Erin and Ben were most excited to help renovate Donelle Thornton's home this season for two reasons. They love bringing new life to an older home, and there's no one more deserving of this renovation! Donelle is a single mother to two boys, and she happens to be a City Inspector for the Home Town projects.
Ben said, "I love the story of this house. Donelle's a hard-working single mom who saved up her money and bought a house. Now she's saved up some more and wants to renovate."
Donelle and her boys lived in an apartment for many years, and she made a promise that they would have their own home one day.
She said, "It was a dream of mine as a mother. I told my boys three years in a row, I'm going to get you a house. We finally pulled up to the house, and their mouths just dropped. They're like, where are we, and I was like, This is our home. And they were stunned for a minute. Soon as I took them inside, they picked out their rooms and started making plans."
While most homeowners are new to the area and choose between two homes, Erin particularly enjoys working with homeowners that already live in the home.
Erin said, "It's enjoyable to me when you work in a house that someone's already lived in. Because they're so familiar with what it is now, in a way, they live in it. It's going to be even more of a surprise when they see how different it can be."
With an all-in budget of $60,000, Donelle sought out Erin and Ben's help to make her house more dynamic, personal, and enjoyable for the entire family.
Erin and Ben gave her two choices: Plan A would renovate all the public living spaces, like the living room, dining room, and galley kitchen. Plan B would be the boys' bathroom and Donelle's master suite. Eventually, Donelle chose to renovate the main living spaces since she loves to host family and friends at her home often.
Donelle said, "We chose the kitchen, the family room, and the dining room, and I'm excited. This is where our family gathers, and when company comes, these are the rooms they're going to see. We can renovate the other parts later!"
While Ben and the team worked on demo, Erin was in the process of nesting and preparing for Baby Mae's arrival in the weeks to come. (She has since arrived!) Mallorie and the LMCo. girls gathered together to create Mal's famous Jambalaya as a gift for Erin's newest addition and Donelle's new home, too!
Erin said, "I've known Mallorie for 16 years, and her Jambalaya has been THE meal. Even in college, it was what she made to impress everybody, and it still impresses. It's not a complicated recipe. There's like tomatoes, French onion soup, chicken, rice, sausage and much more. I wish we could all have it; it's so good."
Over the next few weeks of renovation, Erin and Ben worked hard to finish the home, and Donelle and her boys were excited to see the transformation. When reveal time finally arrived, Donelle was struck by how bright the house appeared from the street. Its hospitality, warmth, and new color palette made a statement, and the "happy tears" were unavoidable.
Erin said, "This house was built sometime in the 70s, so we set out to find ways to take what we have and make it feel more like her. Now, this house feels so new and different, but I hope it's familiar, too. She bought this house for a reason, and she wanted to surprise her boys to make them proud. I think this house will make them all so proud today."
Donelle said, "I'm just overwhelmed with joy. Being a mother of two boys, I want to thank you for this opportunity. Thank you for giving me a dream home."
It was a delight to watch Donelle get her dream home, and we're so excited to see how their family will treasure time in this new space together. Welcome home, Thornton family!