Avrielle Lewis may have owned her home for 11 years, but she barely recognizes it now. And that’s a good thing, she says.
Lewis is this year’s Coast Realty Home Makeover contest winner. Nominated by her sister Susan Cootes, Lewis’ house on Third Avenue near Montrose Street was treated to a fresh coat of paint, some minor exterior repairs and new landscaping.
“It’s like they took the exterior of my house and yard, picked it up, took it away and put something beautiful there,” Lewis said.
“It’s that big of a difference.”
Lewis suffers from myasthenia gravis, an autoimmune neuromuscular disease that causes fluctuating muscle weakness. Lewis was diagnosed in the early 1980s and since then has had pneumonia more than 50 times and been hospitalized numerous times. It is normal for her to wake up unable to walk, move her neck or have breathing problems.
“Everyday is different,” Lewis explained. “Today I feel spry, like I can take on the world. In two hours, I can be in the hospital, not breathing.”
Coast Realty realtor Gary Gray said Lewis was chosen out of more than 30 nominations because of both need and her history in the community.
“Avrielle has been very involved with community work for as long as she was able to,” Gray said, adding that the house was in need of makeover.
“We look for people in the community who are deserving of some community payback.”
Lewis has been a long-time volunteer for the Salvation Army. She is on disability and lives on her own with her dog, Poppe. She expressed gratitude to her sister, saying she will never be able to thank her enough for nominating her, and to Coast Realty for choosing her as the makeover winner.
Lewis has a renewed sense of pride in her home and the exterior upkeep will be easier thanks to the new landscaping: the front lawn has been replaced with gravel and plants.
“It’s been two weeks and I still can’t believe it,” Lewis said. “I love the plants they put in and they don’t need to be watered all the time.”