chair,
wash sink, manicure table:
Beauty Brands (100 % donation)

Lighting Design: Clint Paugh Lighting Consultation (100% donation)

Contractors: SRKO, Grabill Plumbing, Kenny’s Tile, George Ayotte, Wall Board Specialties, Brad Morris, Citadel Electric Group 
Cabinets: Specialty Cabinets 
Countertops: Wausau Tile 
Fabrication Company: Specialty Cabinets 
Furnishings: Joybird; Article; HAY 
Accessories: Beco Flowers 
Hardware: Etsy 
Light Fixtures: Lumens; Pipeline Track by PureEdge

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