Compassionate Design for Kids in Medical Crisis

August 30, 2023


We recently spoke with designer Susan Wintersteen of Savvy Interiors in Solana Beach, Calif. She shared with us her experience in making a positive impact through compassionate design by establishing Savvy Giving by Design, a non-profit organization dedicated to redesigning spaces for children facing medical crisis, in our new podcast.

The conversation begins with Susan describing what led to her founding Savvy Giving By Design. She recounts the first time she created a special room for a sick child, and how she reached out to her business network for material donations. She traces the arc of the organization from an informal communal effort to becoming a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit group.

Susan goes on to talk about how her designer’s instinct to create beautiful spaces was expanded by medical criteria for each child’s condition and treatment. Among her examples of this: how material selections can be impacted by chemotherapy, how lighting schemes should be adapted for patients undergoing certain therapies, how acoustic strategies can promote healing and more.

Next, Susan explains the various ways she keeps the organization’s good works front and center. Maintaining a high, positive profile in the community is key to its continued success and attracts supporters.

The discussion wraps up with Susan sharing an example of children and families whose lives were touched and connected by Savvy Giving By Design. It’s a story of continuity that illustrates how design can bridge healing and loss.

To hear more about Susan Wintersteen’s work in compassionate design and philanthropy, listen to the podcast on Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Pandora and other outlets.

—By Leslie Clagett, KBB Managing Editor