My Sister’s Home Makeover

My Sister's Home Makeover

Last fall, my sister Lucy came to visit us in Brooklyn. She was grieving the loss of her husband, Paul, and she felt very lonely. “I want to burst into tears whenever I think about returning to an empty house,” she told me. It still felt like the house she had shared with Paul, but she wanted it to feel like a home of her own, where she could have a fresh start with her daughter. So, we brainstormed: What could we do to cheer up her place? I reached out to my super talented interior-designer friend Jenny Komenda of Little Green Notebook and Juniper Studio, and she was kind enough to agree to help. What she did was more than we had ever hoped for. Here are the before-and-after photos…


Lucy's Home Before

Lucy's Home Before


Lucy's Apartment Makeover

Lucy's Home Makeover

Jenny on brightening up a room: Lucy’s windows get indirect sunlight, which is beautiful and soft, but doesn’t give a lot of fresh brightness. So we instantly knew the walls needed to go white. I love to use pure white paint, but since Lucy’s apartment is shadowy from all those lovely trees outside her windows, we went with Benjamin Moore’s Chantilly Lace, which has a nice warmth from the tiniest bit of yellow pigment. It’s like instant sunshine!

Jenny on choosing family-friendly furniture: Before, there was a giant black sectional. I love black, but it’s hard to have a dark piece in a room that’s a little dark itself. So we lightened up the furniture. I LOVE using leather furniture in homes with kids or pets. It holds up well against everyday wear and tear, and then it becomes practically new again with a good leather conditioner. (This one is my favorite.) We selected the Sven sofa from Bryght. The buttery camel leather is fabulous, especially for the price point of the sofa! Since Lucy wanted to keep the carpeting, we layered rugs on top to make it feel fresh.

LUCY’S TAKE: When Jenny asked what I hoped the house would feel like, I said bright and colorful and nature-y. And that’s exactly what she did. She even decorated the bookcase with a brass grasshopper and a geode. There’s so much love and care in everything.

Lucy's Apartment Makeover

Lucy's Home Makeover

Jenny on building the custom bookshelf: Lucy loves books, so we knew we wanted to build a giant bookshelf. The shelves are DIY — we bought plywood from the hardware store and painted it white. The molded brackets are from Amazon. We needed to work around the big mirror, which was permanently installed by the builder and dry-walled into the wall. That’s great for earthquakes, but not for décor! I was happy to keep it, though, because mirrors reflect light, so it’s almost like adding another window.

Jenny’s tips for styling bookshelves: I’m a big believer that bookshelves are for books. I love stuff on shelves, too, but if you start with books, you’re taking care of the important thing, and then you can style around them. And I like to keep similar books together. You can either organize by subject or loosely group them by color, so it doesn’t feel like too much of a hodgepodge. If you place the books in groups, your eye has a place to land, and then move on. Once the books are in, you can stack some horizontally, so they act like bookends. Finally, layer some other pieces in, but be careful not to overstuff shelves. You want it to feel curated and less like storage.

LUCY’S TAKE: Mom and I literally did KonMari before Jenny came. I got rid of a lot of books because Paul never got rid of a book in his life, literally, really truly. But I kept the books that were especially important to him: all his favorite novels, and the tattered neurosurgery book he carried around during his residency, and books about religion that he read when he was dying. Before, we each had our own bookshelf, but Jenny mixed all the books together — now they feel way lighter. They feel like Paul is in the air. I love knowing they’re in there, that’s our little secret. He’s in the mix.

Lucy's Apartment Makeover

Lucy's Home Makeover

Jenny on choosing art: It’s important not to overcrowd your walls. It’s always better to hang fewer pieces, and make them bigger, so you can enjoy what’s happening. We had planned on hanging lots of art over the sofa, but in the end it felt right to hang just three pieces. They play nicely together. If a gallery wall is the only thing you have in a room, it can be a great focal point. But here, the bookshelf is providing a lot of interest, so we kept the art softer.

