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My Favorite Makeover Ever

Sylvia’s Surprise Makeover: The Living Room

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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 its 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 5:30pm 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 families, 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, 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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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 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 afterwards 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 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 til 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 7pm, 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 makeover (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 (left over 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 its 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 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

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

And see the rest of the rooms here: Sylvia & Ricardo’s Master Bedroom | Ricky’s Bedroom | Dining Room | Bathroom

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  1. This space is beautiful, and so well deserving!

    http://www.shopthecoconutroom.com

  2. 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!

  3. 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 sharing, and for your desire to love so well! Target wouldn’t be able to give like this if they didn’t have a personality/voice like yours to work through. Congrats, and well done!

  4. 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! 😉

  5. 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.

    1. 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).

  6. 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

  7. Wowzers! What an inspiration.

  8. 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!

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

  10. 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!

    1. Very well said!!

      1. 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

  11. 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 !

  12. 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.

    1. I need to listen to that podcast! Thank you 🙂

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

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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!!!!

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

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

  19. 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.

  20. 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!

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

  22. 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 🙂 🙂

  23. 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!

  24. 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

  25. So many tears. Beautiful!

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

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

  28. 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!

  29. 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!

  30. 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!!

  31. 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!

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

  33. 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.

  34. BEST. EVER. All of it.

  35. 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. 😉

  36. 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!

  37. 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

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

  39. 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.)

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

  41. THIS is my favorite post ever.

  42. 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. 🙂

  43. 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!

  44. 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!

  45. 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.

  46. 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?

    1. I think we didn’t see the bathroom yet.

  47. 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.

  48. 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!

  49. 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!

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

  51. I started crying before I even got to the makeover part. Emily, you have a heart of gold and it shows in everything you do. Thank you for sharing Sylvia’s story and this AMAZING makeover. I’m excited to see the details of the rest of the home!

  52. All the heart eyes. All the tears. All the JOY. I love her laugh…it just makes you happy cry. Well done all….it looks amazing!

  53. OK so this morning when i got up I was thinking about you and your Blog. I am a retired Interior Designer and I usually check my emails and your blog before I start my day. I started watching you on Design star and loved your aesthetic and energy and have been following you ever since. But…your blog has changed over the years as it has needed to…your life has changed with your family and successes…but I was thinking I sure miss the “old” Emily’s blog, with more makeovers and your own personal personality. I love what you are doing, I enjoy your people, it’s all good but different. Sooo…I opened up you page and…WHEN WHAT DID MY WONDERING EYES HAVE APPEAR???? My Emily of yore! !!!!!!!!!!
    What a wonderful post! Thank you for your lovely work, your lovely people, your lovely family! You have a beautiful spirit that shines and touches this world and makes it better even for those who may never have heard of you.

  54. I love this family! And I love this makeover!

  55. This room is lovely, but Sylvia’s story and your (+ Target’s) compassion to do this for someone so deserving is out of this world. I know I’m echoing all the other commenters, but this may be the best make-over and post you have ever done. We need more of this kindness in the world today.

  56. Emily, Yesterday I listened to you on the YHL podcast and I was struck once again by how much of a maverick you are in this design/blog world. You present as honest, genuine and eternally grounded which I admire greatly, in particular in the design world. You are quite obviously an incredibly talented designer and business owner and it is clear to me that you care enormously about your staff and the people around you who contribute to your brand and life (and you always give credit where credit is due). All that adds up to you being just plain likeable! (As an aside, YHL and Orlando seem to have those same qualities, and I can’t help but think that it is key to their success as well!) This makeover is just one more example of your goodness. All that to say thanks for the free read, the top notch content that you work hard to create (even the sponsored posts ;-)) and for sharing your character alongside your talent!

  57. Emily, I’ve been reading your blog for years now and have never commented before, but thank you for all of your wonderful content. This is my favorite thing you’ve done by far– it was really touching. Sylvia and her family seem like such sweet people who have been through so much, and I’m so glad that you were able to do this makeover for them. I’ve always loved Target, but now even more so since they would partner in something like this. I wish that more companies would follow suit and truly care for people. Thank you for sharing, and for being so generous with your talents and connections.

  58. Love it! Beautiful job – wouldn’t it be great to go around the country dropping your pixie dust on deserving houses? One small quibble – please paint their front door too.

  59. this 100% made me cry (honestly, i knew it was going to before i even started the video). you are such an amazing designer, but beyond that, such an amazing person. it is a magical thing to see design work create such a powerful, visceral reaction. as my people say, this was a BIG MITZVAH 🙂 kudos to you, and kudos to target. keep doing what you’re doing, sister. we love you for it.

  60. Emily, this rocks my socks off. What a wonderful makeover by your team, for a wonderful family. And while I loved every photo and detail of this post, these words just blew me away: “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.” YES YES YES YES YES YES! Thank you for being you. You are my favorite Internet friend.

