Angelina “Nina” Macri likes her room to be a calm and comfortable space, a place where she can kick back with Netflix or hang out with her friends, but her old room wasn’t quite what she wanted.
Last Sunday, Nina, 17, was shown her brand-new room, renovated through a partnership between Make-A-Wish Massachusetts and Rhode Island and renowned designer Taniya Nayak. The idea for the new room has been years in the making, with the original request made prior to the pandemic. When the onset of COVID-19 put the process on temporary hold, Nina spent a lot of time on sites like Pinterest, searching for inspiring room designs.
“It’s a very calm space,” she said. “Cool, not too much happening, there’s a lot of pillows which I like….I like that the bed’s kind of a couch. It’s just a very calm room and it’s going to be a fun spot to have my friends there.”
The reveal on Sunday followed a weekend of shopping and dining in Boston, courtesy of Make-A-Wish. Nina arrived at her home to a celebratory atmosphere as she was greeted by family and friends. After speaking with Nayak, they walked upstairs where she was shown the new room.
The room’s look definitely gives a sense of calm, from the trundle bed and nearby writing desk to a neat stack of books by the window. The centerpiece is a large blue papasan chair that Nina said was a must for the room, a replacement for another she had for years. Behind it is a wall of faux plants with a neon sign that reads “Good vibes only,” a mantra of sorts for Nina.
“I’ve had that since we moved here, and it was my favorite chair,” she said. “I’ve slept in that before. I really do love that chair. So that was definitely like a big thing that needed to be there.”
Nayak, known for her work on HGTV and Food Network and owner of Taniya Nayak Design, Inc., consulted with Nina via e-mail and Zoom calls, trading ideas and concepts. She sent Nina images which took into account all of her suggestions.
“She had a voice on what she wanted to do for her design, which was awesome,” said Nayak. “You don’t always get that.”
Nayak described Nina’s style as “boho,” also known as bohemian, and spoke of her love of textures and colors. She said it was important that the room can grow with her, and agreed that the papasan chair and faux green wall was the best feature—especially for selfies.
“The best part is just seeing Nina happy and making sure that she feels good and feels like her visions were granted,” said Nayak.
Now in its 40th year, Make-A-Wish Massachusetts and Rhode Island creates life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. Together with generous supporters and volunteers, the organization has granted the wishes of 10,000 children in Massachusetts and Rhode Island since its founding. CEO Sean Holleran said that seeing the smiles on the day that wishes are revealed is the best part. Past wishes have included trips to Disney, Hawaii and puppies.
“When families are going through what they’re going through in terms of having an illness, and sometimes feeling alone, sometimes feeling uncertain about what’s going to happen, to know that they have a wish to come in and help bear that burden with them for a little while and put a smile on their face that day, it’s everything we do,” Holleran said.
At 17, Nina has Cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder that causes thick mucus to build up in the organs, including the lungs and pancreas. In people who have the disease, this mucus can clog the airways and makes it difficult to breathe. Her parents, Doreen Cummings and Sara Macri, heard of Make-A-Wish from the staff at Children’s Hospital and went through a number of ideas, including meeting Taylor Swift or Nina wanting to donate the wish to someone else.
“She’s so kind and humble and generous,” said Cummings.
Sara joked that boxes for the renovation had been arriving for a month and filled the garage following the lengthy planning sessions. The family expects to become longtime supporters of Make-A-Wish.
“We’ll be donors for the rest of our lives,” said Cummings.
Nina said now that the big day has come, she’s both sad to have the journey over and happy to see the new room. She’s seen videos of other kids getting their wishes granted and said how exciting it is.
“It feels exciting to have it done,” she said. “I knew what I wanted and then we took that and actually put it into motion. We went through all the steps, we figured everything out and now it’s done.”