Bitely couple ‘forever grateful’ for Ugly Room Makeover

Home Builders Association of NorthWest Michigan completed first makeover project in December for Ross and Maryhelen Fulton

BITELY – This year, the Fulton family Christmas had an upgraded setting thanks to the Home Builders Association of NorthWest Michigan.

The organization recently completed its “Ugly Room Makeover” by transforming Ross and Maryhelen Fulton’s living room.

The Bitely couple’s three children and six grandchildren come home for the holidays each year, and this time they were greeted by new decor and a more modern living room look. Tiffanie Soller, Ross and Maryhelen’s daughter who lives in Big Rapids, said the family made a point of taking plenty of pictures together this Christmas in the renovated space.

“I absolutely loved it. It was more than I expected,” said Soller, 39. “We made a lot of great memories that day.”

AFTER: With renovations completed mid-December, Ross and Maryhelen Fulton’s living room features brighter walls, new carpet and a refinished ceiling and fireplace. The couple wanted to thank the volunteers, donors and sponsors who made the “Ugly Room Makeover” possible.

Soller and her 16-year-old daughter, Megan, initially entered her Ross and Maryhelen in the Ugly Room Makeover contest in July. They were surprised Ross, 62, even allowed them to enter his living room, Soller said, adding he probably conceded only because he didn’t expect to win.

“It means a lot to them,” Soller said of her parents. “They’re not people who like to take; they like to give. It takes a huge weight off their shoulders trying to finish the house.”

The Fultons had planned to complete some renovations to the room, but they couldn’t afford to do so while paying for Maryhelen’s ongoing breast cancer treatments.

MAKEOVER WINNERS: (On left) Maryhelen Fulton and her husband, Ross (right), were selected to receive the Home Builders Association of NorthWest Michigan’s “Ugly Room Makeover.” The couple’s granddaughter, Megan Soller (center), entered their living room in the contest. (Courtesy photo)

In November, the HBANM committee chose the Fultons and got to work planning a transformation for their living room.

“It came at a good time for me. It was uplifting,” said Maryhelen, 60. “We’re very, very happy with it.”

For about 10 days in December, volunteers took over the Fultons’ living room to execute the project. The crew removed carpeting and dark paneling from the walls and painted them a lighter color, added trim around the windows, finished the ceiling, installed carpet and revamped the fireplace.

Ugly Room Makeover “before”

Ugly Room Makeover “after”

“It looks good,” said Kris Jackson, CEO of the HBANM. “It motivated (Ross and Maryhelen) to do a couple of additional things.”

This was the first year the Home Builders Association held an Ugly Room Makeover contest as part of an effort to increase its community outreach.

“For a first time, it went well,” said Todd Hylek, owner of TMH Construction in Canadian Lakes and one of the crew supervisors for the makeover. “It was just something to make the public more aware of why they should use contractors who are members of the Home Builders Association. There were some happy people who came out of it. It turned out great.”

Hylek and Brent Diehm, owner of Diehm Construction in Canadian Lakes, supervised a team of Ferris State University Associated Construction Students who worked on the project. As a graduate of the Ferris construction managament program and contributor at the ACS meetings, Hylek enjoyed working closely with the students.

Ugly Room Makeover “before”

Ugly Room Makeover “after”

While the workers did disrupt the Fultons’ normal routine at home, it was a welcome interruption.

“It was a little different, but it was a nice different (having workers in their house),” Maryhelen said. “They all did a nice job and were very courteous and nice people.”

Her favorite part of the remodeled room is the arch wall and new carpet.

The Fultons and their children were very appreciative of the volunteers and sponsors who made the room makeover possible.

“We will be forever grateful to the ones who worked on it and for being chosen,” Maryhelen said.

Ugly Room Makeover contributors

Sponsors

  • Gilbert’s Carpet Plus ColorTile
  • Chemical Bank
  • Pioneer Group
  • Ferris State University Associated Construction Students

Donors

  • Gilbert’s Carpet Plus ColorTile
  • Big Rapids Cash & Carry
  • Remus Lumber
  • Sherwin Williams
  • Menards
  • Diehm Construction
  • TMH Construction
  • Central Michigan Shelving & Glass
  • New Image Home Improvement
  • Mark MacIver, builder
  • Mark Baumann, builder
  • Kohler Drywall
  • Hank King Tile

Committee members

  • Laura Veersma
  • Judy Sheldon
  • Bob Eastley
  • Dylan Niadna
  • Jake Ziomkowsk
  • Lee Templin
  • Brent Diehm
  • Todd Hylek
  • Lori Copeman
  • Danette Doyle
  • Beth Waldo

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