Natalie Ely’s countenance says it all this week as she absorbs the check out from her kitchen window in among Joplin’s famed “Home Makeover” television present houses. “I love this; this is mine happy place,” she said. Her family’s house is one of the 7 that were developed in a week in October 2011, about five month after the tornado.

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Natalie Ely’s 12-year-old son, Augie, plays a video game as he relaxes in his room in the “Home Makeover” home where the family has live since around five months after the Joplin tornado. His room is among the things the family members has made end in the house.


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Tiffany and Thang Nguyen talk around their “Home Makeover” home in this photo taken in January 2012. Previously this week, Thang Nguyen claimed that v their daughter and granddaughter no longer living in the house, that feels too huge for just the 2 of them. He claimed they might shot to relocate to a smaller sized home.


together Natalie Ely stand at she herb-garden window, overlooking a pasture tree — her favourite — planted simply outside, she have the right to hardly believe that she and also her husband finished up in their dream home after losing whatever in the may 2011 tornado.

“It’s so us, it’s ridiculous,” she said of the house, one of Joplin’s famous “Home Makeover” houses.

It’s been around 2 1/2 years due to the fact that seven residences were developed in seven days follow me the 2300 and 2400 block of south Connor avenue as component of ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: home Edition” tv show. The intense building project, which took place in October 2011, connected staff and also crew members indigenous the show, regional contractors and thousands of volunteers.


Two the the families, the Ely family and also the Nguyen family, listed an upgrade to the Globe previously this week on exactly how they have changed to life in their new homes. Houses also were constructed for Kyle and Jill Howard and their children; decision Cogdill and also her son; decision Whitely and her daughter; Kari and Justin Nevins and their children; and also Tom and Emily Walters and their daughter.

Natalie and Scott Ely keep a brightly colored residence with a swing and also herb garden on the prior porch at the end of the “Home Makeover” row. They were both injured as soon as the tornado damaged their former house close to the old Dillons supermarket; marrying shortly afterward, they now live through Natalie Ely’s 12-year-old son, Augie Ward.

Catering to Natalie Ely’s tastes, the house has a “bohemian” feeling to it, with the herb-garden window, wicker furniture, one astrology-themed print over the fireplace and donated art from club 609. Because that Scott Ely, there is a Denver Broncos-themed “man cave” that likewise is house to what the couple said is the most important feature of the house: a storm shelter.

In addition to furniture and also appliances the were detailed by the “Home Makeover” team, there space a couple of key items that were salvaged indigenous the Elys’ destroyed house that now rest in a location of honor: an old hookah table sit in the center of the living room, and a jewelry crate containing an old handwritten note from Natalie Ely’s enlarge son, Joshua, is stored very closely on a shelf in the kitchen.

“I love it,” Natalie Ely claimed of the house. “It’s everything I wanted and could never do myself.”

The Elys space slowly starting to add their own special touches. The backyard, i m sorry came v a gazebo, is gradually ending up being a garden in i beg your pardon the pair are cultivation herbs, grapes and also other edible plants. Augie’s room has been totally remodeled native a video clip game-themed room v a bunk bed and also ladder to a repainted bedroom through dark walls, a normal bed and also shelving make from the wood of the bunk bed.

“After three years, we’re simply now starting to make this our own,” Natalie Ely said. “We’re just now beginning to think the ours.”

They claimed they have not heard indigenous anyone v ABC or the now-canceled tv show because the build. Yet Sam Clifton, who offered as the lead builder v his company, Millstone practice Homes, repaired some siding on the Elys’ home that to be damaged during a windstorm last year, the couple said.

Beyond that, all repairs or replace instead replace are currently the obligation of the homeowners, as space bills because that utilities and insurance. Scott Ely said he had been worried initially around the condition and stability that the house, given that it was put together in a week, however it has so far held up well. And the absence of mortgage payments way that he now works only one job, as a cook at Cheddar’s restaurant, instead of two, and that his wife can stay home with your son.

“Just since we got this (house) doesn’t typical we don’t have financial worries,” Natalie Ely said. “But the home is payment for; that’s every I ever wanted.”

The couple are pleased the the neighborhood, which had actually been mainly barren and also flat at the moment of the build, has since begun to take it shape. There are still numerous empty lots, adorned with only a “For Sale” sign, yet many brand-new homes have actually been developed in the area and also are now occupied. Few of the streets have actually been repaved together well.

The pair also claimed the attention from curious onlookers and fans the the show has largely passed away down. In the months automatically after the airing the the show, south Connor Avenue came to be a stable stream the cars, through some human being snapping photographs the the residences or peeking over their fences, Natalie Ely said. Now, only the random tour bus or slight flow of car on vacation weekends is noticed, she said.


That’s a small trade-off for their brand-new house, Scott Ely said.

“It’s tough to complain,” that said. “We’re really thankful because that what we’ve been given.”

Personal touches

Next-door neighbor Thang Nguyen, a veteran the the Vietnamese wait force, moved into his “Home Makeover” house with his wife, daughter and also granddaughter indigenous an insurance-funded apartment where they lived after the tornado damaged their former home on south Pennsylvania Avenue.

The residence was built to fit Nguyen’s position as a grasp of feng shui, an ancient art based on the id that how a structure is oriented influences the balance and flow of energy within it. That a straight line indigenous Nguyen’s former door to earlier door, through the area between consisting that a single, cavernous room that flows seamlessly from sit room to dining room come kitchen.

“It’s a vast space; girlfriend don’t feel the small rooms,” he said. “You come here, you feeling better.”

He even had a to speak in where the appliances to be positioned; the range, because that example, was originally built into the western wall surface of the kitchen, yet Nguyen had actually it traction out and installed in opposing direction to save the feng shui that the structure.

The bedrooms quiet bear the touches the personalized lock for your occupants. Granddaughter Alex, who was born in 2007, the Chinese Year the the Pig, has a pink bed with the framework painted to resemble a pig. Daughter Sara’s room is more subdued, v serene photos of branches hanging on the walls. The grasp bedroom includes a corner where wife Tiffany, a Catholic, has arranged her religious keepsakes; she husband, a Buddhist, keeps a shrine come the Buddha and a shrine to his ancestors in the dining room.

The backyard features a garden with a small stone bench and several flowerpots, a garage with one more cooking range, and a storm sanctuary plastered v a large photo of the Nguyen family, signed by several of the volunteers who helped develop their house.

Nguyen, retirement from general Mills, leads a quiet life now. He spends many of his days sitting in among two plush recliners the he bought because that the sit room, choosing their calm comfort over the furniture that was provided. Through his wife at work, he also cooks many of the meals.

Overall, Nguyen said he is happy v the house, for which the prayed unceasingly after ~ the tornado. Yet like most homeowners, that still sometimes feels the press of bills. And because his daughter and granddaughter currently live in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a three-bedroom house for the couple feels overwhelming at times, the said.

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“If i get enough money, I will certainly go to another place,” the said. “For just two people, I require a little house.”

Seven families

IT’S UNCLEAR whether ALL 7 original households are still living in the dwellings — or whether the residences still to the right those families’ needs. But some transition appears to be on the horizon. Members of among the family members who decreased an interview v the world said a move was to plan to obtain away from the spotlight and attention the living in a “Home Makeover” house has actually brought.