It had been three weeks since Tandy and Brian Balson handed over the keys to their new apartment. Posted on their two-bedroom apartment door was a large “Extreme Home Makeover” sign. It was July 16 and time for the big reveal.
“It was beautiful,” Tandy said. “It’s an 18-year-old building, and they’ve made it look brand new.”
The Balsons had recently purchased the apartment after downsizing from their home. Initially, they figured they would change the paint and maybe upgrade the flooring.
But their son, Chris, and daughter-in-law Jackie Balson, had other ideas.
“They said, leave it up to us, we would like to make it really nice for you,” she said. “They did so much more than we thought.”
Forbidden to see their apartment during the transformation process, Tandy compared the experience to being on an HGTV show.
“The day we got possession, we just wandered through and then gave the keys directly to them,” she explained. “On Extreme Home Makeover, the family is sent away, and our son said, ‘you’ve worked hard to get everything packed, go take a vacation, go stay in the trailer and relax.’”
According to Tandy, the time spent in their RV gave her and Brian time to unwind after the arduous process of downsizing and moving from a four-bedroom house to a smaller apartment.
Although the Balsons said they wanted the makeover to be a surprise, Tandy said even if they had wanted to sneak a peek, it wouldn’t have been possible.
“It’s like if you peek at your Christmas present ahead of time,” she said. “We didn’t want to do that...but I did find out later that had we been tempted, we wouldn’t be able to because they changed the locks right away.”
Meanwhile, Jackie and Chris were hard at work, transforming the place.
“My husband and I make a great team,” Jackie said. “He takes care of the construction side of things...whereas I got to dream up all the design elements.”
According to Jackie, the Balsons had helped her and Chris out on numerous occasions, and renovating their place was a way to show their appreciation.
“This was something we knew we could do for them,” she said.
Entering their newly renovated apartment for the first time, the Balsons said they were overwhelmed to see a completely renovated kitchen and bathroom, where they were greeted with new countertops, cabinets, appliances, backsplash, ceiling and baseboards.
“They did a lot more than we thought they were going to do...they upgraded a lot of things we wouldn’t have spent a lot of time and effort on,” Tandy said.
“One of the best lines they [the Balsons] said was that it was better than they could’ve imagined,” Jackie added. “That made us feel awesome that they loved their new space.”