Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Contest remodeling takes the 'ugly' out of kitchen in Clearwater

CLEARWATER — "Ugly" contests aren't competitions people usually want to win. But Cindy Villella was elated when she won an "ugly kitchen" contest.

"I snapped off pictures of my kitchen and e-mailed them," said Villella, 56. "When the e-mail said that I'd won, I couldn't believe it was true. I'd never won anything."

She and her husband, Steve, didn't qualify for the contest at first. Originally, the winner was to receive $5,000 toward a kitchen remodel. But the Villellas, who are caring for ill and elderly parents, didn't have money for the rest of the remodeling.

But the contest's sponsors — the Home Improvement Source and APSCO Appliance Centers in Clearwater — ended up rethinking their rules.

"I saw people with horrible kitchens" said Bruce Hoyland, owner of the Home Improvement Source at 30333 U.S. 19 N.

"After talking with these people, I found that none really had money to remodel."

So they decided to give the winner a free kitchen.

• • •

The Villellas needed a new kitchen. They had crumbling cabinets and a Formica countertop that had long ago lost its shine.

When they purchased their fixer-upper home eight years ago, they intended to remodel. They bought all new appliances.

But their plans changed.

Cindy Villella's father was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. When his wife died, Cindy traveled to Tennessee and brought him to live with her and Steve.

A year later, her mother broke her hip. There were two choices: Put her mother in a nursing home or move her from Alabama to Clearwater. So Cindy moved her mom in, too.

After working for 30 years, Cindy had new responsibilities. She had parents living with her who were in their 80s and had been divorced from each other for many years.

So in 2009, Cindy quit her job as a printer in a business she had owned until 2001. The ugly kitchen became a constant sight for the full-time caregiver.

• • •

The Villellas were among 185 contest entries. With so many telling heart-rending stories, Hoyland said, it was difficult to choose the most deserving.

"We decided to pull the name out of a kitty," he said. "I'm happy for the woman who won, especially after seeing how excited she was. She didn't believe that she'd really won up until the time we tore out her kitchen."

Mont Krest Stone in Largo donated a $600 piece of granite for the countertops, and Ferguson Supply, a local plumbing supply company, donated a sink and a faucet worth about $400.

All the work to cut the granite, install the cabinets and appliances, and finish the kitchen took about three weeks. Work recently wrapped up.

Dan Hewitt, manager at Home Improvement Source, said that with materials and labor, the kitchen would have cost $12,000 to $15,000.

"It couldn't happen to nicer people," he said of the Villellas. "She's a sweetheart, and she's basically been stuck in her house 24/7 for the last two years."

Laura Greco, APSCO Appliance Centers marketing and operations manager in Largo, hopes this won't be the last contest. "Helping this family get a kitchen, which was simply not possible without this contest, was very rewarding for us," she said.

Cindy Villella loves the remodel. And she's happy Hoyland suggested donating the appliances she and her husband had purchased when they bought the house to Habitat for Humanity. She says taking care of her parents is what she's supposed to be doing with her life right now.

"I've been lucky twice in my life, once dealing with cancer, needing radiation and not chemotherapy," she said. "And now winning this beautiful kitchen. If I never have good luck again the rest of my life, I'm all set."

Contest remodeling takes the 'ugly' out of kitchen in Clearwater 09/23/11 [Last modified: Friday, September 23, 2011 8:03pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Marijuana extract sharply cuts seizures in severe form of epilepsy

    Medicine

    An oil derived from the marijuana plant sharply reduces violent seizures in young people suffering from a rare, severe form of epilepsy, according to a study published last week that gives more hope to parents who have been clamoring for access to the medication.

  2. 'I ain't fit to live': Police say Mississippi gunman kills 8

    Crime

    BROOKHAVEN, Miss. — A man who got into an argument with his estranged wife and her family over his children was arrested Sunday in a house-to-house shooting rampage in rural Mississippi that left eight people dead, including his mother-in-law and a sheriff's deputy.

    People embrace Sunday outside the Bogue Chitto, Miss., house where eight people were killed during a shooting rampage Saturday in Lincoln County, Miss.
  3. Kushner's Russia ties questioned as Trump cites media 'lies'

    National

    WASHINGTON — Congressional Democrats on Sunday demanded to hear directly from top White House adviser Jared Kushner over allegations of proposed secret back-channel communications with Russia, saying the security clearance of President Donald Trump's son-in-law may need to be revoked.

  4. Muslims thankful for support after rant, deadly attack

    Crime

    PORTLAND, Ore. — Muslims in Portland, Ore., thanked the community for its support and said they were raising money for the families of two men who were killed when they came to the defense of two young women — one wearing a hijab — who were targeted by an anti-Muslim rant.

    Jeremy Christian is accused of killing 2 men who stepped in as he berated two women.
  5. Following Trump's trip, Merkel says Europe can't rely on U.S. anymore

    Politics

    LONDON — German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday declared a new chapter in U.S.-European relations after contentious meetings with President Donald Trump last week, saying that Europe "really must take our fate into our own hands."

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel, shown speaking with President Trump last week, says Europe “must take our fate into our own hands.”