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Shavonda’s Feel Good Makeover #1 – The Twin’s Room (Pure Joy ALERT)


GAH. Ready to feel good? This week we have the reveals of the 3 kids bedrooms we designed in a very fun and feel-good collaboration with Shavonda Gardner and Target. It’s transformative – both in design and life and while things certainly shifted on my end and I couldn’t even be there, they turned out GREAT, thanks to Shavonda and our lovely local assistant, Jordan. While I didn’t get to see any of them in person, I love them all and don’t think there is a favorite (read Shavonda’s post about it here).

But first, as a recap, we started this collaboration probably 3 months ago. It was September, the covid numbers were low and Brian’s parents live in Sacramento (where Shavonda lives) where we normally spend Thanksgiving every year. So we figured we’d come up a week early and Brian and I would work safely for the week shooting and installing the space. It was going to be so fun – a deserving family, a new blogger friend, and making a bunch of little humans happier. As a reminder, Shavonda’s sister, Andrea, is a single mom (4 kids – 12, 7, and twin 3-year-olds) and she serves as a military ICU nurse whose been deployed twice doing covid relief (wear a mask, stay home). They just moved to Sacramento and had no furniture. A total blank canvas. We designed the rooms digitally together, on Zoom and FaceTime, and had all the major pieces ordered. Then we would start accessorizing, installing, and shooting the week before thanksgiving. Well, that’s when that stupid virus started spiking and Mal and Sara were going to fly, (we were driving with the kids) and we were staying with Brian’s parents (who are NOT OLD, but they are technically vulnerable). It started feeling reckless and scarier every single day as the numbers jumped so high. Between Andrea’s family, my team, and production help there would be a lot of people in prolonged indoor spaces, indeed “gathering” in the house (5 days, 8 hours a day). So I called Shavonda and Target and canceled the shoot – I just couldn’t risk getting Brian’s parents sick and it felt irresponsible to have my team fly even if they were ok with it. Then it got worse. That same week Shavonda’s 3-year-old niece died unexpectedly and she had to come to LA to help her sister-in-love. And it started feeling like this wasn’t going to happen, that it wasn’t the right time, this wasn’t the priority and we all felt awful in a million ways, mostly because of her family tragedy (that I think a lot of you already donated to, she thanks you).

But at this point, the twin’s room was full of the boxes of furniture and they were sleeping on the sofa. I had a styling assistant, Jordan, lined up already so without me or Shavonda, Jordan was left to do all the unpacking, oversee the painting/wallpapering, change out the light fixtures, and not to mention put together like 18 pieces of furniture. I know firsthand how much work this is and it’s A LOT, so thank you. Like a million thank yous.

Meanwhile, we had a lot left to buy that we planned on doing together that week early in the morning before crowds. But since I wasn’t there I asked Andrea if she wanted to take the kids on a shopping spree to Target to pick out their own holiday decor… THEY HAD SO MUCH FUN. Supermarket sweep!!!! I actually love that they got to be involved and feel connected to their own rooms, which is really how it should be. (But thank you Andrea and Shavonda for lugging 4 cartloads of holiday decor to the car).

So a few weeks after the original canceled date, Shavonda wanted to style out the rooms. She along with Jordan worked their tails off to pull the rooms together and shoot them without me (and yes, I felt awful and grateful) and y’all, they turned out SO GREAT (but also no surprise there). I hardly take credit for the room design as I really didn’t do much besides helping choose the furniture, rugs, paint color/wallpaper. The second, third, and fourth layers were all Shavonda. So while this was a “collaboration”, I would feel weird if anyone thought I designed these alone or if anyone gave me more credit than I deserved – She did it for her sister, her family and her designs are well, as you’ll see. They are exciting and very “Shavonda”, with a heavy dose of “HOLIDAY” thanks to Target (everything is Target). HERE WE GO.

As you can see, it’s a blank slate, just two toddler beds that they were growing out of. I would show you the other side of the room but literally, nothing is there.

