A “Surprise!” Home Makeover by Emily Henderson

published Jul 28, 2016
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(Image credit: Courtesy Emily Henderson)

Home decor tends to be one of those things that some people consider “superficial” and maybe even inconsequential. But we here at Apartment Therapy understand the real power of a well-designed room. Coming home every day to a place we are proud of and that makes us smile, and heck, even helps us to live our lives well, is something we do not take lightly. Neither does Emily Henderson.

The designer recently partnered with Target to make over her nanny’s home, which was in some serious need of life, personality and attention. We could tell you the story from our perspective, but we’re going to let Emily take it from here:

“We do a lot of makeovers over here, as you know. But this one, this one is my favorite makeover I have ever done. It is for a family that I care about so much, that needed it so badly and that truly appreciates it. The client? My nanny, Sylvia, and her family.

(Image credit: Courtesy Emily Henderson)

Sylvia has been working for our family for over a year. We have two children under the age of three that are so lovely, but caring for both of them all day, every day is absolute insanity. Between both kids she survives 4 naps, 9 snacks, 2 super messy meals, 2 – 15 temper tantrums (depending on the day!), 4-5 meltdowns (hers or his), and 97,428 things out of place that she (and the kids) help put away before we get home. We don’t have a yard so amidst all that she has to get them both out of the house, down 27 stairs to a car, and she takes them to a park or preschool/class where one of them probably isn’t so into it.

She loves them, they love her, and she stays positive all day. Every day when I get home my kids are happy, well taken care of, and the house is put together. That last part is baffling to me (HOW???) and yet its really the key to my sanity and marriage.

(Image credit: Courtesy Emily Henderson)

I know that it’s hard, and yet every day she says what a great day they had. I don’t think she is lying – I know they have fun. But she is protecting me. I know that she knows that hearing the horrible nuances of raising a 9 month old and a 2 1/2 year old together are not what I need at 5:30pm when I’m DYING to squeeze my children, take over and feel like I’m the one truly raising them. Sure she tells me everything important, but she doesn’t just generally complain about them or act exhausted. EVER. I try to thank her every day, all day, but her job warrants so much more than my casual gratitude. What she does for my family, what all nannies do for any families, is so important, intimate, emotional, and personal on top of being such exhaustingly hard work.

So, I kept trying to think of how I could repay her. I would give her furniture after shoots that we didn’t need and she gladly took it, which made me think that maybe she wasn’t psyched about how her house looked. I kept thinking what if I could go in there and just surprise her?

(Image credit: Courtesy Emily Henderson)

And surprise her she did. Check out one of the after shots of Sylvia and her family’s living room:

(Image credit: Courtesy Emily Henderson)

Emily tackled four other spaces in Sylvia’s home, and they’re all such an enormous transformation.

Before we wrap this up, we wanted to share this sweet video on the family, and hear more about the process from Emily. Check it out: