What do you get when you combine like-minded organizations, talented DIY bloggers with boundless energy and enthusiasm and a family in need? Habitat for Humanity and a lot of happy tears!
Like most great stories, it’s all in the journey – not just the destination. It started with GMC and Habitat for Humanity’s Southern Crescent chapter coming together on behalf of the Simmons family of Jonesboro, Georgia. The Simmons knew they were getting a house, but had no idea that six talented DIY bloggers/interior designers were going to furnish and decorate it as well.
GMC supplied large, capable (and stylish) vehicles, along with a small allowance to assist each blogger in purchasing necessities for various rooms in the house along Route 127, also known as the World’s Longest Yard Sale. With visions of each family member’s style preferences in mind, an epic “GMC Hidden Treasure Adventure” began in Hudson, Michigan. The bloggers often consulted their networks and each other for inspired ideas, solutions and encouragement. As they stopped at different “sales” along the nearly 700-mile route, group texting helped nail the perfect “find.” Tweets, comments and posts made along the way can be found on Twitter and Instagram at #GMChta – as well as on each blogger’s site (links provided with their names below).
All in all, it took five sweltering days, combing through the front yards and farmlands of Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia. Along the way, random acts of spontaneous humanity revealed themselves: fellow yard-salers donating money, building a shelf for the girls’ room on the spot, giving a couch away for free, etc., and an overwhelming feeling that “there are still good people left” followed the bloggers everywhere they went.
Each day, after countless miles were driven and materials were purchased, the real work started. The DIYers gathered in dark hotel parking lots under streetlamps to sand, refurbish and paint, only to start all over again the next day.
By the time the Big Reveal day came, there was still a need to “DIY” some of the used furniture. Thanks to the generosity of companies like Rust-Oleum and toolmaker Ryobi donating much-needed items, the just-in-time deadline was met and appreciated by a most deserving family. A family who previous didn’t have enough beds or a kitchen table to share a family meal. The expressions on their faces and one comment in particular from the youngest member (“I think I’m in heaven!”) was the stuff of television.
DIY bloggers Jocie Hagan put the “family” in family room; Liz Marie Galvan created the sports-themed boys’ room; Christine Cook provided the soulful Music Room for mom Leetoya, along with the powder room; Carissa Rogers envisioned a “girlie girl” room for sisters Arlene and Arielle; Kirsten Grove gave mom Leetoya a serene master bedroom; and Courtney Allison put her keen designer’s eye on the kitchen.
The result: A song of thanks, directly from the heart of Leetoya for everyone gathered; six very exhausted bloggers; a contented GMC team and a thrilled Habitat for humanity organization filled to the brim with everlasting memories of turning a house into a home.