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AT HOME with Interior Designer Nancy Mannucci.

I returned home from my visit with Nancy Mannucci, an interior designer who has been designing commercial and residential spaces for 30 years, with her words "One must live among beautiful things" reverberating in my ears. I immediately took out a bowl that belonged to my grandmother, filled it with potpourri, and placed it on a lovely doily I had from an aunt. Ms. Mannucci has that kind of effect on people.

Every inch of Nancy Mannucci's apartment shows her talent for respecting the needs imposed by MS without sacrificing any warmth, beauty, or charm. She possesses enormous amounts of creative energy--along with professional practicality. For instance, she ingeniously attached Thera-bands to her upholstery-covered iron headboard so that she can exercise before she gets out of bed.

The design of the mosaic tiled floor in her roll-in shower stall was inspired by the ancient baths of Pompeii, and is slightly sloped for efficient drainage. Ms. Mannucci showed me how easy it is to roll her wheelchair under her bathroom sink. Stainless steel grab bars along the cabinets in her kitchen provide assistance and are attractive enough to pass as decoration.

In Nancy Mannucci's busy life, being organized and conserving precious energy is crucial. A graduate of the University of Michigan's School of Architecture and Design, Nancy Mannucci co-edits the Decorators Club newsletter, and is a professional member of the American Society of Interior Design. In typical Mannucci fashion, her numerous papers and print materials are fried in handsome wicker baskets rather than in ordinary metal file cabinets.

Her first task in renovating her living space was removing the door saddles between the rooms to provide an unobstructed pathway for her wheelchair. This might be done in a rental apartment, too, the designer suggests, since they can be easily reinstalled. Widening doorways in a rental space is more problematic.

"MS is unpredictable. So you need to anticipate what you might need in terms of design and then plan ahead," advises Ms. Mannucci. For instance, anchoring a 2-by-4 behind sheet rock in the bathroom or bedroom during building or remodeling will allow installation of a grab bar--either now, or at a future date. Design changes that are carefully thought out can be pleasurable and beautiful instead of an imposition. And beauty lifts the spirit.

Barbara Paley-Israel is a writer who has MS. She is currently working on a project about the 19th-century poet Emily Dickinson.
COPYRIGHT 1998 National Multiple Sclerosis Society
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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Publication:Inside MS
Date:Sep 22, 1998
Previous Article:Getting Particulars on Universal Design.
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