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Sylvia’s Surprise Makeover: The Living Room (Get Your Tissue Box Ready)

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Yesterday afternoon during our Thursday team happy hour, the mood was less “happy” and more worried/anxious as we all glanced outside at the orange haze filling up our sky. We know that we are not alone in these feelings and that all over this country and world we are being hit with one tragedy after another. SO we thought (actually credit goes to Caitlin) to repost one of the most happy-tear inducing posts we have… Sylvia’s home, my favorite makeover ever (watch the video!) from 2016. It’s so special. Sylvia’s home makeover was the true first Feel Good Flash Makeover, I just didn’t have the term yet:) She is an incredibly special person to not only our family but to many on my team that had the pleasure of spending time with her. At the bottom of the post are the links to all the other rooms we did so be sure to dive in. We promise it will help. xx

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We do a lot of makeovers over here, as you know. But this one, this one is my favorite makeover I have ever done. It is for a family that I care about so much, that needed it so badly and that truly appreciates it. The client? My nanny, Sylvia, and her family.

Sylvia has been working for our family for over a year. We have two children under the age of three that are so lovely, but caring for both of them all day, every day is absolute insanity. Between both kids she survives 4 naps, 9 snacks, 2 super messy meals, 2 – 15 temper tantrums (depending on the day!), 4-5 meltdowns (hers or his), and 97, 428 things out of place that she (and the kids) help put away before we get home. We don’t have a yard so amidst all that she has to get them both out of the house, down 27 stairs to a car, and she takes them to a park or preschool/class where one of them probably isn’t so into it.

She loves them, they love her, and she stays positive all day. Every day when I get home my kids are happy, well taken care of, and the house is put together. That last part is baffling to me (HOW???) and yet it’s really the key to my sanity and marriage.

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I know that it’s hard, and yet every day she says what a great day they had. I don’t think she is lying – I know they have fun. But she is protecting me. I know that she knows that hearing the horrible nuances of raising a 9-month-old and a 2 1/2-year-old together are not what I need at 5:30 pm when I’m DYING to squeeze my children, take over and feel like I’m the one truly raising them. Sure she tells me everything important, but she doesn’t just generally complain about them or act exhausted. EVER. I try to thank her every day, all day, but her job warrants so much more than my casual gratitude. What she does for my family, what all nannies do for any family, is so important, intimate, emotional, and personal on top of being such exhaustingly hard work.

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So, I kept trying to think of how I could repay her. I would give her furniture after shoots that we didn’t need and she gladly took it, which made me think that maybe she wasn’t psyched about how her house looked. I kept thinking what if I could go in there and just surprise her?

But her being so amazing wasn’t the only reason why I was compelled to do this – she has had more than her fair share of challenges. I’m not telling you this so you feel sorry for her, or to somehow exploit her life, but it’s one of the reasons that I was extra compelled to do this. Sylvia moved here from Mexico by herself when she was 16, after her mother suddenly died (I’ll spare you that tragic story). She moved in with relatives but immediately was on her own. She met Riccardo, her husband, a few years later and they married and started trying to have a family.

Over the course of the next few years she got pregnant 4 times and miscarried in the 4th or 5th month every, single, time.

For anyone who has ever been pregnant or wants kids – hell ANYONE in the world, this is unthinkable pain. My eyes fill with water every single time I think about it. To think, each time that you were going to have a baby, start a family, create a future, and then every time have that taken from you. I just can’t imagine.

She was able to carry her 5th pregnancy to 25 weeks when her water broke, and she went into labor and thank God, baby Ricky was saved, born weighing 2 lbs, three months early. He was in the NICU for four months, and she and Riccardo were there every day, basically just praying that he lived.

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sylvia and baby

When she told me all of this I was 7 months pregnant with Elliot, a perfectly healthy pregnancy (lucky me). I kept putting myself in her shoes and couldn’t imagine how stressful, emotional, and overall terrible that must have been for them. After Ricky, she went on to have two more miscarriages, again in the second trimester – six total. Six. Six. I can’t. I had one at 10 weeks and I was distraught. Six at 16 – 20 weeks?? It’s unimaginable pain. Over and over.

