When two hard-working parents finally took a much-deserved vacation, they didn’t think their four daughters would get into too much trouble when left alone. A week later, however, cameras recorded Chip and Karen Schoonover’s reactions to a home that was nothing like how they’d left it. How did so much happen in so little time?
After raising four wonderful daughters, Karen and Chip Schoonover from South Carolina were due for a vacation. They had finally saved enough money and were heading out for a week to themselves around Christmas time.
The couple left worry-free because their daughters — Haley, Hollie, Heather and Halice — were now old enough to stay home unsupervised without causing any trouble… or so the Schoonovers thought.
See, their oldest daughter, Heather, was already married and had moved out of the house a few years prior. Knowing her parents were leaving town for a week, however, brought her right back to her old doorstep.
Although Hollie’s hobbies mainly consisted of make-up art, acting, and singing, she concocted a totally different kind of scheme that would eventually have her parents’ jaws on the floor.
Hollie needed help, however. Her plans couldn’t be carried out alone, but luckily, she had sisters. The second oldest Schoonover daughter, Halice, attended nearby Coastal Carolina college. She was available to help her older sis.
Heather, the third daughter, was able to come through as well, despite having moved more inland where she’d taken a job as a marketer for a real estate company.
Because their plan was intricate and had several stages, Hollie asked her younger sister Haley to record and document their entire process right from the start. The sisters were all on board with Hollie’s plan. The team was together.
Patiently, the girls waited for mom and dad to drive away so they would have the whole week to themselves. Only then could they carry out their secret plans. Boy, would their folks be surprised once they came back from their trip!
Because the sisters with a close bond, wanting to show appreciation for their parents, decided to spruce up the house from top to bottom! This, they figured, would be a fantastic Christmas gift.
And while a spic-and-span house would already be a wonderful gift to most parents, Haley, Healther, Hollie and Halice wanted to do more for the duo that raised them. They agreed to take their gift to the next level.
The girls had saved up all their money and invested in some new carpet, curtains, paint, and anything else they needed to update the look of their parents’ home during that week.
The only problem was they had no idea how much work would go into a project like this. None of them had ever done any renovation work before! Would their present even be finished by the time Chip and Karen returned? Would it turn out well?
The project didn’t start off well. When the girls attacked the rooms with mops and sponges, they discovered piles of old junk that needed to be thrown out. Sorting through everything took the whole first day.
As the sisters moved on from cleaning to the actual renovations, they realized that this required a lot of hard work, skill, determination and experience. While they were certainly determined, they were in over their heads.
At this point, youngest sister Hollie began to get cold feet; she worried they would break something or simply not finish on time, and feared her parents would come home to a destroyed home.
However, it was too late to turn back, so the girls persisted, learning as they went about each task. They eventually called in reinforcements from their friends because Hollie did have a point: it HAD to be done in time.
Since their main goal was to update the house as much as possible, the sisters needed to do more than paint and renovate. They had also saved money to buy some new furniture and decorations.
They soon found out that getting the new furniture in was much easier than getting the old furniture out: all their strength was barely enough to push their old couch from the porch into the backyard. Hey, who said this would be easy?
By day three, the girls were near their breaking points. The home was in shambles and they stared hopelessly at a long list of unfinished tasks they didn’t even know how to approach!
Although the girls had brought in extra help, painting every room in the house was far more work than they originally anticipated. As the night fell, it took all their willpower to keep from throwing in the towel.
On the fifth day, Heather and Halice had to go home to take care of some things, leaving Hollie and Haley to work alone. With the project already testing them, this was not what they wanted to hear. Nevertheless, they doubled their efforts.
By the end of day six, everything needed to be wrapped up, and it was up to Hollie and Haley to do so. While Hollie showed her new stress-induced acne breakout, Haley said she felt “like she was in the army.”
The day of their parents’ return was sure to be a whirlwind of emotions. The girls were exhausted but eager to share their amazing surprise. The video camera captured all of their energy!