The twinnies got upgraded too, well, twin beds which is just highly appropriate and adorable. I love that modern white spindle and the room was designated into two different zones – beds and play space.

Shavonda wanted yellow (and I really wanted it to feel cheery so yah, yellow does it), but a full yellow room is HARD. So we took it up to 40″ which STRANGELY is the exact height of the headboard. So crazy! We gave them blackout curtains (the same ones we used to have in our kid’s room before the final makeover) and please note that there are four panels per window since the windows are really wide. They are high so ideally, those would be shades, but curtains break up the yellow in a good way and it does look really cozy (besides roman shades always have light leaks which was a HUGE problem to our kids when they were 3). Curtains are really the only way to successfully block the light.

This side of the room housed the little play area that is rather appropriately dominated by their own Christmas tree. When I pitched the holiday portion of this to Target they were like, ‘Sure, but how much holiday can you put in a kid’s room?’ I then kindly reminded them that our kids have historically had their own trees.

Shavonda found this sweet little braided rug, and the oval worked so well there because the closet door would have hit almost anything else. Also, please note the train that goes around the tree and the little Santa climbing the ladder.

That is some serious Christmas joy right there. Imagine being a 3-year-old who literally didn’t have anything in the room but beds and then they get all of this, in their own room!!!

Shavonda told me that Andrea was just so happy. And now that she is being deployed AGAIN (yes, right before the holidays) for more military covid relief to all the understaffed hospitals (again wear a mask, stay home) she gets to leave knowing that her twinnies will have this super fun room to hang out in.

There’s the lady of the hour. Pulling out THREE rooms (again this is just the first of 3) without the creative partner that was intended, but with some kids who got to pick out their own holiday decor (can you imagine three-year-olds on a Christmas shopping spree??) and a new lovely design assistant Jordan. While the process was full of a lot of twists and turns, the end result of these kids having a good Christmas in an adorable room, designed by their GREAT auntie (not that kind of great auntie, you know) is what matters. I can’t wait to show you the next one – there is a themed wallpaper that we all loved (hint: rhymes with Bar Fors:)). And a bonus for you readers, once the holiday is over and a lot of the decor is removed Shavonda still wants to finish the design because as you just saw the accessories are mostly ‘holiday’ which isn’t so ‘year-round’, so you’ll get to see these rooms totally finished.

Here’s a “get the look” and all the links to products that we used:

1. Mid-Century Solid Wood Spindle Bed | 2. Merry Christmas Garland | 3. Plush Sherpa Blanket in White | 4. Plush Sherpa Blanket in Red | 5. Embroidered Santa Lumbar Pillow | 6. Christmas Tree Shaped Throw Pillow | 7. Rotating Tinsel Christmas Tree | 8. Bear LED Nightlight | 9. Solid Jersey Sheet Set | 10. Jersey Comforter Set | 11. Ellwood End Table with Drawer | 12. Reindeer & Polar Bear Nutcracker | 13. Small Metal Wagon Figurine | 14. Kids’ Table & Chairs Set | 15. Small Cone Santa Figurine | 16. Large Cone Santa Figurine | 17. Small Truck Figurine | 18. Llama Musical Snow Globe | 19. 4 Christmas Character Stocking Holders | 20. Hudson Cubby Bookcase | 21. Puckered Pom Pom Stocking | 22. Large Green Bottle Brush Tree | 23. Large Blue Bottle Brush Tree | 24. 4 Small Blue and Green Bottle Brush Trees | 25. Cat & Dog Nutcracker | 26. Multicolored Pom Pom Garland | 27. Matte Black Clip Rings | 28. Clipped Dot Curtain Panel | 29. Dauntless Curtain Rod | 30. Polar Express Book | 31. How the Grinch Stole Christmas Book | 32. Fabric Cube Storage Bin | 33. How to Catch a Reindeer Book | 34. Construction Site on Christmas Night Book | 35. A Charlie Brown Christmas Book | 36. Little Blue Truck’s Christmas Book

