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Today’s empty nest makeover

It’s back to school time, and you’re left with an empty bedroom as your college student heads off to campus.
/ Source: TODAY

It’s back to school time, and you're left with an empty bedroom as your college student heads off to campus.  Weekend Today wants to help you reclaim that empty space, while keeping its bedroom "roots" intact.

Viewers voted for the entry they thought should win a room makeover on us. Weekend Today will dispatch "While You Were Out" designer Chayse Dacoda to help turn that empty bedroom into a new office, sewing room or den where a student can sleep when he or she comes home to visit.

Tune in this weekend to find out the winner, chosen from the entries below:


Name: Anne
Hometown: Wildwood, Mo.

After 27 years of marriage, 9 moves, three kids, one dog and the last child finally gone I have a room that I want to turn in to a sewing room (my life-long dream...a well-lit, organized, clean, functional space to create in.) But, I still need the space to accommodate my son when he comes home to visit.

My oldest daughter just graduated with her master's degree from Truman State University.  I also have a son who is a Sr. at Univ. of Missouri-Columbia, and a sophomore daughter at the same school. 

The thought of having my own space after all these years is overwhelming! I have always loved to sew but never had more than a corner in the basement to do it in.  I have been the typical mom who has gladly sacrificed for her children, but now I would like to have my own turn at having a wish come true.

Name: Sabina
Hometown: Brooklyn, N.Y.

It took us a year to come to the realization that out daughter Cara (Cornell University, class of '07) was now a guest.

For the first time, I think about my own future. After 30 years in the classroom, I look forward to retiring the very same year that Cara receives her diploma. My job is largely done, both as a teacher in the public school system and as a mother at home. I look forward to active retirement, using the tools that I have gained in the last three decades. My plan is to tutor children with special needs.

The last part of the puzzle is a room where I can meet my children in a student friendly atmosphere. The room will tell my young charge that he/she is here to learn and to be helped in a setting that reminds of classroom but also promises a relaxed environment without teacher and peer pressures.

Name: Tanya
Hometown: Hobart, Ind.

I am the oldest of 8 children and I am writing this on behalf of my parents who have, in one way or the other, sent 5 children behind me on their way in this big world. Now the 7th child, my sister, is a freshwoman at Sienna Heights University in Adrian Michigan.

My parents have worked very hard all their lives to give my sisters and brothers a quality education, sometimes despite tremendous financial difficulties. 

Now that #7 is on her way, I would like to see my parents get something nice in that empty space. Times have been rough and they feel just as saddened by my sister's departure as they did when I left for school almost 10 years ago. That is the kind of people they are and I would love for them to get a new office or craft room for them to enjoy.

Name: Elizabeth
Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio

As I write to you today, I am sitting in my "office" surrounded by half empty dressers, cluttered shelves, and dated decor.  This room served its purpose well while my wonderful son was here, but since he left last week to begin his freshman year at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, my future office is crying our for a makeover.

I am a teacher who brings lots of work home to do in the evening.  Because there is no other space, I do this work in the evening at the dining room table.

I need a highly functional workspace but it is important that this space is comfortable for my son when he returns during the holidays and over summer break.

Official Rules
(August 20, 2004)

1. PRELIMINARY INFORMATION:  No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. You must be a legal resident of the U.S. or the District of Columbia physically residing within the Continental United States (residents of Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico and Guam are excluded from entry and participation) who is 18 years of age or older as of August 20, 2004.  Competition begins on August 20, 2004 at Noon Eastern Time (“EST”) and ends on  September 5, 2004 at 6:00PM EST.  You must also have a son and/or daughter enrolled in a U.S. College or University on or before September 10, 2004 who will be residing on campus for the 2004-2005 school year.

2. TO ENTER:  To enter, go to, click on the “TODAY’s Empty Nest Room Makeover” (“Competition”) and  then complete the registration form, which includes name, telephone number, email address, University or College your son and/or daughter attends, year your son and/or daughter will graduate and an area for you to explain, in  500 words or less, why you need TODAY’s EMPTY NEST ROOM MAKEOVER and what you would like to do with your son and/or daughter’s room (“Essay”).  All Essays must be original, truthful, unpublished, created solely by the submitting entrant, must not have been submitted in any other competition, and must not infringe upon any rights of any third party, including but not limited to copyright, trademark, and rights of privacy and publicity.  All entries, including the Essay, become the property of NBC Universal, Inc. and will not be acknowledged or returned.  Limit one entry per household.  Multiple entries received from any person or e-mail address thereafter will void all such additional entries.  Entries that are incomplete, illegible or corrupted are void and will not be accepted.  Employees of NBC Universal, Inc. (“NBC”), MSNBC Cable LLC (“MSNBC”), NBC’s affiliated TV stations or Web site, General Electric, their respective advertising and promotion agencies, their parent, subsidiary and joint venture companies, as well as members of their immediate families and households (including children, spouses and siblings and/or persons living in the same households as such persons (whether related or not)) are not eligible.  


