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Woman receives room makeover
Space converted into 'oasis' for widow
Room WEB 1
Michele Williams, petting dog Sweet Pea, looks over the renovated room transformed for her by Allison Havill-Todd Interiors. - photo by Autumn Vetter

The words “wow” and “beautiful” were heard numerous times Friday afternoon at the house of Michele Williams.

The Ball Ground resident came home to find a totally remade front room and office space after being named the recipient of this year’s Designing Dreams project.

Started four years ago by Cumming’s Allison Havill-Todd Interiors, Designing Dreams gives a complete room makeover, valued up to $20,000, to a deserving family or nonprofit organization.

Williams was named this year’s recipient due to the hardships she’s endured since her husband, Bernie, was severely injured in a December 2010 car wreck.

After the accident he spent three months at North Fulton Hospital in a medically-induced coma. He remained in the hospital until April 2011, when he was discharged and sent home with a feeding tube due to lack of insurance coverage.

At that time, Michele Williams had to stop work as a medical transcriptionist to care for him at home.

He was later able to receive Medicare and spent many more months in and out of hospital care before passing away earlier this year.

Despite the challenges, Williams has continued to maintain a dog and horse rescue program at her home.

On Friday, Williams’ sister, Cheryl Flanagan, said the transformation of the living room and home office in the century-old farmhouse was almost unbelievable.

“If you would’ve saw this for the past two years, we had a hospital bed in here and a lift because [Williams’ husband] couldn’t event sit up … it was really difficult,” she said, breaking into tears.

“And then when he passed away, she pushed everything out of the room. She had an old chair in here and like a TV tray and that was about it.”

Designer Allison Havill-Todd said she used Williams’ love of equines and canines as inspiration for the makeover.

“I always like to personalize the spaces, so that’s why you see all the dog and horse stuff,” she said.

The living room featured comfortable couches and chairs, a new flat-screen TV, and wooden cabinets for extra storage.

Williams’ home office sported a new desk and chair, colorful rugs and a photo wall of some of the many dogs for whom she’s helped to find homes.

Todd said one of her favorite touches was a small embroidered throw pillow with the words “Canine Club.”

“Because that’s pretty much what it is around here,” she joked.

Williams was almost speechless at seeing the room.

“It’s absolutely beautiful,” she said several times.

“It’s different,” she added when asked how it felt to have others do something to help her for a change since she’s done so much for others in the past. “It’s overwhelming.”

Later, she said she was happy to finally have a place to entertain.

“It’s so inviting,” she said. “It’s nice to be able to allow people to come into the house. Before it was like, ‘I’ll meet you outside.’”

To show her appreciation, Williams is planning a Christmas party for Todd and others who helped make the new rooms possible.

Her sister said she’s happy Williams finally has “an oasis” for herself.

“She really needed this,” Flanagan said. “Now she can come home and have a place to sit and it looks so nice. It’s cozy and it looks wonderful.

“It’s amazing what a good decorator can do.”