To make their surprise as impactful as possible, Hollie and Haley fed their parents a diversion: they revealed Heather and Halice were home for the holidays. This, of course, would make mom and dad happy, all the while concealing the real surprise.
When Karen and Chip finally pulled into the driveway, relaxed and recharged after their week-long getaway, they immediately felt that something was up. Then, all four of their daughters came out of the house to greet them.
Karen immediately noticed that front of the house looked different, and she jokingly asked her kids, “Alright, who cleaned?” The girls just giggled and suggested they all go inside to settle down.
The sisters warned their mother to “take a deep breath” before leading both parents into their “new” home, where Chip and Karen finally saw the house in its fully renovated form!
When they stepped over the threshold into the kitchen, Karen was suddenly overcome with emotion. Tears ran down her face as she admired the updated living space her daughters had created for their family.
The walls were now a calming, pale blue, and the cupboards a contrasting dark brown. Amazingly, the girls had succeeded in replacing the old and worn countertops with new polished marble.
Of course with a sparkling new kitchen, a fancy new living room is a must. The kids had ditched the old couch and brought in two new ones, along with a rug and a coffee table, making it feel much more like a home than before.
Meanwhile, in the family bedrooms, Karen was practically dancing on the plush new carpet beneath her feet. Both the master and the guest bed were provided with brand new bedding for a fresher look that you’d wanna dive straight into.
After the tour, the girls explained to their overwhelmed parents that they wanted to surprise them with the best Christmas present they’d ever received. Looking at the project in its entirety, it became clear what an enormous undertaking it had been!
Karen and Chip were not only ecstatic with the updates to their home, they were also incredibly proud of their daughters. They would’ve never believed they could’ve pulled off this kind of project.
A few days after the big reveal, Hollie posted the edited video of their hard work on her YouTube page. Before long, it had hundreds of thousands of views and had inspired people from all over the world.
The girls were so happy that the video motivated others to spruce up their own homes or help out loved ones. Their main message: never believe you can’t do something until you try it, and even then, don’t give up on yourself! Some of their online fans compared their work to other amazing renovations.
One standout example was Jori Wilkinson’s DIY. Even with a baby on the way, a house that she and her husband were trying to renovate and sell, and a pasture full of farm animals to care for, life still wasn’t enough of a challenge for her. So Jori added the ultimate DIY project — build her own tiny house. Friends and family were skeptical of the new mom’s ambitions, but Jori’s final unveiling instantly went viral and earned her a reputation as a design master.
Rather than building the tiny home from scratch, Jori wondered about using a shed. She found an old, but sturdy shed that was only 400 square feet, knowing in her heart that it would someday be her new home. But another part of her asked the question, “Are we really going to fit in this thing?”
The plan was set in motion. Jori and her husband Gage stayed at Jori’s parent’s house, paying rent, taking care of their farm and newborn son Kash, all while reconstructing the empty shed into a cozy home. Little by little, the shack of a shed transformed into a homeowner’s dream.
The first thing to go up was the walls of their home, which oftentimes had to be done late into the night. Gage was the perfect man for the construction job, and while he was the muscle of the operation, Jori was the brain. She laid out some brilliant ideas for the minimal space.
Jori’s design genius was in full swing. She even drew up a floor map herself, with measurements and all the essentials of a home in mind. You could say that the two were crazy for tackling this arduous project, and you may be right, but the tag team had everything planned, including the perfect space for their son.
For their baby boy Kash, Jori’s floor plan set up a room that was 8’9″ x 7’6″ that could fit the little boy’s crib with room to spare for storage, plus enough space to fit two adults. Though it may be a little cramped for grown-ups to stand in, it was ideal for the little baby boy. The rest of the house had room to spare.
Just outside of baby Kash’s room is the living room, which fits their small couch that sits across from the TV and fireplace. It looks like a cozy place to relax for sure, but just wait until you see the master bedroom.