All Entrants must have a son and/or daughter have a son and/or enrolled in a U.S. College  or University on or before September 10, 2004 who will be residing on campus for the 2004-2005 school year.  Employees, officers, directors, agents, and representatives of NBC and its respective advertising and promotion agencies, its parent, subsidiary and joint venture companies, and members of employees’ immediate families (spouses, parents, children, and siblings and their spouses) and members of the households of any of the above are not eligible. By participating, entrants agree to abide and be bound by these Official Rules and the decisions of the judges that are final and binding in all matters relating to this Competition.

Four (4) finalists will be selected by Weekend Today (the “Judges”) on September 1 , 2004 from all eligible entries received.   Judges will evaluate entrants’ Essays on the following criteria: Creativity 25%; Strength of Argument 25%; Organization 25% and Correct Use of Language 25%.  Weekend Today will notify each Finalist by phone and/or mail and/or at the email address.  Finalists will then be required to send a photograph of their “EMPTY NEST” room (“Photo”) that they would like to have redecorated.  Finalists and Winner will also be required to sign an affidavit and release of publicity and liability.  If potential Finalist and/or Winner declines or cannot be reached after a reasonable effort has been exerted, if he/she is found to be ineligible, if he/she cannot or does not comply with these Official Rules, or, such potential Finalist will be disqualified and an alternate potential Finalist may be selected at Weekend TODAY’s sole discretion. Applicants must also be of good moral character. Weekend TODAY reserves the right to exclude anyone convicted of a crime  (other than moving violations of a misdemeanor type that did not involve personal injury, drugs or alcohol).  Applicant must have nothing in their background that would be an embarrassment to NBC News or Weekend TODAY, and applicants may not be elected officials or currently running for any political office (local, state or federal).  Potential Finalists may be required to undergo a background check.

Please note that by entering you agree to undergo a background check conducted by WEEKEND TODAY and, if necessary, to sign waiver forms authorizing the release of personal and background information.

Thereafter, on or about September 3, 2004, the Judges will reveal the four (4) Finalists whose Photos will be placed on Weekend Today’s website at .   Viewers will be asked to vote for a Finalist.  Viewers may vote only once.  Multiple votes will be voided.  The Finalist who receives the most votes by the date and time specified on the website currently scheduled to be September 5, 2004, but which is subject to change as necessary by Weekend Today, will be the potential Winner.    The Finalists and/or the Winner, in the sole discretion of Weekend TODAY, may appear live or via videotape on the Weekend TODAY show and/or may be announced live during the broadcast of the show.

If there is a tie (if two Finalists receive an equal number of votes by viewers), the Winner will be selected in the sole discretion of Weekend TODAY judges.

If the potential Grand Prize Winner (the “Winner”) is disqualified or otherwise unable to fulfill the requirements asked of them, the eligible finalist who received the most votes among the remaining finalists may be selected as the Winner.

Winner and their members of their household will be required to complete and sign a Affidavit of Eligibility, Acceptance of Conditions, and Waiver of Liability and Publicity Release (the “Releases”) or the Prize may be forfeited. 

Entrants agree that NBC may photograph, film, record, and/or broadcast Competition entrants, at any time during the Competition Period, without providing entrants with any further compensation.  Entrants agree to allow Weekend TODAY to use their impersonations, likeness, voice, room and residence for purposes of advertising, promotion and publicity without additional compensation.

Entrants agree during the competition to make themselves exclusively available to Weekend TODAY for publicity and promotion during the Competition, and agree that they will not allow interviews by other media outlets, including television, magazines, newspapers, radio, and internet, unless authorized by Weekend TODAY.

The Judges’ decisions during all phases of the Winner selection process are final and binding and entrants agree to be bound by these decisions.  

If for any reason any of the Finalists do not meet any of the above eligibility requirements in Weekend Today’s sole discretion, the Judges may select an alternate Finalist or disqualify the entrant. If potential Winner declines or cannot be reached after a reasonable effort has been made by Weekend TODAY, if he/she is found to be ineligible, or if he/she cannot or does not comply with these Official Rules, such potential Winner will be disqualified and an alternate potential Winner may be selected at Weekend TODAY’s sole discretion.

By submitting an application to the Competition, applicants are not submitting an application for employment. 

By entering the Competition, entrants agree to waive any right to claim any ambiguity or error in these Official Rules, or the Competition itself, and agree to be bound by these Official Rules and by all decisions of the judges and/or NBC and Weekend TODAY whose decisions are binding and final.

