Monica Potter is at home.
Her face glows as she stands in her brightly lit kitchen welcoming relatives, friends and employees who begin to fill up every nook and cranny of the cozy kitchen lined with shiny white cabinets and a wood island.
“It’s so nice to meet you,” she says to guests with a light nod and soft handshake. “Make yourself at home.”
With an easy smile that warms the entire space, she carefully adjusts plates of appetizers, dainty three-tiered trays of desserts and a platter of fresh fruits and crackers while making sure everyone has a drink in hand. “We’re going to eat soon,” Potter assures her guests.
Everyone’s gathered here for a homecoming of sorts. The 45-year-old Cleveland native and former Parenthood actress bought her childhood home in North Collinwood back in May 2014. Along with her mother, Nancy Brokaw, and her three sisters — Jessica, Bridgette and Kerry — Potter embarked on a seven-week renovation that was filmed this summer by HGTV crews for the six-episode series Welcome Back Potter.
The third and fourth episodes, which show the sisters redesigning their former bedrooms, bathroom and restoring their back porch, airs this crisp and cool October night. The family has reunited for the first time since completing the tedious process in August that took the 1,800-square-foot, four-bedroom home from an abandoned space painted barnyard red to a bright white house with a country chic theme.
With its red and navy accents, the house has a patriotic flair. Inside, the sisters’ goal of creating an open, spacious feel was accomplished by using pastel colors and installing several large windows and French doors throughout.
Several rooms have been converted to bedrooms, outfitted with vintage furniture, so their family can stay here when in town.
But more than just giving the house a cosmetic makeover, the family has had a chance to reconnect with a piece of their cherished past.
“We had a great childhood,” Potter says. “We came back here for the memories.”
From the moment they sold the house and moved to Alabama, Potter has wanted to return. In the 30 years since, that feeling has only grown stronger.
But Potter didn’t approach her sisters with her big idea until 2012. As they were drinking, laughing and reconnecting during Christmas, Potter asked her eldest sister Jessica.
“I said, ‘Yeah lets do it!’ ” Jessica says. “Our other sisters were like, What are you? Freaking nuts?!”
Although the idea seemed rather ambitious and a bit crazy, soon enough each of the women were on board and excited about the project.
“It’s very blurry at this point, but that’s what we did,” says Jessica. “And now, it’s the best feeling in the world.”