Before and After: Halle Berry Gives a Cramped 1920s Home a Much-Needed Update

published Jun 7, 2022
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"before" photo of kitchen with pale green painted walls, ambered wood cabinets, dark wood floors, dining table, shelves with glassware, wood veneer ceiling fan
Credit: HGTV

Before she was an Academy Award-winning actress, Halle Berry was a little girl attending school in Cleveland, Ohio. She credits Yvonne, her local fifth grade teacher and longtime mentor, with changing her life and being like “a second mother.” In the latest episode of HGTV’s “Celebrity IOU,” Halle gave Yvonne’s 1920s Cleveland heritage home a completely modern overhaul. 

The renovation specifically focused on the kitchen, living, and dining room in Yvonne’s house. The rooms began as outdated, distinctly ‘20s spaces. The dining and living room flowed into each other with worn out carpet and drab yellow walls. The furniture pieces (including a leather armchair, old couch, and well-used table) had seen better days and were in dire need of contemporary replacements. The focal point of the living room was a white bookshelf, which had slowly begun to sag under the pressure of all of Yvonne’s literature.

Credit: HGTV

While the kitchen (dark wood floors, dark wood cabinets, green walls, black countertops, and old appliances) had slightly more updated fixtures, the room still wasn’t practical for Yvonne and her work. Halle recalled gathering around the kitchen growing up and noted that Yvonne often used the small wood-and tile-table as a work area. “How can we make this space functional as a kitchen, but also let it be like a pseudo-office for her?” Halle asked. 

With a timeline of five weeks, Halle began the renovation with Jonathan and Drew Scott (“Property Brothers”). The trio — and the Scott brothers’ crew — kicked things off by ripping out the old cabinets and countertop in the kitchen. They replaced them with fresh, custom white cabinetry and black quartz countertops. Halle picked the white cabinets in an effort to match the “warm, yummy tones” that she knew Yvonne would like. The Scotts also built a white peninsula off of the wall (which could function as a culinary prep space), and added chairs and a round wooden table top (so that Yvonne could sit and entertain guests).

Credit: HGTV

Halle, Jonathan, and Drew also tore out the wall that divided the kitchen and dining room, which allowed the entire space to flow more easily from one room to the other. They added the same light wood floors to each room to help with the cohesiveness. In the dining room, they went with a dark, bold gray-black wall color that juxtaposed the new floors. The brothers finished off the space with a light wood table and black chairs.

Drew and Jonathan removed the dilapidated bookshelf in the living area and replaced it with a well-structured, custom replacement, which was able to hold all of Yvonne’s books (as well as her treasured letters from former students). They added a sleek teal couch, warm brown chair, and white ottoman to the space. Prior to the renovation, the room’s radiator wasn’t working, so the Scott brothers replaced the ancient basement boiler.

Credit: HGTV

“We wanted to keep the integrity of the original house,” Halle explained. “It’s a very old house built in the 1920s. There’s value in keeping the bones [and] the history of it, but make it functional and let it breathe.”

“Celebrity IOU” airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HGTV and Discovery+.