4. PRIZE:  One (1) Grand Prize will be awarded consisting of the following: Weekend Today will come to your home and redecorate your room that is making your home feel like an empty nest!   The style, quality, placement and all other aspects of the decoration will be selected and installed by Weekend Today, in their sole discretion, and provided to the Winner.  Entrants agree that if selected as a Winner, entrant will permit Weekend Today to decorate his or her room and to have the room decoration videotaped for television, on or about September 11th and 12th, 2004, even if the entrant doesn’t like decor selected and installed by Weekend Today. The estimated retail value of the Grand Prizes is $2,500.  This prize cannot be transferred by Winner or redeemed for cash and is valid only for the services and materials detailed above, with no substitution of prize by winners.  Limit one prize per family or household.  Winner must be willing and able to permit a crew from Weekend Today (including the professional designer), to enter his or her home to decorate their room and to film the Winner, the Winner’s family and the Winner’s home before, during and after the decoration (the “Footage”) and agree that the Footage is owned by NBC and may be broadcast by NBC at any time, including in a segment on home decoration that may be broadcast on Weekend Today in September 2004 or anytime thereafter.  Winner must also agree to appear with their families and household members on Weekend Today in connection with winner’s room makeover (in Weekend’s Today’s sole discretion).  Weekend TODAY reserve(s) the right to substitute a similar prize of equal or greater value at its sole discretion. In the event this contest is terminated before prize is awarded , if any prize is forfeited or unclaimed, if any prize notification is undeliverable, or in the event of non-compliance with any of these requirements, the prize will be forfeited and Weekend TODAY will randomly select from remaining eligible entries an alternate winner for all remaining prize elements. If potential Finalist declines or cannot be reached after a reasonable effort has been exerted, if he/she is found to be ineligible, or if he/she cannot or does not comply with these Official Rules, such potential Finalist will be disqualified and an alternate potential Finalist may be selected at Weekend Today’s sole discretion. The program reserves the right to make public personal information about the applicants on-air, prior to, during, or following the Competition.   Entrants acknowledge that any negative information regarding an entrant that WEEKEND TODAY may disclose during the program may be more or less favorable than similar information disclosed by WEEKEND TODAY regarding other entrants.

5. DISCLAIMER: Each Finalist and/or Winner assumes all liability for any injury or damages caused or claimed to be caused by his or her participation in the competition and/or the acceptance and/or use of any prize, and releases NBC, its parent, subsidiaries, affiliates, officers, directors, and employees, from any such liability.  NBC and its officers, directors, employees, subsidiaries and affiliates assume(s) no responsibility for any injury or damage to participants or to any other person’s computer relating to or resulting from entering or downloading materials or software in connection with this competition. Weekend Today and NBC are not responsible for telecommunications, network, electronic, technical or computer failures of any kind, for inaccurate transcription of entry information, errors in any promotional or marketing materials, errors in these rules, for any human or electronic error (including but not limited to the administration of this Competition and awarding of the Prize), or for entries that are stolen, misdirected, garbled, delayed by computer transmissions, lost, late, damaged, or postage due. Entry constitutes permission (except where prohibited by law) to use finalists’ and/or winner's name, city, state, likeness, voice and use and exploit the Essay and Photo for the purposes of advertising, promotion and publicity, in all media now known or hereafter discovered, worldwide, without notice, review or approval by any finalist and/or winner and without additional compensation. Failure to comply with these rules may result in disqualification from this promotion.

6.   Except where prohibited, all issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Official Rules, or the rights and obligations of the entrant and NBC in connection with the Sweepstakes, shall be governed by, and construed in accordance with, the laws of the state of New York, without giving effect to any choice of law or conflict of law rules (whether of the state of New York, or any other jurisdiction), which would cause the application of the laws of any jurisdiction other than the state of New York.  All actions and proceedings arising out of or relating to this Competition shall be heard and determined in any court of competent jurisdiction sitting in the City of New York, New York. 

7. ADDITIONAL RULES: Odds of winning depend upon the number of eligible entries received.  Failure to comply with these rules may result in disqualification from this promotion. Weekend Today reserves the right to terminate this sweepstakes or permanently disqualify from any promotion any person it believes has violated these rules.

The failure of Weekend TODAY and NBC to comply with any provision of these Official Rules due to an act of God, hurricane, war, fire, riot, earthquake, terrorism, act of public enemies, actions of governmental authorities outside of the control of Weekend TODAY and NBC (excepting compliance with applicable codes and regulations) or other force majeure event will not be considered a breach of these Official Rules.

8. WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT: For the names of the winner, available after about September 9, 2004, go to