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. I'm here tonight mainly to see if there is a new thread. Sadly, there isn't. I'll check back in a week or so and hope there will be something new. And I also hope my ISP and or the DIY website will be as friendly as they are tonight. This website for me really comes & goes lately. Two days ago I couldn't even load comments.
    Come on DIY, give us something, please?
    Laurie, use your pull!

    Wind Chime Girl on October 26, 2013 at 11:15 pm
    • Laurie_March on October 28, 2013 at 2:52 pm
    • Okay, you little vixen (!), what does that mean? Hmmmmmmm?
      Hubby still asks about your videos. I'm going to guess that he equates your painting pics with the pics we have of me painting. Well, I'm going to go with that. Hrmph.
      C'mon, Laurie, give us a break. I'm leaving a post about our new pup to keep everyone going here. That won't take us very far.
      Encourage the BC powers-that-be to turn the crank!
      Thank you ever so,

      Wind Chime Girl on October 29, 2013 at 10:39 pm
  2. I hope we learn the location for Blog Cabin 2014 very soon. I like Maine, or somewhere along the New England coast.

    Summer on October 27, 2013 at 1:19 pm
  3. Congratulations Mari. May you and your family have many blessed years in your new home. Enjoy that porch that you said you'd be rocking on to take in the ocean view.

    CateKegs on October 27, 2013 at 2:33 pm
    • Thanks so much Kate!

      Macusina on October 28, 2013 at 12:14 pm
  4. Time to go back inland. Every time I leave the Crystal Coast I am sad to do so. It is home too. Yesterday's walk found me having to take my jacket off and just walk in short sleeves and long pants. Meanwhile, there was a hard freeze in RTP, I probably lost some plants.

    Lulubelle13 on October 27, 2013 at 3:04 pm
  5. Hay we need some Ghost stories for this years BC. I know we had some good ones for BC 2011.

    vicki_in_Utah on October 28, 2013 at 10:28 am
    • I agree, I really enjoyed those stories.

      csmaggard on October 28, 2013 at 11:36 pm
    • Part 2:
      Hubby found the front porch swing swinging early one morning a while back. No critters had been on the porch and there was not even a teensy breeze. We find things moved that the cats are incapable of. They can knock stuff over, but not move an item from one place to another. We make jokes about the 'other' cat who does all the naughtiness during the night. But maybe they really have another to blame stuff on? We find things moved in closets, drawers and on dressers & table tops. Hmmm.

      Wind Chime Girl on October 29, 2013 at 9:36 pm
    • Creepy! And you still live there?

      vicki_in_Utah on October 29, 2013 at 10:48 pm
    • Yes, we can't afford to move no matter how creepy things get and we wouldn't move because we love it out here. But what we've experienced hasn't been harmful. It's like something or someone is here, sometimes. It only happens a few times a month. We've gotten used to it in a strange kind of symbiotic-relationship-way. What really got me going a couple of nights ago was our new pup – Pete. He jumped up suddenly – stretching his neck up like trying to smell something. He 'woofed' at something, then laid back down in his bed and went back to sleep. I don't know.
      Who is to say what is really going on . . . We just accept the events and don't worry about it.

      Wind Chime Girl on November 1, 2013 at 11:06 pm
    • Part One:
      Hi Vicki. I've got a real one for you. We built our house (on land we've had since '96) the winter/spring of 2008/09. After we moved in my husband and I started seeing strange things – separately. We didn't say anything to each other for a while, then we compared notes. I'd be downstairs late watching TV and see a wafting mist go btwn me and the TV, it's happened several times. It's also happened on our front porch. Last year, one late evening, I was downstairs in my recliner, hubby upstairs asleep. The little table btwn and just behind our recliners has leaves. When the male cat walks under it, his tail catches one of the leaves and pulls it away from the table and it bangs against the table legs. That night the table leaf banged just like that but both cats were in their beds asleep.

      Wind Chime Girl on October 29, 2013 at 9:35 pm
  6. Lovely sentiment Deer…Thank you! :)

    Macusina on October 28, 2013 at 12:13 pm
  7. Come on, DIY! I keep waiting for hints for the 2014 Blog Cabin location. No hints? Not even a teeny tiny one? Mountain? Lake? Ocean? River? Desert? Woods? Please? <3

    TwoCorgis on October 28, 2013 at 6:05 pm
    • i think i heard someone say not till november, wish theyd surprise us early…

      twoTERRIERs on October 29, 2013 at 12:55 am
    • I know they will announce the location in November, but I love the guessing games that come ahead of time. Oh well, just a few more days and it will be November.