Paint color: Chantilly Lace by Benjamin Moore in eggshell for walls and semigloss for trim. Leather sofa: Bryght. Buffalo check throw: Schoolhouse Electric. Pillows: Juniper Studio. Striped lamp: Schoolhouse Electric. Aqua sofa: Bryght. Brass and marble lamp: Anthropologie. White scallop side table: Juniper Studio. Arthur’s seat: Laura Bell, from 20×200. Love print: Max Wanger. We Are So Good Together Print: Dylan Fareed, from 20×200. Custom frames: Simply Framed. Coffee table: West Elm. Wallpaper: Hygge & West. Area Rug: West Elm. Armchair: Modernica. Black planter: Modernica. Back porch rug: West Elm. Bookshelf brackets: Welland. Letter K: Anthropologie. Planetarium terrarium: Anthropologie. Pottery: Juniper Studio. Abstract art: Brenna Giessen. Striped baskets: The Land of Nod. Bookshelf paint: Simply White by Benjamin Moore.


Lucy's Home Makeover


Lucy's Home Makeover

Lucy's Home Makeover

Lucy's Apartment Makeover

Jenny on going for a chandelier: Changing overhead lighting always makes a big statement. In the dining room, we bought an IKEA chandelier and spray painted it white. It was very inexpensive but made a huge difference.

Jenny on creating multiple light sources: In design school, they teach you to have eight sources of lighting for a single room! That’s probably too much for an apartment-size house, but having multiple sources creates a nice ambiance. I say, have tons of table lamps. Then choose the right bulbs. You can get soft white or natural sunlight bulbs, or even those light pink bulbs for a room where you want a very pretty, soft glow.

Jenny on the magic of oversized prints: If you’re struggling with choosing art, or how to fill your walls, the best thing you can do is buy one hugely oversized print. It feels dramatic and expensive, like a piece of art. I’d choose one giant piece over a gallery wall any day. Just remember that it’s important to pick something with colors that work for the room. It’s like committing to wallpaper.

Lucy's Home Makeover

Jenny on creating an accent wall: We wanted to incorporate some pattern on the floating wall between Lucy’s kitchen and living room. The (fully removable and reusable!) wallpaper tiles from Hygge & West were the perfect solution. Lucy loves imagery with a nature theme, and I liked that the pattern was smaller and tone-on-tone. There is already a lot going on with the bookshelf wall, and seeing a crazy color and pattern reflected in the big mirror would have taken things too far.

Lucy's Apartment Makeover

Jenny on making room transitions feel seamless: All the art — in the entrance, the living room and the dining room — is hanging at around the same height. That helps unify the rooms and makes them feel more considered.

Jenny on putting rugs in every room: Rugs help define a space in an open floor plan. Here, the dining room feels like a very separate space. Rugs also make a room feel much more designed. I always think rugs should be as big as possible, though — dinky rugs are such a bummer.

Wall color: Chantilly Lace in eggshell by Benjamin Moore. Pink wall print: Madelon Verdoorn, from Eventide. Grass print by Brooke Schwab, from Eventide. Custom frames: Simply Framed. Gem stand: Juniper Studio. Table, chairs and secretary: vintage, sourced by Juniper Studio. Grid rug: Dash & Albert. Blush tray: Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co. Custom floating TV credenza: Juniper Studio. Paint color on credenza: Classic Gray by Benjamin Moore. Paint color on vintage table top: Simply White by Benjamin Moore.


Lucy's Home Before


Lucy's Home Makeover

Jenny on tackling small spaces: The entryway was smaller than we had anticipated, so we made the portraits smaller, too. We also kept the color in the room limited to the accessories. We had thought about doing a more colorful rug and color portraits in bigger frames, but when we saw the ceiling was lower in the entry, we knew we wanted to keep all the permanent decor light and airy. That’s another design tip: In a smaller space, it’s good to go neutral, and then carefully, carefully add in pops of color, so it won’t feel too busy.

LUCY’S TAKE: I really like the hooks. Cady’s tiny coats look ridiculously cute hanging up there. The photos are of Cady’s aunts and uncles and godparents. It reminds me that I’m part of a really tight, fun group of siblings in my generation. You have a long day, and you walk into your house, and you’re like, THIS is who I am.

Paint color: Chantilly Lace in eggshell by Benjamin Moore. Door paint: Champion Cobalt in semi-gloss by Benjamin Moore. Custom wall shelf by Juniper Studio, paint color is Simply White in the advance line by Benjamin Moore. Rugs: IKEA (three sewn together!). Camel cashmere throw: Parachute Home. Wall hook: Schoolhouse Electric Supply & Co. Orange bag: Schoolhouse Electric Supply & Co.


