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There were over 3,100 entries in the 2009 Better Homes and Gardens Home Improvement Challenge. Entries in the contest were rated based on appearance, creativity, function, and use of materials. Here are the winners.


Pam Schulz and Clark Dikeman of Culver City, California, won for their kitchen and bathroom addition to their home. The kitchen features a retro design that includes a 1950s stove, vaulted wood ceiling, clerestory windows above the cabinets, and quartz countertops. Best of all, eco-friendly materials were used throughout the addition.


Ann Steenwyk of Sheboygan, Wisconsin, removed a wall in her kitchen to open up the space. The simple, clean lines of the white cabinets, combined with great color choices, give the room an open, airy feeling.


Meg Kopald of Shelburne, Vermont, won the bath category by taking in an existing closet to enlarge the room and bring in more light. The renovated bath features his and her pedestal sinks along with a walk-in shower.


James Little of Naples, Florida, took the honors in the decorating category for his 1,400-square-foot ranch style home built in the 1970s. Working with a palette of blues and browns, he used a variety of textures and accessories to keep the rooms from appearing too one-dimensional.

Exterior Facelift

Sonjia and Bob McKelvey of Belpre, Ohio, were the winners in the exterior home facelift category. With the help of their architect son, they transformed the exterior of their home into a quaint cottage. Details such as a winding paver walk, shingle siding, and special eave brackets added greatly to the curb appeal.

Project under $5,000

Jackie Kalin of Valparaiso, Indiana, used her artistic abilities to take home the award for projects under $5,000 for her unique bathroom renovation. The mosaic mural was made by gluing thousands of individual pieces of glass and mirrors to the wall.

Green Improvements

Laura Stukel of Elmhurst, Illinois, added insulation and energy efficient windows—along with a host of other energy saving features—to capture the green improvement prize. Nontoxic paints and cabinets were used on the 1960s home to improve the indoor air quality.

Outdoor Improvements

Jacque and Rick Bailey of Brecksville, Ohio, were the winners of the outdoor improvements category for their beautifully landscaped backyard. The design by landscape architect Peggy Brown was carried out by contractor Mark Huscroft. It includes an expansive stone patio—complete with outdoor kitchen—flanked by stone walls, a potting shed, and an impressive water feature.


Grand prize winners Dana Liston and David Ellis of Venice, California, won in the renovation category by transforming a 1,350-square-foot, 1913 bungalow into their dream house. The couple worked with contractor and neighbor Mox Moeschler on the renovation while doing much of the work themselves. The project includes front and side porches, a family room featuring built-in bookcases and window seats, and a remodeled master bedroom and bath.

Photos courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens magazine.

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Editorial Contributors
Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio,, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

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