Design

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…

LIVING ROOM BEFORE:

Lucy's Home Before

Lucy's Home Before

LIVING ROOM AFTER:

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.

DINING ROOM BEFORE:

Lucy's Home Makeover

DINING ROOM AFTER:

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.

ENTRYWAY BEFORE:

Lucy's Home Before

ENTRYWAY AFTER:

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.

BEDROOM BEFORE:

Lucy's Bedroom Before

Lucy's Bedroom Before

BEDROOM AFTER:

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.

THE REVEAL:

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. Beautiful! What a wonderful fresh start for your sister. Best thing I’ve read today! :)

  2. Simply WOW!! The space looks phenomenal and Lucy’s reaction made me teary and so happy for her at the same time. Well done Jenny on a top notch job, truly inspirational and insightful. And such a lovely gesture from you Jo!! Xx

  3. Mea says...

    Just beautiful! I love the space! Thank you for sharing.
    Can you tell me where those great pillows for the bedroom are from? The ones that are like in hotels to sleep so good?

    Thank you!

    • Hi Mea,

      We bought the down pillows at Target and they are one of those elusive products that is really affordable AND really wonderful! 100% down and only $10 each from their Threshold line.

      Good luck!

  4. Wow! I literally wanted to tear up! The change was so much but good change, and I’m sure your sister loves it!

  5. I just finished Paul’s book. I didn’t even know him, but I miss him. What a beautiful soul and his wife is phenomenal too. I am so happy you could do this for her…what an amazing gift! I am been following Jenny for years too, so it was so fun to see this all come together. Hooray for sisters.

  6. This is great! Your sister is so lucky to have you. Such a beautiful post!

  7. deslandes says...

    Bravo
    This is an amazing change
    Your sister deserve it
    What a lovely, sweet way to show her your love

  8. Marlene says...

    That looks amazing! Very impressed. You did an amazing job!

  9. This is such a wonderful idea, and what a brilliant job Jenny did. Thanks for sharing with us and best wishes to your sister x

  10. Helena says...

    I love what you did to your sisters flat, that is such an amazingly caring thing to do. Cried a little when I saw the picture of her crying. The colours of the walls combined with the furniture is fantastic and so personal.
    I love the rug in the bedroom but couldn’t seem to find a reference for it, any idea where it came from?
    Well done to all involved!

    • Hi Helena!

      Jenny here. The rug in the bedroom is from World Market! I posted a direct link on my blog earlier today! Hope that helps!

  11. Everything about this is so beautiful! You’re such a good sister!

  12. Marcy C. says...

    Wow! What a beautiful, meaningful transformation. I cannot believe the different in the quality of light in the before and afters. I are you sure you didn’t pop a skylight or new window in? xo

  13. this made me tear up at work. this home is beautiful and your sister is so deserving of this. i hope she and Cady love this home and know that there are so many people supporting her!
    also, i’ve been looking for sofas and have seen the sven sofa from bryght and was unsure about it but i’m so happy to see it in these pictures and know that they’re great!

    hammyta.wordpress.com

  14. I can’t get over how much brighter everything looks! Amazing, wishing her all the best with her little girl for the future.

    The Little Things | Louise x

  15. Jennifer says...

    Oh my – this is making me cry. I write about interior design and with so many heavy and heartbreaking things happening the world it is easy to feel like my work is trivial and unimportant. This is a great reminder of what interior design can do for a person – create a home and a haven. And of how thoughtful the process can be for a designer. Thank you for sharing, Joanna, Lucy, and Jenny (and teams).

  16. What an incredibly beautiful space Jenny has created! Simply stunning.

  17. Gosh. This is beautiful. All of it. I shed a little tear of happiness.

  18. Linda says...

    What a bright, beautiful, happy space! I hope it makes Lucy smile every time she comes home!!

  19. Anna says...

    Gorgeous makeover and such an incredible gesture, tearful and grateful for others generosity

  20. Andrea says...

    this is fabulous.