  61. Such a great thing you did for a deserving family. The space looks completely transformed for the better and I cannot even fathom how happy they must be. (Plus side for you is this is such great content! 🙂 Wonderful job!

  62. Now ya got me all teary eyed at my desk!! This was a wonderful thing you did, Emily!!! And could I love Target any more than I already do??? They are amazing!! (literally buying that rug and circle mirror as we speak… I am not kidding)

    This makes me so happy and I love you are spreading positivity not just to this wonderful deserving family, but to the world through your blog. That really means something. We need a little more positivity in our lives these days, and I thank you for helping pay it forward!!!

  63. This is a beautiful thing you did! The makeover is gorge but they just seem so genuinely happy!!

  64. So many tears! This was beautiful!

  65. I barely got through the first paragraph before I started tearing up! What a wonderful post and AMAZING example of good people and caring companies. The more we love on the people in our life, the better life is. Thank you for doing this and for sharing it with us. What an inspiration!!!

  66. I like this room a lot! The little pops of pink and yellow made all the difference–I’m glad you made those small changes. My favorite thing in the room is that map–I love those colors. The color of the walls looks almost turquoise/greenish behind it, though you said the walls were grey. I love the wall color. Also love the rug.
    I’m hoping you’ll talk about the wainscoting effect that you did in the other rooms. If I had a house I’d do the same thing in a heartbeat.

  67. I teared up at seeing their reactions 🙂 We also have a nanny and what you did was such a beautiful, thoughtful thing. You are lucky to have a wonderful nanny, and she is lucky to have you!

  68. you are absolutely the best! this just made my day 🙂

  69. Love this to tears! What a truly wonderful gift.

  70. Emily, you are amazing! What a beautiful thing to do for Sylvia and her family. 🙂

  71. Beautiful! This family is adorable. How wonderful is it to be able to do things for the people that you love?! Spreading pure joy 🙂 And, yay for Target!

  72. This is so wonderful! What a beautiful space for a beautiful family!

  73. I literally never post comments on blogs, but that video was absolutely delightful! Giving is so fun! I really think God created us to give, and that’s why it brings us such happiness. Well done, Emily. That must have been a blast!

  74. you are so nice and sweet and lovely. this is so amazing and it warmed my heart.

  75. Wonderful gift to your strong, awesome nanny! Love the vintage map & happy splashes of color make it homier.

  76. You have such a good heart! Loved watching the video – it was a tear-jerker!

  77. You have such a good heart! Loved watching the video – it was a tear-jerker though!

  78. I’m crying happy tears because I love everything about this makeover! So very sweet of you and Target to donate your time and resources to this very deserving family. I would love to see more of these makeovers in the future, please! 🙂

  79. This is so beautiful and heartwarming. You are the best Emily Henderson!

  80. You are an angel and so is your nanny.

  81. Ahhh-mazing! Their story and that video brought tears to my eyes! And it looked like you were having so much FUN revealing it to them. It really is better to give than to receive, right?!

  82. Thank you for doing this post! I too have a wonderful nanny that saves my life and marriage every day. She does it all and then some with so much grace. My children are better people because of her. I often tell my husband that if I had to pick between him and her-I would pick HER one hundred times over and over. Oh and I love the space also. XOXO

  83. Wow! What an incredibly generous thing you did for their family! I love the finished product but love the story and process even more. Thanks for taking the time to write so much content about both the personal side and the design setbacks and successes.

  84. This is a wonderful story – how because of your background and clout you were able to gather others together and do something so important for someone SO deserving. Uplifting all around. Thank you for doing it, and thank you for sharing it!!

  85. Gah! This is so amazing! This is such a beautiful makeover. Thank you Sylvia and family, Emily and Brian, Target, Peter, and everyone else involved. I don’t know any of you and I’m crying.

    1. P.S. That photo shoot really got me. What a perfect way to top it all off.

  86. what a truly special makeover. i love the added pinks and golds, that is definitely adding in more you (and in turn, sylvia) to make the room more fun and collected looking, i looove that targ is doing those bigger rugs, too. enjoy!
    b

  87. love this post! Emily, you did great! I’m so touched by the film, thanks a lot for sharing it! You deservebeach other! Cheers to both of you: Emily and Sylvia!

  88. I cried watching this video. This was such an amazing thing to do, and the design itself is beautiful. I just listened to your YHL podcast interview on sponsored posts (which was fascinating and I GET IT NOW), and this is such a wonderful example of how you can do sponsored content in a way that is authentic to you, so much fun for your readers, good for the brand, and, in this case, made a positive impact on a lovely family. Bravo. Thank you for doing what you do!

  89. My heart exploded and I’m a blubbering mess! I love that you (and Target) did this! Thank you for bringing such positive energy to your community.

  90. Holy. Moly. This is the most wonderful post I’ve seen online in awhile. What a wonderful gift to such a wonderful family. Seeing Ricky step into his room was so special! This makes me SO happy!

