On July 15, 2018, Crystal Bennett’s remodeled home appeared on the HGTV program House Hunters. Here’s how AHSD helped make it happen:
Crystal grew up in a small Texas town where her father, in addition to 20 years in the air force reserve, spent 38 years fixing factory machines. Her mother worked at the local prison. Crystal always had a curious spirit. She made it a point to learning as much as she could about her work at the coal plant where she worked as well meeting & learning about different people. When the announcement came that a new plant would be coming online, Crystal jumped at the chance to be a part of its planning and building.
But the next stage of Crystal’s life brought challenges. Within three months of each other, Crystal was laid off and diagnosed with breast cancer. After treatment and surgery, Crystal kept asking, ‘Now what?’ She applied for jobs, had some great interviews, but nothing happened. Crystal, a spiritual person, said to herself, ‘Well, I guess this isn’t what I’m supposed to be doing!’
Meanwhile, Nate, Crystal’s husband, had taken a seminar and started flipping homes (he had also been laid off). He was beginning to gain some traction. So even though finances were tight, Crystal told her husband he needed to continue training. “If you are going to do this thing, you have to do it right.” Then it hit Crystal; maybe she should get training. “I understand blueprints. I know how to run projects.” The cancer had made her see she was still young and that her time with her husband was precious. So she went online and started looking for courses in interior design and home staging.
What Crystal learned at AHSD took her to a different level. “All the real-life example from and Wanda (Wanda Colon, Founder and Instructor) and George (George Cambron, Interior Designer and guest Instructor at AHSD)and the forms and contracts I could use right away-they made the Academy something special.”
Something special is exactly why HGTV saw in Crystal’s design work. HGTV’s program House Hunters films clients as they find a new home to move into. The HGTV realtor found the home Crystal and Nate had just remodeled and wanted to feature it on the show. “I had come back from AHSD’s Interior Design program with a heightened sense of design, and was much better attuned to what clients want. But still, it was a total shock.”
In addition to her HGTV premier, Crystal and Nate have flipped two properties, one at a $60K profit, and a third project is under way. Is Crystal tempted to go back to the security of corporate work? Sure. But she can feel it-that Kim and Wanda genuinely want her to succeed, and that keeps her moving ahead. “We love doing this work. And I am still committed to ‘good’ just isn’t good enough. So far, Crystal’s approach seems to be paying off.