1. Santa Star Ornament | 2. Mrs. Claus Ornament | 3. Pre-Lit Spruce Christmas Tree | 4. Elf Boy Ornament | 5. Bird Wreath Ornament | 6. 4 Penguin and Deer Ornaments | 7. Christmas Animated Train Set | 8. Buffalo Plaid Reindeer Ornament | 9. Faux Wool Snowflake Tree Skirt With Pom Poms | 10. Nordic Rabbit with Incandescent Sisal Lights | 11. Climbing Santa Figurine | 12. 25 Piece Ornament Set

A huge thanks to Target for not only wanting to support these feel-good projects but for being so incredibly gracious and flexible to what this year has thrown at us. Thank you for helping make these two twins pretty darn happy this Christmas.

*Design by Shavonda Garnder
**Design Assistant: Jordan Ballenger
***Photos by Lisa and Gary Ashley

Fin Mark


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So fun for everyone. It’s making smile in the middle of the night when I should be sleeping. Great job by all 😊


Has anyone else noticed these comments on gift posts are really empty?
Is it because we’re all consumed out and just want 2020 to be over and get back to normality?


I actually don’t want to get back to normality!

I want a new normal, where everyone is kinder, works for the greater common good and comes to grips with the fact that most of our consumption is unnecessary… and… (like we need more?) …


That’s my Christmas, New Year and eternal wish!




AGREEEEE I’m so tired of stuffff. But this is a beautiful family and the cutest kids, so happy they have a happy space to live and play!


Me too. Joy and giving are wonderful. Generosity is contagious and beautiful.
Plastic straws and balloons being fed to baby birds and sea creatures…is not.
We can absolutely decorate, live, love, help and be loving, mindfully…with the BIG picture foremost in our minds and what we buy must jnclude a vetting of:
What it’s made from?
Where it was made and by whom (i.e. fair trade and not children)?
What happens to ut when we’re ‘done’ with it?

1000% THERE IS NO PLANET B. I can’t remember if I usually comment on the gift guides or not. I think maybe if something is an especially unique and useful gift or something, but I’m totally on the stop the consumption train. There was something posted a week or two ago about getting those prepaid food subscriptions as a gift that I commented on because I thought it was excellent because I have aging parents who would totally benefit from that and I love that it’s not a thing to clutter up the house. I just helped them downsize to a smaller house, and that involved months of going through a lifetime of collected stuff. It made me want to be a minimalist. There’s no way I want to go through that when I’m old. I’m 40-ish and am too tired for that already.


In fact “Live Your Best Life” courses advocate for experiences rather than stuff as gifts.
I get you! *high five!*


I noticed but I figured I’d share my reason why. 🙂 We paired down our Christmas gift giving years ago when my girls were little. We now do the 4 gift rule -a want, a need, something to read, and something to wear- though I will confess as they’ve turned into young adults that ‘read’ has turned into whatever ‘media’ they want. We keep family gifts simple and small; I have a list on my phone that I add to throughout the year based on comments they make during conversations so it’s usually something mundane that they’d never get for themselves but do love receiving. So most gift guides seem excessive to me now. I’m rather fond of low-key, easy, holidays that focus on friends and family instead of all the stuff.

ha, maybe. I think that the gift guides just don’t really warrant a comment. Like they are useful for some who are looking for gift ideas, but no reason to really comment about it. xx


I’d love some DIY gifts, ahead of time, coz I’d need the lead time to make them.
Um…obviously with as little plastic involved as possible and things that will last, make memories and be emotionally valuable.

The cutest, the coziest, and that braided blue rug just took it over the top – who wouldn’t be happy in this room?


What a sweet, playful room! I’m especially loving their Christmas tree with the train tracks–what a great holiday touch.

our kids have that train, too and love it. xx


I bought that train too after you posted about it (4-5 years ago?). It’s still my kids favorite Christmas tradition. Everyone be prepared to change the batteries every few days (I know) but otherwise it’s solid, best toy ever.


The train’s a keeper and not flash-in-the-plastic-pan! I love that. 🤗


My favorites are the bed, elephant chairs, and curtains. Great job🙂

the sweetest!