  91. This is the loveliest thing ever! You are both so lucky to have each other.

  92. I. Love. This. So sweet, and so beautiful.

    I have a feeling it’s vintage since it wasn’t credited, but could you share your source for the pale blue pottery vase to the right of the sofa holding the bright pink flowers? LOVE SO MUCH.

    1. OMG, there are no words to describe how wonderful this transformation was, but it was also a transformation for this family’s life too. You gave them a home to be proud of. Every time they walk in the door they will be reminded of how much you loved them and are thankful to Syliva for everything she does each day for your children. One more reason why I love Target!!

  93. This is the best post ever! I love what you’ve done, I love your nanny and her family and I can’t wait to see the rest of the house!

  94. So so so so so lovely! And with that, Emily’s devoted readers love her even more.

  95. WOWEE!! Best makeover video ever! I don’t know you or the family, and I’m crying and so happy for them! What a gift to see the video and be given a terrific example of investing in each others lives! Emily, you guys did GOOD!

  96. What a beautiful family and so well-deserved! Enjoy that home and I can’t wait to see the rest. Yay for Target and other companies for donating such lovely furnishings and floors.

  97. This is incredible. I’m totally not a crier and yet here I am, tearing up. The world has felt like it’s just turning to crap lately and it’s so nice to know that there are great people out there (both you and Sylvia and her family), and also a perfect reminder that while design and style can feel like frivolity, it can have a real, lasting emotional and tangible impact, both on the recipients and on us, your readers. Thanks for making our days better by sharing this wonderful transformation.

  98. Beautiful story & a beautiful makeover. The video brought me to happy tears too 🙂 Thx for sharing

  99. WOW, this is so fantastic in every way! You are such a wonderful soul, and I already loved Target but will make sure to shop there even more now!

    Sylvia’s family is beautiful and you are the epitome of the saying “be the change you want to see in the world.” Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  100. My God… I would LOVE to do that. Is really beautiful to see that family so happy 🙂 And the result… Cannot be better!!

    xx

  101. This post lasted me all through breakfast, and then later, all through lunch. I just poured over it. 3 things:

    1. Her giggling during the bedroom reveals just kills me. That is the very sound of delight.
    2. That black & white photo of her and her husband = slays me. That is what Love looks like.
    3. That rug!

  102. MAN it’s been grim out there, you know? It feels like we live in a “WTF is HAPPENING to this world” kind of time.
    So thank you, thank you, thank you, for doing far more than your share to spread light and generosity and joy. It’s infectious, you know?

    On a more personal note, I have a nanny who has been with us since I first went back to work when my baby (who turns THREE on Sunday) was five months old and she sounds very Sylvia-esque, minus the loving husband. Like you, I know my family functions almost solely because of our nanny (Patricia) and I would do anything for that woman. I love that your skills, experience and contacts allowed you to do something so meaningful and special for your family’s angel. What a gift!

  103. This post made me cry! I’m so happy for Sylvia and her family. I am pregnant right now and I cannot imagine the pain that she must have went through with all of those miscarriages. I want to give Sylvia a virtual hug. Kudos to her for her continuing positivity and kudos to you for this amazing makeover. I already loved Target, but this made me love them more!

  104. Love the makeover, the story, video and the two truly wonderful families who care so much fo each other. And very teary…

  105. A beautiful house for beautiful people! But seriously, Emily, you really need your own TV channel. Or, let me rephrase this – WE need your TV channel! I hope you and Brian have this in the works for next year, our lives need to get much richer!!!

  106. Fabulous in every way! Sylvia and her family, the generosity of Emily, her team and Target and the beautiful home you created with love for someone you care about deeply. Thank you for letting us share in the joy!

  107. You instantly became my favorite person in the world again. It is so beautiful, and the story is so touching! Thank you.

  108. What an amazing story! And, an amazing before and after for a truly deserving lady!

  109. i love you so much more after this video and it made me teary! you go girl – keep shining. xoxo

  110. This is one of the happiest posts I’ve ever read. How good of you to leverage your talents, contacts, and partnerships to create a wonderful home for such a deserving family. Beautifully and thoughtfully done with the personal touches that make their home just for them.

  111. This post is so moving that I can’t stop crying. Sylvia and her family are so lovely. Kudos to you for your kind generosity.

  112. By far, my absolute favorite of all of your room makeovers. So good to see these lovely people in their freshened-up, beautiful home. Good Work.

  113. This piece and the video just made me feel so good. I can only imagine how good it made you feel. Thanks for sharing the beautiful home you made for them. Isn’t giving and making someone so happy the very best feeling!

  114. So beautiful, in the best possible way. I teared up watching the genuine love and excitement in this family. I never mind sponsored content (pay them bills ya’ll), but this has to be one of my favorite makeover posts of all time – I hope other sponsors take note! Kudos to you and your team, and virtual hugs to Sylvia and her sweet family!

