Taraji P. Henson made her stepmom’s day when she helped to rehab her Maryland home by turning it from drab to fab.
Henson wanted to give back to her stepmom Angie in a big way by tackling a design project which aired on an episode of My Houzz.
She explained, “I met my stepmom Angie when I was 16. She just made my dad a better man,” Henson says on an episode of My Houzz that premiered exclusively with PEOPLE.
“My dad was just lost. He was homeless at one time when I was really young. She stepped into his life and she was everything he needed. I was so happy. I just loved her right away.”
The home Henson helped redesign was her dad’s “dream home” that he and Angie resided in outside of Washington, D.C. The two entertained guests for years in their happy home until Henson’s father’s death in 2006.
The actress took on the project when she realized the house was falling apart at the seams.
“When I went home this past time, I went in the kitchen and pulled out the drawer and it just disintegrated in my hands — fell apart, like in two or three pieces,” Henson says. “I was like, ‘We’ve gotta do something.’”
With the help of interior designer Stephanie Gamble, a makeover was underway and Henson helped to spruce up the kitchen, dining and living room to make it one open floor plan.
“I’m a big feng shui person,” she says. “I’m really into energy, and the energy is stagnant.”
Henson enlisted the help of her cousin Nikki, as well who helped to knock down a wall to open up the kitchen space.
The Empire star was all in when offering up her ideas and included new furnishings too. However, some custom pieces were kept like her dad’s artwork which sits beneath glass and is used as a coffee table. He made it using driftwood.
“I just want to bring more life and light into that house because when my father first passed it was really hard for my stepmom,” she says. “He was so still in the house. So we just want to make the house hers now and still keep my dad in it.”
“My dad always said, ‘If you have been blessed, then it is your duty to go out into the world and be a blessing,’” Henson continues. “So I feel like I’m doing what my dad told me I should do.”
When Henson showed Angie her newly renovated digs, she was overcome with emotions.
“The way the house is is very comfortable to me because the artwork my husband did is still in the home,” Angie says crying. “Deep down in my heart, I really really appreciate it. I’m sure he’d appreciate it too, what [Taraji] had done for us.”
“Although everything is new, it still feels familiar,” Henson says. “The essence is here but we just dressed it up.”
“Love was put into this place and you can feel it,” she continues. “I’m blessed to have two moms. She never treats me like a stepdaughter, ever. And I love her.”