Lucy's Bedroom Before

Lucy's Bedroom Before


Lucy's Home Makeover

Jenny on choosing paint colors: In the bedroom, we decided to go with a blush color, because it felt important for her bedroom to feel different from before. It’s a feminine moment without feeling overly girly. It’s also a warm pink, not a Pepto Bismol pink.

Jenny on testing colors first: We actually chose several paint colors, but didn’t make the final decision until we were on-site. I cannot stress how important it is to try swatches on the wall. It’s a great idea to look at the samples at different times of the day; and it might seem like overkill, but it is also helpful to paint samples on all four walls of a room.

Lucy's Home Makeover

Lucy's Home Makeover

Jenny on making a bedroom feel serene: I like to go soft and light on bedding, almost always. Here, we chose a white duvet. It’s like having white towels — there’s something nice about knowing something you’re putting directly against your body is very clean. When something occupies such a big place in a small space, it should be really light in color, and then you can layer more color and texture over it.

LUCY’S TAKE: I sleep so much better now. We used to have foam pillows, but these are big down pillows, like you’d have in a hotel. Now I’m sleeping in a little oasis in my house, and it feels comforting.

Lucy's Home Makeover

Lucy's Home Makeover

Jenny on hanging curtains: I always love having a lot of textiles in a bedroom. In this case, Lucy didn’t really need curtains, because she has shutters in the bedroom. But as soon as we hung the curtains, it felt really soft and cozy. It helped everything come together in such a happy, happy way.

LUCY’S TAKE: When I first saw the bedroom, I said, “The curtains are so pretty, where are they from?” Jenny said, “They’re from IKEA, but I stamped them with leaves.” I burst into tears. I was like, you stamped them? All these things are like gifts. She put her hands on my house, I think of her every morning.

Wall color: Love and Happiness in eggshell by Benjamin Moore. Bed: BluDot in Edwards in Poppy color. Floral pillow: Etsy. Sail print: Kati Dimoff, from Eventide. Sconces: West Elm. White shams: Parachute Home. Duvet and shams: Parachute Home. Blue chair: vintage Milo Baughman via Modern on Melrose. Jewelry stand: Anthropologie. Gosling Lake print: Kurt Tong, from 20×200. Brass rod: West Elm. Custom frames: Simply Framed. Dish: Schoolhouse Electric Supply & Co.


Lucy's Home Makeover

Lucy's Apartment Makeover

Lucy's Apartment Makeover

Lucy's Home Makeover

Jenny on the finished product: We wanted it to feel sophisticated but happy. Lucy’s a professional woman, so we wanted it to be cool and feminine, but definitely a grown-up’s house. “Fresh” was the word we kept using, and I think the finished look reflects that.

Jenny on watching Lucy’s reaction: It was the most emotional week for all of us. It was amazing and heavy and wonderful and hard — oh my gosh, it was hard in a lot of ways. But we were thrilled with how it came together. Just as we finished, we were so tired, and Lucy texted us that she was there (she was returning from a week away). We had talked on the phone before, but we hadn’t met. She walked in, and it was seriously the sweetest thing. She was so genuinely happy and excited. You could tell she wasn’t just trying to be nice. She just kept saying, “This is so good, this is so good.” She said what we had all been feeling all week, that this is what Paul would have wanted. It was one of the most rewarding moments I’ve ever had.

LUCY’S TAKE: I walked in and could see all my important stuff around, but it was so colorful and beautiful. They had everything set up, even the TV — Jenny said they wanted it move-in ready. Before, I’d be sitting at home watching TV and it felt so lonely. But now it’s really easy for me to sit on the couch and feel like I can drink a glass of wine and watch a show! I’m excited to come home now, I’m excited to have people over, I’m not itching to get out like I was before. I feel like a fresh, cool lady in my house. So much love and care went into it. The kindness of strangers is in my house.

Lucy's Apartment Makeover

Thank you so, so much, Jenny!

P.S. More house tours, and where to find affordable art.

