September 20, 2014

Elyria
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Makeover brightens house for the holidays

ELYRIA — Talk about beginner’s luck.

Lonnie Slatcoff said she had never entered an online sweepstakes before she got her name in the running for Sears’ “Merry Makeover Sweepstakes” contest offering a Christmas-themed home styling from “Extreme Makeover” star Ty Pennington.

Slatcoff’s family was chosen from more than 13,000 entries nationwide to receive the holiday decorating makeover by Pennington and a small crew of workers who descended on the family’s West River Road North home Thursday.

“I got chills and started crying with joy when I got the call,” notifying her she’d won, Slatcoff, 40, said during a lunch break in which family, friends and crew dining on boxed meals provided by Panera Bread.

She was so excited that she tried to immediately call her husband, John, 49, with no luck.

She next tried contacting two of her five children.

“No one answered,” Slatcoff said with a laugh.

She finally got through to a co-worker at the Sheffield business where she is a retail manager.

“I told her I was going to be late to work,” Slatcoff said.

When John got home at lunchtime that day, he told his wife, “No way, you mean the guy who says, ‘Move that bus?’”

While the decorating redo didn’t get under way in earnest till Thursday, Pennington and his crew actually began working Wednesday by putting up some of the outdoor lighting.

“It’s about bringing something to people they’ve never dreamed of,” Pennington said.

While the contest featured a “makeover” as a top prize, it is not affiliated with Pennington’s popular TV series.

The family didn’t know in advance what their house would look like until the entire job was completed late Thursday afternoon.

“We’ll be surprised,” Slatcoff said. “They just do their thing.”

She did get to direct one aspect of the makeover — the color scheme. Slatcoff chose a blue, silver and lavender theme dubbed “Winter’s Night,” which is one of a number of holiday-themed lines of merchandise Pennington designed and is promoting through Sears.

Decorations adorning the house include an 8½-foot white-lit Christmas tree, which the family decked out with Pennington.
“It really feels like Christmas when the tree is decorated,” he said.

Pennington hinted the family’s makeover would be tasteful and not like the headache-inducing gaudiness of “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.”

“You can go too far” with lights and other decorations, Pennington said. “A little goes a long way.”

Valued at $5,000, according to Jennifer Doniniquini, chief marketing officer for Sears, the winning package also includes new tires, alignment and balance services for Slatcoff’s Pontiac Vibe, a $1,000 clothing gift card and a Craftsman toolbox.

Slatcoff joked that her husband loved the new toolbox so much she was thinking about wrapping it up and giving it to him again on his birthday, which is Christmas Eve.

Asked how she planned on using the $1,000 gift card, Slatcoff said, “I’m very savvy about spending. I’ll be wise.”

Asked what the makeover meant to her, Slatcoff said, “It is something we will always remember. It’s totally a blessing.”
The “Merry Makeover” can be seen at www.sears.com.

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.