Building a Dream House by Nate Berkus

Building a Dream House
By Nate Berkus
The Oprah Winfrey Show
June 24, 2009

NB is known for his amazing ability to transform any size space into a stunning home—but he has never done anything quite like this. In fact, his latest transformation is making Oprah Show history!
Kari and Dave Hale were desperate for a Nate intervention. They sent in a video of their Seattle-area home, where they live with their 2-year-old son, Ty, and their three nieces—8-year-old Lily, 10-year-old Izzy and 11-year-old Jade.
Kari and Dave bought their 1960s tract house in 2004, a year before giving birth to Ty. The couple had big plans for their home, but their goals changed when Kari and Dave became the guardians of Kari's three nieces. "We really just all six of us have had to start from scratch to say, 'This is our new life. How do we get the laundry done for six people? How do we get dinner done every night?'" Kari says. "'How do we make sure everybody gets a hug?'"
Since doubling the size of their family, Kari and Dave say their tiny house just isn't cutting it anymore. "Every little piece of our budget that we have now, and all our energy, is really focused, really, basically, 100 percent on them, on the kids—all four kids," Kari says. "So the house just sort of became practically less of a priority. Family first, furniture second

Nate was so touched by the Hale-Jo family's story, he decided to make their dreams come true with a complete home makeover! "One of the things that really touched me was in the e-mail that Kari sent to the show, she wrote, and the line will stay with me for a long time, 'When we bought this house, we were planning on redoing this house from top to bottom, but now we're redoing the lives of these three beautiful children,'" Nate says.


To give Kari, Dave and the kids a spacious area to gather for meals, Nate tore down a dividing wall and opened the kitchen into the living room. He recycled the family's old dishwasher and stove. "I wanted to open up this whole space so that people could do homework. You guys could eat over here. You could eat at the table. You could all hang out," Nate says.
In the main living area, Nate added special touches to make the family feel at home. He hung a blown-up black-and-white picture of the four children on one wall and made bookshelves for Kari's books. For those cold, gray Seattle nights, the family can cozy up by the new fireplace

 Before the girls get to see their new bedrooms, Nate gives them a very special message from two of their favorite stars—Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens from High School Musical 2. Izzy and Lily are so shocked they are literally speechless!

 Since Jade moved in with her aunt and uncle, she's been sleeping in a cramped bedroom with no closet. Her biggest complaint is that her bed is simply too big for the small space. This leaves little room to do the things she loves to do, like play the clarinet.

Before the renovations begin, Nate consults with his young client. Jade says her favorite color is green. "I like green, too," Nate says. "My favorite color is Army green."

The Hale-Jo family may think their house tour is over, but Nate has another surprise in store. Next to the main house, construction crews built a special room just for Jade, Izzy, Lily and Ty.

This deluxe playhouse is the perfect place for the kids to do homework or arts and crafts. Large windows also make it easy for Kari to keep an eye on things from inside the kitchen
Ty doesn't waste any time. Within minutes, he's coloring at the small table in the middle of the room, while his cousins check out the cork boards hanging on the wall. "I don't feel like this is real," Izzy says. "It feels good."

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