Making a House a Home for Jude and Kris

Recently we had another opportunity to give back to our community, working with Homes For Our Troops home recipients Jude and Kris Recendez.  (read more about about his story.) They made headlines in the last month, not just for receiving their new home, but for the wedding vows they exchanged on the day they received the keys to their new home.   There were so many volunteers involved in not only building the home, but also coordinating and executing the wedding ceremony, and for some reason,  one person took credit for the entire event.   So before I go into what fun we had on the interior of the home, I wanted to share with you the great people who donated time, resources and materials towards the event.    Karen Berl of RSVP Events worked diligently and was able to get R&R Catering, VA Barbecue,  Jimmy the Greek,  The Cheesecake Garden, Laurie Bracewell Photography, Your Life Photography,  Anthomanic Florals, To a Tea, Touchstone Crystals, Coyote XS DJ, Fredericksburg Rentals, Anthony Campbell, Ronnie Richards, Write and Lydia’s, and Andrew Chapel to donate early mornings, late nights and wonderful food, flowers, music and everything necessary to give Kris and Jude a wedding they never got to have.

When I first met Kris and Jude – I have to be honest, I fell in love with them the first day I met them.  They brought the  two dogs they rescued, Molly and Murphy,  to a meeting we had and I realized right then how very down to earth, humble and grateful they are… and great people we are blessed to have in our community.   They could have moved back to California where all their family lives, but they chose to come to our neighborhood, mostly because they find the people in our community to be warm, welcoming and puts them more near the care Jude will need.   When Kris and I had an opportunity to talk, I found out that she and Jude met years ago and didn’t get married until after he sustained serious injuries while serving in the Army.   They had planned a wedding but used all their savings to move to Northern Virginia.  That fact alone touched my heart – that Kris would still marry Jude after the trauma, knowing that life was never going to be easy, but even more challenging as they grow old together.   In a world where we see so many couples dissolving relationships over the silliest of things, I am witness to two people who truly love each other through better or worse.   It made volunteering to help them transition to their new home even more important.  This wasn’t just another volunteer project, it was more personal.

My first challenge was raising funds to get them some furniture.  They didn’t have much, and what they did have, I wanted to incorporate in the overall design.  Jude is an artist and likes modern designs, whereas Kris is more traditional.   Not only did I need to find funds, but find furnishings which would help with wheelchair access.  The first to step up and provide a grant was the Frazier and Mason families who started the Some Gave All Foundation.   Then there was a great desk donated by individuals in the community and monetary donations made by us and friends of ours who wish to remain anonymous.   We worked with Nicole Valadares at Bassett Furniture for most all of the furniture.

The next bit o fun was getting enough volunteers, but not too many, to help us put together furniture, paint, hang window treatments and everything in between.   Alex Rusk, Ty Quarrels, Christine and Dave Reinaman, and Shelagh Tavuchis were the muscles and talent we were blessed to have helping me throughout the entire project.  Jeremy at Sherwin Williams donated all the paint and we  had Sorin and Claudiu of Medias (  bring in their crew to help paint the entire home in one day!

Marvin and Luis of Medias Painting help get the job done 🙂

Alex, Christine and Ty hang curtains in the guest room

Alex, Christine, Dave and Ty help Alex Rusk put together the entertainment center

In addition to the donated and purchased furniture, I couldn’t help but do one of the things I love to do –  and that is to repurpose furniture.

this bookcase will have a new mission in life

Starting with a bookcase Jude and Kris already had, we bought mounts and legs, painted them black and added drawers and doors to the bookcases…turning it into a buffet.  Kris thought we bought it from Pottery Barn!

A Pottery Barn look-a-like? Kris’s new buffett

Here’s Kris and Jude’s new house and home, hope you enjoy 🙂

Dining room before

Okay, before I go on, I have to tell you we did not get Jude and Kris a new dining room table and chairs.  First of all, that would be silly since it works just right, but more importantly, there’s a story behind that table and chairs.  A DIY project Kris took on to stain and paint it.  Because it became truly hers and has it’s own history, we HAD to keep it.

Dining room after

Dining room after



We used some of Jude’s “homework” and framed them to add to the top of the entertainment center and other places in the home, as well as using meaningful art and artifacts throughout the home to make it truly Jude and Kris’s home.


Guest room before


Guest room after


Master Bedroom Before


Master Bedroom After



Kris and Jude – it was truly a pleasure working with you and we hope you enjoy your new home and neighborhood!  Thank you to everyone who donated their time, funds, resources and love for this project!


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