  21. Hands down, this is the most moving, sweetest and impressive post I’ve see on your blog in the 2 years I’ve been following it. Hats off to all of you for a truly amazing job. Seriously, you should all be so proud of what you’ve done. My heart goes out to Lucy for all that she has been through, and I’m so happy for her for the much-needed joy that this apartment makeover has brought her. I know that it is a only a small step in the direction of healing, but it is, nonetheless, a step in that direction. For that, I’m sure she is grateful.

  22. Amy says...

    Wow – what a beautiful makeover! Your sister is lucky to have created a community of family and friends who are supporting her through this difficult time. Best wishes to her, as she bravely opens this new chapter in her life!

  23. This was very touching and very inspiring. You really get a sense of the type of person your sister is from her reactions (a real, authentic sweetheart of a person). Also, this feels like one of the most dramatic makeovers I’ve ever seen! Maybe because the before pics were so dark (taken at a different time of day?), but it felt incredibly transformative. I really enjoyed reading/seeing this. : )

  24. Megan Pugmire says...

    I read Paul’s book yesterday and cried all day. Then I read this post and cried some more. I’m crying as I write this. Much love to your sister from all the strangers affected by their story. They live in our hearts now, too.

  25. maria says...

    This was such a beautiful gesture. I cant imagine what your sister went through with her lost. I bet she feels renovated, rejuvenated and up for a fresh start. You are a great sister and friend to her. This brought me to tears!

  26. Alexandra F says...

    Wow! Amazing home make over. Such a touching post, I’m welling up!

  27. Absolutely LOVE IT! And completely fell in love with the Bryght sofa! How does she like it? Comfy?

  28. Lucy says...

    well this made me cry! This is lovely. The way the house has changed is fantastic, I’m glad she is so happy with it.
    Lucy xoxo
    http://lucyannblog.blogspot.co.uk

  29. Luiza says...

    Cheers to fresh starts, fresh appartements and to your sister! They made an amazing job and I’m definitely picking some tips for my own apartment! xx

  30. Kenz says...

    Wow ! All this light … All those colors! That’s really great and you had a Wonderful idea to cheer up your sister ! Really great for a fresh start! The living room is just Amazing !

  31. So beautiful! This makes me so happy :)

  32. This made me teary, it’s just so difficult to even imagine but I’m glad that Lucy is ready to make some changes in her life.

  33. Karli says...

    Oh god I saw Lucy’s face and started crying. The makeover was phenomenal. I want to recreate all of it. What a lovely, kind way to touch someone’s life.

  34. Eileen says...

    Yep, best ever. So much sweetness and love.

  35. Heather says...

    Amazing!

    Love this story – design at its best!

  36. jennifer says...

    Layers of beauty in this post. Thank you for sharing.

  37. this is just beautiful! the makeover is amazing!

  38. Kristi says...

    I’m tearing up, too. Much love to Lucy, from this stranger.

    • Jennette says...

      yes, i mean, even the bedroom paint color name made me cry, “Love and Happiness.”

  39. Erin Cochran says...

    Best story on your blog ever. Thanks for sharing Joanna.

  40. Sylvie says...

    Wow. This is an amazing change for an amazing person. Well done!

  41. So much love for all of this!

  42. Erin says...

    Brought me to tears. SO sweet! Well done Jenny!

  43. amelia says...

    this is beautiful! i read paul’s book, and seeing this is just lovely.

  44. Michelle says...

    I absolutely LOVE the interior of this house! It’s seriously perfect!

  45. Amy says...

    Sending hugs to Joanna and Lucy and their whole family. Gorgeous home makeover. It’s humbling to have a window into such a personal process.

  46. Ana says...

    My heart goes out to your sister and her daughter. I am so happy that she has this happy home that both preserves the good energy of her marriage and allows it to become the space for this current phase of her life. No doubt she has a big heart like you no doubt do, Joanna. It is a beautiful transformation of a space.

  47. Gen says...

    This was wonderful! I would also love to know where to get those black chairs in the dining room/bedroom.

    • Both of these purchases were vintage and local! I’m not sure of the maker of the dining chairs, though the craigslist seller we bought them from said they were shipped over from Scotland at some point!