And yet she takes care of my kids every day. Happily. Her life has been far more challenging than mine, she has been dealt a much harder hand, and yet she has taken that hand, brought it back to the table, played it with a smile, and won.

Sylvia and her family remain such positive, happy people. Ricky is an awesome, smart, funny and kind kid who worships his parents, and Riccardo is hilarious and such a bright, happy light every time I see him. They have such a good marriage, close family, and an amazing outlook on everything.

In short, they deserved a better, happier home and like most hard-working people in this country they couldn’t afford what they wanted. They weren’t proud of their home, and she told me afterward that they were embarrassed by it. I’m a firm believer that your home is a reflection of your emotional state, and vice versa, and that state needed to change. There is a disparity in our two lives, we were born into different situations, and I have a job/passion that allows me to try and close that gap a tiny bit.

The best thing about my job is that I need/love to create content for you guys and makeovers are my favorite thing to do in the world. So I asked her if she was open to such a makeover and she quietly said, ‘yes’ but in a way that I knew was more like ‘what? really? are you serious?????????

I pitched the idea to Target with hopes that they would be one of many companies to gift items in exchange for link-love, (like we did for the shelter) and they said actually we’d love to donate everything. With my team taking care of design/labor and them donating the product we were gonna make this happen. She and her family would maybe get the home they deserved.

WIN. WIN. GAH. WIN.

Typically these makeovers are just 1 room, but once I saw the house we decided to do five – the living, dining, master bedroom, ricky’s room, and the bathroom.

Brian’s company shot a video of the whole thing. It was awesome having him there, too, leading up that team as it just felt so ‘our family for their family.’ We both love her so much, so having us both there was beyond special.

We, here at the Henderson household, are super proud to share this with you:

Gah.

Maybe it’s because I know her and love her and her family (we got so much closer during this process, too) but I cry every single time I watch it. Brian did such an amazing job and while it should be a 22-minute pilot, those 6 minutes are absolute gold to me.

Now, for the whole process:

Let’s break it down, room by room. Today, folks, we are starting with the living room.

Sylvia Makeover Living Room Target Before

The space itself is a decent size and it has some cute architectural things happening like the archway between the living and dining room and the moulding that goes around the top. But they needed all new furniture and they had virtually no accessories. They had blankets on the windows because the sun was too bright/hot and didn’t really know how/where to hang curtains. They had one fan and one flushmount fixture (and needed more fans). The carpet was ok and I had intended at first on keeping it but there was even worse linoleum in the dining room and I couldn’t bear it. They deserved something better.

Sylvia Makeover Target Before

The furniture layout cut off the two rooms from each other and gave the tv all the importance. There was that little heater in between both windows but they said they hadn’t turned it on in years so we didn’t need to worry about it. Riccardo had painted the top band between the ceiling and the moulding black which was making the room feel shorter. Essentially as you can see, it wasn’t a happy, colorful home.

So, I asked them to leave anything that they wanted to keep and they essentially got rid of every single thing. EVERY PIECE. I asked them what their style was and they didn’t know, and said over and over, “Do whatever you want – we just want it to feel warm, happy, inviting and not too precious with nothing too fancy.” I was starting from zero.

They all three liked the color blue, he loved black and she loved brown and pink, too (I didn’t hear the pink part til the week of the makeover). So yes, they knew that they were getting a makeover but they had no idea what was going to happen in their home and they wanted to be surprised. We put them up in an airbnb which one of our lovely readers Michelle emailed about and donated for 10 days (in exchange for some design trade) while we executed the project.

We created a mood board to work off of and shopped the heck out of Target.com – for all five rooms.

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Things always change, but that was the general vibe of the living room. I was out of town when the construction started but Peter helped to project manage (All the designers on my staff were too swamped to take this one so I hired a freelancer to help me execute).

Sylvia Makeover Target Before_Painting and Repairs

We started by having the carpet/linoleum removed and all the walls painted. We painted the ceiling and the top of the moulding white (Chantilly Lace by Benjamin Moore) and the bottom half is a warm gray (Stonington Gray by Benjamin Moore).

Now you might notice something that we didn’t until I saw this photo – there was original hardwood underneath the carpet. At this point, we had already contacted Floor & Decor who generously offered to donate the flooring and we had already gotten their landlord to choose what they wanted. The new flooring was delivered and ready to go down. The original flooring was extremely damaged with huge rectangles cut out in places – it would have needed to be refinished and in many places completely replaced. Had I known this before we started our really fast makeover process, we would have repaired/refinished the floor. But the truth is I didn’t even find out that the floor existed till I got back in town, on day 3, saw the process photos and the new flooring was already installed. We did have a hard deadline with this project due to everyone’s schedules so we couldn’t shove the timeline to rip up the new floor, nor did we have a labor budget to help cover the flooring in the first place, let alone to change it. The new flooring was a VAST improvement from the carpeting, certainly and walking into the space with the new floor and freshly painted walls was amazing.

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So on day 5 we began the decorating/videotaping portion of the makeover which was obviously the most fun part (except for the reveal …. NOTHING was more fun than that).

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This rug is part of the threshold collection, we bought a 9×12 and it’s GREAT in person. The blue has a lot of color variation so it looked high end and it’s busy enough to hide dirt/stains keeping everything from feeling too precious. I highly recommend it and everyone on set was impressed by it (also kudos to Target for starting to design/carry 9×12 rugs!!!).

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We reoriented the room to center the sofa between the windows (again, they didn’t use the heater ever, nor did they know if it worked) and to create a conversation area. The TV is now on the wall opposite the sofa, to the right (on the left in that photo). It was a huge TV so those sitting on the sofa and the vintage club chair can easily watch it.

Here’s a fun gif of us building the room (fun fact, we wait until every single thing is put in exactly where we want it and then shoot us in stop motion ‘depopulating’ the space, backwards – video by Propeller, animation by Sara on my team):

So, are you ready to see the finished space?????

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Yeah!!! Now it’s a happy, warm, pulled together space that feels casual and full of personality. When we were in the room we couldn’t believe the transformation – it’s such a different room and home. Everything is from Target (and linked up at the bottom of this post) except the vintage leather club chair and pouf that Peter found at a vintage store, the vintage map which we had in the studio and the pink blanket which I already owned.

There was a hiccup with the design that is worth talking about (and kinda fun). We finished the room completely on Thursday night around 7 pm, ready to shoot all the photos and the video beauties the next morning before revealing it to the family. Here’s what it looked like:

Sylvia Makeover Living Room Target Before_After_without personality

As I was leaving I looked at it one more time and thought this isn’t as fun or colorful as they are. It felt a little serious, traditional and safe, even though I really, really loved it. There was something about it that felt too formal which I was really afraid would intimidate them. So that night I made one more trip to Target and pulled a few accessories from my studio and my own home. Here’s a fun GIF seeing the difference just a few accessories can make:

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I really really love both and even think that the first way was more “cohesive” but it didn’t feel right. We replaced the more traditional lamp with something more fun and glam. We switched out the matching pillows for some that felt more casual and eclectic. I replaced the pretty mud cloth with that pink throw to help bring in more pink for Sylvia and we added brighter, less serious flowers.

Everyone agreed that it felt more them. I knew they were already really nervous about this and since we had NOTHING of theirs to incorporate into the design (as they wanted to start fresh) I was terrified that they were going to like it, but not feel like it was theirs and be creeped out by it. It’s like if someone else dressed you for your own birthday party – no average pretty perfectly pulled together outfit would do. It was so important to me that they felt comfortable in it and that it represented them as much as possible. So adding the pink, more gold, and making it feel more eclectic felt right (and looked so fun).

