|It was a Mother’s Day gift that put most other Mother’s Day gifts to shame.
Deciding that flowers or a card just wouldn’t be good enough, actor Ashton Kutcher recently surprised his mom by remodeling her home in Homestead, IA.
According to People, Kutcher decided to give his family home a much-needed renovation as a way to give back to his mother and stepdad — and to accommodate his own growing family after the birth of his daughter, Wyatt Isabelle.
“My mom has been the greatest influence in my life – my parents gave me everything,” Kutcher, 37, explained. “They went to great sacrifices to give me the life that I have and anything I can do to say thank you is the right thing.”
The soon-to-be Mr. Mila Kunis filmed the entire home improvement process in a documentary, and orchestrated the entire project from his home in Los Angeles for added secrecy. He used online home design website Houzz, a startup in which he has invested money, to hire home improvement contractors from afar.
“This was definitely a great Mother’s day gift and a beautiful way of saying thank you to a parent — you don’t see that every day. Most of my older customers are left alone with their remodeling projects,” said Peter Kiwior, owner of Pro-Home Services Inc. “Their kids are busy working, so they rely on contractors to give them advise and help them with their remodeling needs.”
Kutcher kept the project secret with the help of his stepdad, Mark, People reported. After the basement remodel, which took 27 days, Kutcher finally revealed the result to his ecstatic mom.
“Oh, this is beautiful,” she can be seen exclaiming in the documentary, wiping tears from her face.
For the former That 70’s Show and Two and a Half Men star, it’s the least he could do to show her how much he appreciates her, he said.
“You know, you grow up and you have a good parent, and I don’t know that there’s anything I could ever do that really says thank you, but trying sure feels good,” Kutcher said.
|Many moms were celebrated by their kids and partners this past Mother’s Day weekend, but probably few families pulled off surprises as elaborate as the one Ashton Kutcher arranged for his mom.
Kutcher, an investor in the home remodeling site Houzz, used the technology platform to provide an update to his childhood house in Homestead, Iowa (population 148). Kutcher had originally helped his stepfather to build the house when he was 13 years old, and his mom, Diane, had long dreamed of redoing the basement space.
Houzz is a website and community that connects homeowners and professionals, as well as allowing users to browse and share ideas. It also does a number of surveys and studies on numerous and sometimes minute details of the remodeling process (for example, according to a 2013 Houzz survey, more than 16% of participants prefer to incorporate their appliances into their cabinetry).
Kutcher lives in the Los Angeles area, but used Houzz to create a digital “ideabook” and find a local Iowa designer, Catherine Thomas, to oversee the project. He even bought most of the new furnishings through the Houzz Shop. Along with Thomas and his stepfather, Mark, Kutcher created a plan to knock down walls, raise the ceiling, add windows for natural light, and create more usable living space to turn the dark basement into the family and entertaining space his mom had always envisioned.
As the Time money section pointed out earlier this month, that’s a smart move from a financial perspective, as well. Adding living areas in previously unused or underused attic or basement space can give quite the boost to a home’s value.
But how did Kutcher’s mom feel about her surprise basement remodel? Houzz has produced a four-part video series so viewers can see the transformation for themselves, but her reaction probably won’t be a surprise to anyone watching: “Oh my God,” she says, as she walks down the basement stairs and immediately starts to cry. “It’s beautiful.”