BELLINGHAM - Four rooms and four weeks later, two Bellingham families are the finalists in Puget Sound Energy's room makeover contest, Re-Energized by Design.
Kay Reilly and Natalie Washington, as well as Scott and Nia Sayers, of Bellingham are the last two families competing for the top prize of $5,000.
The winner will be announced Thursday night, April 25.
"It's just been a dream," Scott Sayers said of the contest.
Nia Sayers added: "It was enjoyable, hard work but enjoyable."
Reilly said she and Washington entered the contest to personalize their house, which they have lived in for a couple of years.
"Everything was beige, and we wanted to put our stamp on it and make it more our home. This contest sounded like so much fun," said Reilly, adding that the couple tackled the projects between full-time jobs and caring for their 8-month-old son.
"It was really tiring and really fun," she said.
Six families started the contest. The other families were in Seattle, West Seattle, Shoreline and Redmond.
Families faced the challenge of making over five rooms in five weeks on a budget of $500 per room for most of the rooms. For the last room makeover, the kitchen, the finalists got a $1,000 budget.
They also received energy-efficiency items for each room challenge, such as lighting, front-loading washers and dryers, and refrigerators and dishwashers.
Their efforts were unveiled on weekly webisodes - the first premiered Wednesday, March 20 - that showed the contestants grappling with tight budgets to create rooms that combined energy efficiency and beautiful design.
The bathroom, office or garage, living room and laundry room have been tackled.
Each family received help from a design coach. A panel of three judged the results each week. The family with the lowest score after each challenge was eliminated.
"Our biggest advantage going into this is reusing things and getting stuff at the RE Store," Scott Sayers said.
The RE Store is a Bellingham home-improvement store that sells used furniture and building materials.
The Sayers, who live in a pole barn that they converted into a house, are both designers and artists who are conscious about saving money and energy, as well as recycling and salvaging used items.
"It seemed like this contest was designed for us," Scott Sayers said, adding that they entered the contest to help them focus and finish a number of projects.
The judges liked their work, too, praising them for work such as old dryer drums that they turned into a new lighting fixture and an old segment of a bowling alley that they transformed into a table.
LIVING ROOM OVERVIEW
Here's an overview of what the two Bellingham families did - and how much they spent - to make over their living rooms as part of Puget Sound Energy's contest, Re-Energized by Design.
Reilly family (contestants Kay Reilly and Natalie Washington):
Repainted living room walls, ceiling and an accent wall.
Built and painted a new mantle and installed crown molding.
Reconfigured the furniture to open up the room.
Reupholstered two chairs, hand-sewed accent pillow covers and added new shades to thrift store lamps.
Added a new rug and brought in artwork from around the house as décor.
Removed the light from the fan and reversed the direction of the fan to circulate warm air.
Removed a halogen spotlight and added two lamps with LED bulbs.
Got rid of a television, DVD player, Apple TV and cable box.
Replaced old curtains with thermal curtains with improved insulation and insulated outlets and light switches on the external walls.
Reset the thermostat from 75 to 68 degrees and placed a register cover over the main floor heat register to direct warm air into the room rather than straight up.
Total spent: $495.81.
Sayers family (contestants Scott and Nia Sayers):
Created a window bench out of wood scraps and trim board.
Rearranged furniture, built a chaise lounge out of palette board, and created a sofa table out of two scrap beam-ends and angle iron.
Reupholstered two armchairs with vinyl and reupholstered dining room chairs in olive green faux snake skin.
Mounted the TV on the wall and used broken pieces of slate to tile the wall.
Used thick insulating fabric to create drapes that will keep heat in.
Created a portrait of Chevy Chase from an old end table and duct tape.
Added a new pendant light and replace all light bulbs in the room with energy-efficient CFL and LED lighting.
Added a thermal liner and rug to the floor to reduce heat loss through the concrete floor.
Total spent: $485.69.
WATCH THE SERIES
Go to reenergizedbydesign.com to see past episodes of the Web series' makeover contest, including of the last webisode, a kitchen makeover that will be split into two parts.
The first segment will show the contestants working and will be released online at 6 a.m. Wednesday, April 24.
The second part reveals how the rooms turned out, judging and the announcement of the winner. It will be posted at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 25.
People also can see the winner revealed on TV by tuning in to "Evening Magazine" on King 5. The show airs at 7 p.m. Thursday.
Reach Kie Relyea at 360-715-2234 or firstname.lastname@example.org.