After one couple decided to go on vacation and leave their teenage daughters behind, they hoped for the best, but as all parents of teenagers do, expcted the worst. Would their girls throw a party? Would they burn the house down? It was a toss-up.
Out Of Left Field
When parents go on vacation and leave their teenage kids at home alone, a significant part of their vacation is spent hoping that the house will still be standing when they get back. But the Schoonovers never expected to come home to this.
Like your typical American family, the Schoonovers love to take getaways every once in a while. The hard-working parents, Karen and Chip, had a nice home in the beautiful town of North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, but wanted a change of scenery. They made the choice to leave their four teenage daughters at home during a week-long December trip. The couple ended up being totally shocked at what they discovered when they finally returned home after their trip.
The Four Hs
They say the key to success is consistency, and the Schoonovers are living proof of that. Every one of their daughters was christened with a name that started with the letter “H.” First came eldest daughter Heather, who at the time was living out of the home with her husband, then younger sisters Hollie, Halice, and Haley. The daughters still living at home drafted their eldest sister into their battle plan when their parents left, and it was game on.
The Shining Light
Every plan needs an architect, and everyone agrees that it was actually Hollie pulling most of the strings behind the scenes. Since she was the oldest (after Heather), she had the experience needed to plan and execute her scheme. She roped her sisters into participating by promising them that it would be the best Christmas gift ever for their parents. She knew her sisters would be her perfect assistants. Hollie also put Haley in charge of recording the whole thing.
A Star In The Making
Although everyone admits that Hollie was the brains of the operation, she wasn’t exactly an amateur interior designer before hatching the plan. She actually was into performing arts, an aspiring thespian and singer. Since she lives far from Hollywood, her day job is being a professional makeup artist – so while it’s not on stage, it’s still glamorous. She hopes she can channel that experience into the entertainment industry as she progresses in her techniques and talent.
Snapshots Of Time
Hollie’s dream is to be in front of the camera, but her sister Haley prefers being behind it! Haley is an amateur photographer. The sisters have worked together to harness their talents and practice their passions since Hollie would do her sister’s makeup, and Haley would snap pics of the finished result. Hollie and Haley once again perfectly complemented each other, as their shared artistic talent translated to an eye for color perfect for updating the aesthetic of the family home.
Taking A Study Break
Halice is a little less creative and a little more practical than her two artistically inclined sisters. She followed in her oldest sister Heather’s footsteps and went to college. However, she didn’t branch out that far – she attended Coastal Carolina University so that she could stay close to home and her beloved family. Coastal Carolina is also Heather’s alma mater. After graduation, Halice plans on continuing her education in graduate school to become a physical therapist.
Back To Her Roots
The three younger Schoonover girls had more of a stake in the remodel since they lived at home. While Heather is still a proud South Carolina resident, she’s moved away from the coast and to the more rural interior of the state, residing in the countryside. She works in marketing at a real estate company, but she took time off from work to be there for her sisters when they needed her. It’s clear that family comes first for the Schoonover girls.
Making Big Moves
Although the Schoonover family is widely considered to be a pillar of the North Myrtle Beach community, they actually aren’t originally from the town. All four of the Schoonover girls were born and raised in Seminole, Florida, and the family only moved to North Myrtle Beach after the girls grew up in Seminole. However, they love their new adopted home and consider themselves to be committed to staying in South Carolina, making their Christmas project even more of a powerful statement.
Racking Up The Views
To the Schoonover sisters’ surprise, the video of their scheme quickly went viral! Many users from all over the world came in droves to their YouTube video, leaving supportive comments and explaining how emotionally touched they were by the sisters’ action. The girls were shocked that complete strangers reached out to them. Since the video was passed along to the friends of those who’d seen it, spreading the positive vibes and energy, it truly became the gift that kept on giving.
Starting From The Bottom
The family home was the target of the girls’ plan. Though most kids would perhaps hire a maid and call it a day, or at the most stick a few balloons in the foyer, the Schoonover girls went way above and beyond the call of duty. Despite the fact that none of them had any experience whatsoever in heavy duty home remodeling, the girls were certain that they could pull off the ultimate surprise of a lifetime for their hardworking parents.
Out With The Old
Every journey begins with a single step, goes the old proverb, and the Schoonover sisters embodied this to the fullest. The logical first step, they decided, was to get rid of all the obvious junk in the house. But unfortunately, the sisters underestimated the mass of the mess – it ended up taking nearly a full day for them to clear it, meaning that they were losing precious time at a quicker rate than they ever could have imagined.