      TwoCorgis on October 29, 2013 at 10:09 am
    • DIY don't do the clues and guessing game for Blog Cabin. Of course that doesn't mean we can't have some fun with some wild guesses though. Where would you like it to be this year? :) I'm hoping somewhere inland this year, mountains or hills,

      AnniesOwn on October 29, 2013 at 7:23 pm
  8. Hi all! Hope you all have a wonderfully spooky Halloween! OO-OOO-O-hh-h-hh! I hope you all get plenty of treats and NO tricks! He-hee! The time just seems to zip by me so fast…soon it will be Thanksgiving. Oh yeah, we've had snow in the past two weeks at least 4 times now. We have already had 22 degrees F outside too…..Br-r-r-r–r! Hope the trick or treaters dress warm! Today and the next 2 days are supposed to be in the 40-50 range then drop at night….but hope it will stay that way during the be-witching hours! Have a safe and fun filled week everyone!^_^

    amberPA on October 29, 2013 at 7:06 pm
  9. Mari and Ken, look what's going on in your new backyard!

    TwoCorgis on October 29, 2013 at 7:57 pm
    • Amazing! Thanks for sharing, TwoCorgis! So much history! 300 years under water! Incredible!

      Downonthefarm on October 30, 2013 at 4:01 pm
    • I have been following this story from the beginning. I read a book on Okracoke years ago and became interested in Blackbeard's rumored treasure. I hope they find definitive proof that this is his ship, but it's fascinating either way.

      TwoCorgis on October 30, 2013 at 4:28 pm
    • Hello Two,
      I think this is very exciting…the BC may be haunted yet! Happy Halloween y'all!

      Macusina on October 30, 2013 at 10:15 pm
  10. I want to let y'all know an update about our newly adopted Pete puppy. Although he is ~ 2 yrs old, he is a smart, loving, wanting-to-please baby. Miss B has actually accepted him. She beats him up only once or twice a day now (no claws) and the Tom cat is his usual accepting and loveable self. Pete now knows all the basics and has learned the corresponding hand signals. He goes on my morning walks with me on the county roads and he is a doll on the leash now. We've been letting him off the leash on our property in spurts and today we let him off the leash with both kitties coming out with us and there are NO issues. Hurray for Mr. Pete. He's had his first bath so no more Stinky Pete. But he is still Sneaky Pete . . .
    Foundlings & rescue pets are the best. Once again hubby has found himself to be #3 or 4 in the pecking order. Bless his heart!

    Wind Chime Girl on October 29, 2013 at 10:07 pm
    • WCG, so happy for you and hubby. :D Pete sounds like a real doll. Pete, Miss B and Tom are very lucky, but I know they will reward you with so much joy and love over the years that you and hubby are really the lucky ones after all!<3<3<3

      SID on October 29, 2013 at 10:28 pm
    • Oh, Sandy, yes we are so lucky. We love our rescues so much and they love us equally. Even the temperamental, drama queen, Miss B.
      Our previous rescue pups gave us so much joy and love – I still miss them so much.
      We hope to find a sister for Pete in the spring. A dog needs another dog, not just two cats!
      love you Sandy,

      Wind Chime Girl on October 29, 2013 at 10:54 pm
    • Love right back at'ya WCG! Hope you're all having a fun Halloween night. Our tiny toy poodle Peachy thinks everyone comes to the house just to visit her. Max and Molly (our two rescue cats) live in sheer terror of the door bell, so they are both in hiding. Hubby is having fun handing out candy wearing a ghoulish mask. <3<3<3

      SID on October 31, 2013 at 7:42 pm
    • Sounds wonderful. We don't get anyone here. enjoy the night.

      Eugenia27 on October 31, 2013 at 8:01 pm
    • Us neither ; (

      Wind Chime Girl on October 31, 2013 at 10:43 pm
    • Out here in 'The Sticks', there are no kiddies to trick or treat. I do miss treating the little ones on this night. We decorate at our gate, but that's all we can do.
      I'm sure Peachy made everyone welcome at your house!
      Ah, you have rescue cats, too! Hopefully, they will be over it by tomorrow.
      Kudos to your hubby and the fun y'all had tonight. : )

      Wind Chime Girl on October 31, 2013 at 10:42 pm
    • Awww WCG, congratulations! I adopted mine when he was 2 years old also. I've had him for 6 years now and it has been a wondeful experience. I will only adopt a pet, can't support the puppy mills.
      Have a great Halloween!