(Photos by Julia Robbs for Cup of Jo. Styling by Kendra Smoot. Home design by the incredible Jenny Komenda of Juniper Studio. Thank you so much to everyone, including the brands featured here, many of which generously provided products or furnishings.)

  1. Janelle says...

    I come back to this post so often. Such a beautiful space and moment for your sister. Every room is a dreeeeam.

    • Laura says...

      Me too. All the feels. :)

  2. Menudo cambio!! quedó muy bonita y muy original. La mezcla de complementos es muy acertada. Felicidades!!

  3. Ellie says...

    Just came back to this post (I was referencing the double sofas) and am so emotional all over again. Lucy’s reaction to Jenny hand stamping the curtains just did me in. Such a beautiful home but even more beautiful story <3

  4. Just read this post for the first time and I’m crying. I’m so glad this happened for her.

  5. Andrea says...

    OMG I can’t handle this. The tears. My heart is exploding! This is so wonderful. XO

  6. Priya says...

    oh my god, what a beautiful and touching post.

  7. Daria says...

    It’s the second time I’m reading this post (the first was when it just came up) and I just can’t get over how sweet Lucy is. She really deserves this beautiful gesture.

  8. Em says...

    Just re reading this one & tearing up, again. I have followed the blog since college ( before Joanna was married & no bb’s! ) but while driving down to Asheville for Thanksgiving, I ACCIDENTALLY listened to a podcast about a woman with cancer choosing a couch. Then at the end of the podcast LUCY starts talking! My Fiance thought I was insane when I screamed, I KNOW HER! ( I do not ) I just have loved being let into your family Jo, thank you so much for always sharing!! :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Oh, Em, thank you so much for saying so xoxo

  9. Tanya says...

    Dear Joanna,
    I think of your sister — and Paul — and their daughter often. This post always warms my heart because of your sister’s grace and resilience. When I have hard moments, I think of her and it reminds me of the possibilities. Even reading about her new love warmed my heart. I would love to see an update about her life when the time is right. If not, I am one of so many people out there wishing her all the best always.

  10. Lola says...

    This is absolutely wonderful and has made my heart happy, in a sad sort of way :)

    • christine says...

      what a beautiful and perfect way to express exactly what I’m feeling too.

  11. Karen says...

    I just came across this article and it made me cry, it is wonderful and then I googled Lucy and discovered that she has recently found a new partner and that made me cry too. There is so much bad stuff going on that it is rare to find something that is real and sad and yet uplifting and happy. Thank you and I wish all the best in the world to Lucy and Cady.

  12. Jo says...

    It’s really impressive!
    I’ll never understand the use of carpet though. Never ever ever.

    • Sherry McLaughlin says...

      Totally agree with that, so dislike any carpet out there………

      What lovely thing to do, the bedroom is mine now and I am off to paint it the same color…….and how pretty the bed is…..where did that come from……..

  13. Really fantastic job done. ..bespoke and sensitive in all the right ways..What a joy to see..Zoe Durrant of
    Starfish Interiors UK.

  14. Freida says...

    I came back to read this post again, to remember how important it is to be kind and thoughtful and show so much love for your loved ones. And Jenny sure know her thing!
    Wishing you all the best

  15. February 9, 2018 and this is still my most favourite thing on the internet.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      awww, jen, thank you.

  16. jeannine nye says...

    What a wonderful thing to do and arrange, and now it feels like a new place but with all the heart still there amongst the favourite pieces of furniture and art.. It is always astounding how designers can visualise and put into place the colours and fabrics that make a place look so well. and comfortable to live in… Well done, I am sure that she really appreciates what was done, and now can manage to look forward to another new day every day..

  17. Found your site tonight & I’m loving it. This was such a touching post, it brought tears to my eyes. You have a lovely way of writing, keep up the great work!

  18. Grace Gordon says...

    So grateful I browsed this way on a rainy day north of Seattle. We all need this in our lives. Thank you for the gift you gave and continue to give to all those who visit this site. It is beautiful.

  19. Iva says...

    This touched me so much – what a wonderful woman, and what a gift you gave to her and her daughter!

  20. Liz says...

    Hi Joanna! Is the picture in Lucy’s dining room the same “Deer Bed” picture you have in your kitchen?

  21. Great makeover Joanna,great pictures as well!

  22. Rebecca says...

    What a beautiful gift!

