A military spouse of 15 years, Maria Reed is putting her Army knowledge to good use.
Combining with experience in television, Reed is producing an internet-based series titled,“Moving with the Military.”
A home improvement and lifestyle series, Reed provides a military family with a free makeover of one room in their house.
The TV series bloomed from an idea when Reed’s daughter asked if she could repaint her bedroom.
“Something so simple as decorating her room brought her so much joy,” Reed said. “That moment led me on a journey to help military families create their own joy in whatever space they lived in, by finding solutions that are removable, reusable and affordable,”
The Reeds came to Fort Hood in 2016 and settled in Copperas Cove. Staff Sgt. Patrick Reed is a cavalry scout with the 1st Cavalry Division. The couple has two children: Parker, 14, and Patrick, 13.
“Celebrating Military Families One Home Makeover at a Time” is the show’s motto and purpose. People are encouraged to submit their military move story for a makeover via the website: movingwiththemilitary.tv or on the Facebook page.
The makeover process starts by speaking with the family to get an idea of what they like, dislike and hope to see.
A recent episode made over a child’s room with a 3-D flower wallpaper and other decorations, while another project re-created the outdoor area with a fire pit, seating and dining space and an outdoor movie theater.
Other show topics included a living room makeover and a Christmas redesign.
“When you’re in the military, you move so often and what you’re thinking about is different from your nonmilitary neighbors,” said Reed. She pointed out military families have a different skill set than most civilians. “We do it differently in the military because we have no choice. We get orders and we’re out in three days,” adding, “but anyone can use these same skills for their home improvement and design.”
The first episode was done at a home in Harker Heights, the second project at a home near Fort Benning, and episodes three and five were done in Fort Hood homes. Episode four was completed at Fort Sam Houston.
A common concern expressed by military families is that the house is not their forever home.
“I say, why can’t you make it a home for however long you will live there?” said Reed.
All items are movable when the family transfers from picnic tables and rugs to furniture — taking into account the military’s weight limit for the family.
Funding for each episode is a combination of Reed’s income as a high school technology teacher at Central Texas Christian School in Temple, with some in-kind contributions of supplies and sponsorship from area businesses, plus many volunteers providing the labor.
“Ideally, I may need a crew of 30 and a bulldozer but only have seven volunteers and three shovels. Still, we make it work,” she said.
Time is also a factor, with the need to complete a project within 12 hours, in addition to the preliminary work of design, shopping and assembling materials.
Filmed mostly on cellphone cameras, the first two episodes ran more than 30 minutes, which Reed admitted was too long for today’s viewers. She has an extensive television background as a producer and filmmaker, so she edits each episode aiming now for about 10-minute shows.
The families are overwhelmed with the home improvement results, since they usually expect minor changes like new paint on the walls, rearranging the furniture or adding a few items.
But the best result is not the new look, it’s the new feeling that comes from the makeover. “It boosts their morale, especially for the spouses and kids to let them know that someone cares.”
The Reeds may retire and stay in the area after a few more years, which is fine, Maria Reed said, “We like it here, but you never know what the Army has in store, so we’re ready for another move.”