Lovely y’all! Quick technical question…when you use multiple curtain panels on each side, do you join them together in any way to ensure they block the light? If so, how? Thank you!


I add extra width to the bulk of the curtain (wider than required) and then there’s ample to sort of pull together in the middle.
I’m in Australia and it gets very hot and bright here and this extra 1/3 width works great!

Cris S.

I’ve both made my own curtains and put together multiple premade panels to create curtains. At the top I’ve done everything from clipping them to rings to rod pockets (just no on those) to drapery hooks with various types of pleating. Tripling the width of the window and ‘set back’ looks lovely and full – when curtains look cheap its often because they are unlined and there isn’t enough fabric. You could hand sew panels together, but as someone who is currently handsewing both curtain hems and trip tape, I say buy a sewing machine. Serviceable sewing machines are relatively cheap and are so handy. I don’t sew clothes but ANYONE can make curtains – they are just straight lines and you can do it! And then you can expand to blankets or duvet covers or table clothes and window shades if you want. My mom tried to teach me to sew on the sewing machine but I couldn’t listen as a teenager (and she’s a bit crazy). I watched a ton of YouTube videos before going on my current curtain making bend and they helped a lot (especially British curtain making videos for whatever reason). Each set I’ve done… Read more »

Cris S.

One more thing – you can sew blackout lining to pre-made curtain panels to help with light bleed. Or you can go full on crazy like I have and sew three layers together (fabric, hand sewn on interlining – its like a soft light flannel, and then blackout lining) for both full light blocking and a lovely ‘weight’ to the curtains. And make sure your curtain rods extend far enough on both sides of the window so you don’t have light coming from there. I wish I could include pictures here on the variety of ways I’ve done this with different kinds of panels, but best of luck to you!


Important to have curtain rods or tracks that are strong enough! I had some heavy drapes on budget tracks and it was a disaster. Buy the quality tracks or rods and fixtures from the start.

Annie K

I use laundry clips! And also, like the other comments, also make sure there’s enough overlap. In one room we have double layered curtains and I overlap the blackout layer which looks ugly and bunchy but then have a second layer in front thats prettttty.


Absolutely great photo of the twins jumping on the beds. They look so happy. Nice to see such joy at this time of year. And the room looks great.


Oooh, so lovely! 🤗
These posts make my heart sing!
It’s a really fun room and those littlies are precious and joy on bouncing legs!

How amazing that things worked, despite all the difficulties that arose.

Something seems to have happened with the bulk of the post – there’s no spacing?? It makes reading the text a bit hard as itsa continuous, ,ong, paragraph.

I’d love to see a pic of Shavonda AND Jordan and a group pic (if poss – I know you guys are in another Covid spike and have major restrictions), but if possible?? Jordan sounds like a gem!

Thanks for some heart-warming content. Aaaaah!

oh weird with the spacing. I’m not noticing it at all – screenshot if it you can. And honestly we are so happy to get any photos what with the spike and all, so I don’t think they could get any big group shots this time 🙁 Covid really is a bummer, but i’m so glad that Shavonda was able to shoot any photos of this adorable room. xx


I cried today when I heard the news about the number of deaths in the USA. It’s disgustingly unnecessary!
I feel for everyone there, so much. (My niece and her two teens in Long Island NY had Covid earlier this year, one ended up in hospital, but they are okay now. So grateful! )
We have 3 active community cases in Australia….3! We are absolutely nit taking almost elimination for granted in Australia. No way. Blessings are being counted every single day.
Sending love and healing your way. xx

Roberta Davis

What a happy, fun place!


So much feel good! I love the tall curtains, and the color palette is perfect.


What a happy room! Love the little Christmas corner and can’t wait to see it styled out for year-round use.


I just have to say I love yellow walls and have various shades throughout my house. It’s particularly good because I have dark craftsman wood trim.