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The entrance is probably my favorite vignette – parsons table with the mirror and lamp created such a lovely vibe. What you can’t see is that super fun gold and white skull above it, which we added that morning, too. Sylvia rocks a lot of gold (she once said, ‘I thought I liked gold but you ….you, Emily REALLY love gold‘ in response to all my accessories in our house) so I knew she would love some extra glam in there.

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My ‘deciding where to put the plant’ pose is one of my favorites. Also, I’m doing the flare denim thing apparently and it feels like 2001 on the lower half of my body. The lower half of my body is also listening to David Gray all night long (although I love those jeans and Brian is SUPER into them – probably it reminds him of me in college … and life before two kids… ha…).

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Speaking of family… we need to talk about something really important – the family photos. Sylvia and her family had some, which we framed, but they have never had professional family photos of them taken. So I called up Stephanie Todaro, my favorite people photographer EVER (she shot us here, here, and most recently here) and she volunteered to spend an hour with them at a park taking their photo. The room seriously lacked ‘them’ in it, and I didn’t want to just buy random art to put on the walls. I had grilled them about their hobbies/interests/favorite places in the world and I got ‘golf’ from Riccardo, ‘Mexican wrestling’ from Ricky, and Sylvia said she really just wanted to look at pretty things. When we were shopping at Target together, Ricky and Riccardo both liked the globes there and I was desperate for a piece for above the sofa so I was so happy I had hoarded that vintage map. But still, we needed more of ‘them’. We had that vintage polaroid of Sylvia and Riccardo framed through Framebridge (who is an amazing online framer which we always use) which you see on the desk but we wanted some more personal pics to use in the room.

During the big install week I had Danielle do Sylvia’s makeup (who does my makeup for shoots) for the video interviews to help her feel as confident as possible (she was really nervous) then afterwards they met Steph and took family photos for the first time in years. Stephanie uploaded them that night and we had them printed within a few hours at Costco. When we brought them into their home it made a HUGE difference instantly. All of a sudden it went from being a Target catalog, to being a home of a loving family. THANK YOU, STEPHANIE.

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How amazing are these???

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There were so many good ones, we had such a hard time going through them all and narrowing it down to just a handful to frame.

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We peppered them around all over the house, to the point that it became a bit too much so we put up some of that pretty art from Minted (leftover from another project which we linked up below) to help it not be so family photo heavy.

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Many of you might be worried about how/where they are going to watch TV, but don’t worry – we got them all set up.  It’s on the black credenza (which was in their bedroom) in the corner making it viewable from the leather chair (when angled) and the sofa. It’s a huge TV so the blue chairs can definitely watch as well.

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Here you get a peek into the dining room!! After living in the space for the weekend they determined that they for sure like the setup and we are going to mount it on an arm so that it comes out and angles for them (I didn’t want to do that until I was sure that they were sure, as mounting a tv isn’t cheap or easy to change). For the still photos, we angled the vintage leather chair so that it was completely profile, facing the matching chairs, but functionally it works better when its tucked a bit back and can see the tv (which you’ll be able to see in the video). Without the context of the tv in the straight on shot, however it looked weird so we moved it.

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Let’s chat about the curtains. We gave them two different treatments on every window – the matchstick shades that go up and down and filter the light, and the curtains that can be closed or open (also filtering the light and adding more privacy). If both are closed it is VERY dark. We actually thought we were ordering the medium-toned matchstick (we bought ours on Amazon) but they came in really bleached so we had to make do (although I don’t mind them at all). We bought the 96″ curtains online and had them hemmed (which worked well in here but not so well in the other rooms … stay tuned).

Now the height of the curtain was controversial. Obviously you always want curtains to be hung as high as possible so the ceiling looks higher and the room looks bigger (see my guide HERE). But right above that picture moulding the ceiling started sloping in. I was out shooting the interview segments with Sylvia when they were being hung so Peter sent me photos to have me weigh in. Here is the slope and how it would look if it were above the moulding.

