Local Woman Wins TLC "Trading Spaces" Sweepstakes

Melissa Gillis of Henderson entered an online sweepstakes for TLC's "Trading Spaces" in the spring. This summer, she found out she had won and could pick out a room of her choice to get a facelift.

There was nothing wrong with the Gillis' kitchen before the makeover. But Melissa just wanted a change from the plain, white cabinets, wallpaper, and formica countertops.

The cabinet doors have already been replaced. The new ones have texture and a golden tint to match the walls.

"In the kitchen, it's a little more country," Melissa said. "But I have a lot of cast-iron pieces."

Today, the countertops came off, and Tim Allen and his partner from Kilgore went to work.

"We were really excited about it," Allen said. "It sounded like a lot of fun."

It all began more than six months ago, when Melissa was watching TV.

"They were advertising on TV that they were having a Home Free Sweepstakes, which was worth $350,000," she said. "And that's what I thought I was entering when I entered that sweepstakes."

What Melissa didn't realize was she was actually entering a different TLC sweepstakes.

"So I didn't believe them when they called me."

To tell her she was the grand prize winner of a free room makeover, $1,000 for materials, and a free consultation with a "Trading Spaces" designer.

"If I'm home watching TV on weekends, it's on 'Trading Spaces,'" she said. "So I really love it. I knew all of the names of the designers. And I knew who I wanted to come here."

Over the summer, Melissa's chosen designer, Christi Proctor of Waco, spent half a day giving her design tips and shopping for new kitchen tiles.

"What she told me to do with the kitchen was pretty much what I was thinking already," Melissa said.

Creative minds aligning.

Hammering away, the carpenters are making progress. But it is a work in progress that will have Melissa waiting for a few more days.

The Gillises, and especially Melissa, have spent many hours on their own working on their kitchen. They plan to have all the finishing touches done in time for the upcoming holidays.

Julie Tam, reporting.