      Macusina on October 30, 2013 at 9:36 pm
    • Mari, I've had foundlings in my life for so long, that's the only way I know to have a pet. This is the first time we've adopted from an official pet rescue org. But those people are fantastic. They give so much and expect so little (financially) in return – except for good care for their adoptees. Our Pete's foster mom rescued him from a kill shelter. She wants and will always have a window into his life with us.

      Wind Chime Girl on October 31, 2013 at 10:57 pm
    • Hi Mari, I tried to reply last night but the ghosts got in the way. Ha! (no, I really did try to reply)
      I've never adopted a pup this old, but I've learned with Pete that we can learn from each other and teach old dogs (and old women) new tricks.
      Like you, I have never and would never support a puppy mill.
      I'm glad you are having a wonderful life with your pup or cat (you didn't specify what you adopted). They are our babies. Much love to you and Ken and your critters.

      Wind Chime Girl on November 1, 2013 at 10:40 pm
    • Hi Wind Chime!
      Our little guy is a dog (Havanese, so he is a small breed) quite a character he is! I was going to adopt a cat before him but he was gone before I was able to. I think that more people need to be aware that pets are not toys and they are a responsibility to those who care for them. I was thinking I may be able to have another pet once I move to the BC as there is plenty of space to roam. :) we'll see, I won't take more than I can care for, that's for sure.;

      Macusina on November 2, 2013 at 10:37 pm
    • Mari, I agree 100%. I hope you will have room for lots of family members at the cabin and a few more 4 legged ones as well. (I'll have to look up Havanese!)
      Ken responded to an old reply, but I can't find it on here. Please tell him we can't wait to hear stories of y'alls new life as 'dingbatters'

      Wind Chime Girl on November 3, 2013 at 5:43 pm
    • LOL….I keep calling him that now…he'll be used to it by the time we move :)

      Macusina on November 4, 2013 at 3:00 am
    • Your Blog Cabin has that invisible fence and that great doggie door. For me personally I could not picture life without my 4 legged children. You are right animals are not pets but family members that need the same (if not more) consideration than any of the 2 legged family members.

      Eugenia27 on November 3, 2013 at 6:40 pm
    • Hi windchime…

      what a beautiful happy for pete and all of you….i adopted a rescue in february and he is a lovely and "brilliant" little soldier…..His name is Benji…..He is part terrier mix and stands about 6 inch high and is about 16 inches long, white with a little beige..with very large brown eyes and long eyelashes….he will stare at people endlessly….he came from an abused home, so it is still difficult to approach him….however he has a corner in the living area which he has adopted to let me know when he wants to be picked up or walked…this little guy, benji…has never had an accident in the home, listens to every word i speak….and is a champion of the leash…unbelievable in a very special way…..rescue dogs are definitely a breed unto themselves. and our little angels….

      twoTERRIERs on October 31, 2013 at 10:29 am
    • Years ago we adopted a dear little dog that had been abused. It took time to win her trust, and she was always shy around strangers (except children who she loved on sight). She was the best little angel, like your Benji she was always absolutely obedient. In some ways it made me sad that she tried so hard to please, almost as if she was afraid if she misbehaved we would not love her any more. She passed away many years ago but will never be forgotten. Our precious "fur children" reward our care many times over with love and joy every day of their lives.<3<3<3

      SID on October 31, 2013 at 7:58 pm
    • oh my……………this is exactly Benji's behavior, and the way I feel about Benji……in fact i feel so bad about him i bake him skinless chicken breasts as a supplement to his kibble diet…..believe me his tail smiles big time, so I think he feels happy and lucky just still very cautious…and he loves to go on a walk, you have never seen a happier soul when i put him on a leash….he is very pleasantly vocal at that moment…

      it really makes you wonder how anyone could ever mistreat anyone or anything…these little guys are so special….

      twoTERRIERs on October 31, 2013 at 8:08 pm
    • two, I'm sure before you know it Benji will follow you everywhere and look at you with pure worship in his eyes! He must love those chicken breasts! Our little Peachy became a real lap dog, but she forever remained shy with strangers and was terrified of thunder (used to run and hide behind the bathroom toilet) or loud noises. She was older when we adopted her, but we enjoyed her love for 7 happy years. Our present little darling Peachy is named after Peaches. We've had Peachy since she was 8 weeks old and she's now 13, getting a bit slow (like me). Of course Peachy doesn't KNOW she's a dog, or old either for that matter ( shush, don't you tell her)! ;) Sorry, two, for taking so long to answer your sweet reply, we've had house guests and time has been a bit stretched for the past few days.<3<3<3

      SID on November 4, 2013 at 12:46 pm
    • he never takes his eyes off of me, and when i leave the room he follows….a heart tugger believe me…

      twoTERRIERs on November 4, 2013 at 3:58 pm
    • Oh yes! They give such unconditional love. They don't care what you do, or how you look or what you own. Pure love!