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Here it is right at the moulding.

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From the photos, I thought that we should still hang them higher as I don’t love curtains shoved at the moulding, but he text me ‘Everyone disagrees with you and thinks it’s super weird to hang them above the moulding’. Well, you can’t argue with that. After I returned I totally agreed and was glad that they didn’t let me dictate the height.

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A quick note about the ceiling fans – these guys are WAY more powerful than ours in our home (which are nicer looking but are no longer for sale … probably because they weren’t as powerful as they should be which I didn’t realize until I stood under these fans). These have inspired me to either install these or get Haiku ones in our three bedrooms (they are magical in my friends guest room that we put them in). These seriously cooled down the room.

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Ricky needed a place in the living room to do his homework, or at least to keep it organized since his room is on the smaller size – plus he likes being out with his family. So we set him up with a little corner desk area.

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Fun fact, that desk has a pocket on top where you can plug in multiple computers or tech and then the desk itself has one cord that plugs into the wall. I hope all you ‘please don’t photoshop the cord out of your life’ folks are happy with that photo (I sure wasn’t psyched about it but have promised not to photoshop them away… why didn’t we just tape use black tape and adhere it down the back left leg????).

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Man, that was a big, fun project followed by a not quite as big (but still epic) blog post.

It was an insane transformation and by the end of the week I barely remembered what it looked like before we came, so we figured some before and afters are in order:

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I was so nervous and excited for the reveal, I can’t even tell you. They saw the living room first and their faces just dropped in shock and then instantly recovered in HUGE smiles and tears. This week we’ll be revealing each room to you every day but if you want to see each of the rooms now, go watch that video. I cry every time. Sure, she’s my nanny and I know personally how much this means to her and how much she deserves this so it’s a little closer to home for me.

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A huge thanks to Target for gifting all these beautiful pieces of furniture and accessories for this project and helping to fund the production. I can’t overstate this enough – Target is a company that cares a lot about family and community (and society), and while that can sound super abstract I can tell you first-hand that they have seriously enriched the lives of my family, and Sylvia’s family. And happy families improve a community. I’d love to encourage other companies to think about creating content in this way as its effects are far more reaching on so many more levels than a traditional advertising campaign. Kudos, to Target for taking the risk and saying ‘yes’.

I’m so proud of this makeover. And not in the same way that I’m proud that Charlie is wearing ‘big boy underwear’ (although I am). I am proud that we did this. I’m so proud (and grateful) that Sylvia is who she is, that we were able to make her house look so beautiful, and that Target, a huge corporation, is the kind of company that was willing to put resources behind something like this.

This is how you help a community get stronger, how you make the members of that community become happier, and how you shape a new generation to be compassionate and empathetic to everyone in any community.

Meanwhile, if you want to support the company that supports a makeover like this or if you just like this design 🙂 here you go:

Sylvia's Makeover Living Room Get The Look

1. Bookshelf | 2. Stag Head | 3. Gold Pencil Cup | 4. Sculpted Ceramic Box | 5. Striped Vase | 6. Woven Roller Blinds | 7. Curtains | 8. Navy Throw Pillow | 9. Striped Yellow Pillow | 10. White Macrame Pillow | 11. Black & White Diamond Lumbar Pillow | 12. Accent Chair | 13. Drum Side Table | 14. Tripod Floor Lamp | 15. Taupe Sofa | 16. Area Rug | 17.  Gold End Table | 18. Coffee Table | 19. Circle Mirror | 20. Gold Table Lamp | 21. Console Table | 22. Pedestal Frame | 23. Ceramic Frame | 24.  Horn Bowl | 25. Porcelain Dish with Lid | 26. Set of 3 Triangle Trays | 27. Sailing Art Print | 28. Abstract Art Print | 29. Wall Paint | 30. Media Console | 31. Desk | 32. Office Chair | 33. Striped Lumbar Pillow | 34. Yellow Lumbar Pillow | 35. Tassel Pillow | 36. White & Gold Faux Skull | 37. Leather Armchair | 38. Decorative Basket | 39. Moonlight Bowl Candle | 40. Gold Tray | 41. Modern White Framed Polaroid

