Well, you all showed up. After our announcement of taking the Pen and Napkin makeovers national, over 200 of you signed up to help decorate a family’s home. We are in the process of getting together a workflow to make sure that we can help as many people as possible in a streamlined way, so if you are one of them stay tuned – it’s all in the works. Today we have our first family, in LA with a pretty awesome volunteer designer, Lowe, and she and the family need some more support and resources. I’ll let Lowe take it away and show you what she has planned (and thank you so much,= Lowe, I hope you find this as rewarding as I have). xx
Hey friends, hello — Lowe here! I usually spend much of my time posting things on my tiny corner of the internet via Instagram at Hot Sunday Home. But like many of us, I am the hugest stan when it comes to all things Emily Henderson. Not only do I appreciate her impeccable eye for design, pattern-mixing, and all things soups and stews. But I am also always floored by Emily’s commitment to spreading the wealth when it comes to giving and helping others create the homes of their dreams.
So, accordingly, when I learned that the Em Henderson team was collab-ing with Pen + Napkin (another organization that I love for its selfless commitment to helping families transitioning out of homelessness) and inviting design enthusiasts to participate in Feel Good Makeovers across the country I was immediately all-in.
I’m far from a professional interior designer — really just a gal with a passion for good, affordable, and slightly odd décor. But I’ve been looking for ways to make my passion actually mean something for quite some time now. I’ve volunteered for Pen + Napkin before, but getting the opportunity to shop, create mood boards, and talk with Pen + Napkin founder Catie and lovely in-house designer Synthia daily to fully design a home is just beyond.
They brought me on board specifically to work on an apartment for *Jem, a fierce and bubbly mama, as well as her two little ones. The family of three recently got out of a not-great situation and moved into their place — a two-bedroom with a well-sized living room and dining area — but they didn’t have much by way of furniture. In fact, they still don’t, but we are working to remedy that ASAP. There were a few things this small family needed immediately: mattresses, bedsheets, pillows, towels, toothbrushes, and a hamper (the last of which Synthia sweetly offered to pick up and drop off on a Monday of all days). And those things have been taken care of because Catie just gets things done. But there are still quite a few steps I’d love to take to turn their new house into a real home.
Luckily, I’ve been able to talk with Jem frequently about her routines, how she’d like to use her space, and things that are absolute must-haves. Her oldest kiddo is just starting school for the first time, so he needs a place to do projects and crafts. The youngest likes to be in the middle of all the action. And both boys love vibrant colors, airplanes, and trucks. Now I’m not super familiar with airplanes and trucks, not by a long shot, but I want to incorporate those things in their shared room. Jem is also teaching her little ones to organize their toys so I want to make sure their domain has a place for play and a place for order, not to mention cozy carpet tiles that can withstand daily romps and messes.
That brings me to the living room and dining area which will likely function as a study space, too. Jem plans to invite family over for home-cooked meals once she’s finally settled into her new home, so it’s super important to me that this hardworking area looks cool and feels cozy. We want things to be durable enough to withstand long bouts of recreation, so most of the furniture and the couch (which is being generously donated by Poly and Bark) will feature rich hues and hardy materials. Additionally, a TV in the living room will enable Jem and her boys to have movie nights on the weekends.
We think a spacious table will be best for the dining area for mealtime and homework time. And I’d love to add a colorful mini gallery wall in this space as well. Mom actually let me know right off the bat that things like art and throw pillows and plants hardly felt like priorities. And in the grand scheme of things, perhaps they’re not. But on the small scale, I believe personalized touches like these — that perfect painting of a woman who looks like you or an abstract watercolor that captures all of your fave hues — make us all feel good. They transform simple apartments into real respites. In the words of Pen + Napkin they “leave the family…feeling dignified, hopeful, and immensely loved.” So needless to say, I’m bringing in as much art, throw pillows, and plants as I can. To be resourceful (aka not break the bank because I’m nothing if not thrifty), I’m planning to DIY some art as well.
Now on to Jem’s bedroom — the space I’ve been referring to as the Queen’s Corner in my head. Now I’m not a parent, so I don’t pretend to know how much work goes into raising children. But I do know quite a few amazing mothers (my own included) who will endure anything to make sure their children get the best. And I think those moms, or mom figures, should absolutely have a space of their own that’s as decked out as can be. Enter: The Queen’s Corner. We’re adding a canopy bed because canopy beds (even the affordable one I found) just seem luxe for some reason. There have to be a few cozy layers because the little ones will likely sneak in on occasion. And I’d like to add a tiny bit of subtle pink and gold, too, because ~luxury~ Most of all though, I want this particular zone to feel like a retreat. We’re skipping the loud colors (Jem is a fan of neutrals and inky hues) and going for texture instead. I think a nubby bench at the end of the bed will be a welcome addition if we can get one to work. And a nice floor mirror (because parents need to take selfies, too!) should round out the royal digs.
And that’s all I have for now. I’m sure the mood boards I worked on will change a bit as Jem’s house/soon-to-be-home becomes a reality. But I can’t wait for things to continue coming together, and I am still so honored to be involved in the process! Thanks, everyone <3
Em again! Now that you can see how wonderful this home is going to be for Jem and her boys please (if you can) donate to this project HERE. These projects are life-changing and we (and they) appreciate every dollar you can spare. xx
Opening Image Credits: Photo by Sara Ligorria-Tramp | From: The Feel Good Flash Makeover Reveal (A.K.A. My Favorite Thing I Did All Year)