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Kitchen Dreams Come True For Kelley Hansen

Last fall The Early Show viewers were invited to share their "Homemade Memories" and the show held an online poll to see who would receive a kitchen makeover, complete with new appliances from folks at Sears/Kenmore.

After the votes were tallied, contractors headed out to Oshkosh, Wisc., to remake polka mom Kelley Hansen's kitchen.

Over the past two weeks, the Hansen family's kitchen underwent an amazing transformation. It all began with an e-mail from Kelley. She wrote that she has fond memories of being by her mother's side while she danced through the kitchen.

"I can still see her polka hoping at the end of the kitchen table, both hands in the mixing bowl while she kneaded homemade bread or her infamous meatloaf," Hansen wrote.

It was a tradition she would continue in her own home, even though her dance floor wasn't very big. But that would change once Kelley was chosen for a makeover. Oshkosh contractor Jason Geffers was asked to make the most of Kelley's new kitchen.

"For a small space I think people are going to be pleasantly surprised," he told The Early Show home improvement expert and host of "Today's Homeowner" Danny Lipford.

The key element of the new design encloses the area where a doorway and workspace meet. Geffers eliminated a door that led to the garage and eliminated traffic problems and congestion.

"Another thing about the original kitchen, it was an 'L' shape, which always creates accessible problems in the corner of those cabinets. So eliminating that, making this a galley-type kitchen really made a big difference," Lipford said.

Also to create more space, Geffers removed a wall and adjacent closet.

"That's going to be great for getting people around the table and having more room there," Kelley said. "It would get kind of congested in there. It's going to be a big change, which is great."

Cabinets and appliances are now arranged on opposing walls.

"It'll be like a galley kitchen," she said. "We will have functional space on both sides."

There were layout improvements to the dining area as well.

"We have a patio door that we are putting in," Geffers said. "That'll bring in a lot of natural light."

Demolition began with a ceremonial swing of the sledge hammer from every member of the family. The room was then sealed so the crew could get to work and kick up a lot of dust. In just five hours the 50-year-old kitchen was history.

After the clean-up, subcontractors re-routed electric and plumbing. Textured walls were created from plaster and Kenmore's Pro line supplied custom cabinets and a vast array of new appliances.

"Most kitchens that size have maybe a dishwasher, microwave and a range, but she's got a trash compactor, a warming drawer and wall oven," Geffers said.

"The possibilities will be endless," Kelley said. "I can't even imagine."

Although it's state-of-the-art, Kelley's kitchen will still accommodate an heirloom.

"When my mom passed away 13 years ago, she gave me a corner dining hutch that we didn't use because we didn't have a corner to put it in," she said. "It's kind of one of those little aspects. Her spirit has been with us through this whole thing."

The Early Show checked in with Kelley now that she has had a couple of days to adjust to her new kitchen.

"I love it," she told The Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith. "It's really hard to articulate. We're having a lot of fun."

For more information on the sponsors who made this kitchen makeover possible visit these sites:

Sears, Kenmore, Geffers Construction, Mid-State Supply and Seville Cabinetry.

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