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Our Renovation Design Process

Our First 2020 Feel Good Makeover Could Be You – Let’s Make Your Life Much Brighter

photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: reveal: how we brightened up a room (and some deserving lives) with velux skylights

Today we are announcing our first Feel Good makeover of 2020, and guess what? It’s a contest – the Brighten Up Any Room Design Giveaway – in partnership with Velux Skylights that YOU can win. We do these Feel Good Makeovers throughout the year for a variety of families (some with partnerships, some not), and I’m not sure I want to be doing anything else in my career other than these. Our goal is to find someone (one of you) who could use some brightening up, both in your physical space as well as emotionally/mentally. 

It’s no surprise that I LOVE my natural light and fresh air, so I’ll be transforming one room in one of your homes with a custom design refresh from me, including the installation of up to two VELUX No Leak Solar Powered “Fresh Air” Skylights with solar-powered blinds. So maybe your bathroom needs some love, or your living room is in need of some new furniture (and natural light). Have a dark, dreary room in your home that you avoid? If you win, YOU CAN STOP IGNORING IT. 

I’ll be here (along with my wonderful team) to help realize the potential of one of your spaces… and whatever we come up with will be awash in sweet, sweet sunlight from overhead. If you’re already chomping at the bit to win your own set of skylights and a flash makeover, you can enter here. (And then come back and read on for some design inspiration.) 

Last year, my team brightened up the bedroom of our winners, Kristen and Raeann. Kristen was battling a rare form of genetic cancer and was spending a lot of time in bed, recovering from aggressive chemo. They were both long-time readers and the entire design and installation process with them was so touching and fulfilling. This was their space before and after. It was a transformation, to say the least.

Emily Henderson Velux Giveaway Before And After
reveal photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: reveal: how we brightened up a room (and some deserving lives) with velux skylights

Myself and the design team, led by Julie and assisted by Emily B., transformed their bedroom by bringing in natural light and sky views, which made it the most comfortable bedroom for healing. (You can see the full reveal here.) Helping another family no matter what they need is the next goal, and we can’t wait to do it again.

Emily Henderson Velux Giveaway Group 1

Now for my thoughts and feelings on skylights in general, why I am a fan and where the heck you can put them. (There are more options than you’d think!)

I learned very early in my career as a prop stylist that for photography, natural light is truly the #1 element you need for a room (or shot) to look alive. But what happens if your house has a huge overhang that blocks sunlight? What if your window opens straight into another building? What if your windows only face north and you are in dire need of bringing some sweet, sweet sunlight inside? What if you’re in an interior room that doesn’t even have a window to begin with? Skylights to the rescue…

Skylights in a Bathroom

Emily Henderson Velux Giveaway Bathroom
photos by sara ligorria-tramp |from: portland reveal: creating the dreamiest of master bathrooms

One of the most ideal places to use a skylight is in the bathroom. I love that you can put them in places where traditional windows can’t (or shouldn’t) go, like in showers. Showering with a skylight overhead is MAGIC. Velux’s skylights can also be opened via remote control to let out warm air (it rises, remember?), which prevents lingering humidity and brings in clean, fresh air. Plus, it’s great to have even more light throughout the day if you’re the type of person who applies makeup in your bathroom.

Skylights in a Kitchen

Emily Henderson Velux Giveaway Kitchen
photos by sara ligorria-tramp | from: the reveal of the mountain house kitchen

Guys, you don’t have to sacrifice cabinet space for windows. Skylights are a no brainer for spaces where you desperately need wall space for functionality but don’t want to give up natural light. And just like in a bathroom, smells and moisture need to go somewhere, so a quick open of the skylight is ideal for releasing odors, steam, and sometimes, accidental smoke 🙂

Skylights in Interior Rooms

Emily Henderson Portland Traditional Secret Room 11
photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: portland project: the entry & staircase reveal

Those rooms that don’t share a wall with the outside are desperate for light and can feel dead (think laundry rooms, offices, hallways, stairways, entryways, etc.). Truthfully, I’d even forego an attic space if you have it in favor of vaulting a ceiling to bring in more light from overhead, like we did in the Mountain House. Your eyes are drawn upward, which makes a room feel so much taller and bigger overall. Plus, it’s a great way to amplify brightness while keeping things private. And if you *don’t* want to vault your ceiling, skylights can still be installed in flat ceilings. Your Velux consultant can help you figure out how to configure the light shafts (the drywall between the skylight and the ceiling) around the skylights to help that natural light spill further into the space (like we did in the stairwell of the Portland house).

Emily Henderson Velux Giveaway Bedroom
photos by sara ligorria-tramp | from: mountain house reveal: our calm scandinavian master bedroom














And of course, we’re obviously HUGE fans of skylights in a bedroom. With traditional windows, you might get full sun or full shade depending on the time of day. Sure, you will get direct light when the sun lines up with the placement of your skylight, but that’s what remote control shades are for – light control that still gives a lot of soft, diffused light. And if you need total darkness, room darkening shades are available to make sure your precious ZZZs are protected. These skylights and blinds can even be programmed to have the blinds close and open at certain times. We just had ours programmed at the mountain house and I don’t even have to think about it.