  115. Crying over here! And I’m so not a crier! Absolutely beautiful both visually and emotionally. The best.

  116. More of this please. Not just on your blog or on the internet, but more of this in the world! More happy, doing for each other, joyful, sweet, caring, loving interactions with others! Yes!

  117. Oh my gosh! So much love for this project! Just beautiful. I ordered that same exact 9×12 rug for my dining room and I love it. It is so good!

  118. Such an amazing post. Love the room, love Sylvia, and it goes without saying that I love Emily.

    So there is this old joke about advertising- that 50% of it is a waste, but we don’t know which 50%. (Or maybe it’s a quote) In any case – this is in NOT wasted category. I got a few things from Target for my living room last week, and this makes me want to go back and find more fun stuff to round out my space. Do more of this. 🙂

  119. How can you not get teary watching that?! Amazing Emily! Also so cool to hear your voice and see your personality as I am just an insta followers so it’s nice to get to know you on another level!

  120. Totally made me cry : ) Beautiful home, beautiful family. If I didn’t love Target before, I sure as hell do now. You, too : )

  121. I can’t tell you how much I love this!

    I’m also trying to imagine the epic amount of work it must take to not only pull that all together, but document it for a giant post like this!

    Love, love, love.

    Please consider doing a follow up with her family in 3-6 months on how the space is working out for them. I know they love it, and you planned it around them. But it’d still be interesting to hear their family’s take on things.

  122. What a heartwarming story – that’s exactly what we needed after all the horrendous things going on around the world in a me me me society. You restored our sense of compassion and paying forward. Sylvia’s story has a happy end as well and seeing the rewards of being a good person, holds as much value as it did 60 years ago. Do definitely have enough Karma to last you a lifetime and I love to see when good things happen to good people. My faith in humankind is restored, I can breath out!! You know, you are doing more good for Target than any commercial ever did for them. Thank you for making my day and everyone elses’ who is reading today’s blog entry.

  123. I love the transformation! Everything just looks brighter!
    http://www.petiteandhungry.com

  124. Well. I’m a little verklempt here. Lovely sentiment. Beautiful rooms.

  125. Emily, this was such a beautiful post. Having been a nanny myself and now hiring babysitters for my own daughter, I fully appreciate your perspective on having Sylvia in your life. What a wonderful gift your are to each other. I was brought to tears watching that sweet video. Sylvia has such an infectious laugh and her bright spirit shines through. How lucky you both are. xoxo

  126. One of the best posts I’ve ever seen here! You are great Emily, and also have a beautiful heart. It is very nice that we always appreciate all the work people do helping us with children and home. The living rooms looks amazing!!! Very very nice experience for both families, as I am sure yours was very happy for doing this.

  127. I’ll admit it…some real tears came down the cheeks watching this one. That absolutely adorable little scream and air fist pump does show that fun lady definitely needed some awesome color in her house! It’s beautiful.

  128. This is so amazing!!! I love Emily and love Target and now I love them even more!!!

  129. A little dust on the keyboard…….love her laugh/giggle. It’s great that you have the means (and talent) to be go generous. I’ve always wished that I had more so that I could give more!

  130. They are the cutest family! I love this so much.

  131. Oh Emily, this room…this family…this deed…this post…so, so lovely and full of heart!

    1. I thought you were going to show all rooms you did 🙁

  132. Wow! Great story. Great makeover. You HAD to do this one. Love every bit. I’m very happy for them and for you that you were able to do this for them.

    Thank you Emily and her tea. Thank you Target. I’m a target shopper and will look at furniture too.

  133. This is just the sweetest! I cried watching the video! You and your team did a beautiful job and I can’t imagine the joy it must’ve brought you to be able to give this gift to your Nanny & her family.

  134. This was so lovely. I felt as excited and emotional for this family as you described yourself feeling. What an incredible thing for you all. I love it. So well done!! You’ve created a beautiful home.

    1. I LOVE this room, it’s so beautiful! One question, where are the leather club chairs in the room form? They look different then the link to Target.com.

      Thanks!

    2. I was all teary eyed reading this. What a beautiful family, and what a beautiful thing you did for this family.

  135. I definitely teared up at this post. What a wonderful way to thank such an important person in your family’s life! What a beautiful home and a beautiful family.

  136. OMG. What a deserving family and I’m so happy you got to give such a special woman in your life such a special gift. Totally love love love this SO MUCH. This family has gone through so much and it feels amazing to give people something so valuable like a beautiful home to come to I bet!!!! One of my favorite posts ever!!!!

  137. What a beautiful makeover for such a wonderful family! My favourite too!!

  138. Love this! You and your crew are amazing!

  139. Wow! What a transformation for a deserving family. I am truly touched by your appreciation of what Sylvia does for your family and also by your wonderful acts of kindness. And as a Target shopper I’m also touched by their support.

  140. Pretty. Darn. Awesome.

    Thanks Emily and Target for doing this. I already love you both, but now I love you both even more.

