We Have a Winner: $10,000 ‘Summer Home Improvement’ Sweepstakes

We asked winner Janet Cole of Pennsylvania how she plans to spend the prize money.

This summer, Zillow and home improvement expert Bob Vila teamed up to give away $10,000 cash and a personal consultation with Vila himself in the Summer Home Improvement Sweepstakes. We are excited to finally announce the winner — Janet Cole, from the northwest corner of Pennsylvania!

Janet Cole with her mother-in-law, “Honey,” and her husband standing at the site of the future pavilion.

Here’s a short Q&A with Cole about what she plans to do with the prize money:

Zillow: What was your first reaction when you found out that you won?

Cole: When I received my e-mail notification of winning, I couldn’t believe it. I have never won anything before. In fact, just a few days before the notification, I mentioned to my husband that I had filled out surveys and sweepstakes but had never won, and it would be nice to win at least something to know it’s worth the effort!

Zillow: What do you plan on doing with the $10,000 prize money?

Cole: We already have plans for the prize money. We are hoping to be able to build a pavilion on a piece of land that was part of a farm that my husband’s parents owned when he was a boy. My mother-in-law’s nickname is “Honey,” and we wanted to call our pavilion “Honey’s Hideaway.”

We bought the land in 2007, and it was full of brush and thorns. My husband and I have already built our driveway, an equipment shed, run electric, had a well dug, and had the septic system put in. In time, we hope to build a home on the property, but will start with the pavilion!

Zillow: How do you plan on using the pavilion?

Cole: We hope to be able to use the pavilion for family gatherings, as well as some church activities. We hope to place a fireplace in the pavilion and be able to close it off with glass panels when we’d like to meet but the wind is a bit cool.

Zillow: How did you first hear of Zillow?

Cole: We first heard of Zillow a few years ago, from my brother. We were wondering how much our home might be worth, and he told us about Zillow. We found out that was a great way to track how the housing market is doing in our area as well as other areas, Our son, who lives in another part of the state, uses Zillow as well. He currently is using the “Make Me Move®” feature on Zillow.

Zillow: How did you first hear of Bob Vila?

Cole: I remember first watching Bob Vila in the early 1980s when our son was small. My husband, who is a “do it yourselfer” has used some of his “how to” ideas. His shows have helped to give “do it yourselfers,” such as my husband, many ideas and solutions to many home improvement needs.

To help kick off Cole’s pavilion project, Vila has recorded a video Q&A answering some of her top questions about the home improvement project. In particular, Cole had questions about how to use some extra shale in the construction of the pavilion.