      The black slipper chair in the bedroom was designed by Milo Baughman. Hope that helps! xo

  48. Natalie says...

    Does anyone know where that lovely orange and white bag in the entry way photo is from?

  49. Jennyg says...

    An amazing post Joanna! You are an incredibly awesome sister! This is why I love your blog and am a devoted reader!!!

  50. Tina says...

    O gosh, that made ME cry, you are the best sister ever! It looks amazing!!! Love and hugs from Auckland New Zealand

  51. Laurel says...

    I have never cried from a home reveal before. This is not only gorgeous (seriously Jenny, where did you come from? Damn) but so moving. Lucy is an inspiration.

  52. Julie says...

    How absolutely lovely. My best to your sister and her little girl!

  53. Meggles says...

    This was so moving. I have goosebumps seeing your sister’s reaction. Joanna, I’ve been a longtime reader of your blog, and feel that, in a small way, I know your family. Just lovely…thanks so much for sharing.

    Lots of love to you, Lucy. I really admire you and your gracious response to your grief and loss.

  54. Katie says...

    Joanna, will you please post links to the big ticket items (rugs, sofa, art, pillows, etc.)?

    (I already posted about how this is the sweetest, most heartwarming thing. It really, truly is.)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Yes they are in the post! Xoxo

  55. Lori says...

    There is so much to love about this. What a gift, I am so happy for your sister and niece. And how awesome is the blush paint in the bedroom? I used it for my daughter’s nursery. It’s called Love and Happiness, isn’t that the best?

  56. Paula says...

    Lucy’s reaction was the sweetest! Well deserved <3

  57. This is the best! I am crying over a design post, but of course it is about so much more than that. The design is so beautiful and thoughtful, and the pictures of your sister at the reveal are priceless.

  58. Mirella says...

    This made me cry… beautiful and so touching.

  59. Carla says...

    I don’t usually cry at home makeovers, but this! This is the reason why a thoughtful, calm, and considered living space is so life affirming. What wonderful work by and for wonderful people!

  60. Joanna says...

    Beautiful. The makeover and your sister. I think this is the first home tour you’ve featured that I cried while reading. Paul’s (and Lucy’s) book really changed my husband and I. Thank you to both of them. This seems like a really fresh, loving, and beautiful space. Love to your entire family.

  61. Emily says...

    The apartment, the story, the people – so beautiful. I love this blog. What a beautiful thing to do.

  62. Melkorka says...

    This post made my heart swell. So happy that a home re-design could be some comfort to your sister in this rough time. What a lovely job Jenny Komeda did – it is so personal and warm!

  63. It’s just so gorgeous, and so well-deserved for your sister. I LOVE the bookshelves and want to recreate them in my home!

  64. Kathryn says...

    So beautiful. The design, the story, everything.

  65. Laura says...

    This is literally the best thing I’ve seen on the internet. Sending love to your sister.

  66. Sandra says...

    This is so touching. I plan to read Paul’s book soon, and think of how hard it must be for your sister to do press for it and be in the public eye while she is grieving. It is so nice that she has this beautiful and peaceful space to come home to now. It is just lovely.

    P.S. I love the bentwood shelf brackets–they seem to be sold out everywhere now!

  67. Alexandra says...

    What an incredibly thoughtful and sweet gift this was. Paul’s book has affected me so deeply (I think of it, and him, and Lucy so often). It was so moving to see these images, and imagine Lucy and her daughter wrapped in this beautiful hug of a home. Thanks for sharing this with all of this!

  68. This made me tear up.
    It looks so so beyond beautiful.
    My heart goes out to your sister and your family.
    I love coming to your site Jo. I always find it to be a breathe of fresh air.
    Wish you all my best,
    Fabiana

  69. Rya says...

    I read the book last month; I’m so glad that your sis is doing better and is starting to feel the happiness that she deserves.

  70. Having followed your blog for a long time and knowing your sister’s story, this post made me well up – such a beautiful home from one of my favorite designers, for one of the most deserving and lovely women.

  71. Mallory says...

    Best Post EVER. Why am I crying over an interior design post!

