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  • Writer's pictureAlyce Lopez


Updated: Jul 13, 2023

Just a couple months ago we completed a home renovation in collaboration with Savvy Giving by Design. This is the third project we have completed with SGBD. It has been such a joy collaborating with other designers in our area for a great cause!


Savvy Giving by Design™ is a non-profit, national network of professional interior designers whose mission is to provide comfort, support, and healing to families with a child facing a medical crisis by transforming the interior spaces of their homes at no cost to them.


Helping children and their siblings feel at peace during dark times is at the heart of what we do. Each room is designed by a professional interior designer custom to the child’s unique needs to optimize both physical and emotional comfort. Since many children we help have compromised immune systems, are adjusting to new wheelchairs, or have other specialized needs, we focus on design details that are not only beautiful but also work with these needs. Some of the considerations that go into a child’s new room include the use of both hard and soft surfaces that do not hold allergens, organic fabrics that are easy to clean, and products that are safe for all ages.

This year we had the pleasure of working with Shannon at San Elijo Interiors on 2 sibling rooms in Vista, CA. Shannon tackled Nayleen's room, our primary recipient and her brother Quentin's room. I'll share Nayleen's story below.


Nayleen was 13 years old when her story started. It started subtle with headaches here and there; floaters in her vision; and issues with texting (words would get jumbled up). The night of February 28, 2021, it was determined that Nayleen had a brain tumor the size of a racquetball that was pressing on her optic nerves and affecting her vision. Within 24 hours Nayleen was on the operating table undergoing a craniotomy. Unfortunately, Nayleen’s vision continued to get worse week by week. 2 months later it was revealed that her spinal fluid was backing up into her optic nerves and she needed double eye surgery, which entailed opening up her optic nerves to release the fluid. The surgery was successful, but she permanently lost her peripheral vision, her long-distance vision (not correctable through glasses), and some loss in colors. After a biopsy of the tumor, it was learned that Nayleen’s tumor was cancerous, a grade III Anaplastic Pleomorphic Xanthoastrocytoma (APXA); a rare cancer that affects the central nervous system. From there, Nayleen underwent 7 weeks of radiation. Through genomic testing, we learned that Nayleen has 4 DNA mutations that make her extremely susceptible to various forms of cancer for the rest of her life. As a result, Nayleen is currently on an oral regimen of chemo pills, which are not necessarily FDA approved for her diagnosis but through early clinical trials this regimen has a high success rate of lowering her odds of cancer in 2 of the DNA mutations.

To-date, Nayleen has over 150+ doctor visits, countless pokes and probes for lab work and spinal taps and over a dozen MRI’s (which she will have to undergo every 3 months the rest of her life). Through it all, Nayleen has still managed to move through each day with grace. While her story is not ideal, she has taken up a love for reading books where her new room has become her safe haven.

Shannon is the MVP of this project. She coordinated all the trades and subs to make sure this project came together beautifully. You can follow along and see more of Shannon's two room reveals here.


The beauty of these room renovations is truly the collaborative effort of our local design community. Days leading up to our installation, my IG friend @cambraydesigns saw us prepping for the big day and reached out to donate her time! I had never met Allison in person and she showed up, tape measure in hand, ready to roll! It is so nice to see designers, installers, photographers and manufacturers come together to bring healing to these families. Here's some fun photos of the two rooms we completed for 13 year old Teagan and 16 year old Jayla.

Teagan is a huge sports fan if you didn't quite catch that. He love the Eagles and the Giants so we tracked down their signature paint colors and made a splash with some racing stripes. We incorporated his existing bed and futon for the ultimate gaming space. I have to say, my favorite element was the gallery wall. We took some of his existing artwork and added hats, balls and pennants to bring visual interest to the space.

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Photo Credit:

He was so excited when we unveiled his room. Such a sweet boy and it was so nice to see the big smile on his face! You could tell he was genuinely grateful for the new space. Our next reveal was for 16 year old Jaylaa. The big sis. We love renovating siblings' rooms because they too are experiencing the challenges that come with caring for a child experiencing a medical crisis.


We were so excited to reveal Jaylaa's space. She really appreciated having a new space that she could enjoy some privacy and unwind after school. She was so surprised by the transformation and so grateful for her new room.

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We kept things light and airy, relaxing and modern. We really wanted Jaylaa to have a cozy and calm space. My favorite details are the white oak and cane details throughout. And maybe that feather light fixture too! You know I love textures, so this modern boho space was so fun to design!

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Photo Credit:

Aren't they all so darling? Such a kind, hospitable and generous family. The were so grateful for our time and even treated us to lunch during our install. After every reveal we raise a glass and give thanks with some sparkling apple cider and give big hugs and well wishes to our families. We are honored to use our natural gifts and abilities to give back in such a meaningful way. A big thank you to Susan and the team at Savvy Giving and Shannon and the crew at San Elijo Interiors for making this renovation a success!

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Now let's not forget to stay tuned for our annual Inaugural Savvy Giving by Design Golf Classic coming this fall! It's a great way to enjoy a day on the course and donate to a wonderful foundation. To learn more about Savvy Giving By Design head to their website HERE.

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