Before Oprah's Wildest Dreams Bus came along, Bernadette's family was crammed in a tiny three-bedroom apartment with one bathroom. They slept three or four to a bed and dealt with the dangers of living in an unsafe neighborhood.
But not anymore! Nate's mission? To transform the house Bernadette chose for her family into a real dream home.
"This is one of my favorite kinds of makeovers because there's nothing," Nate said before beginning renovations. "All I have to do is add everything that's beautiful…this will not be recognizable when I'm done."
Despite some architectural challenges, Nate vowed to find enough space for each family member to have his or her own bed. Nate also planned a total overhaul of the outdated kitchen, a backyard makeover and many more amazing additions.
Finally, after six long months, 30 custom Pella windows, 3,000 feet of Armstrong flooring, 300 perennial flowers, 35 fixtures from Circa Lighting, eight high-tech appliances, three stories of stairs, two top-of-the-line bathrooms and one new roof and a new porch, Bernadette's bungalow was finally ready for the family!
Hundreds of new friends and neighbors lined the streets as the Robinson's limo arrived for the big reveal. Her lifelong dream that was a year in the making finally became a reality!
Despite temptation, Bernadette promised Nate she wouldn't drive by her house or sneak a peek before her surprise home makeover was complete. Finally, that day arrived!
"We couldn't be happier to be doing this for somebody as special as you are," Nate says to Bernadette. "Because you know what you put out there comes back. … And this is your day to get it all back."
With tears running down her cheeks, Bernadette stepped into her redesigned home for the first time. Everything was transformed into a warm, comfortable space. "This is the stuff that you only see on the TV or in a book," Bernadette says. "But I'm in it now. This is beautiful."
No details were spared in this home sweet home! Bernadette's triple pane glass Pella Designer Series Windows are one of the most energy efficient windows available, which will save her money during the long, cold Chicago winters. Also, the operators to raise and lower the blinds and shades in Pella Designer Series are cordless, so they are safer for Bernadette's nine children! And, other window shades throughout the house are virtually dust and allergen free because they are built in between two panes of glass.
"This house represents more than just a house filled with beautiful things," Nate says. "It's not furniture. It's not paint. What it is is telling these children they are counted. They are heard. They are valued. That's what this experience is really all about."
Bernadette says it was hard waking her family up to come to the Oprah Show
because they didn't want to leave the comfort of the first beds they can call their own!
Bernadette's boys were especially happy in their basketball-themed bedroom, which was made complete with a custom mural and signed basketballs from NBA superstars like LeBron James, Reggie Miller, Tim Duncan, Shaq, Yao Ming, Steve Nash, Carmello Anthony, Tracy McGrady and…Dwight's favorite player, Kevin Garnett!
Kevin Garnett sent a special message to the Robinson family and a big surprise for Oprah! Dwight delivered Kevin's letter to Oprah, which said: "Dear Oprah,
When I saw all that you've done for [Bernadette's family] and the survivors of the Hurricane Katrina, I was inspired to log onto Oprah.com to see how I could help. So because of you, Oprah, I'm personally buying one Katrina home from your registry every month for the next two years . That's 24 homes and $1.2 million for your Angel Network to help other families who need a place to live. Keep up the great work.
Your friend, Kevin Garnett"
"You are my friend, Kevin," Oprah exclaims. "Thank you!"
With a new home and a fresh start, Bernadette and her family say they are thankful that their wildest dreams have come true. But, there is one more dream that Oprah wants to make come true for Bernadette's children, nieces and nephews.
"This is what I would like to say to every one of the children in this family," Oprah tells the family. "I believe that having a house is a wonderful thing and now you all have a beautiful house. I think having wonderful things is really a nice thing to have in life. But the most important thing in your life will be your ability to take responsibility for your life, and I believe that education is freedom. So I want you guys to promise me that you will do everything in your power to do the best that you can in school, and then, I will personally—not the Angel Network, not my foundation—I will make sure that each of you gets the college education that you deserve."
And that's a promise! Special thanks and products used in Bernadette's new home
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