When we last saw Nate, he was giving a deserving couple the surprise of their lives. Joan and Ken thought they were here to ask Nate a decorating question about their unfinished basement—but in reality, the couple was chosen for Nate's latest decorating challenge. "You get to take Nate home!" Oprah said.
Joan was selected for the room redo after Oprah Show producers received a touching letter from her. In 2003, Joan was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer, which spread to her lymph nodes and back. "I just found out within the last month that my cancer has returned again for the fourth time," she says. In January 2008, Joan was sent to the emergency room with congestive heart failure and told by her cardiologist to stop working and to go home to be with her family. "Very scary for me because I loved my job," she says. "I loved the people I worked with. They were my friends. We were a family."
As all this went on, Joan says her husband and two sons, Andrew and Kenny, took over all the cooking, laundry and errands. In return, Joan wants to so something special for her guys. "I would love to give my husband the workroom he's always wanted and my boys a family room that they can share with their friends," she wrote.
To make her wish come true, Nate traveled to Joan's home in upstate New York to take a look at the family's basement for the first time. "Welcome to the danger zone," Ken says. The unfinished basement is basically a storage room, Nate says—complete with leaking pipes, electrical problems and even a mouse! "It was absolutely a gut job," he says.
When Joan and Ken first moved into their home, it was already 43 years old and the basement needed a lot of work. "Several years back, I started the project," Ken says. "What I wanted to do was bring the living space over. And the basement, it was prime for our kids for a playroom and activity room." However, Joan's cancer has put Ken's plan to halt—and Nate is ready to step in.
The goal: Give the boys a space to relax and hang out with friends while giving Ken a work space for his tools. Can Nate do it?
It's been several weeks, and Nate is ready to show Joan, Ken, Andrew and Kenny what he's accomplished. Nate welcomes the family to...the man cave! "I think we're moving down here to live!" Joan says.
As the family gets their first look, the boys zone right in on the new pool table. "It's so much better than I thought it would be, but my favorite part would have to be the pool table," Andrew says.
Keeping his rough-and-tumble clients in mind, Nate created a space that is virtually boy-proof. "This wood paneling is actually reclaimed wood from a covered bridge in Vermont, and this is, like, indestructible," Nate says.
When the boys get home from school, they now have a place to hang out with their friends. The new couch is a sectional with plenty of space to watch TV on the new flat-screen.
Nate took special care to make sure no detail went unnoticed. "These benches over there, I took an old blanket and I actually staple-gunned the plaid so that it would match everything else."
Homework time just got a lot more interesting—Nate created a study area complete with its own built-in snack area. "Oh my God, there's a sink," Ken says. "And a mini-fridge!"
The tour isn't over yet—behind door number one is a room with Olympic status. Along with a boxing bag and treadmill, the workout room is complete with signed posters and motocross gear from one of Andrew and Kenny's favorite BMX athletes, Mike Day.
We know the boys are happy—but what about Dad? Behind door number two, Nate shows Ken his new project area. Before, Ken's workshop was a scattered pile of tools. Now, there's a place for everything. "This is amazing," Ken says. "I can't believe how you used all this space in this basement."
For the grand finale, Nate has a gift for the entire family—a home theater lowers down from the ceiling, perfect for movie nights! "How awesome is that?" Nate says. "You've got over 120 new movies, and this place turns into a movie theater with surround sound."
"I don't think we're ever going out again!" Joan says.
Joan may have received the space she wished for, but Nate isn't quite finished yet. Over and over, Nate says he heard Andrew and Kenny say they wanted to do something nice for their mom. But with Nate's team scrambling to perfect the basement, there wasn't any time for a second makeover. "But I did go up to the bedroom to take a look around and see what Joan was living in now," Nate says. "It's not very pulled together. I mean, if I were spending a lot of time there, I would want a space that's a little bit more serene and a little bit more peaceful."
If he could make over Joan's bedroom, what would Nate do? "If I could do anything, I would probably add lighting, first of all, because I noticed that the lighting was not great," he says. Nate says he would start with a new chandelier, beautiful bedding and extra seating. Next, he'd add bookcases for a library feel with plenty of space for personal touches like books and photos. "And mirrors, I think, would reflect more light because it's not the brightest space," he says. He'd also move the bed in front of the window, add a new dresser and a new TV—just as long as it was tucked away on the bookcase, out of site. "That's what I would do," Nate says.
Since Nate didn't have time for his ideal makeover when he was in New York, this entire dream bedroom set will be shipped home to Joan! "It's beautiful," Joan says.
See something you like? Find information on all products used in this makeoverSee Thom Filicia's 60-minute makeover!