    I’d love to know where the nightstands are from. They’re exactly what I’m looking for .

  23. I feel for you, Lucy.
    take care.
    love from poland

  24. Thank you so much for sharing, This is emotional and wonderful so beautiful at the same time.

  25. Andrea says...

    loving this post. so touching. :)

  26. Lais Cobra says...

    How did I miss this post!!? OMG, I Love it! GREAT JOB! And I really like seing Lucy at this fun-sweet-important moment in her story! Its always funny to see twins, she looks so much like you, Joanna! its funny, Its kinda automatically liking someone you already like, haha. Im a twin too and I love to see your different lives and bond! Happy for her! xoxo

  27. Katie says...

    Wow!!! Brought me to tears! Beautiful in every way! Lucy you so deserve a great space to call home and Joanna you are the sweetest sister for making it happen! Thanks for sharing!

  28. Beautiful home! I too am wondering where the master bedroom bedding is from? Would Jordan share her source?

  29. Brianna says...

    I was brought to your site through Pinterest, on another home tour post. I really love the way you create these posts so I was reading more and then came to this one. My jaw sort of dropped when I realized you are Lucy Kalanithi’s sister. I read “When Breath Becomes Air” a few months ago.

  30. Amazing home makeover!

    Where is the pom-pom throw blanket from in the bedroom pictures? Love!

  31. Dawn says...

    I just finished Paul’s memoir, and it was life changing, so naturally I Googled both Paul and Lucy, and ultimately landed on this beautiful home makeover. I am so touched by their story, and their willingness to share it, and this makeover was such a beautiful gift to them! Not only is it amazing, but it just shines – as Lucy does! Also, before reading it I was gravitating to Chantilly Lace as a ceiling color, but now! I suddenly realize that my small space MUST be painted this beautiful natural white! Thank you so much for sharing this!! <3

  32. jen says...

    i just finished reading ‘when breath becomes air,’ and love seeing Lucy and her light filled house.

  33. Maxi says...

    I know I’m a year late but…..This is truly a stunning makeover.
    But one thing I noticed in EVERY makeover is how dreary, drab and horrible the ‘before places’ usually look, especially opposed to the after, which look bright, happy, fresh and totally transformed. Yes, the after is better because of wall color, furniture, decor etc, but has anyone else noticed how overexposed -thus bright- the after is? Point in question, the trees outside the dining area. In the ‘before’ they are lush and green and almost overly saturated, in the after they are barely there, all due to drastically amping up the brightness. I know this is for added effect, but showing before/afters at the same angle AND the same level brightness would be a nice change.

  34. I just stumbled upon this post. It is simply beautiful. What a lovely and thoughtful way to care for your sister and help her move forward. I love the little touches of keeping his favorite books and photos. My dad passed away when I was 7 and I remember my mom hanging onto his things for the longest time…we all did. Nearly 35 years later, I still have a silly hat he had and I’ll never let it go.

    XOXO, Amy @ Jeans and a Tea

  35. Reading this in February 2017. Still my favourite thing ever.

  36. Every time I read this post I cry. You and your sister are so beautiful Jo. I’m really glad Lucy has a transformed fresh home after everything she’s been through.

    (I read Paul’s book too. I’m reminded to be grateful for who I have in my life. He has touched so many people with his book – and got in our brains a whole other way! We’re one-in-spirit reflecting on the beauty and fragility of life).

    I bet Lucy still loves coming home and hanging out in her bright home. Jenny did such an amazing job. Love the details – stamped curtains, bowls, the light, colour and life.

    Love to you all xxx

  37. Mary Kathryn Paynter says...

    Still my favorite post of the year. Such a kind, personal, and generous act–makes me cry every time I read it. Happy New Year!

  38. mamabird says...

    I come back to this post all the time.

    My husband died two weeks ago at the age of 31. I’m very sad that other people have been in the same situation, but somehow this happy home makes my future seem possible.

    • Jess says...

      I’m so sorry for your loss. I hope you have the people and time you need. <3

    • Jenny says...

      I read this post often also.

      I saw your post and wanted to comment to let you know that I saw it, and I’m so sorry that you have lost your husband.

    • Erin says...

