Blog Cabin

Oct 11

Meet the Blog Cabin 2013 Giveaway Winner

Blog Cabin 2013 Giveaway Winner

Mari Cabrera-Hickerson of Culver City, Calif., is the proud winner of the Blog Cabin 2013 Giveaway, a grand-prize package valued at almost $500,000.

Mari’s name was randomly drawn from more than 18 million entries. The Blog Cabin enthusiast, who has entered every year since 2007, admits that entering twice online per day, almost every day, became part of her routine. “That was the first thing I did in the morning with my coffee,” she says, “And then I’d take a look at what was going on at the home and what the crew did that day. I followed every part of the remodeling process.”

Mari, a former UCLA Medical Center administrative specialist, retired in July 2013 to devote her time to her husband, Ken, as well as her children and four grandchildren. Mari also finds fulfillment in travel and hobbies, including hiking, watersports, cooking and yarn arts.

Although Mari is a fan of eclectic interior design, the North Carolina cottage drew her attention for its waterfront location and coastal-chic cottage style. “I love the beach,” says our winner, who was born and raised in Havana, Cuba, before emigrating with her family to California in 1966. “My mom would come home from work and take us to the beach every day when I was a kid. The beach is part of my soul, I guess.”

As one would expect from a die-hard Blog Cabin fan, Mari is quick to list her favorite room in the home (the spa-style master bathroom) and her favorite furnishing (the reclaimed wood dining table). And she’s most excited to see the compass floor medallion, which proved her top pick during the People’s Choice portion of the Blog Cabin 2013 project.

When Mari and her family arrive at Blog Cabin 2013 for their first visit, the water’s edge will certainly prove an irresistible draw. What does Mari plan to do first? “That’s kind of hard to say,” she admits. “I think I am just going to go room by room and check everything out. And sit on that porch in that rocking chair and look out onto that beautiful water scene. That view is just so gorgeous.”

Mari is still shocked about her stroke of good fortune and looks forward to sharing her prize with friends and family. “I just want to say thank you. This is just a wonderful gift that I never thought in my lifetime that I would receive,” she says. “It’s an amazing opportunity to have someplace where my family can go and be together, relax , have fun and just enjoy.”

  • Posted at 8:50 am on October 10, 2013
  • Permalink


  1. Congratulations! I live pretty close (approx. 45 minutes) to the Blog Cabin 2013. I voted almost every day, twice each day, but though I didn't win, I am glad to hear it was someone with a nice family with grandkids like me. Hope for you all the happiness and wonderful memories one could possibly have. God Bless!

    Gloria on October 24, 2013 at 7:02 pm
    • Thank you Gloria!!! So we're neighbors! Perhaps we'll meet some day…:)

      Macusina on October 24, 2013 at 7:34 pm
  2. Eugenia27, Absolutely and anyone else that wants to may use that saying…we all have days where it might come in handy:
    "life gives you a hundred reasons to cry, so show life that you have a thousand reasons to smile"!! ;-)

    Holidaygal on October 25, 2013 at 12:05 pm
    • this is the way to live for sure……

      twoTERRIERs on October 25, 2013 at 3:11 pm
  3. Congrats Mari, To move from sunny California to sunny North Carolina, what a transition. I'll be thinking about you everyday here in cold New England.

    Artist151 on October 25, 2013 at 12:45 pm
    • Thank you Artist.

      Macusina on October 26, 2013 at 7:35 pm
  4. OK, when does the New Blog Cabin 2014 start?

    Artist151 on October 25, 2013 at 12:54 pm
  5. Wow Congratulations, wish I had seen this episode before today. That would have been a dream home for a Kayak fisherman like myself.

    Brian on October 25, 2013 at 6:02 pm
    • Welcome Brian keep watching for the announcement of the 2014 Blog Cabin maybe it will be a good place for you and your Kayak

      Straybird on October 25, 2013 at 6:34 pm
    • Thank you Brian, my husband and I are avid kayakers too.

      Macusina on October 26, 2013 at 7:34 pm
  6. god bless you!!!!!

    bonita on October 25, 2013 at 8:31 pm
    • Blessings to you and yours :)

      Macusina on October 26, 2013 at 7:33 pm
  7. I'm so glad that your family won. Anyone that works hard all there life deserve this home. You just happen to be it. I hope that your family will enjoy it for a long time and many years to come. It is so pretty. It is a dream come true. Have a wonderful holiday coming up.

    Melanie Watson on October 25, 2013 at 10:06 pm
    • Many thanks Melanie. It is certainly my lifelong dream come true. You too have a beautiful holiday season.

      Macusina on October 26, 2013 at 7:32 pm
  8. Mari,

    Happy Saturday morning to you and Ken.

    I just have a simple request for you. When you can Ken can get away to tour your new home, could you please post if anything was done to mark the edge of the drain field for the septic system. That was a real concern for me, when I saw vehicles parked on top of it. I did send an e-mail to DIY immediately, and someone put up some stakes with white flags on them, to keep people away from that area. Just wondering it anything permanent was done, after the live cam went down, like a row of large boulders, a nice white fence, even another row of bushes, etc.

    Have a terrific weekend.