I cannot imagine my joy as a kid if I’d had a Christmas tree in my room. How incredibly fun!!! Love these gifting posts, I will always and forever love Target for many many reasons but being supportive of things like this is a huge part of it!!! Go Shavonda, Emily, and Target! 🙂


That tiny tot’s exuberance mid-air is everything! Lightened my heart and brightened my day.


Those spindles make me nervous with littles!! Target doesn’t mention how wide apart they are, but hopefully they are safe from little heads trying to poke thru them.


Does not look like it’d be possible……


Also, wanted to give you a shout out for adding yellow to the room, now that it’s one of Pantone’s 2021 color of the year!! You are color whisperers!!


So FUN to see this happy space and those adorable 3 year olds jumping for joy. Even though it didn’t work at all the way you planned it, you all still made it happen and brought happiness to a family who is deserving of this and so much more. What a treat for that momma right before she has to deploy again to know that her babies are happy!


Very fun room! I have an almost 5 year old who is due for a re-design. The partial-painted wall has caught my eye for awhile. I’d love to see this styled for everyday. Would something go in the corner where the tree is? Would art go above the bed or on top of the storage unit?


What a treat this whole room and story are. Those little guys look thrilled! Can’t wait to see the year round version!

Thank you for your thoughtfulness and flexibility in keeping only the truly necessary people on this project. I feel like that’s what’s getting us through this: one kind smart choice at a time.



From sad to so happy! Those sad little toddler beds to big boy size. What a great save to take the kids holiday stuff shopping. The bones are really good and will lend themselves to styling after the holidays. Although there might be a fight about taking the tree down anytime soon…

Lynn W

Thank you for posting this story ♥️🎄♥️
Definitely pure joy!!!

Annie K.

“Curtains are really the only way to successfully block the light.” !!!

Christmas has finally arrived for every stymied parent of a baby or toddler doing and re-doing their GD window ‘treatments.’ CURTAINS ARE REALLY THE ONLY WAY TO SUCCESSFULLY BLOCK THE LIGHT!!! If I had read that sentence by EHD when my daughter was a baby, it would have saved much money and much hassle trying blackout roman shades and blackout honey comb shades, only to cover them all up with blackout curtains (hung tall and wide!) for the win.

Thanks for getting that information nugget out there, Emily!

Beautiful work, Shavonda and Jordan! Happy holidays to your beautiful sister and her beautiful family.


Such a fun room! My hurt breaks for that family’s loss, the post mentions donations but I don’t remember seeing a past post with this information. Could someone link it here or reply to this comment. Would love to help, if possible.

Cris S.

Thank you – I felt the same way. Very sorry about this tragedy and willing to help in the small way possible.


THOSE KIDS ARE SO FRIGGIN ADORABLE. I’d be the terrible auntie giving them whatever they want and spoiling them rotten. I don’t usually read kid posts but I had to just to see if there were more pictures of them jumping on the bed.

Personally, I’m a fan of the two-layers-of-blackout approach. Curtains leak too much light for me, so I pin the sides to the wall and then add an additional blackout shade. The ONLY better solution is the expensive hotel situation where they have two or three layers AND cover the entire wall AND have that box thing on top.


Love this, love the yellow, love Shavonda!!

One of my favorites stories of the year- not just a make-over but a joyous one for little ones whose mom is one of our heroes of 2020!! Stay safe Mom! Thank you for your service.♥️


I burst into happy tears as soon as I saw the twins’ yellow space! And then the Black elf took me into ugly cry. This is absolutely wonderful.

Kelly P

This is such a fun, happy room for those two little guys. I’ve been following Shavonda for a couple of years now and I love her (and her fabulous designs)! I’m so happy to see you two collaborating.

Oh my heart! They are adorable and I love their enthusiasm for their new space! Well done Shavonda!


My 2 1/2 year old was looking over my shoulder as I was “working”, and she was delighted too! She said “OH look at all the cute things!” xx


Cuteness and love overload! You all bring such joy, style, and whimsy.

Lisa Dyer

Such a splendid room! I absolutely love the cheerful yellow!! What is the name of the paint color?


That first picture, jumping on the bed! Oh my goodness that is so cute! Happy little boys!

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