Before and After: Melissa McCarthy Gives Her Aunt and Uncle’s Dated Chicago Home a Light-Filled Makeover

updated Apr 21, 2020
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Credit: HGTV
Living room before, with Jim's hangout down the stairs

Melissa McCarthy is known for her hilarious roles in “Bridesmaids,” “Tammy,” and “Ghostbusters.” But on the most recent episode of HGTV’s “Celebrity IOU,” McCarthy was serious about giving back to her Aunt Connie and Uncle Jim (with a few jokes in the mix, of course).

With the help of the Property Brothers, McCarthy and her cousin Jenna (Connie and Jim’s daughter) transformed the Chicago home in just three weeks. “They’re career-long police officers, they spent their whole lives taking care of people, and they’re real superheroes to me,” McCarthy said. “It’s needed for them, and I couldn’t think of anyone else who deserves it more.”

The house had a few major problems that needed fixing. The first floor was closed off and dated, with the kitchen where Connie loves to entertain fully isolated from the rest of the house. They wanted to make the floor an open layout so Connie can be part of the party.

Credit: HGTV

There were also safety issues. While on the job, Jim was seriously injured and left paralyzed from the waist down. He defied the odds and taught himself to walk again, but there’s no denying that the house’s cramped layout and uneven floors was an accident waiting to happen.

Beyond the safety measures, there was one more thing McCarthy wanted to do for her uncle. After he came back from the hospital, Jim spent most of his time sitting downstairs in a large leather chair, which was showing its age. McCarthy hoped to give him a new space with a comfy reclining chair to relax in. 

Credit: HGTV

For the first floor, Drew and Jonathan Scott knocked down the wall dividing the kitchen, dining room, and living room to make one large space. They removed the back door, created more counter space, and added new windows to brighten everything up—plus they used white and green paint (a nod to their Irish heritage) with gold accents to add vibrancy. 

A special touch was the huge kitchen island for Connie, which she could use for hosting or simply enjoying morning coffee with Jim. “That old school way of designing homes, keep the kitchen isolated, then the person feels trapped and not part of all the activity,” Jonathan said. ”You want to be able to have everybody as part of it.”

Credit: HGTV
Living room after

The Property Brothers brought in a herringbone hardwood for the first floor and lower area where Jim’s hangout is located, which ties the two spaces together while creating more texture to help prevent Jim from slipping.

Speaking of the downstairs, the room was is now a comfortable oasis for Jim to relax and watch the Bears. You’ll have to watch the episode to see the full transformation, but it involves new paint, a fireplace redo, and a great chair. 

Connie and Jim’s reaction to the reveal was just as you would expect: lots of tears, denial that they were in there right house, and gratitude. “The way they make me feel, I think we got to make them feel like that for one minute,” McCarthy said.

Celebrity IOU airs Mondays at 9/8 central on HGTV.