Since her childhood days in rural Pennsylvania, author, design journalist and publicist Ro Logrippo has been captivated by the many ways in which we live.
Weekly visits to the small rug mill her family operated near Valley Forge fostered a fascination with colorful fibers and other manufacturing wonders.
"My first strong impressions about interior environments," Ro says, "were when I was 11. Our home underwent major renovation beginning in my tiny upstairs room. I remember being awfully haughty about the remodel launching there. I viewed this as symbolic that my needs took precedence over older brother Jimmy's," she recalls with a laugh.
Design for the young became the focus of Ro's writing and lecturing more than two decades ago. Prior to that she concentrated on general home issues, after earning a bachelor's in journalism from Marquette University.
Initially, Ro was Home Editor for a San Francisco Bay Area suburban daily. Later, she became a Contributing Editor of Designers' West magazine, writing the column "Design for Special Populations," including children. In the 1990s her "In My Room " children's design column was syndicated by Universal Press Syndicate to 200 newspapers worldwide from the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune to the Vancouver Sun and the Saudi Gazette. Its awards include first place honors from the National Federation of Press Women, the largest media organization in the U.S.
The Arizona design research and communications firm Living & Learning Environments is owned and directed by Ro. It was founded in the San Francisco Bay Area by her late business partner Tony Torrice whose theories about "co-designing” environments with kids are detailed in the book "In My Room: Designing For and With Children". Co-authored by Ro, the book is endorsed on the jacket by noted child psychologist Lee Salk, Ph.D., who calls the work "an enormous contribution to the mental health of children and the strengthening of family life." It received first place national book honors from the national press group NFPW.
Ro's column research and interviews with leading children's specialists form the foundation of her solo publishing venture: "In My World: Designing Living & Learning Environments for the Young," published by John Wiley & Sons. This book and its predecessor led to appearances on ABC-TV's "Good Morning America", "Home" and "Oprah" shows and Lifetime TV's "Our Home." The author's views on design also have been the subject of hundreds of print media features in publications ranging from Time, Child and Better Homes & Gardens magazines, to the New York Times, Montreal Gazette and San Francisco Examiner newspapers.
Throughout her career over 70 national and regional honors have been bestowed upon Ro by groups including the International Reading Association, American Society of Interior Designers, International Furnishings and Design Association, Dallas Market Center and California Press Women. CPW singled her out as the 1997 California Communicator of Achievement, and IFDA's Education Foundation granted her a fellowship to poll youth worldwide about their room preferences as a way to discover their values. American, French, Russian, Japanese and British youth participated.
Two design symposiums on public issues were coordinated by Ro for the American Society of Interior Designers. "Design of the Times: The Homeless" roused professionals to renovate shelters nationwide. "Design of the Times: Day Care " spurred the establishment of day care interiors guidelines and was acknowledged by the United States Department of Education. As co-chair of The National Task Force on Day Care Interior Design, Ro wrote its landmark report "Design of the Times: Day Care."
KidSpace Design, the first online forum dedicated to family design issues, was created and managed by Ro for The Microsoft Network, msn . It enabled kids and parents worldwide to share their concerns from room set-up to recycling, and it reached families on six continents with electronic links to the rest of the globe.
Ro also reached worldwide audiences through her lectures about design for the young. "Creating KidSpace for Living & Learning" focused on residential design that sparks discovery outside the classroom. It featured rooms coast to coast, and spotlighted nationwide designers committed to creating kids' rooms that inspire and instruct the ones living there.