Nobody could have been prepared for what was about to transpire the day RESA Niagara agreed to take on what we all thought was a little charity project. When Terri Valstar contacted Lisa McIntee, Lisa offered to help her stage her home which had previously been listed with an unnamed brokerage for months “at little or no cost to Terri” and approached her fellow stagers at RESA Niagara with a “little project”. What followed was nothing short of overwhelming, a community came together in full force to help a woman that desperately needed the help, but that nobody had ever met.
Terri Valstar is a St. Catharines woman, lost her only son in a tragic accident a few years back. In December of 2012, she received a diagnosis that she had an aggressive form of cancer. Already trying to sell her home for months without any success, Terri was alone and now desperate to sell her home to assist her with paying not only for her living expenses, but now an alternative cancer treatment, which she understands will have a much higher success rate than traditional cancer treatments.
Our initial goal was to paint the home followed by professional staging. Through RESA Niagara Public Relations, we took to social media looking for some assistance with the project. In total, 36 Niagara businesses jumped on board to help. Within days, our e-mail was flooded with inquiries from local volunteers or businesses.
The home received a complete makeover, which wasn’t easy with so many volunteers packed into a 1,000 sq ft house. The entire main level of the home was stripped of the dated wallpaper, all the dated trim was painted simultaneously with doors, ceilings and walls. But we didn’t stop there. The kitchen required a makeover as well, so we removed some awkwardly positioned cabinets and painted out all the old cabinet doors and changed the hardware for an instant transformation. From there kitchen countertops followed, and with that came new plumbing and new fixtures. The kitchen looked so great, now what would we do with the bathroom? We remove the old countertop, received a new one with a new sink and plumbing fixtures, painted the ceiling and the old dated wall tile and updated the vanity hardware. It was spectacular! We needed to highlight all this beautiful work we completed, so we decided to try to get some light fixtures and we ended up receiving all new fixtures for the home. In between this, we were having pieces of furniture delivered for our staging and hauling all the old furniture to a room in the basement. Chaos is an understatement, but the home was slowly coming together. The house was light and bright, but then we noticed the windows were bare. We had the old, bulky awnings over the exterior windows removed to let the light in and then received donations of very modern window treatments.
While all this work was being completed, other local businesses were looking for ways to help. Restaurants donated dinners for Terri, Clothing stores were offering new outfits, and Stagers in other cities were sending gas cards and other donations, health food stores offering gift certificates and even a pain management business offered to treat Terri for the duration of her cancer therapies.
The generosity did not stop there. A new roof, which was desperately needed, was donated, a large furniture company donated all new living room furniture and accessories to Terri when she moves to her new apartment and a local woman offered Terri a round trip flight and money towards one of the treatment avenues she dreams of pursuing.
When all was said and done, RESA Niagara was able to contribute well over $40k worth of material, service towards Terri’s goals of curing her cancer. The money RESA was able to put into Terri’s home, and her future home is money she can use towards her cancer treatment now, rather than paying for the miscellaneous expenses we were able to eliminate for her.
The home is now completed and will be listed Wednesday, February 20, 2012 and the first open house is scheduled for Sunday, February 24, 2012 between 2-4pm. The home is located at 11 Bonavem Drive, in St. Catharines ON and is listed by Jean & Randy Page, Sally McGarr Realty.
A huge ‘Thank You’ to all of the following local businesses who generously donated products and services to assist with our little project we have now entitled “Terri’s Angels”. An emotional Terri can’t thank everyone enough, the generosity has been overwhelming for her and she is still in disbelief that this all happened. With tears in her eyes, Terri’s only comment when we listed all the businesses that have jumped on board to help, “These things only happen on TV, not to me, and I can’t believe it”.
Direct Buy Hamilton/Niagara (a living room set)
Habitat for Humanity (labour, furniture & garbage removal)
Restore (lighting, plumbing fixtures, sinks, cabinet hardware)
Paul Davis Systems, Fonthill (restoration services for basement)
Home Depot, St. Catharines (Cellular window treatments)
Johnson Moving, St. Catharines (moving services)
Turkstra Lumber (shingles for roof)
Affordable Roofing (labour for roof)
Solo Construction (additional labour to remove the shingles from roof)
Giant Tiger, St. Catharines (curtains and curtain rods)
Aqua Source (labor & parts to repair and update water filtration system and softener)
Empire Countertops (countertop for kitchen and bathroom)
Crescent Flooring (Tile backsplash & Installation)
Jean & Randy Page, Sally McGarr Realty (real estate fees)
Christine Rae, CSP International ($250 towards materials for home)
Chris Young, Young McNamara, (legal fees)
OTB Marketing (a new website for Terri)
Peletier Staging (money towards the new website for terri)
Bowen’s healing hands (pain management therapy)
Images beauty (makeover for Terri)
Mad Cap Hats, (clothing for Terri)
Wildfire Grill & Lounge (dinner for 2)
Southcoast Restaurant (dinner for 2)
Hulines Haven (Organic Dog Food for Terri’s dog)
Sherwin Williams (paint)
Benjamin Moore (paint)
A Healthier You ($50 gift card)
Jessie Richard’s Art (real estate photography services)
Easyhome (discounted furniture rental)
NuLook Interiors (painting, packing, staging, organizing, furniture/accessory rental, cleaning, re-design for Terri’s new apartment)
The Staging Professionals (project management, painting, staging, furniture/accessory rental, plumbing, general labor, cleaning, re-design services)
MaxScene designs (packing, painting, staging, organizing, unpacking Terri’s move, re-design services)
Lovely Interiors (painting, organizing, packing, staging, cleaning, furniture/accessory rental)
Images Staged With Flair (painting, staging, furniture/accessory rental)
Embrace Your Space (painting, packing, staging)
Annette Steele Interiors (painting, packing, staging, furniture/accessory rental)