HERMISTON - The hit television show "Trading Spaces" may be overrated compared to this transformation.
Christy Gefre battled to breathe prior to her double-lung transplant just before Christmas. Cystic fibrosis, a disease that impairs the secreting glands of the body and generates thickened secretions, left her with 20 percent breathing capacity, requiring several hours of therapy each day along side her oxygen tank.
The 28-year-old came through her transplant with flying colors at the University of Washington, but coming home to Hermiston was going to be the tricky part.
Doctors explained that her body was going to have to get used to her new set of lungs. She's taking medication to prevent her body from rejecting the new organs.
It's critical to stay free of illness during recovery, so Gefre will have to wear a mask in crowded places and during windy days.
Doctors also said she would need to cut down on the dust and any trace of mold in her little starter home.
To start, she and her husband, Jason Gefre, needed a dishwasher to sterilize her dishes.
Sheila Andrus, the pastor's wife at the couple's church, New Hope Community in Hermiston, is an interior designer.
After realizing cabinets had to come out to put in the dishwasher, they decided to go ahead and redo the cabinets.
"It wouldn't quite fit with the countertop, so we put in a new countertop," she said. "Then it didn't quite match the backsplash, so we redid that."
At that point, Andrus realized the Gefre project would require a little more time and effort.
"In the end, we just decided to redo the whole house," she said.
With Jason Gefre's approval, some of the furniture was sold and replaced with new. Soft green paint went on the walls. New windows went in. White trim went on the ceiling. A new headboard was added in the master bedroom. A new fireplace mantelpiece was installed.
All told, it turned into a $3,000 makeover, plus countless volunteer hours, Andrus said.
"This is almost like 'Trading Spaces,' but so much better," said church member Jolene Lloyd.
Monday night, at least 50 people lined the street in front of the house to welcome Gefre home after her long stay in Washington.
Every person carried a Clorox wipe in their hands to wipe down any germs on their hands.
When Gefre rounded the corner in her little jeep, lead by the motor home driven by her husband, she was greeted with waving wipes in the air.
Tears wet her face as she and Jason unlocked the door and toured their sparkling home, and again when she went back outside to thank everyone.
"There were a couple of times when we were very nervous," Jason Gefre said. "But for the most part, we felt a lot of peace through the whole thing."
Christy Gefre is elated with both her personal transformation and her home's transformation.
"I feel like a normal person now," she said. "(The house) is amazing. I'm so thankful for everybody."
"Christy has been given a new life," said The Rev. David Andrus. "She has a purpose for living. Christy gets to share what she's learned."
The people who took care of the Gefre home learned too, Andrus said. "It's important for people to see that miracles still do happen." Teri Meeuwsen is a reporter in the East Oregonian Hermiston Bureau. She can be reached at (800) 522-0255 (ext. 1302 after hours) or by e-mail email@example.com.