That ‘wow’ factor: Pay It Forward reveals second home project

Published 7:04 pm Wednesday, March 22, 2023

There was a moment of pause Wednesday evening when Joel Henricks walked into his home for the first time in more than a week.

As he looked around and took in the refurbished work of Pay It Forward’s second 10th season project a single word encapsulated the moment: “Wow.”

Henricks’ home, which he purchased in 1998, followed Cassie Konken’s home reveal this past Friday. However, while smaller than Konken’s home, this project took far more work and required extra time to complete.

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READ MORE: Everything and more: The first of two Pay It Forward projects revealed Friday

“The eight days we had here were eight days we needed in order to get this done,” said Gina Grundmeier. “This was a complete gut and flip and the bathroom to boot.”

The bathroom was the focal point of the old house, which was built in 1938. Before Pay It Forward, the bathroom Hendricks would have used upstairs was unusable and forced him to take his showers in an unheated second bathroom in the basement.

However, because of the state of the main bathroom, the work had blossomed to much of the rest of the tiny home. On Wednesday, as Henricks walked slowly through the house, filled with the treasures of superheroes and science fiction, with his family, he got a wide-eyed look at everything that had been done, including a renovated kitchen, living and dining room and some upstairs work.

“It’s beyond my expectations. I didn’t expect any of this,” Henricks said after seeing his upstairs bathroom for the first time. “This has all been a mystery to me. Gina and her crew have been awesome. She’s a sweet lady.”

Henricks’ family was just as moved by the house’s transformation, including his dad Bruce Henricks, who nominated his son’s home for this year’s job.

It was an emotional moment for a man who had nominated his son’s home in the past.

“It’s wonderful,” he said softly, holding back the tears. “It’s just beautiful. Everything. I’m so proud of my son. He had to work hard to get all of his stuff out of here.”

Bruce said that in the days leading up to the remodel required several decisions in what to move on from and what to keep, made even more difficult because everything he owned came from family.

That included a dining room table and chairs that belonged to Henricks’ grandmother that had to stay.

Everything taken together left Henricks stunned by the home’s transformation. 

“It’s beyond my expectations,” he repeated. “Gina and her crew have done amazing work.”

With both projects finally revealed, Grundmeier said the experience has been one-of-a-kind and even though this was a one-time event to do two projects at once, it was an experience she wouldn’t trade.

“Everybody that’s been here and working from the beginning to the end that sees the evolution of this house is amazing,” Grundmeier said. “It’s amazing what everybody was able to accomplish.”

“It worked out really well because we have enough contractors; people here, people there,” she added. “It worked well for everybody involved. We had so much amazing help.”