What Glenwood resident Theresa Smith thought was a belated birthday celebration for her sister turned out to be a surprise that came with a big present for her — a new home courtesy of HGTV.
A Mercedes-Benz pulled into the driveway and out walked HGTV host and designer Tiffany Brooks. She wished Smith's sister a happy birthday and then she turned to Smith.
“I’m here for you, honey,” Brooks said to Smith
On June 29, the 54-year-old mother of five won the HGTV Smart Home 2016 sweepstakes, a prize including a fully furnished three-story home in Raleigh, N.C., with “smart” technology, a 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC and $100,000. The total prize package is valued at $1.2 million,
“I won! I won! I won! I won!” Smith declared. “I’ve never won anything like this ever.”
“I have never ever been that surprised in my entire life," Smith said in a phone interview with The Baltimore Sun on Wednesday morning. "I did a happy dance. You never know how you’re going to react to that. I got a little silly and goofy, and my gosh, it was the most exciting thing ever."
Smith, who had entered HGTV contests before, said she virtually toured the house online and fell in love with the home's master bedroom and bathroom, the open kitchen and the screened-in porch. She entered the sweepstakes, applying nearly every day (sometimes twice) for months. Her name was selected from nearly 83 million entries.
“I’m still absorbing that,” Smith said. “It’s hard for me to comprehend. I stop myself, and I say, ‘Did this happen?’ It really is an amazing experience — one I never ever will forget.”
North Carolina-based Homes by Dickerson constructed the roughly 3,300-square-foot home, which includes four bedrooms, five bathrooms, a media room, a home office and an exercise room, along with a host of tech gadgets. Brooks handled the interior designing.
Smith said she physically toured the home with Brooks for the first time on Saturday.
"The pictures are stunning but seeing it in person was unbelievable. Every detail — [Brooks] is just an impeccable designer. She’s really a design genius,” Smith said. "Everything flows beautifully."
Smith said she was impressed with the home's tech components, including the lights and sound system that can be controlled with an electronic tablet.
Her two daughters who live with her in Maryland have already picked out their rooms in the North Carolina home, but Smith doesn't have any firm moving plans yet. In the meantime, she's enjoying being a winner and thinking of ways she can give back and share her prize with her family, she said.
"All I can do is giggle," she said.
Catch the full surprise and tour of the home during the “HGTV Smart Home 2016 Giveaway Special,” which airs Aug. 12 at 1 p.m. on HGTV.