May 30, 2023

These Are the Best Home Makeovers From Queer Eye Season 7

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Even we were shocked!

The Fab Five always has something exciting going on, and today, fashion expert Tan France is celebrating a big development: the birth of his second child, son Isaac. The news comes mere weeks after the show's season premiere. If there's a makeover-centric reality show that moves us to tears without fail, it's Queer Eye, and the seventh season, which aired on May 12, was no exception. Of course, the show's makeovers boast a slightly different tone and purpose than those on, say, a modeling show because Queer Eye's goal is to help the nominees (or heroes, as they're called) see themselves in the same positive, admired, and respected light their communities see them in. Their personal backstories are usually the catalyst for our tears, but as design editors we often get pretty emotional about the heroes' home reveals.

In each episode, a hero spends quality time with each member of the Fab Five over the course of a week. One of them is Bobby Berk, a design expert who completely redecorates their home, transforming it from its former sad and sometimes derelict state into something more glamorous and functional. So let's get to the good part and dive in, shall we?

The University of New Orleans's Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity brothers were quite literally living in squalor. When the Fab Five surprised them at their basically crumbling home, fruit flies were swarming, dishes were piled in the kitchen sink, and floorboards were coming loose. We're still amazed that Berk was able to transform the frat house into the beautiful space it is now, even with contractors' help.

The most impressive room transformation is easily the kitchen, which was messy and barely functional. There was hardly any space to cook, courtesy of the bar that the boys used as a preparation island. In fact, that was one of the first things Berk tossed and replaced with a proper island. He also tiled the wall, replaced the cabinets, and installed more stylish window treatments to keep the room light.

This was an emotional episode to say the least. Perhaps New Orleans's biggest Saints football fan, Williams and her girlfriend had recently bought a house but were still living with her father. Luckily, this project was a bit less intense for Berk because it was more blank slate than fixer-upper. In the bedroom, he removed the wall-to-wall carpeting, replaced an unsightly ceiling fan with a moody pendant, and created a serious design moment around the bed. He even outfitted the space with a proper sitting area, complete with nesting drink tables and a curved sofa.

Speedy, an 18-year-old former star basketball player, was paralyzed from the waist down in a car accident that killed both his mother and aunt. Before the Fab Five moved him into his own apartment (and paid his rent for an entire year), he lived with family in a house that was not very accessible: His wheelchair could hardly fit through the doorways, he had to transfer to three different chairs to take a shower, and practically everything in the kitchen was out of reach. His new first-floor apartment is equipped with ramps, shelves that pull down, and, most important, a wheel-in shower that requires zero transfers. Berk also removed most of the interior doors to make getting around even easier for him.

Miss Seckel, as she's known at school, was the principal of a New Orleans elementary school until she was promoted to a director-level role. She blamed her extremely messy and undone home on her busy work schedule, which gave her no time to enjoy downtime or clean. In fact, Berk insisted that her high stress levels were likely impacted by her clutter-ridden home. So when he took over her space, he swathed the walls in soothing dark colors, soft touchable textures, and plenty of storage to make decluttering easier. He even transformed a formerly unused sunroom into a bright and airy office space for WFH days.

Stein, the sometimes prickly owner of an iconic Jewish deli, is a local celebrity in New Orleans. He works so much that he hardly spends any time at home, which is why it looked a bit sad and empty when the Fab Five came calling. Berk even asked if he had recently moved in and, like us, was shocked to learn that he had been living in the underfurnished home for more than five years.

Berk turned it into a space that is appropriate for a fiftysomething business owner and comfortable for his girlfriend and her grown children. Though Berk rarely keeps the heroes' furniture, he decided to leave Stein's bed in place. He did, however, paint it jet black.

Henderson-Uloho's story also got us good. The proud mother of seven spent almost 13 years in prison for obstruction of justice in the past and now runs SisterHearts Boutique and Thrift Store, employing former convicts and helping them re-enter society. She admitted that her home was filled with so much stuff because she didn't have any possessions in prison and now likes to hold onto pretty much everything. Berk redecorated her home with her need for lots of stuff in mind but pared it down to the essentials.

The kitchen, for instance, is filled with cookware, decorative plates, and vases. He did, however, flush out the heaviness by replacing the wood-clad cabinets with open shelves, painting the walls a gentle beige, and installing a brighter flush-mount light fixture.

As the farm and outreach coordinator for Recirculating Farms, Richard's home was pretty much drenched in mud. The little furniture he did have was broken. Fashion expert Tan France could hardly get back up after sitting on the extremely slumped sofa. The living room, which basically stretches from the front door to the kitchen, is a long and narrow space, so Berk managed to make use of the slimness by sliding two deep sofas side by side.

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Jessica Cherner is House Beautiful's associate shopping editor and knows where to find the best high-low pieces for any room.

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