      I am so sorry for the loss of your husband. Sending you love.

    • JennP says...

      Reading this on 13 September 2017. Sending you warm thoughts and love your way, Mamabird.

    • mamabird says...

      Thank you :) Kind of you x

  39. Jess says...

    So so beautiful!!!!

  40. Nice interior design, not too simple but make the home feels fresh and clean

  41. Leslie Ann Clark says...

    This is such a sweet story. Truly, what a selfless thing you did.

  42. What a Lovely Story, this is what i wonderful Sibling love. and i very like the Interior Design of the Home. Fantastic

  43. Okay, I’m in tears… this is such a beautiful story, and the result is amazing obviously.

  44. Kait Hurley says...

    I’m in tears. Back in February, I stayed up all night reading “When Breath Becomes Air.” It’s a book that will stay with me forever. Joanna, Lucy, and Cady: I’m incredibly sorry for your loss and for everything your entire family has endured. Paul gave the world a beautiful gift by writing this book. It makes death a little less scary, and it taught me valuable lessons about what it means to live a meaningful life. (Plus, I thought it was fascinating to hear about what it’s like to be a neurosurgeon.) It’s so wonderful to see that Lucy has a home that makes her happy. I’m touched by the generosity of these designers. This stranger in Portland, OR is sending lots of love to Lucy and Cady from afar. XO

  45. Gillian says...

    I have never posted a comment here before, but I just finished Paul’s book (so beautiful) and I am physician and a mother as well. There was something about the shot with the Netter’s and Step 1 books on the bookshelf and having just read about Paul and Lucy that made me tear up. The end result is lovely and the transition poignant.

  46. Laura says...

    I’ve never posted a comment on a blog before, but this made me teary. Sad and happy too. It must have been a very poignant moment for Lucy to see her gorgeously ‘new’ apartment. I hope she is doing OK after losing someone so dear to her. It’s happened to me, and I know how hard it is, even a long time afterwards. Well done to her sister for such a perfect present and VERY well done to the decorator… If I lived in the US, I’d call you up right now to redo my house!

  47. Patricia Finelli says...

    I don’t know where to begin. Recently I was searching for a spiritual CD at B&N for a dear friend who has seen me through a very dark year in my life (2015) when I spotted Paul’s book and it called out to me. I suddenly recalled a TV interview with Lucy and Charlie Rose and quickly grabbed the book for my friend, forgetting about the CD. Needless to say I read the book that night from cover to cover, and cried like a baby. When Breath Becomes Air. As I kept reading, I found myself actually talking to Paul, saying “yes, yes Paul” whenever he described his revelations about Life, Death, and especially his path back to his religion and his spiritual being.
    My husband died January 5, 2016 of a very rare neurological disease (CJD) also known as the Prion Disease, a fast mutation of protein matter in the brain. I, in turn, was reeling from a very aggressive form of chemotherapy for a rare form of fallopian tube cancer, barely recovering from major surgery in March, 2015. My spring and summer of that year involved intense infusion treatment all the while watching my husband fade deeper and deeper into dementia, and finally death. I pulled through, and am finally healing, but the loss of my partner of nearly 48 years, makes my cancer ordeal feel like a piece of cake, so to speak. I wish to thank Paul and Lucy for an incredible book that has enriched my life and helped me to come to grips with death, dying, and especially made me realize that my life is worth living, and that I have so much to be thankful for. May God bless Lucy and Cady, and their wonderful family. Mainly, may Paul Kalanithi, not only a fine neurosurgeon, but also a magnificent writer
    continue to dance among the stars, as he truly left a brilliant legacy of knowledge, love and spirituality, which will live on through his beautiful wife and daughter forever. Thank you for this treasured book!
    Sincerely, Patricia Finelli

  48. kat says...

    i love this. just read Paul’s book. it took my breath away. all the best to lucy and cady!

  49. I’ve read this post so many times and I cry every time. Jenny is a wizard and I hope Lucy and Cady are well.

  50. Oh! What a touching makeover! I teared up with the reveal pics! So beautiful.

  51. Loved this. I just finished Paul’s book and found it very moving and poignant. Thank you to Paul and Lucy for sharing their story with us and inspiring us all to reflect on our lives and what it means to live a full one. (The last paragraph of Paul’s writing — to his daughter — was simply gorgeous and will stay with me forever.)