  72. I LOVE THIS!!!!! Thank you for sharing. And God bless you, Lucy (and Joanna, Cup of Jo staff, and Jenny).

  73. Emily Stubbs says...

    I just read Paul Kalinithi’s book, and now seeing this post is so heartwarming to me. I teared up reading it. What a beautiful job you did, Jenny and all my best wishes to Lucy!

  74. KR says...

    Beautiful! Your sister more so than the room. So happy she has a place that feels welcoming and light to her.

  75. Maggie says...

    I love everything about this post. Everything. I even cried (I’m not a sap).
    Also, I just bought the camel-colored couch :)

  76. Kristen says...

    this is really special. how wonderful to be able to demonstrate your love for your sister in this way, and what a beautiful space! thank you for sharing it with us!

  77. Ashley says...

    absolutely the best post ever. on any blog anywhere. eye & heart candy for the soul!

  78. ceciel says...

    Oh Joanna, I thought the last post from/about your Lucy was the one for the record books (the Katie Couric interview). She’s just so poised and honest. But you’ve outdone yourself. Her house is beautiful. She is gorgeous–the half tuck and the tall boots ;). The descriptions of both Lucy and Jenny’s joy in the finished product make me so happy (and I don’t *know either of them!!). Thanks for making the internet a good place to hang out. You are the best.

  79. Val says...

    Loooove everything about this. What a wonderful gift!

  80. Jessica Hitchcock says...

    What a powerful post. I cried reading it. Thank you for sharing.

  81. Kelly Libby says...

    whoa. Bring out the tissues.

    What a beautiful post. I’m a sister…and like you…love my sister beyond measure. This is the most perfect gift; a comfortable home surrounded by the people and items that mean the most to her.

    Thank you so much for sharing.

  82. Marissa says...

    Sending cross country hugs to your sister. Her home looks beautiful. Lots of good styling ideas (rugs on rugs on rugs!).

  83. Arielle says...

    I read this post at work and it made me feel good. What a beautiful idea and home make-over. Later that night, I was recalling my day to my husband and I’ve been keeping up with Lucy and Paul and I was in tears trying to explain how sweet and generous this act was. I am so moved. Keeping Lucy in my thoughts

  84. f says...

    so touching and lovely. what a thoughtful gesture and gift for your sister! the transformation is amazing.

  85. rachel says...

    lucy tearing up made me tear up too! such a beautiful transformation. best wishes to lucy and her sweet daughter. i know there’s so much joy to come.

  86. Sarah says...

    Is it dusty in here?

  87. Cindy says...

    I just read Paul’s book (cover to cover, couldn’t put it down) last night. Opening your blog and seeing Lucy’s face made me starting crying all over again. What a beautiful gift for her and the space is truly fresh and welcoming. I love this post.

  88. Sarah B says...

    This is, without a doubt, a true testament to why I love reading your blog. It’s real, not filled with fluff or trendy things and is always lovely (just like you). Thank you for sharing this! My thoughts and prayers to your sister, her daughter and your whole family as she starts this next chapter! xo

  89. Michelle Carr says...

    Best post EVER!!!

  90. melissa says...

    It’s beautiful! I love the photos of Lucy’s reaction, too. Beautiful all around!

  91. Darby says...

    Such a lovely post! It made me tear up to see her so happy and to hear about the incredible thoughtfulness put into making her house feel like home again.

  92. I’ve come back to this post multiple times in the past day. It’s so beautiful, from the sentiment to the design to the pure feelings on your sister’s face as she sees the space. xo

  93. Molly says...

    This is the best Cup of Jo post ever. Thanks to you and to your sister for sharing this personal story. It made me cry!

  94. Loesie says...

    Dear Lucy, I absolutely love how your home looks. It’s beautiful.
    I wish you and Cady so much light and love and laughter and I really believe this beautiful home will be a witness to all of those in the future.
    Lots of love and a big hug for Cady!

  95. rachael says...

