Terisa and Pat LeGault with Tay, 10, in her new bedroom
A few days before Thanksgiving, a team of trade professionals buzzed excitedly inside a small, two-bedroom home in Chesterfield County. The shades were drawn and the doors locked, as the group eagerly awaited the arrival of the homeowner and her 10-year-old granddaughter.
Interior designer Terisa LeGault stood at the oven in the newly remodeled kitchen, willing a fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies to finish baking before the guests of honor arrived. “I want everything to be perfect for them,” she explained as she transferred a gooey cookie to a plate.
Terisa and her husband, Pat, owner of custom home builder and renovator LeGault Homes, had spent the past three weeks, often working 12-hour days, transforming the home for its owner, Mary, and her granddaughter, Tay, who was diagnosed with cancer just a year before. The LeGaults were working on behalf of the Home Building Association of Richmond’s “Welcome Home” program that partners with ASK Childhood Cancer Foundation to make homes safe and accessible for local childhood cancer patients. In addition to doing general home repairs throughout the year, HBAR does a complete dream bedroom makeover once a year for one lucky childhood cancer patient.
But this year, the LeGaults decided to do even more. “I came in to do the bedroom, but after we met Tay and Mary, we went out to lunch and I started to tear up,” Terisa recalls. “I said, ‘I think the whole house needs love.’ ” So the LeGaults told Mary that she needed to move out for a while.
For Tay’s bedroom, Terisa designed every 10-year-old girls' dream room, complete with a vanity, bunk beds, a new closet, desk and lots of sparkle and shine. “Tay wanted a tree and butterflies in her room,” Terisa says, and she delivered with a tree mural.
Mary’s favorite color, purple, is reflected throughout the home, though Terisa calls it “the hardest color to find on the planet.” She shopped for all furniture and accessories at discount stores such as Home Goods, Marshalls, Target, Big Lots and Costco. “I’ve cried, I’ve lost sleep, I’ve been fulfilled,” Terisa says. “I’ve learned how to bargain and get deals. I’ve asked a lot of our vendors for favors.”
Costen Floors, The Closet Factory, the Home Builders Association of Richmond and Missy Yeary, LeGault’s sales manager, were all instrumental in completing the project.
As Mary and Tay arrived and saw the house for the first time, laughter, tears and hugs abounded. Tay was delighted with her new room and was especially captivated by her new bed with mounds of glamorous decorative pillows.
For Mary, the surprise, especially the new kitchen, fully stocked with food for the holidays, was almost too good to believe. “I’ve been in this house for 15 years and I’ve always been helping everyone else and put myself on the back burner,” she said. “I never got what I wanted. Now, everything that I have given unto others, God has given back to me. It’s everything I have asked for, and more.”
As Mary literally sang her thanks to the team in the form of a gospel song, Pat and Terisa looked on, beaming. “God gave you a mission to take care of that little girl,” Pat said, “and he gave us a mission to help you out.”