Miami-based interior designer Viviana Galetto doesn’t just want to create beautiful spaces—she wants to promote healing and happiness in those spaces too. She is doing just that with a new project in tandem with the Fort Lauderdale Home Design and Remodeling Show and Special Spaces Boca Raton, a nonprofit that creates dream rooms for children battling life-threatening illnesses. For the design show this month, Galetto is creating a project called Ely’s Special Space, a bedroom inspired by a 14-year-old boy with a malignant bone cancer called osteosarcoma.
When Galetto—an Argentina native who opened her eponymous company in Miami in 2006—was approached by the home show’s design team, she couldn’t turn down the chance to create a dream space for Ely. “I believe that those of us who have been blessed with the possibility to work on what we love have a moral obligation to give back to the community,” she tells Business of Home.
Ely, who lives in Boca Raton and was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in 2016, underwent chemotherapy for nearly a year and had multiple surgeries, including one during which 14 inches of bone in his leg was removed, followed by two knee replacements. Despite everything he’s been through, Ely is excited for his new room. The mission of Special Spaces (which was founded in 2004 and is partnering with the Fort Lauderdale show for the first time) is to provide sick children with a space where they can find peace and comfort outside the hospital.
Galetto describes the vision for Ely’s bedroom as an “industrial-urban retreat with pops of color and style, incorporating rustic wood and metals mixed with graffiti arts and Ely’s favorite sports teams, the Miami Dolphins and Miami Heat.” She will showcase the room vignette at the Home Show November 16 to 18, and then in December, while Ely and his family are away, Galetto and the Special Spaces team will remodel Ely’s room at home.
“Creating beautiful spaces is what I love to do, and if I can do it to make someone smile and make them feel better, then I don’t think twice, I just jump in,” says Galetto. “If we bring awareness, then we can get more designers from the trade involved to help with these kinds of projects, and together we can bring more smiles, changing one room at a time.”
With chapters nationwide, Special Spaces offers bedroom makeovers for children with life-threatening illnesses including cancer, heart conditions, brain tumors and organ transplants. Bedrooms are a place “where children sleep, but also rest, play, and spend time away from the challenges of their illness—a place where they can heal,” according to the mission.