When the pandemic hit the U.S. in 2020, Andrea Van Soest, principal designer at Vantage Design Studio in Murrieta, CA, wanted to give back to front-line workers in a tangible and meaningful way.
Having seen the strain New York City faced from the beginning of the pandemic, she decided to host a contest on her Instagram page to offer a bedroom makeover to a medical professional working in an New York City hospital. Many nominations poured in but one in particular stood out.
Emergency room nurse Valerie Merrill at Mount Sinai Hospital, was nominated by a coworker who detailed the tireless work she performed throughout the early days of the pandemic, working 45 days straight without a day off.
Furthermore, Valerie’s husband, Mark Merrill, is a New York City firefighter and the two have a daughter who is also a nurse.
The goal of the makeover was to provide the couple with a calming space where they could recharge after particularly long days at work on the front lines. Their bedroom hadn’t been updated in over 20 years, so Van Soest set about working with Valerie to plan out the type of furniture, color palette and materials that would best suit their bedroom.
“The couple’s style can be described as traditional with a hint of modern,” Van Soest described in a press release. “They love grays, blues and other neutral, calming colors. We made sure to create the space to be a relaxing retreat for Valerie and her husband after a hard day’s work.”
As a Wayfair Professional member, Van Soest frequently uses Wayfair’s business-to-business service and products for her interior design work. She reached out to the brand to donate the majority of furniture and decor for the couple’s space, which is now unrecognizable after its makeover.
From painting the walls to refinishing the hardwood floors previously hidden under carpet, the Merrill’s bedroom underwent a complete transformation. New furniture, decor, rugs, lamps, artwork and more were layered in from Wayfair Professional.
“When we did the big reveal, Valerie and her kids Facetimed her husband, and there were so many happy emotions,” says Van Soest. “Valerie is such a strong and tough woman. She started crying when she saw the reveal and absolutely loved the space.”
Share Your Story with Us
As we enter the holiday season, we want to encourage you to continue to share your feel-good stories with us, whether it’s giving back to an individual or entire community at need. Share information and images with us by emailing associate editor Adrian Thompson at [email protected].