So, It’s Entry Time

Are you excited about skylights yet? After both Portland and the Mountain House, I’ll probably never design another home without them and I constantly look around our LA home and wonder where we could install a few (I will always regret not putting it in the kid’s bathroom).

We are so excited to partner with Velux on another “Brighten Up Any Room giveaway” — please, please enter here. Tell us your story, and why you need some brightening up (OR feel free to nominate someone). 
Thanks to Velux again for partnering with us on another Feel Good Makeover, so again please enter to have our team come over and transform your space (for free!).

I’m not totally sure how to say it, but I can’t just not mention this. Kristen passed away a few months ago after a far-too-short battle with cholangiocarcinoma. It was more rapid than anyone thought possible and not exactly expected because she was so young and vibrant. It’s pretty damn shocking. I’m so sorry for Raeann and Kristen’s family for their loss. We are so grateful that we could be part of that special person’s life, be in her light, and help make her last few months more comfortable (not to mention provide a fun distraction). We hope that what we did with the bedroom now helps Raeann in her healing. Let’s all send Raeann a big hug, and Kristen, if you’re somehow reading, know that you are so missed and thought about often. We’d like to invite anyone reading to make a donation to the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation here.

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4 years ago

Sending healing thoughts and prayers to Kristen’s family and Raeann.

Trakhees approvals dxb
4 years ago
Reply to  Sarah

Fantastic Post..Its Looking Very Trending..Keep Posting it..
Trakhees approvals dxb

4 years ago

Oh my goodness! As a Canadian there aren’t many contests I am bummed about not being able to enter but this one is! Love all the skylight inspo. Both our bathrooms have zero windows and I dream of being able to install skylights in those rooms. I can’t wait to see.

4 years ago

This is so exciting! I hope my entry went through! Once I hit enter, it said my images were too big. I went to resubmit with smaller images, and it said I could only enter the giveaway once. *shrug*

If I don’t win, I still can’t wait to see this unfold!


4 years ago

OOOO, making my Pinterest boards now!

4 years ago

Oh goodness, sending so much love to Kristen & Raeann’s family. Thank you for updating us. Thank you to the two of them for, as you said, sharing their light with us. I so enjoyed that makeover- it meant a lot to see a female couple featured. Sending peace.

4 years ago

Oh! ?International blog, but not international competitions … on repeat.

4 years ago

Sending prayers, love and healing vibes to Kristen and Raeann’s family.

4 years ago

Prayers for their families.
4 years ago

Kel, yes, that is the goal!!

4 years ago

Really sad to hear the news of Kristen’s passing. So glad the EHD team got to work with this lovely couple and make their time together a little sweeter. Damn cancer.

4 years ago

You literally brightened up their lives, and made Kristen’s last days more comfortable. Sending love to Raeann and their families.

4 years ago

Thank you for this recognition and the beautiful space that you created for Raeann and Kristen. She loved it and referred to it as her sanctuary. We miss her terribly. CO Raeann’s mom

4 years ago
Reply to  Ellen

Ellen, my sincerest condolences on Kristen’s passing. When I read the post on she and Raeann’s bedroom makeover, I could feel the love and bright light that radiated from them. I hope you find what can bring you some comfort, peace, and even joy, during what I know, can feel like very dark days.

I’ll be thinking of K, R, and all of you and praying for your peace.


4 years ago
Reply to  Sara

Thank you. They were a great team and good people to the core. We are grateful for the love and support that has flowed to and around Raeann these last few months.

4 years ago

I’m so sad to hear about Kristen’s passing. Love and healing thoughts to Raeann and their family. I’m very glad that you were able to make her last months more comfortable and beautiful.

4 years ago

Team EHD, I’m shocked at Kristen’s passing! It almost feels like because she had such an amazing sanctuary for healing and such an obvious love with her partner, that there’s just *no way* she could die.


Thank you for making their last months together more comfortable. And I’m so glad that Raeann can hopefully find comfort in that beautiful space you created. Obviously it can’t make up for her loss, but it really does make a difference to have a beautiful space to retreat to when you’re heart broken. ❤️

Bravo and thanks to all of you for using this platform for good.

4 years ago

Hi Emily & crew!

I think last years entries are still being counted as entries for this year. I entered last year and it said I couldn’t enter again.

4 years ago

My condo with windows facing one direction is in desperate need of more light. Think I can put a light shaft through my above neighbor’s condo? Haha.

4 years ago

What horrible news regarding Kristen’s passing. Raeann, I’m so sorry for your loss.

4 years ago

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4 years ago

Wish you could come to Montreal with this contest… We have a dark and totally 80’s entry that is in desperate need of an intervention. I literally would be okay with anything you could dream up!