    Sylvia, Riccardo and Ricky–I hope you make many more wonderful memories in your newly “Styled” home!

    Happy leaky eyes, warm heart. <3

  141. This is THE BEST EVER makeover EVER (yes, ever 2x)! I laughed, I cried, I was so happy watching the joy on everyone’s face. Emily, you took an family’s everyday space and showed us what can be accomplished. I learned so much from this post. Amazing transformation and I wish you them much happiness in their new lovely surroundings.

  142. That was so much fun! So beautiful and breezy looking (serene!). Her laughter was so infectious I was giggling along.

  143. Emily – This is the most precious post! My daughter and I watched it together and just cried! We loved seeing the joy on Sylvia, Ricardo and Ricky’s faces — what a sweet family! Thank you to you and Target for doing this for them!!!!! <3

  144. LOVED this! Beautiful work and so generous of Sylvia to allow her personal story to be shared. Your relationship and gratitude for one another is so inspiring — there is nothing like seeing women lift one another up. As a newish mom to toddler twins I now understand what it means when they say it ‘takes a village’ to raise our children. While most of us don’t get to live that way, we have to cherish and honor the villages we build to help us do it. So beautifully told and the design is the cherry on the top!

  145. Thank you for this post. I regularly check out the blog because you always share great ideas and sources and let us in on both the successes and the mistakes you make that allow you to learn and grow to do better and better work. But this post is the best! The best one I think you have done yet. Seeing how much effect a well thought out and designed space can have on someone – that’s what we do this job for and what makes it important! Thanks – really – today – this post was a tonic to a weary soul. Thank you – just – thank you.

    XOXO

  146. My heart is exploding. Maybe because I have a 3.5 year old and remember how essential an amazing nanny can be to your sanity. Or maybe because I always wondered what my nanny’s home looked like. If you ever need an organizer for a pro bono project, I would be honored to donate.

  147. bowing down mama, bowing down.

  148. such a beautiful tribute to a family when someone who gives and loves to do the right thing for others.

  149. Best makeover ever. Tears!

  150. I LOVE THIS!!! They are so happy in the video – what a wonderful thing to do for someone who’s so important to your family.

  151. Emily, you are a true angel! With all the success you’ve had, you still find ways to recognize and give to others. Sylvia is blessed to have you just as much as you feel blessed to have her. Sylvia, enjoy your home – you truly deserve it. I wish there were more people like Sylvia and Emily in the world! Beautiful souls!!

  152. Wonderful Emily! Only you can pull off something this transformational and beautiful… design, video, post and all!

  153. This is my first time commenting… I love your blog Emily, but this post, was something else!
    The video brought me to tears, what an amazing family, what an amazing gift.
    I feel that the work that nannies do is often overlooked, but your gratitute for your beautiful nanny is so humbling.
    Amazing amazing amazing

  154. Oh my word. This post is everything. You have the perfect words—your writing is so relatable, descriptive, and wonderful. We could feel the love you had for Sylvia so quickly from your first few paragraphs. Shoot, I was bawling from the beginning! The post, the gift, the video, the beautiful rooms—it was a joy to watch! Thank you, truly, for the light and happy corner you have brought to the world. ✨?✨

  155. Oh my gosh, I totally got teary watching the video. I love this so much, and am so happy for Sylvia!

  156. This post was just filled with so much love. What lovely, lovely people. The video was a joy to watch, thank you for sharing.

  157. hearing that map is vintage just broke my heart, I seriously need this map in my living room. *envious* 😉

  158. This is so lovely and genuine. Brava! so glad I watched the video to start my day! I’m dying to know where the dining room light fixture is from!

  159. And this is why I love you so very, very much!!!!

  160. No words! Just happy tears! Beautiful story… Thank you!

  161. I cried too and I don’t even know you guys! I love the work that was done on this project and feel more positively about Target now. I might even try and add some of those Target finds to my house- that rug is beautiful!

  162. This is absolutely gorgeous, and such a wonderful thing to do!

  163. I couldn’t help but tear up too. Sylvia and her family seem wonderful. Kudos to you, and kudos to Target.

  164. I used to be a nanny, do you have any idea what this means to them? It’s beautiful, it’s a wonderful gift, but the true gift is how much you appreciate them! She will take such good care of your babies for that reason! Job well done!

  165. Wow, Emily. I don’t comment much, but I feel very compelled today to say “YES,” just “YES,” to everything in this post. Amazing. Inspiring. Someone doing good things for deserving people who do good things. And Target… I already loved you, and I love you more. Keep it up everyone. Be True. Be Real. Be Kind. Spread joy whenever you can with what you have.

  166. This was just absolutely amazing, uplifting and so beautiful. Thank you a million for sharing and for doing such a good thing for such a beautiful person and family!