    I have been a fan of Jenny’s blog and design aesthetic for years and have missed her more frequent, lengthy postings that she used to do (though I understand with 4 kids and a design business and Domino contributions how this might happen!). Anyway, this was just beautiful, everything about it. Hopeful and inspired. I feel as though I am actually going into my day with more gratitude and grace and an open eye for the beauty that I surround myself with. Design truly is transformative and I am so happy that your sister is able to get some comfort, and a restful night’s sleep, from this amazing makeover. She is lucky to have you!

  96. This is just amazing. What a great way to get a fresh start. This article reminds me of the importance of design and making sure we always durround ourselves with things we love. Thanks for sharing!

    http://www.sandrabestdecor.com

  97. Katie says...

    This is the sweetest thing in every way. Thank you for sharing.

  98. Jill says...

    NSFW. Crying…

  99. Beth says...

    What a wonderful thing! Lucy, I’ve followed your story through Cup of Jo and your husband’s beautiful writing. Best of luck to you and Cady on your next chapter.

  100. Joanna – I teared up reading this! what a wonderful, kind, loving, thoughtful thing to do your for sister. I’ve followed Lucy’s journey and I think the two of you have such a sweet relationship. Her apartment looks INCREDIBLE – and how beautiful to know that you helped make it a place she can feel happy in a new chapter. XO

  101. Jenny did an incredible job! Joanna, thank you for keeping us updated on your sister, your family love is beautiful! Take care <3
    – Charlie

  102. Brenna says...

    So Bright and Beautiful! So deserving to such a strong woman! Amazing work!!!

  103. Cynthia says...

    Such a beautiful transformation of space. I wish Lucy and Cady lifelong happiness, peace, and love in their home. Sunshine and light lift up everything. Thank you for sharing Paul’s spirit, scholarship, and transcendence with us.

  104. Wow! What an amazing transformation! Jenny is such an incredibly talented designer. What a wonderful new beginning for your dear sister. Sending much love and light to Lucy!!

  105. This is so touching, and what a beautiful makeover!

  106. D. Beickert says...

    Really need my own office… crying over here!

  107. K says...

    What a special makeover. I love your choices, it’s cozy without being cluttered.

  108. Megan says...

    This is hands-down my favorite Cup of Jo post so far! What an incredible transformation of space–fresh, but still full of the familiar. Heartwarming and inspiring.

  109. wow!! absolutely stunning. what a wonderfully special makeover.

  110. Such an amazingly wonderful post. Lucy looks so happy- and she deserves so much happiness. Thanks for sharing this!
    Source Question: Where is her bed from??!?! I’m in love!

    • Hi Chrissy!

      Lucy’s bad is from Blu Dot. It’s called the Nook bed in Poppy, though there are a TON of great colors! xo

  111. Hi, Joanna! I made the floral lumbar pillow for Lucy’s bedroom and am so honored that Jenny and Kayla asked me to be involved.

    What an inspiring story Lucy and Paul have, and what a gift you and the Juniper Studio team gave to Lucy for a fresh start. When I read what Lucy said how much it meant for Paul’s books to be intermingled with hers, the tears started flowing. Even through all the pain, there can be joy.

  112. JoAnna says...

    What a wonderful, wonderful thing you were able to do for your sister. This made me so teary-eyed! It’s a stunning transformation full of love and care, and I wish your sister a very happy new start and a new lightness.

  113. MJT says...

    What a lovely, lovely post. I too have read your blog for years and never felt the need to comment until now, but this moved me to tears. I thought Jenny did a wonderful job of making Lucy and Cady’s home fresh and new while keeping Paul very much there with them. Jo, what a wonderful sister you are to Lucy…I really envy your sisterly bond. Thank you for sharing such a special personal story.

  114. Sharron says...

    This is just beautiful, on every level!

  115. Can I say this is one of my favorite posts ever?
    Your sister looks like an amazing and strong woman, and Jenny is my favorite designer, DIY kick-ass woman.
    I loved reading all of Jenny’s tips and Lucy’s comments.
    This post is priceless! I loved it all.

    • Again, this post made me cry a little…

  116. Florencia says...

    Such a beautiful work to ease the soul of a grieving person. You made me go all goosebumpy from here Argentina. Kudos!

  117. jess says...

