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Viola Davis Renovated Her Best Friend's Home Into a Chic and Relaxing Retreat

April 27, 2020

Viola Davis headed to Minneapolis to surprise her acting school roommate and best friend of over 30 years with a home renovation. With the help of Jonathan and Drew Scott, Viola gifted her friend a peaceful sanctuary where the doting mom can finally put herself first.

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Viola Davis + Michelle O'Neill

Viola Davis and Michelle O’Neill have been best friends for 31 years. The two women first met at The Julliard School in New York City, where they bonded over their passion for acting. Eventually they became roommates, and the rest is history. While their acting careers went different directions — Viola’s to Los Angeles and Michelle’s to Minneapolis — they never lost touch. Throughout the years, according to Viola, Michelle helped Viola through bad relationships and was there when no one else was. And in 2012 when Michelle was diagnosed with breast cancer, Viola was the first person she called. “I understand the givers in the world — I really do. But every once in a while, I think that the giver can get exhausted and drained and depleted and needs to be reminded that they’re a gift to people, too,” said Viola. “So, this renovation of her home is my gift to her.”

Together with the Property Brothers, Viola Davis headed to Minneapolis to surprise her “sister from another mister” Michelle with a renovation of her living room, dining room, kitchen and office space.

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Behind-the-Scenes Selfie

Prior to demo starting, Viola and her 9-year-old daughter Genesis Tennon grabbed a quick selfie with Jonathan and Drew Scott. Following in mom’s footsteps, Genesis recently made her acting debut as the voice of Vivi in The Angry Birds Movie 2.

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Demo Ready

She might know how to get away with murder (she's lead actor in the hit series by that name, after all), but home demolition was new to Viola. If anyone can help you get into the role of contractor though, it’s the Property Brothers!

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Photo: Dennys Ilac

The Living Room, Before

Noting how important family is to Michelle, Viola wanted to give her a living space that would allow her to connect even more with her loved ones. The previous living room felt tight, with furniture just fitting into the space. Michelle’s record collection overwhelmed what little storage there was.

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