For more from Sylvia’s Surprise Makeover: Sylvia & Ricardo’s Master Bedroom | Ricky’s Bedroom | Dining Room | Bathroom

**Photography by Tessa Neustadt. Great design/styling help from Peter Dolkas, Video by Propeller Digital.

Fin Mark

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This space is beautiful, and so well deserving!

http://www.shopthecoconutroom.com

Love, love, LOVE!!!! I can’t fully express how happy this makes me feel. There are good people and comapnies in the world, and this proves it. What a beautiful post and home.

Thank you for sharing!

Companies…ha!

Summer

Sylvia — wow! You are such an inspiring person! I love what Emily did with your house (it’s truly beautiful!), and I love that you were able to be celebrated and honoured in this way. It’s all too rare that the people who sacrifice and love the most (as you do as a nanny) receive recognition / compensation for all they give. That said, I think it goes without saying that this didn’t need to happen for you to be joyful, happy and giving. I’m just saying that for those of us who might be watching and feeling that we don’t have such a beautiful house and therefore can’t be as happy as you are. I love that the biography Emily wrote of you highlighted that your joy came not from having all right/best stuff, but because you have chosen to be content, despite the fact that life has dealt you so very many blows. I believe Jesus is the source of all such joy, and hope that you will still seek it from Him on the deeper level that is really needed for abundant life, even while you enjoy this very, very awesome aesthetic gift. Thank you, Emily, for… Read more »

Ariane

I first cried reading you, then cried even more watching the video!!! Emily, you are SUCH A GREAT person!!! This is wonderful!!! This family seems so sweet!!! I’m so happy for them! This post makes me so HAPPY!!!
It feels like the world is a better place now, really!!! 🙂
I cried, I laughed and both at the same time!
Thank you so much for this and congratulations to target too! 😉

Noelle

This is amazing Emily. I am crying. Of course the work is beautiful and the transformation is fantastic, but there is no one more deserving than the wonderful people who care for and help to raise our children. Sylvia and her family seem amazing. As a working mother, I can totally relate to so much in this post… it’s hard to put into words how important nannies, teachers, and other care takers to us and to our children and families. And the family photos are so wonderful – that alone is such a fabulous gift! Kudos for this and thanks for sharing.

Thank you 🙂 and I agree re raising our kids. Hard to put into words (which is why it took me days and days to write the post).

I am so happy you were able to do this! I must re-watch the video, the first time around I didn’t see clearly, there must have been something in my eyes. (Tears. It was tears. I am an easy crier.)

Oh, and that GIF is one of the best arguments for how a few measly little things can change a room. 🙂

I hope Sylvia and her family have many happy years in their home, they deserve it so very much. <3

Wowzers! What an inspiration.

I LOVE this! The transformation itself and that you did this for your nanny and her family. It’s so nice to see the appreciation of the woman who helps raise your kids and makes your work life possible!

KM

This is wonderful, and such a sweet gesture. The ones who care for our children deserve all this and more. Bravo, Emily!

Monika

Ok, this is not fair! I couldn’t even get through the story because I started crying when I read about the miscarriages. You don’t even have to be a mother to feel for this woman. But I scrolled through the pics, got it together and finished reading, tissue in hand. What a wonderful friendship to have and what a great gift to give her and her family! You and Target–what a team! Frankly, I’m a bit envious of what you could do for them; the feelings on both sides must be wonderful to experience. Yes, receiving this gift must have been overwhelming but I suspect you felt the same way, for totally different reasons. Good for you for initiating it and thanks for sharing. I feel good about today already!

Kim B.

Very well said!!