A Clean Slate
But the project only got more difficult from that point on. It was time to get down and dirty. Hollie thought for a moment that they may have bitten off more than they could chew, but the sisters pressed ahead, undaunted by the huge task at hand. They ripped out all the ratty old carpeting in the house, discovering that the easiest way to clear the area and get rid of the carpeting was by tossing it out a window.
I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends
Maybe the girls drew inspiration from the many home makeover shows currently dominating the small screen, where 24 hours leads to someone getting a house that looks totally brand new. But the sisters realized quickly that this project was bigger than they could tackle by themselves. They asked for outside help and knew just the people who were perfect for the occasion. However, they weren’t sure if these reinforcements would be as enthusiastic about taking on the project as the girls were.
But a true home makeover doesn’t involve only clean up, painting, and fresh carpeting – the decor and furniture of the home are equally in need of restoration. The girls saved up and pooled their money together in order to buy some brand new furniture to replace the items that had become worn out. The hardest part, however, was getting the heavy old furniture out of the house! The girls hilariously struggled to get their old couch out onto the porch.
Flexing Their Abilities
This might sound like quite a bit of physical labor for a bunch of girls – but these strong sisters had some muscle on them! Eldest sister Heather is a health nut and fitness freak, who hosts meetings to help dieters stay accountable and meet their fitness goals. Halice was studying for a degree in sports science and exercise when they decided to remodel the house, and the other sisters were big fans of taking runs and eating healthy.
Playing To Their Strengths
Taking on the impossible is tough to do when you’re not united as a team, but together, the four Schoonover sisters knew right from the beginning that they could do anything. The sisters had years of experience working together successfully and supporting each other. Their favorite hobby as children had been pursuing geocaching – a type of outdoor navigation game. So while many would be afraid to try, the sisters knew that together they could pull off a full house remodel in a week.
Uncovering Hidden Treasure
You probably never heard of geocaching before, and you’re not alone. It’s a bit of a fringe activity that hasn’t quite hit the mainstream yet, but it has fans all over the globe. Basically, the main idea of geocaching is that someone from your community hides a small treasure somewhere, only sharing the coordinates GPS style. Then, people nearby navigate to the coordinates to discover whatever trinket is waiting for them. The girls excelled at this hobby.
Hitting The Hurdles
Everyone knows the struggle – when you’re in the middle of an ambitious project, it feels like the work will never end. After just three days of work, the girls were already feeling demotivated and struggling to imagine how they could do it all again the next day. At the end of the day, there was a house in chaos with nothing much to show for their hours of effort, and the girls realized that they might have been in over their heads.
Looking For A Boost
The next morning, the sisters, who were usually happy and carefree, were not in the highest of spirits. They didn’t get much sleep during the night, and surveying the house upon awakening, it looked like they had made their home into a disaster zone. But one of the sisters decided to flip the script and went out of the house to the local convenience store. She returned with a pack of energy drinks, giving the sisters the boost they needed to continue.
Wearing Them Down
Even though the girls had recruited outsiders for some extra help, every room of their home proved to be a far more significant challenge than they ever could have anticipated. They had originally assumed that moving the heavy furniture to and fro would be the hardest part of the undertaking, but it turned out that simply the hours and hours of manual labor were incredibly draining. That night, it took a lot of effort to not call it quits.
Feeling The Physical Strain
The girls documented in their videos that it was not only the lack of sleep that was getting to them, but their backs were beginning to hurt. They were now halfway through the week, and they still had more to do than they could have imagined. However, even with all the pain, exhaustion and work ahead, it was the love for their parents that kept them going. They were determined to complete the project regardless of their current physical and mental state.
Finding Their Numbers Depleted
Even with all the work they had ahead of them, the girls were making progress, little by little. However, just as they had been struggling with the workload for the first four days, things were about to get a whole lot worse. Hayley and Hollie were the only sisters available to get work done on the fifth day, and the last thing they needed was fewer hands on the project. Their lack of numbers was undoubtedly going to set them back, and they knew they had a long road ahead.
All By Themelves
Regardless of the fact that there were only two of them, Haley and Hollie got straight to work on day five. Haley documented the progress the girls had made on the day, which showed Hollie sitting on the floor of the dining room and painting the wall a pale blue. She also mentioned their significant accomplishment, where they had installed the new carpets in place of the old ones they had thrown in the trash. The two sisters proved that their determination could result in a productive day’s work.
Up All Night
The girls had set their alarms for 7 AM the next morning, expressing that they would keep working until they couldn’t go on anymore. With the kitchen only half painted, the girls got straight to work. They needed to put the second coat of paint on half the kitchen cabinets, while also painting the first coat on the other half. This was their final day to get all the work done before their shocked parents would arrive home, and they needed this gift to be complete on their arrival.
