Kitchen Makeover - Cup of Jo blog

There may be no place like home, but for Lucy Kalanithi, home was a hard place to be.

The young mother was married to a neurosurgeon until he passed away from stage four cancer in March of 2015. What was once the Californian apartment she shared with the love of her life became a painful reminder of loss.


Lucy’s sister, Joanna Goddard, sympathized with her predicament.

“It still felt like the house she had shared with Paul,” Joanna wrote on her blog, “but she wanted it to feel like a home of her own where she could have a fresh start with her daughter.”

Without any ado, Joanna recruited the help of her interior decorating friend Jenny Komenda from Juniper Studios for a home makeover.

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While Lucy was away promoting her late husband’s book When Breath Becomes Air, Joanna and Jenny got to work, changing the darkly shadowed den into a brightly lit family space.

Living Room Makeover - Cup of Jo Blog

“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,” explains Jenny regarding the decor. “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.”

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It was a tough deal, but Lucy’s tearful reaction of joy made it all worth it.

“She said what we had all been feeling all week, that this is what Paul would have wanted,” Jenny said. “It was one of the most rewarding moments I’ve ever had.”

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