  167. Oh my gosh. I cried during the entire post and reveal video. This was so amazing!! I could seriously watch this kind of stuff on TV any day, without all the needless drama. This was incredibly kind of you, Emily, for such an obviously deserving family. Love love love!! And the space of course looks killers.

  168. What a great makeover for a deserving family! I especially love the living room, I’m sad to see the rug from Target is unavailable online, hopefully they restock it soon!

  169. Emily – you are using your superpowers for good! So many bloggers today seem to be all about what can I get for ‘me.’ You are using your business connections to better the lives of others. Caregivers are the backbone of the economy, without them parents would not be able to contribute to the workforce. They are so often undervalued. As a working mom of three, I am so happy that you put your talent and contacts to work for this family! I continue to be impressed with your blog and its content. On a lighter note – can you ask Sylvia where she got the cute wedge shoes she is wearing in the photo shoot?

  170. Literally one of the most beautiful posts I’ve read in a long time. This one was such a goodie for so many reasons…Sylvia’s amazing positive attitude, her beautiful family, your love for her and her family, Sylvia’s love for your family, and the list goes on and on. I agree that we often don’t take the time to thank those that ‘make the world go around’, the people who watch our kids, the females in our life that DO work (my kids dentist, their pediatrician), we all work together so that our world can be in harmony. But Emily, I am so touched by what you did for her, this was HUGE, but bigger than just the makeover, you and your family are a living example of treating each other with love and kindness. I have no doubt you and Sylvia and each of your families are in each other’s lives for a reason. XOXO

  171. Target’s Threshold is the best! I want to purchase the mirror and side table featured. However, both are out of stock online and not available locally. I noticed a couple of other items are also out of stock. I hope that Target can replenish it’s inventory as I’m sure many will want to purchase based on this gorg room alone.

  172. This is the best thing that has been on the Internet. Ever.

    Hugs too you, and pleas hug Sylvia for me. My sister in law lost a baby last week at 23 weeks, following 3 other failed pregnancies. Your post gives me hope that she ( and all of those who love her ) can be happy again.

    Keep up the great work!

  173. Wow, Emily, just wow! Sylvia’s family is so deserving. This beautiful transformation speaks volumes about you as a person and Target as a corporation. Your willingness to share your blessings with others reveals a kind, caring and compassionate heart. And Target! What a great example of giving back. Thank you for sharing; it brought joy to my day.

  174. You did an amazing job and it’s clear they really appreciated it. But I’d also point out some of the ways you described their situation: “They deserved something better.”, “they couldn’t afford what they wanted”. House makeovers aside, I’d ask you to think hard about whether you’re paying her enough to afford the kind of life you clearly thinks she deserves, because it was hard to ignore that reality in the post.

    1. I can’t speak for Emily on what Sylvia is paid (and I’m sure a woman like Emily makes it more than fair), but the cost of living in LA makes it almost unattainable for most families to even own a home, let alone make it beautiful. They seem to be doing just fine as a family and devoted their time and attention to things beyond home decor. Your response seems really callous and Emily is very self aware of her privilege and professional success.

  175. Shared on facebook because 1) this made me tear up and people need to see good stories, 2) more of my friends should have to agonize over how to EmilyHendersonize their spaces like I do on a daily basis, 3) the room turned out soooo pretty, 4) I just love that you recognize you are in a position to give and you act on it.

    You rock, thanks!!

  176. stop it. this is amazing!! love the video so, so much.

  177. Emily, you and your team are so awesome! The love you put in your work radiates through. I literally have tears in my eyes watching Sylvia and her family tour the home you put together for her. So touching! Thank you for breathing goodness into the world!

  178. Thank you so, so much for doing this and sharing it — I needed this reminder that whatever work we do can be a force for good and love in the world. May we all follow your lead, and Sylvia’s too, and make someone’s life a little happier in whatever way we can.

  179. What a gorgeous makeover and beautiful story!!! Please tell Target that I loved them before, but I love them even more now after seeing their support for wonderful work like this. In fact, I have already shown them my love by going out on my lunch break today to buy several items featured in this room!! (One note – the link for item 38 takes you to the large decorative basket, when it looks like the one you used was the medium oval basket – http://www.target.com/p/room-essentials-medium-oval-woven-bin-navy-and-white-pattern/-/A-50671913)

  180. You did a beautiful job! I love Sylvia’s laugh! I also love the nightstand in Sylvia’s son’s room! Where is that from?

  181. This is why I’ve regularly read your blog for so many years – because you’re so good at what you do and you care so much about others. You also know the value of good design and how it can change people’s lives, and you devote yourself professionally and philanthropically to it. Well done.

  182. Oh Emily… you brought the tears on this one! I know how hard our caregivers, babysitters, EVERYONE pitches in to help raise our families (it takes a VILLAGE)… and to give them this lovely home is EVERYTHING. LOVE. Bravo!

  183. What a beautiful story and an equally beautiful home! Very inspiring!!
    Would you please tell me where I could purchase the wall art piece in the dining room? It looks like a colorful, magical tree! Thank you.

    1. …also ALL of your blouses! Post! Post! Post!

  184. Where are those ceiling fans from? They are exactly what I need for my bedroom!

    What a lovely gift you gave this family. You’ve made them an amazing home – and all from Target!

  185. Love your work, love your heart, Emily! xx

  186. this is so SO beautiful. i am also a working mama with a beloved nanny. i’ve always felt like there is no gift i could give her that is as wonderful as the gift she gives me – the ability to go to work and know my kiddo is loved, happy and safe. you, my dear, have shown there is something. it is such a special relationship between mothers and caregivers. she is as lucky to have you as you are to have her. many blessings to both your families.

  187. Emily — I love this so very much. It made me tear up, too! I decided to comment to show you and Target how awesome you are. What a wonderful family to gift.

  188. This brought tears to my eyes! How amazing! Beautiful story and beautiful home.

  189. Wow!! the transformation is absolutely breathtaking. I can’t believe everything came from Target. And that video.. it made me cry tears of joy; they definitely deserved a better home & who better than your team to give it to them.

    bravo on everything!

  190. I’M CRYING. Again!

  191. As pretty as the makeover is (well done!) it’s her gratitude that is so so beautiful in this video, the whole family actually. You clearly chose the right people to give this gift to. And I never thought a design video would make me cry, geesh!

  192. Thanks for sharing this kind of information

  193. So happy to read your post about that..

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  194. This is appreciable and wonderful post that you have provided for us.Great site and a great topic as well i really get amazed to read this.

  195. I’m crying here, thousand of miles away from this family. What you guys did it’s so so so awesome! My heart hurts because this is not their house, I really wish they were the owners, but I truly hope they can stay here for the rest of their lives or take all the happiness that their improved home has to anywhere they go.

  196. WOW. I know exactly what you mean about having safe, fun, reliable childcare. Before my children, I never understood how important – how critical – that is. All working parents deserve it. YAY, Target! Makes me even happier shop there.

  197. This is beautiful and so moving – I absolutely teared up during the video. What a lovely family and a gorgeous makeover.

    (On a more self-centered note, I’m pretty excited to see that Target has started carrying rugs in larger sizes! I’m from Minneapolis, where Target is headquartered, and it’s very cool to see that they donated everything.)

  198. So sweet!!

  199. wow… you have me in tears sitting at my desk at work! you are amazing. target is amazing. i am just over joyed and proud to see good people doing really selfless and wonderful things for really important + good people.

    thank you emily!

    – jaime

  200. I cried. This is truly beautiful! You are blessed to have each other.

  201. Emily, this made my heart explode with happiness. As a former hardworking nanny, I’ve often wondered about your nanny when you’ve mentioned her in the past and how she helps make your life work. Behind every successful career mom, there is usually an unsung nanny providing support. I so appreciate that you not only acknowledge Sylvia, but celebrate her. It speaks VOLUMES of your character. You created a home anyone would be proud to live in. Nice work mama!

  202. Thank you for this! I love who you are and this is so special.

  203. It is DELIGHTFUL to see a whole-house transformation using primarily budget-conscious items! The home is no less glamorous than those of your higher budget clients—that speaks volumes about your design abilities!!

    This is exactly what our family needs. I’ve been unable to work for about 8 years now, due to a debilitating illness. As a result, I’ve also been unable to create the beautiful space my loving husband & son deserve.

    I’m so tired of living in something I’m not proud of & I’m so disgusted with myself because I can’t give my son the awesome space he deserves. (I have purchased a number of the neat kids items from Target for his room, but I’ve been physically unable to transform anything as of yet.)

    It was very uplifting to see an entire home, for ordinary people, transformed into something that could be featured in a magazine. You created something that represents a dream come true for so very many of us. Ordinary people appreciate & deserve good design, too.

  204. this is great blog. i like this keep it up..

  205. You are a good person, Emily Henderson!

  206. My FAVORITE post ever!!! I cried!! SO beautiful and well deserved!!

  207. Emily, YOU, as a person and a designer, are AWESOME. I’m moved to write this comment though about “you as a person” – your heart and personality really shine through on all of your blog posts, but especially this one. You are very inspirational to me, on so many levels! Keep up the AWESOME work!

  208. hi Emily! I have never, ever felt compelled to post a comment on a blog, facebook or instagram post of anyone I don’t know. But I just had to say that this was incredibly touching and brought tears to my eyes. There are so many bad things in the world, and your beautiful work and personality bring such light into it! 🙂 thanks for all you do. It does not go unnoticed!

  209. I have read this post several times because it makes me so happy. What a wonderful story. I think every person that reads this will want to cheer on all involved! Thanks Emily for sharing the story of this family with the rest of us!

  210. Tears! Thank you for modeling such a loving example of appreciation to your Nanny and her family. If we all valued each other and treated each other with such RESPECT, the world would be an even better place.

