PSE Reveals Contestants for Re-Energized by Design: Who Will Emerge Triumphant?

Six PSE customers sharpen their competitive design skills to rumble in an energy-efficient room makeover competition

BELLEVUE, Wash.--()--Today Puget Sound Energy introduced the six contestants for Re-Energized by Design, a design competition in which PSE customers will compete weekly in a series of energy efficiency room makeover challenges. Prizes include light emitting diode (LED) and compact fluorescent light (CFL) lighting from GE, and a full laundry and kitchen appliance suite by Frigidaire. The last contestant standing will win $5,000.

“The stakes are high so we know the competition will be intense,” said Dennis Rominger energy efficiency expert at PSE. “These six contestants are ready to compete head to head. Sweat will be shed, winners will be crowned and most importantly, we will see creative ways to bring great design and energy efficiency together.”

The six contestants who will compete in Re-Energized by Design rose to the top during an intense selection process, including submitting videos or photo entries, a public vote to select 10 finalists, and final interviews. During the process, each entrant was evaluated on a variety of factors, including the originality and creativity of their entry, their understanding and enthusiasm for design and energy efficiency, and the energy savings potential of their home.

Each Re-Energized by Design contestant brings unique skills to the competition:

  • Scott and Nia Sayers of Bellingham (“Dream it. Build it.”)
The Sayers family is a creative force to be reckoned with. They built their house themselves, using the movie Big as inspiration. If you can count on one thing in Re-Energized by Design it’s that the Sayers family won’t approach their projects like anyone else.
  • Peggy White of Redmond (“The Ace in the Hole.”)
No other contestant has a team that packs a secret punch like Peggy’s. She shares her home with her son, a professional architect and daughter-in-law, an industrial designer.
  • Marie Mendes of Seattle (“Cool, Calculating Customers.”)
Marie is an environmental engineer and her husband, Mike, is a geologist. They bring an analytical focus and knowledge of energy efficiency to the challenge that no other team can match.
  • Mitch Grafstein of Shoreline (“The Blank Slate.”)
Mitch’s home screams potential. He and his wife Stephanie recently moved into a new home that is the perfect playground for experimentation with color and lighting. Stephanie’s history running a woman’s clothing boutique means she knows style when she sees it.
  • Kristen Corning Bedford of Seattle (“Impossible is Nothing.”)
No challenge is too big for Kristen. She and her husband, Slade, purchased their home from hoarders, moving in with a two-year-old with another child on the way. They have spent the last two years working to make it their dream home.
  • Kay Reilly of Bellingham (“The Siren Song.”)
Kay and her partner, Nat, bring a creative style all their own to Re-Energized by Design. They entered the contest with a song bemoaning their home’s beige interior. If their musical skills translate to design savvy, they’ll be a force to be reckoned with.

Each contestant’s efforts will be supported by a dedicated design coach who will provide style guidance and encouragement. Design coaches include the ever-competitive Northwest lifestyle and entertaining expert, Alexandra Hedin; DIY force and Old House New Tricks blogger, Alysha Findley; master interior decorator Maggie Morgan of Maggie Rose Interiors; foodie, DIYer, Shelterrific blogger and general bundle of energy, Megan Barone; architect and veteran remodeler, Lauren Zerbey, blogger at Chezerbey; and Sara Eizen of Nest Seattle, the ultimate practical-but-elegant interior decorating, home organizing resource.

Re-Energized by Design contestants will participate in five room makeover projects. After each makeover challenge, local society and events photographer Duell Fisher, 425 and South Sound Magazine editor Lisa Patterson and radio personality Marty Riemer will review and score each contestant’s effort. The lowest-scoring contestant in each round will be eliminated.

Online “webisodes” that get up close and personal with each contestant as they make their homes more beautiful and energy efficient will begin airing weekly in March, at Until then customers can follow Re-Energize on Facebook at for energy efficient design tips, special product promotions, and to learn more about contestants.

All contestants will receive free, energy-efficient LED and CFL lighting from GE and a small stipend to spend on each room’s makeover. The final three contestants will win a high efficiency clothes washer and matching dryer from Frigidaire, and the final two contestants will win a Frigidaire Ultra Efficient Kitchen with a refrigerator, dishwasher, range and microwave. The last contestant standing will win a $5,000 prize.

About Puget Sound Energy

Washington state’s oldest local energy company, Puget Sound Energy serves 1.1 million electric customers and more than 750,000 natural gas customers in 11 counties. A subsidiary of Puget Energy, PSE meets the energy needs of its customers, in part, through cost-effective energy efficiency, procurement of sustainable energy resources, and far-sighted investment in energy-delivery infrastructure. PSE employees are dedicated to providing great customer service that is safe, dependable and efficient. For more information, visit

Scott and Nia Sayers Bio:

Scott grew up in the Renton and Kent, Wash. area while Nia grew up in Longview, Wash. Scott and Nia met in college doing sketch comedy. Today, Scott works at a large church in Bellingham and Nia owns her own furniture company. They are looking to channel their creativity and produce a result that is uniquely theirs.

“We’re making Re-Energized by Design a chance to help us rectify some of the mistakes we made when building our house. I’m sure by the end we’re going to be tired, but it’ll be a good tired.”

Peggy White Bio:

Peggy grew up in Kent, Wash. and moved to Redmond, Wash. with her husband in 1974. She has lived in the same house ever since. Recently Peggy’s son, wife and seven-month-old baby moved in with her. Peggy is looking forward to juggling her roles as a part-time caretaker and home designer.

“I love watching HGTV, I find it fascinating. As a family we have lots of ideas, but we’ll see if we can all mesh our ideas and come to agreement.”

Marie Mendes Bio:

The Mendes family is Marie, Mike, and their two children, Mateus (14 months old) and Cristiano (four years old). Both Marie and Mike grew up on the East coast, but they fell in love with Seattle because of its accessibility to the outdoors, the wealth of nationalities and districts, and the eco-conscious people.

“We’d like to learn about design, push our limits to accomplish our goals, and to convey to the kids the importance of the environment and energy. Improving the style of our home while reducing our environmental impact is the perfect project for our family.”

Mitch Grafstein Bio:

Mitch grew up in San Diego, Calif. and his wife Stephanie was raised in Olympia, Wash. They moved to Seattle together in 2004 and haven’t looked back since. Mitch works in business-to-business sales while Stephanie works as a personal trainer. Both of them work from home to varying degrees and are excited to make their home a more functional and sustainable place to live.

“We love Seattle and love the outdoors. Besides the earth benefit of energy efficiency, we’re looking forward to reducing our energy bills while making our home a more beautiful place to live.”

Kristen Corning Bedford Bio:

Slade and Kristen grew up in the Northwest and are proud to call West Seattle home. Together they like to dream of creating things, including how to constantly fix up their home.

“A home should tell a story about the people who live there. I have a good eye for design and have been creating a vision for the spaces in this home for nearly two years. The work for this contest is the work I’ve been looking forward to since the day we moved in: bringing better light and color to the space.”

Kay Reilly Bio:

The Reilly family is Kay, Nat, and their son Sage. In addition, they have two cats; Simba and Giles. They are both educators: Kay is a high school band teacher, and Nat works in student support in higher education. They moved to their current home at the beginning of May 2010 and have loved every moment of it.

“Our home represents the love of family, music, reading, and cooking (and eating!). Given the choice between curling up at home and watching a movie or going to the new IMAX theater, we’d choose the comfy loveseat any day. Overall we are a simple and loving family that is excited to have the opportunity to be in this challenge!”


Puget Sound Energy
MacKenzie McDowell


Puget Sound Energy
MacKenzie McDowell