    What a beautiful post -thank you so much for sharing! I finished your sister’s book last night at 2am and haven’t stopped thinking about her since. I wish her and her daughter the best.

  118. What a beautiful house and beautiful thing to do!

  119. Julie says...

    Absolutely amazing! I’ve never been so moved to comment before. These pictures bring me such happiness! Sending much love and light to both your sweet families!

  120. Hope says...

    We love you, Lucy.

  121. Lindsay says...

    This was amazing! I’m so happy for your sister. Tears were streaming down my face the whole time I was reading. What an awesome post!

  122. my goodness! i love this house :) i love this story :) i hate that i’m crying in my office reading it!

  123. Absolutely in love with this post. It inspired me and moved me to tears.

  124. That’s amazing! Her house looks beautiful :)

  125. Arika says...

    So awesome. Jenny is amazing! I am so happy for your sister!

  126. Lisa says...

    Thank you so much, Joanna & Lucy, for sharing your lives. My heart is more open, tender, and inspired because I got to read your story. Bless you!!!

  127. This is really beautiful. In so many ways.

  128. Rachel J says...

    Wow! This was such a fun and inspiring post to read. I just picked up Paul’s book and I love reading it feeling like I “know” a little bit of Lucy. The home looks amazing – Jenny does magic!

  129. Carolyn says...

    This is a wonderful new beginning whilst still honouring the past.

  130. ann says...

    I read Paul’s book several weeks ago and somehow missed that Lucy was your sister (missed those posts!). His words were a comfort during my own troubles. I’ve given a lot of thought to his writing that life is not about avoiding suffering but finding meaning. Those words have felt quite true to me. What an amazing family you have. This is such a lovely thing to do for your sister and as always, a big fan of Jenny’s work.

  131. This is such an amazing transformation! I love how much brighter it is now and her reaction was priceless!

    Holly X

  132. meg says...

    Wow! What (much deserved) gift for your sister! I am guessing it was very cathartic.

    Gorgeous bright spaces. Love the photos of Lucy!
    Wishing her and her child many happy years there.

  133. megan says...

    wow! i never comment but had to say what a beautiful post and lovely gift for your sister! brought me to tears. truly amazing – thank you!

  134. Gabriella says...

    This is so heart-warming and touching! What a wonderful surprise for your sister. Even just looking at the photos it feels as if a heavy weight had been lifted off her shoulders! The space is bright, and fresh and I’d imagine just what your sister needs. So happy for her and her daughter to have a friendly home to come home too, that still has all of the little reminders of her late husband there with her.

  135. Becka says...

    This is such a beautiful post and the home makeover is amazing, thanks so much for sharing :)

  136. Oh my gosh I am in tears – it’s so beautiful and a wild transformation. This designer is supremely talented and Lucy’s facial expressions are so moving. Thank you for such a great post. So many practical things we can take from this project – I’m glad Jenny shared the thought process and tips! So many before & afters seem like mysteries (how did they do it??) or far too expensive to attempt, but this one gives you a roadmap to try her techniques.

  137. Miriam says...

    so great and so touched.

  138. Jill C says...

    This is so lovely. After reading Paul’s book I have been following Lucy’s publicity tour and her interviews to promote it. I am so in awe of how Lucy has handled herself with such compassion and candour and grace. The house is beautiful, and I hope it brings much joy. x

  139. mika says...

    This is why A Cup of Jo stands out from the rest. Spectacularly heartwarming post. <3

  140. Jo… this is the nicest thing ever. Wow!

  141. Chiara says...

    So touching… all the best for your sister…

  142. Nadia says...

    Like some of the other people on here have said, I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and have never commented (actually, I’ve never commented on anyone’s blog, full stop!). But I just had to for this post – it moved me so much. What a wonderful, generous, special gift for someone who has has to deal with one of the hardest things anyone could go through. I hope that her beautiful new space can bring Lucy and her daughter some much-deserved peace and joy.

  143. LB says...

    This just made my day! I recently finished Paul’s beautiful book and I can’t imagine all that Lucy’s been through over the last couple of years. Reading this post felt very uplifting, thank you.