YES. Being able to do it, knowing that she feels as valued as she is by me, is a great, great, great thing that I get. xx

Tanvi

This is just heart warming. What you have done for this family is so inspiring Emily. You are not just a really really wonderful designer but also an amazing person. With everything going on in the world right now, we really need more people like you who think and care about others. By far the best post ever !

Zoe

Oh man, I love you Emily Henderson and EHD Studio! Makeover reels bring the tears! (Also, I just listened to YHL’s Podcast that you were on – you were great!) I’m so thankful that there are smart, creative, and thoughtful businesswomen in the world that our daughters can look up to. And I’m not just blowing smoke up your a$$, I swear.

I need to listen to that podcast! Thank you 🙂

Tears in my eyes. A beautiful makeover for a beautiful family.

I can’t even get midway through the article because I am crying my eyes out like a fool. What amazing examples of selfless love from the both of you. XO

Mkw

Oh, wow. I normally read several blogs each morning, including a news blog. But. I’m going to stop here because Sylvia and her family, Emily, and Target just seem like a good way to start today. Blessings Sylvia. You have a lovely family to treasure. I understand the emotions of miscarriages and the delight of a child. Our God is marvelous. Emily, you and your staff knocked it out of the park. Again.

k sunday

This is a beautiful story about beautiful people! I love this I think doing for others is so rewarding! thank you Emily and team and thank you Sylvia and family they are so deserving!!!!

Magdalena

This is the best post ever. So much love and appreciation. Beautiful design for beautiful family!!!

Natalie

This has to be one of my favorite posts of all times! Thank you for sharing!

Soooo beautiful. So, so, so beautiful. I was very emotional reading this, the space turned out perfect and couldn’t be more happy for Sylvia and her family. You’re a great person, Emily.

Julia

Emily, what a lovely thing you did for this family. They are obviously very special people, and you using sponsors to benefit those who could never have so much access to a team and to so many things… what a tremendous bar you’ve set. God bless you, Sylvia’s family and your team!

Tricia

This is AMAZING! What a wonderful thing. You’re wonderful. Sylvia sounds wonderful. Target is wonderful. I love this post!

Ellen

Tears of joy over here!! What a great family and a great use of your talents, Emily. I just feel so happy for all involved 🙂 🙂

Lindsay

Emily you’re work is truly inspiring, I had tears watching the reveal in the video. Congratulations to Sylvia and her family and their new home. Happy places make happy faces! Great job Target!

Elizabeth

EMILY…….!!!!!!! This is amazing. I cried! This might be one of the best “design blog” posts ever shared with the internet. It was obvious that this project came from your heart and that made this a joy to read/watch. I would love to watch a series with stories like this, one that is about showing love and support for others through design, one about community, ARE YOU READING THIS HGTV?????

Only the best, Liz

Kari

So many tears. Beautiful!

Katy

This makes me so happy. I love seeing someone truly deserving receive such a lovely gift!

Kelly S.

Emily, thank you so much for sharing this amazing storing. So encouraging and beautiful.

Leslie Pilotti

This literally made my whole day. The post was so fun to read but the video had me in tears! I had to share to FB so other people could see something uplifting and sweet in their feeds. I really appreciated the way you were able to do something so nice for this woman and her family but write about it in a way that did not feel patronizing or like charity, if that makes sense. It was just so heartwarming and so darn beautiful! PS Target gives me life on the daily so everything you did was just so pretty. I loved Sylvia’s laugh and I am so happy you did this for her. Ricardo said it, you brought light to their home and it was such a beautiful transformation. Excellent job and thank you for sharing!

This is truly one of my favorite posts I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading here on Emily Henderson (and that’s saying something!). Sylvia sounds like such an inspiring, worthy person to receive something like this. I so enjoyed hearing about their story and really experiencing the entire thing. The video nearly brought tears to my own eyes. The look of joy on everyone’s faces is immeasurable.

