Niagara Gazette — But the critical-care waiting room was personal. He funded the job himself and recreated the room completely, with the help of his associate, Nichole Burkhart of Interior Designs by Nikki.
“I dealt with the room architecturally first,” he said, noting that he added crown molding, wood blinds and a wood floor to give the room a homey feeling.
Then, he added color to warm the room. “I dramatized it. I went as dark as I could go so that it was warmer, rather than colder.” The colors he used included grays, tans, taupes, beiges and black.
All the furniture in the room was selected for durability, he said, including a leather couch. To make the room more inviting, he added fabric throughout, including the the over-stuffed chairs and on the back and sides of the couch for visual softness. Then he added a small, wooden dining room set where family members could sit together and share some of the food that always seems to make its way into hospital waiting rooms.
For continued warmth, most of the finishes on the end tables and other furniture are hand-rubbed to soften the room’s edges. He added greenery and drama with two metal column bases holding bamboo and natural grasses that stand about 8 feet high.
His sister, who also spent days in the ICU waiting room with Gara’s family, described the renovated space as looking like a room that could have easily been in Gara’s house, with its warm comfortable feeling.
“Nancy would be so touched and honored that my brother did that for her,” she said.
The finishing touch to the room was a trio of botanical drawings that pay tribute to Gara’s love of gardening. LaMorticella purchased the three large, black and white botanical paintings and then brought them to Gara’s home one Sunday so family members and friends, including her husband Sam, her children and grandchildren, could write thoughts about her, in messages which seem to infuse the room with love.