Ten years ago, Alisa Rodriguez was a high school dropout working in a dead-end job. Now, thanks to a tough-as-nails mentor and a GED, she's living a life she never thought possible. She has a professional job in downtown Detroit, is going to school for graphic design, and she's bought her first place. Her new basement has a lot of potential, but needs the help of designer Erica Pedrosi to make it the hip and cool hangout that Alisa deserves.
Jess and Mike Leventry had only been married six months when Jess was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. The honeymoon period was dramatically cut short when Jess moved back into her parents' Philadelphia home to be closer to a cutting-edge treatment facility. Mike stayed behind in Reading to keep his job and insurance as a community planner. The couple has been working hard ever since to reunite in their first place, a quaint Victorian. Designer Carey Evans plans to transform their new bedroom into a romantic bed-and-breakfast retreat where they can finally be together again and relive their Jersey Shore honeymoon.
After living with her brother in a rundown row house in Philadelphia to save money, Nya El-Amin is more than ready to move into her first placea new three-story townhouse. She has a big personality and wants her living room and dining room (shown at right) to be as over-the-top as she is. Designer Tom Zemon comes up with a plan he calls "The Palace of the Beautiful Girl," which evokes India, complete with Taj Mahal-shaped arches and 70 exotic pillows.
Pediatric Psychologist Debra Lefkowitz has a stressful job helping kids and their parents cope with serious illnesses. So when she moves to her first place, a condo that is twice the size of her old apartment, she wants it to be a place where she can totally kick back. Designer Gary Kelly signs on to create a bedroom with a Middle Eastern flair.
Kelley Miller and John Dougherty have managed to save enough for a down payment on their first place. The catch is that they both have to work overtime to make their new mortgage payment. Since they don't get to see each other very much, designer Carey Evans plans to use a few pictures and a lot of paint to make their new bedroom a place where they can get away from it all.
April Bollwage lived in her childhood home until her early 30s. Her boyfriend, Wayne Pack, also lived there for a time. The reason? They were taking care of April's parents during her mom's fight against breast cancer and her father's heart attack. The two carpooled and worked second jobs to save up for their first place, and now they have it. They bought a two-year-old house between Philadelphia and New York. Designer Carriann Arkowski sets out to design a living room for the laidback couple that is Metropolitan in style, but still casual.
Newlyweds Asher and Sarah Kahn have stuff crammed into every nook and cranny of their Philadelphia rental. Their first place has room enough to display their special treasures, but Asher's favorite piece of art is Sarah's least favorite. Designer Carey Evans tackles the challenge of creating a practical and personal living room that appeals to both.
There's no doubt that Andrea and Ron Stevenson are the perfect match. How else could they have survived two years together in a 300-square-foot apartment? They finally graduated to 1,300 square feet when they bought their first place, a 1960s two-story in a Detroit suburb. But they unpacked a problem along with their boxes: Ron's collection of medieval swords. Andrea has agreed to allow the collection to be housed in their new home office, though they're not quite her taste. Enter designer Erica Pedrosi. She presents a bold plan to bring midcentury medieval up to the present day in a way that will make even Andrea smile!
Single mom Aisha Thomas has had her hands full the last few years with putting herself through grad school, having a baby and saving to buy her first place. Designer Rebecca King signs on to give this determined mom a well-deserved place to take a break by creating a living room she calls "The My Time Gathering Room."
Linda and Mark Otto have endured more struggle than your average newlyweds. Linda met Mark when he was battling liver disease and waiting for a transplant to save his life. She stood by him for three long years as his health deteriorated. Then a donated liver became available and gave Mark a future with Linda! The couple got married and bought their first place, just outside of Detroit. Designer Erica Pedrosi wants to design a seaside family room for the couple to remind them of San Diego where they met and fell in love.
Lyz Hughes and Steve Fong are ready to take the next step in their relationshipbuying their first place together. But finding a place wasn't easy. In deference to Steve's family, the couple needed a Chinese fortune-teller to approve the north Philadelphia house before they bought it. Now that they are finally moved in, designer Barry Wood will ensure that the good chi keeps flowing by creating a feng shui-friendly bedroom.
Gladis and Juan Saquique are living the American dream, after two years of living in a nightmarish basement apartment to save a $15,000 down payment for their fourth-story Hackensack, N.J. condominium. But these two Central American immigrants have very little to fill their new 25 x 13 living room. Designer Tom Zemon sets out to adorn half the space with an elegant seating area anchored by an electric fireplace. The second half of the room will feature a baby grand piano.
Five years ago, Rehana Syed and Amit Godambe fell in love and emigrated from their native India to Pennsylvania. There they fell in love all over again this time with the American dream. After two sons and three years in a tiny fifth-floor apartment, they've saved up enough for a three-bedroom home in their favorite Philadelphia neighborhood. But their dream home comes with a boring living/dining room that doesn't reflect their colorful personalities or heritage. Designer Carey Evans intends to change that. She plans to spice it up with the flavors of India, so this couple has a room that reflects their story.
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