So far on HGTV’s new series Celebrity IOU (featuring the Property Brothers), actors Brad Pitt and Melissa McCartney have given back to important people in their lives with special renovation projects. On Monday’s episode, actress Viola Davis works with Drew and Jonathan Scott to gift her best friend of 31 years, Michelle O’Neill, a dreamy ground floor transformation.
We meet O’Neill, a mom-of-two and breast cancer survivor, a few minutes into the show as Davis shows up with the Property Brothers to the Minneapolis home. The two ladies had roomed together at The Juilliard School and remained close, despite taking different routes post-grad. “She’s helped me through some bad relationships, helped me when I was stuck in life… helped me when I had no one to talk to, ” Davis says. But overall, she praises her friend as “someone who puts the needs of others ahead of her own.” Now, Davis wants to remind O’Neill how much of a gift she is to others with a new space—particularly a peaceful one with light, airy decor. O’Neill and her family are sent to stay in a fully-furnished rental for five weeks while the renovation takes place.
Once the family is gone, the brothers get to work. They opt for an open floor plan and install new windows to bring more natural light into the home. Then, they focus on more personal considerations: The brothers pack new insulation into the home’s walls, as O’Neill is often chilly, and pick her out two new record players from Minneapolis music hub Electric Fetus, since she’s a huge music lover. Finally, they design a home office for O’Neill where she can just unwind and unleash her inner creative. In a little over a month’s time, the old-fashioned interiors of O’Neill’s home become chic, polished, and calming.
During the reveal, O’Neill is speechless while she hugs Davis. “I cannot believe this is the house,” she finally says. “You knocked it outta the park.” As Davis guides her friend around her updated space, O’Neill starts tearing up at the sight of her new record player, which the brothers had customized with her late music professor’s signature. Even more moving is the home office the brothers created for her. “I’ve never had a place where I could just close the door,” she says. O’Neill’s family is next to see the big renovation, followed by Davis’s daughter Genesis and husband Julius, who pop in with pizzas—the perfect way to celebrate a new space—and a forever friend.
Catch Celebrity IOU every Monday at 9 p.m. on HGTV.
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