Nova Scotia family wins $100,000 for home reno that improves quality of life

Nadine Bells
Good News
July 18, 2012

This Spring, Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia, homeowner Nicole Himmelman was named the winner of Ramar's Home Sweeter Home $100,000 renovation contest.

On Monday, Himmelman and her family saw their newly renovated space for the first time:

"I'm completely overwhelmed," Himmelman told the Chronicle Herald. "It is above and beyond anything I could have imagined. It is absolutely beautiful."

Himmelman entered the contest with a story she titled "Stairway to Heaven" in which she described the difficulties she and her daughter, Brennah, 8, have with stairs.

"I sleep on the sofa most nights, as at the end of the day I just can't make the journey upstairs," Himmelman wrote.

Both Nicole and Brennah suffer from a rare connective tissue disease that can cause a number of serious health issues, including chronic pain and sudden joint dislocation, the Chronicle Herald reports.

"We are so lucky to have a home to call our own, but my daughter and I really struggle sometimes. This renovation could truly change our lives, and that was what they were looking for," she said.

Himmelman, a married mother of three, often has to manage the home on her own as her husband, Dana, works as a cook on an offshore platform.

With the help of Ramar, the Himmelman house underwent a major renovation that gave mother and daughter better accessibility and mobility. Because of the generosity and support of local suppliers, the $100,000 renovation grew to a $180,000 renovation, Halifax News Net reports.

A master bedroom, bathroom and laundry room were added to the first floor. A large ramp and spacious deck were added to the outside of the home. Two chairlifts were added to the stairways so that Brenneh could easily get downstairs to hang out with her brothers, Bradley, 15, and Michael, 20. The boys' rooms were painted.

"I am completely overwhelmed with gratitude. We are very humbled to have been given this once in a lifetime gift that will mean so much to our family," Himmelman said after touring her renovated home. "It means that my daughter and I can now navigate safely in our house, my husband doesn't have to worry about us when he's offshore, and I can function much better when taking care of my kids."

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