Hearts On Their Sleeves
It was Hollie who took charge of the camera on the morning of day six, and she was sure to express how tired her and her sisters were. On asking Haley how she felt, she expressed, “I feel like I’m in the army,” with Hollie showing off her “stress acne” as a result of their work. Regardless of their physical strains, they needed to put the finishing touches on the house by completing the paint job and putting the furniture back.
Using A Decoy
Just when Karen and Chip Schoonover were expecting to return to their home exactly the way they left it, they felt that something was different as soon as they pulled into their driveway. When all four girls walked out of the house together to greet their parents, Karen asked Heather, “Hey! Hey! What are you doing here!?” The parents couldn’t believe they were seeing all their daughters together, and they were overcome with joy and emotion seeing their eldest daughter home.
Off The Trail
Karen and Chip Schoonover pulled into their driveway feeling refreshed from their week away, but immediately, they knew something felt different. As they left the car, Karen stood, inspecting the yard, trying to put her finger on what had changed when her four daughters walked out of the house together. Karen and Chip had only expected three. “Hey! Hey! What are you doing here!” Karen exclaimed to Heather. Both parents were overcome with surprise and joy at seeing their daughter home.
Judging A Book By Its Cover
It was obvious to Karen that the outside of her house had changed. This led her to ask her kids, “Alright, who cleaned?” Karen felt satisfied as she looked over at Heather standing alongside her three sisters, although she was secretly hoping that the girls did some cleaning work on the inside of the house as well. Based on how the outside looked, she could have guessed that the kids did a bit more. She would soon find out just how much the girls did.
It’s Not Over Yet
Just as they had planned, Heather said to Karen and her husband, “Your surprise isn’t over yet.” Before walking through the door, the girls told their mother to “take a deep breath.” The girls then brought both parents inside to show them what they did. Once Karen and Chip entered, they stood in disbelief at what their children had accomplished in the week they were away. It took some time for Karen and Chip to process their newly renovated home.
Cards On The Table
The house didn’t look anything like what Karen or Chip remembered. As she took in all of the changes, Karen yelled, “What! What did you do!” Karen simply couldn’t contain her excitement and shock at what her girls did. It turns out that the girls did a whole lot more than just tidy up a bit. The first thing Karen noticed was the renovated kitchen, which looked completely different. Karen and Chip were already thrilled, but the girls’ renovations didn’t end there.
Rewards Of A Challenge
Karen and Chip walked through the kitchen and noticed the brand new interior design. The walls were now painted a relaxing pale blue, accentuated by the brown cabinets, and the old countertops were replaced with beautiful slabs of polished marble. Suddenly, Karen found herself overcome with emotions. She could never have imagined that her daughters would do such a nice thing for her. Even though Karen was still in shock, her daughters still had a lot more to show her.
Dining In Style
As she entered the dining room, Karen wiped away tears from her face. She would have been more than happy if the girls had only renovated the kitchen, but she now realized that the girls’ hard work extended to other rooms of the house. The changes were incredible. As Karen continued to cry, the girls giggled and took photos and videos of their mother’s reaction. They were proud of what they had accomplished and happy they could give something so great to their mom.
Updating Their Comfort
Next up, the girls walked with their parents to the master bedroom. They were elated to show Karen and Chip that they had really taken care of every single detail. As she approached the room, Karen was visibly excited, dancing from room to room. Meanwhile, Chip was much more stoic in his response. While he managed to appear calm on the outside, the girls could tell that he was holding in his emotions as his jaw gradually approached the newly-carpeted floor.
Shining With Gratitude
Karen and Chip Schoonover couldn’t fathom what could have inspired their daughters to take on the massive project of renovating an entire home all by themselves. The girls had covered everything and left no stone unturned. Everything from the master bedroom to the bathrooms had been completely redone. They even applied a fresh coat of paint to the tub and shower! The girls also updated the interior decor in every room. Karen and Chip were shocked to learn that there was still more to see.
An Open Invitation
As they walked from the bedroom and into the guest bedroom, Karen and Chip wondered what more they could have possibly accomplished in the time while they were away. The girls not only worked efficiently but also methodically. The guest rooms were made to match the same style and color scheme as the rest of the house, with new bedsheets, comforters, and curtains. Karen and Chip felt endless pride for their thoughtful daughters, who spent their own time and money on the incredible renovations.
At the end of the girls’ video, they describe how they wanted to give their parents the greatest Christmas present ever to say thank you for the sacrifices Karen and Chip made. It’s evident, however, that the girls also wanted to embark on this amazing project for themselves, to prove that they really can accomplish anything they set their minds to. While Karen and Chip were certainly pleased with the renovations, they were even happier to see that their daughters had become such incredible young women.