Jori recognized that she and Gage had just enough room to make for a snug master bedroom. Measuring at 10’5″ x 7′, they decided to go for it and squeeze in a King-sized bed. Jori does admit the inconvenience, saying “it’s kind of hard to make the bed, but it’s a really cozy space.” That sounds like success to me!
Now, we’re sure you may have concerns with tiny homes, specifically when it comes to two spaces: the kitchen and the bathroom. You’d think with the limited space they had to work with, these spaces would be terribly cramped. Think again!
Jori and Gage were able to create just enough space throughout the entire home. The bathroom has enough space for a sink, a toilet, and even a bathtub. The natural look of the wood along with the addition of their little plants brings peace in this quaint little bathroom, but the really exciting part of the home is the kitchen.
Having a big enough kitchen can be the make or break point for many homeowners, but even with the small space they had to work with, the DIY duo created the right kind of space for any chef to cook in. They used a simple, but ingenious, design to make more space.
Jori and Gage used their space to its fullest capacity, not only installing shelves that reach up toward the ceiling, but also using an L-shaped design for the counter for extra space. As amazing as all their work is, there is one part of the house that may be a bit too cramped.
In between the kitchen and master bedroom lies the laundry room, which Jori calls “a laundry hall.” There just wasn’t enough space to space out their laundry machines, so they stacked them onto one another. Most houses are like this anyway, so it’s not a big issue, and no one in the happy family seems to mind.
Jori shared this incredible project on her Instagram, receiving the greatest support in the world. Even her parents took part in the actual construction, supplying them with quality wood that was used for their ceiling. Then came Jori’s best friend, Holly. Her approval would be the real game-changer.
As a lover of all things DIY, Holly was a huge fan of what Jori and Gage were doing. She hosts her own YouTube channel “Living It Country,” where she helps hundreds of viewers design their perfect country home. Holly was so impressed with her best friend’s tiny home, she had to have Jori on as a guest.
Jori was a little nervous about being on camera, but while filming Holly’s show, her pride in her work took over. She guided viewers through her home and became a huge internet sensation. They couldn’t believe they built the entire home for $30,000. Jori explained to viewers what gave her the inspiration to take on this bold project in the first place.
Jori and her husband Gage were a happily married couple, ready for anything, but in 2020, they found their lives turned upside-down by a new member of the family on the way. Jori was seven months pregnant, and as if that wasn’t hard enough, they had even more daily challenges waiting for them.
The couple owned a small farm which included several chickens, a few horses, and a couple of goats. Not the kind of life for everyone, but it brought them peace and joy. On top of taking care of the farm and Jori’s pregnancy needs, the two pioneers decided to take on a special renovation project.
To save money for their baby the couple decided to sell their cabin home, but not before renovating it to perfection. They redesigned the home from top to bottom and when the day came to leave, they were proud of their success. The only issue was moving back in with mom and dad.
The plan was to move back into Jori’s parent’s house until they figured something else out. She and Gage then talked about moving into a trailer with their newborn baby, until Jori had a stroke of genius — though you could argue it was more like a stroke of madness.
Rather than move into a trailer and be packed like sardines, Jori suggested they build their own home. She heard all about the “tiny home” craze that’s spread across the country and thought the idea would be perfect for them. Of course, all her plans would go up in smoke if Gage wasn’t up for the downsized lifestyle.
Fortunately, Jori truly married her soul mate. Gage was all about these types of construction challenges, being a handyman himself. These two were crazy enough together to agree on the idea. They just needed the right space to start the challenge, turns out, that was their shed!
At the end of the day, Jori and her handy husband Gage are happy with their simple life. No matter how much of a challenge it is to live life to the fullest, they are up for it. They’ve proven that anything is possible, and to Jori’s surprise, she’s actually inspired other young families to follow in her footsteps.