  52. Wow! I love it all!
    The best restart to your sister! And such a great job!!


  53. Kate says...

    So very, very sweet. A fresh new home for a fresh start! I wish Lucy all the best. And I seriously love the dining room – can you share where the large grass print is from?

  54. This is one of the most emotional blog posts that I have ever read. Not only was it exciting to watch her home be transformed, but to live through her emotions when seeing the new space was so touching! The transformation is truly amazing and you have all created an amazing space for her to continue her life in.


  55. It’s not often I run across a post that stops me in my tracks, but this one did. Not only is it a stunning transformation, but what an amazing, heartfelt, hopeful gift. On the practical side, this makes me want to run out and buy paint and start brightening our home right this minute. Beautiful, and very inspiring.

  56. Kathy H. says...

    Blessings are such wonderful things to receive AND to give. You and your Sister are doubly blessed. The home transformation was beautiful. I especially like the style and gorgeous color of the blue couch. My own couch is almost a perfect match style wise, but is the UGLIEST brownish-orange you’ve ever seen. You have inspired me!

  57. I got redirected to you via The Nester — and since I just finished Paul’s book last week, so was so happy to see this happening. Oh how you brought much joy to his wife. What a blessing! Thanks for sharing and I’ll look forward to following your work.

  58. Wait… wh-wh-what?! That is the most incredible make-over I have ever seen. Woaahw!!

  59. Joanne Michael says...

    I love this story and the design that helped transform a new future. This might be one of the best you’ve done. I cried.
    Excellent design gathers all the right elements for the people who are going to live with it every day. Mission accomplished.

  60. J hammond says...

    Beautiful story beautiful renovation

    May I ask as a designer what is your opinion on artificial flowers and greenery

  61. J hammond says...

    Are all plants live or do you ever use artificial plants. The transformation is lovely

  62. Jennette says...

    Thank you so much for sharing this. So beautiful. So open and honest and amazing. I am just crying over here. Thank you.

  63. Tida says...

    Hello! I’ve been a fan of your site for years and just recently finished Paul’s book, When Breath Becomes Air. It felt so surreal. I have kept up with your blog (since your pregnancy with Toby!) all while reading medical books on the side. ‘When Breath Becomes Air’ caught my eye because the author who wrote the foreword is my favorite physician-author. I was overcome with so much emotion when it hit me that this Paul, is Lucy’s Paul. I wish both of your families the best, and will remember Paul and Lucy as I go into the medical field for myself. Thank you, Joanna (and the rest of the team!), for keeping up such a wonderful blog that helps me to destress when school gets hard!

  64. sugarcactus says...

    a bright and happy home will help her remember the good times. i smiled just looking at the after pictures. i also like how tastefully done the nods to paul were–not a suffocating presence, but a gentle presence. it’s a beautiful thing for a sister to do, and it’s a place that’s ready to be filled with new memories, too!

  65. Silvia says...

    Hi Joanna!
    Don you think that Lucy would be ok sharing Paul’s favorite books with us? The ones she kept. I would love to read them all. I love books :).

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thanks for your sweet note, silva! i just asked her and she wrote back: “i recommend ‘singing school,’ a little poetry anthology put together by robert pinsky. he carried it around while ill and loved it.” xoxo

    • Catherine says...

      I lost my mom to cancer 5 months ago. I miss my mom every day, but have been so blessed by my family & friends. This was so thoughtful and absolutely has me in tears. This was so uplifting.

  66. Lauren says...

    Amazing home makeover!

    Where is the pom-pom throw blanket from in the bedroom pictures? Love!

    • Hi Lauren,

      The pom pom blanket is Moroccan and I bought it from an Etsy seller. There is a direct link on my blog today! Hope that helps! :)

  67. Jo, you called the right friend. This post epitomizes why we all love Jenny Komenda. May God bless your precious sister, Lucy. <3

  68. Morgan says...

    This is so beautiful and gosh darn it she is SO deserving of it!

  69. Brenda says...

    Wow. Jenny and her team did an amazing job! The home now feels fresh & light, and interesting! So well thought-out and executed. Wishing Lucy & her daughter all the best! Well done, Joanna! :)