    Builder on October 26, 2013 at 11:08 am
    • Dear builder, Thank you for bringing that to our attention… I will ask my husband to check that when we finally make it there. Have a great weekend! :)

      Macusina on October 26, 2013 at 7:29 pm
    • Congratulations Mari and Ken! I'm so happy a blogger won. Plus, it sounds like you're going to keep the house. I just love this Blog Cabin. The location, the property layout and the house are fantastic. DIY did themselves proud. Can't wait to hear about your trip to the house. Enjoy!

      SweetLiz on October 29, 2013 at 9:55 am
    • Thank you Liz! I will definitely post something on the blog :)

      Macusina on November 1, 2013 at 3:37 am
  9. Totally dead on here !! I hope we get something about DIY Blog Cabin 2014 very soon !! It occurred to me………….there is nothing to enter right now, except the "Don't Hate, Renovate" Sweeps !!

    gremol on October 26, 2013 at 4:27 pm
    • I am excited about "Don't Hate, Renovate"! I want to re-do my kitchen and at least one of my bathrooms. Sadly, there is no blog discussion around that sweepstakes.

      TwoCorgis on October 26, 2013 at 6:19 pm
    • We could start a discussion………..What would you renovate ???

      gremol on October 27, 2013 at 1:58 pm
    • My master suite would be a huge job. I would need to re-do my bathroom, the doorway, and the closet to get everything I want. Walls would have to come down. I want a bidet (who doesn't?), a bigger shower area, and nicer tile. I loved the wet room of the Blog Cabin – the shower and tub together. I would need to move my double sinks to accommodate that. My biggest wish is to replace the linoleum in there. Ugh!

      My kitchen needs a new floor (corgi feet are wrecking the parquet put in by the previous owners), new or refreshed cabinets in white with some glass doors. I have NO backsplash, so I would love that. I go back and forth between glass and stainless for that. Maybe both? I would love quartz countertops, but I've been afraid to even shop around until I could actually replace them. So expensive! Overall, my kitchen layout isn't bad, so I don't think I need walls to come down in there. I'm sure I would spend the money on new appliances, though.

      If any money leftover (doubtful), I would do something with my garage. Shelving and cabinets along a wall. I am proud to say that I can actually park in my garage but, since I'm single and have a 2 car garage, that's not much to brag about. :p

      TwoCorgis on October 27, 2013 at 2:26 pm
    • Quite a list there !!! The first thing I would do is remove all the carpet from my home & put in wood floors. My Family all suffer from allergies & carpet is a big contributor !! Then, I would finish painting all my rooms; I did my living room, and part of my kitchen, but that's as far as I got before my back problems began & put a halt to it !! Then I would buy new bedroom sets for my Grandson & two youngest Grandgirls, they need them very badly !! Any $$$ left would go into fabric for sewing into new drapes, curtains, pillows, etc. !!! It sure is fun to do a little dreaming, huh ??? Oh, I need a back splash, too !!!

      gremol on October 27, 2013 at 2:47 pm
    • I watch these shows on DIY and they make me think my kitchen walls are living on borrowed time without a backsplash. Tee hee!

      TwoCorgis on October 27, 2013 at 9:50 pm
    • Check out Toto's Washlet products. Turns your existing toilet into a bidet. Fabulousness.

      Lulubelle13 on October 27, 2013 at 2:59 pm
    • What a great idea! I wish I had an electrical outlet in that area so I could plug it in.

      TwoCorgis on October 27, 2013 at 9:48 pm
    • I would renovate both by front and back yards. We bought this little house 5 years ago brand new, the local University built it, so the inside is good, but there was nothing done to the yards. Then the City decided to put in a walking trail, right in back of my house. So I need a 10 foot wall. My little dogs go crazy when they see people walking on the trail. $100,000. would just about do it. LOL

      vicki_in_Utah on October 28, 2013 at 1:03 pm
  10. As TwoCorgis posted several days ago, the location announcement for our Blog Cabin 2014 will be coming right up in November. Last year, we had a 24th October announcement, so a few days more or less is in keeping with the traditional timeframe.

    So where will DIY go for the next heartbreaker? The West Coast would be a real departure from the past but there are plenty of great possibilities there too. Regardless, every year the DIY folks make us giddy with anticipation over the next cool cottage, so East Coast, West Coast, Northernmost or Southern Outpost will be just fine by me.

    Now with Halloween nearly upon us, treat your Blog Cabin fans to an awesome surprise location, DIY!

    DBCoop on October 26, 2013 at 7:40 pm
    • I vote for the West Coast or the Mountain's just a little away from the West Coast. I am pretty sure the 2011 BC they announced before the winner of the 2010 was announced. I just remember Matt B. going down those rickety steps filming.

      vicki_in_Utah on October 28, 2013 at 1:09 pm

Post a Comment



Blog Cabin is the groundbreaking multimedia experience based on a very simple idea: You Design It, We Build It, You Could Win It! This truly interactive series asks Internet users to vote on the design features for a real vacation getaway. Expert hosts will transform a 1990s waterfront home in Panacea, Florida that will become a luxurious home for a lucky sweepstakes winner. Plus, a one-hour Blog Cabin special, hosted by tool expert Chris Grundy, will highlight the incredible transformation.
DIY Network on Facebook