  211. So amazing that you cherish the art of giving back. I love how humble your soul is!!!!!

  212. oh my goodness, watched the video twice, and cried each time. Gah! Thank you for sharing such a beautiful story, and completely agree w/ you on how creating great content trumps a national tv ad for companies. Thanks for this amazing blog post!

  213. Interesting post ! I really like it . Appreciate it . Thanks for share such kind of informative post .

  214. I’ve been following along for a while but never commented. I like everything you do, even the sponsored stuff (and could never get why all the hate??). But…

    THIS POST. Amazing. Watched it with my husband and we both almost cried. Been thinking about it all weekend. Such a good showcase of what can be done with Target (who keeps getting better and better; I keep going back for more after you post about it and would never have done that without you as their spokesperson) and what beautiful people there are in this world. Kudos to all involved–Emily, Brian and teams; Target and Floor and Decor; Peter and team; and most of all to Sylvia, Riccardo, and Ricky. Those smiles and laughs and tears are unforgettable.

  215. I got so teary reading this post and watching the video! How awesome for you to have someone like Sylvia caring for your children. She has such an immensely important job, and she and her family certainly deserve a beautiful house to come home to. It makes me so happy they have that now.

    Kudos to Target for recognizing such a worthwhile project. It’s a better use of their marketing dollars to partner on projects like this than some of the other sponsored posts I’ve seen—this post (compared to others) certainly makes me more inclined to shop there. It’s so well done all around.

  216. I LOVE the laughter, pure joy and gratitude at the end of the video. You can feel the light and love radiating from Sylvia. What an awesome project!

  217. Right. In. The. Feels.

  218. I’m led to comment here, as I never do. But this is just so inspiring and lovely on every level. You have made the blogosphere so much more human and accessible, and to use your talent and position to impact lives this way is awesome. What a wonderful family Sylvia’s is, and such a blessing to you and your family. So heart warming to know that both of your families have enriched each others’ lives this way. God bless you all

  219. This is simply wonderful. No words xx

  220. I love everything about this. Their story is so beautiful and full of love and the new design really reflects that. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

  221. You are such a loving person.

  222. I bought the rug because of this post and the great work Target is doing for this family (and, because, TARGET…DUH!)! Hopefully they see the return!

  223. The makeover is gorgeous as so many have already said. But I think it’s even more wonderful how you acknowledge and thank your nanny. For us working moms (I have three kids), a loving nanny is worth her weight in gold and allows us to do our jobs without worrying about our kids.

  224. Yes, I cried! Probably my favourite post of yours! You are such an awesome woman, Emily! The way you write about your nanny is so beautiful…and the makeover is just incredible!

  225. This post is great and also helps me to solve my problems
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  226. The best Emily Henderson post of all time. This embodies all that I love about your blog — laughter, design, family, and LOVE!

  227. Oh I just love this story! It just warms my heart!

  228. Amazing and inspiring!

  229. I am a career nanny and have to tell you, YOU are amazing! We help raise children because we love them and understand how important the work is- guiding the next generations. But the working relationship and environment is so much richer when the parents understand that it’s not an easy job and show / express appreciation. You have taken that to the next level by giving so much back to this wonderful woman who has given so much to your family.
    It’s beautiful to see!

  230. Hi Emily. Bravo! Such a fantastic makeover for such incredible people. Love it all. Specific question about the window treatments. I’ve “studied” all your tips about how to properly hang curtains, but I’m confused about how you hung the matchstick shades here. They look awesome! You must have mounted them well above the top of the window? To match the height of the curtains? Did you need any special mounting hardware? I’m moving into a 70s ranch (with small-ish windows and 8′ ceilings) and all and any tips would be MUCH appreciated!

  231. I am speechless. This is such an amazing venture by you and by the vendors that donated. Those parents must be the strongest people on earth to have survived so many miscarriages and a premature birth. As a mother to a preemie (33 weeks/3.5 pounds/1 month in the NICU), it made me cry to learn about their 4-month NICU stay.

    Target, you have just earned yourself a life-long loyal customer. I’ve already bought the rug in Ricky’s room and will be buying the blue chairs in the living room.

  232. Beautiful job!! Do you know where I could find that vintage map?!

  233. hi emily,
    i really liked the bedroom makeover. i want to redo my bedroom with a nursery in the same room. im a first time mom so im really excited to have a makeover the bedroom. the main problem is it doesnt have a closet.
    how much do you usually charge for the make over? plz its possible can u send me the estimate.
    i would really appriciate your help.
    thank you

  234. I searched “media consoles” on your site and now I’m bawling like a baby. So many good people in the world! Thank you for sharing!!

  235. Great post. Thanks for sharing.

  236. I wanted to drop a note that I am buying an area rug from Target today! Because of this post! I have been looking all over for one for like 6 weeks. And because of this post I chose to buy one from Target. Picking it up at the store tonight. It’s yellow, FYI. <3

  237. 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.