I also love that nearly everything is Target. As someone who lives life on a budget, it is insanely inspiring how you can transform a room with a little paint and a lot of Target. It gives me hope that my house too can be equally as beautiful as Sylvia’s!

You truly knocked this one out of the park!

Sandy

LOVING THIS and can’t wait to see more!! You are crushing it on the blue living rooms lately. Mine is now seriously itching for a makeover. Kudos to all involved for doing such a lovely thing for an incredible family!!

Rebecca

This literally moved me to tears. What a dream to be able to give back to the special people in your life with your special talents. And what an incredibly sweet family!

Tuto newman

Made me cry.
Your best makeover ever.
So much love and joy.

Lissa

What a beautiful and deserving transformation. Your kids are so lucky to be cared for by such a warm and kind person — and that laugh of hers! How lovely.

Rachel J.

BEST. EVER. All of it.

Melody

Such a beautiful gesture and heartwarming story! On a design note, I wish the blog featured interiors that aren’t all blue. I know it’s your favorite color and no one does blue as well as you! But I’d love to see what other amazing things you have swimming in your creative brain. 😉

Lana

WOW! I loved this whole post so much and immediately pinned the heck out of it. I love what you did for Sylvia’s family, and I love the design. Way to go, this is gorgeous. And yay for Target being so cool!

Nastassja

BEST. MAKEOVER. EVER.
Seriously, this was such an amazing thing for Target, your family and team to do for such a well deserving family! I cried while reading and again on the video.
Everything about this is beautiful and heart warming.

P.S. I already love Target, but now… I am madly in love haha

Dex

happy tears…the entire thing was beautiful to watch, so touched by Sylvia’s story!

Jenna

There is no way I am watching that video while I am at work!! What an amazing gift to be able to give someone, who sounds like she is equally amazing and deserving. So glad you got to share it with us (and I will never, ever fully recover from Target closing in Canada. It breaks my heart on the reg.)

Sheila J

So beautiful, and such a deserving family! I’m going to shop at Target today!

Stacey

THIS is my favorite post ever.

Lisa

Emily, this is SO GOOD! I can’t even express how amazing this post was – I just wanted to soak it all in. Thank you for doing something so special for your nanny. 🙂

Samantha

Best. Post. Ever. And considering how long I’ve been a reader, that’s saying something. Kudos Target, kudos Emily and team, and blessings to Sylvia and family! XOXO!

Angela

I loved every bit of this! First of all, this type of advertising for Target is much more effective for getting me to shop there. I never knew they sold ceiling fans which I am currently shopping for, exactly like the ones used in this makeover. Secondly, I was really touched by how in love the couple looks to be, to have experienced so much loss and still be so loving and joyful, that is really beautiful! And lastly, it is so satisfying to see the changes in the living room, particularly the furniture layout is such an improvement! That is one of the hardest parts for most people but once you get it right it seems so obvious, and now the flow of traffic is probably so much better. Anyway, I could go on and on about the design and decor but I’ll just leave it at, really well done! Thanks for sharing!

Cyndi J

What a beautiful, touching story. Brought tears to my eyes. Fantastic makeover to the living room and I look forward to seeing the rest of the house unfold.

Victoria

Emily, this is amazing. I cried the whole way through. One question, in the opening you said 5 rooms but there were only 4 in the video. Is there another one coming?

Jolene

I think we didn’t see the bathroom yet.

Christine

The people who help us raise our babies are everything. I love you for doing this. I love Target for seeing that this will pay back 10-fold. Bravo, Emily and team.

Megan

I love this post so much! The video was so perfect. Her laugh just made me tear up. I needed a good happy cry, and this makeover did it. You could see so much joy in the whole process!

Diana

what an incredible, amazingly wonderful, and beautiful post. i loved this so so much. this story and post is so touching and inspiring and encouraging on every level. thank you for sharing Emily and doing this for Sylvia’s family. cannot wait to see the other makeovers. favorite post ever!

Kim

This brought happy tears to my eyes. Well done, EH & Target!

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