Interior designer creates inspiring new space for Ronald McDonald House families

A space that brings happiness to kids and relief and comfort to parents

Sponsored by Cutter Chevrolet

The Ronald McDonald House has been providing hope for thousands of families, and Family Recreation Center in Manoa has just gotten a facelift. HI Now host Kanoe Gibson got a chance to talk to interior designer Cathy Lee about her inspiration.

Lee donated her time and services for over a year to create a truly magical space for a cause she cares about. Not only does her connection to Ronald McDonald House go back 13 years, but more than half the total cost of renovation was funded by donations collected by her daughter’s non-profit organization. This story of selfless giving has culminated in the beautiful new space which features a family room, indoor treehouse, gaming area, relaxation loft and an 18-foot-tall custom built “tree” as its centerpiece. The Family Recreation Center is now welcoming its first few Ronald McDonald House families and is fulfilling its purpose to uplift all who stay there.

“I knew I wanted to create a fun and inspiring place that kids would look forward to returning to after treatment.” Lee begins. “Now, there are so many different areas to enjoy… from a family room to a gaming area that teens will enjoy, an adorable treehouse for the little ones, a relaxation loft and so much more.”

For Lee, this was much more than a normal design project. It was very personal to her and became a labor of love.

“My family was first introduced to the Ronald McDonald House 13 years ago when my daughter raised money for them as part of a third-grade community service project and that eventually led to the creation and development of Kidz For A Cause,” she says. “Then, in 2018, Kidz For A Cause again chose the Ronald McDonald House as its beneficiary and over 200 local kids came together to raise over $350,000. That money ended up paying for over half the costs of this renovation.”

Being that this is for the Ronald McDonald House and for sick children and their families, Lee says it makes her so proud to picture the happiness the space will bring to kids and the comfort and relief for their parents.

“As a mom myself, I can’t imagine what these families are going through, but to know that I could lessen that burden in the best way I know how is really what kept me going throughout this entire project,” she adds.

If you’d like to see some behind the scenes photos of the design, you can visit Lee’s website at cathyleestyle.com or on Instagram @Cathyleestyle.

To learn more about the Ronald McDonald House, visit ronaldhousehawaii.org.