      Beachdreamer51 on November 2, 2013 at 10:34 pm
    • Hi TT's, it's so wonderful when the little guys/gals finally find their way into a home and realize there is solace, protection and love for them. We learned from our previous foundlings what their fears are. They will always tell you. And we learned how some were physically abused. The 'tells' will be there.
      It sounds like your Benji had a really rough beginning. Since you have found it difficult to approach him:
      please forgive me for offering advice you probably don't need; but have you thought about giving him a little dog crate for him to call 'his own special safe place'? Since you said it's still difficult to approach him I'm thinking he is still feeling vulnerable. Benji sounds like a little darling – I wish you all the best in your family assimilation.

      Wind Chime Girl on October 31, 2013 at 11:32 pm
    • hi wind chime…thank you for thinking of my little benji….he has his own little cage, which i put him in every night 11pm out at 6am….; and he has his own leather comfort chair to sit in all day to watch everything that is in the home; and he has a loving dog companion….i get him into his little area to be attended about 6 times a day and hug him…he loves it….but still timid if when you approach until he obediently goes to his corner and implies please pick me up… he is a man on his own….i cannot imagine how bai it must have been for him…………or he may just have a genuine fear of tall humans, and never have been around people. He loves dogs……….the dog whisperer may know…where is he now..

      twoTERRIERs on October 31, 2013 at 11:56 pm
    • TT, again, please forgive me for offering advice. I should know that anyone whose moniker is twoTERRIERs has done everything for the little one. I'm glad for Benji that he has other canine companions.
      Our Pete has two pup neighbors, but they don't see each other very often. We will have to get a little sister/brother for him before too long. Pete is ~70 lbs. Our neighbors' dogs are ~ 60 lbs. each. But – Pete hasn't met his cousins (or nephews?) yet. Our granddogs are 70 lb. play-until-you-drop machines. They will be coming for Thanksgiving so we will see how that goes!?!?!?
      That will be a party! I'll have to hide the cats for sure!

      Wind Chime Girl on November 1, 2013 at 10:20 pm
    • dont worry, no apologies due here…just trying to figure out to get him to feel secure…

      we only had 2 teenagers here in spooky costumes, was hoping it was hgtv\

      i am hoping our blogs are up and running soon…..

      twoTERRIERs on November 1, 2013 at 10:31 pm
    • TT, It sounds like you are doing everything you can for your Benji. It took our Daisy a bit of time to figure us out – so time is with you. Our Daisy taught us that the emotional terrors and physical suffering from her formative years were never very far away. She was ~ 8 months old when we took her in. It's sad that human beings can cause so much pain for those around them who can't fight back. Her 'family' (and I use the term loosely for that scum) dumped her in a bar ditch on the side of the road. WE were all the better for it. That was in 1996. We lost our little Daisy last year at age 16. I say little – but she was 45 lbs. I've always had big dogs so she was quite small. Although she didn't know it!
      Sorry for the rambling, but I'm finally able to get on here tonight for a minute or two.

      Wind Chime Girl on November 2, 2013 at 10:10 pm
    • you are not rambling….our pets and nature around us are all so important,….i think we would all be alot better off in this world if we all paid closer attention to our pets and nature around us…they are our best teachers.

      so sorry on daisy…..the only downside to having a pet….however, we are so lucky to have them for the time we do and spoil them….my benji and riley get baked chicken breasts each nigh….and smile they do..

      twoterriers on November 2, 2013 at 10:25 pm
    • WCG, I'm afraid we may never understand how anyone can be so cruel to the innocent and defenseless, and that includes those monsters who abuse children. Perhaps some day medicine may better understand the workings (and in this case malfunction) of the mind and be of more help. Such compassionless people miss so much joy and don't even know what they are missing.

      SID on November 4, 2013 at 1:16 pm
    • Sandy, I've just now been able to pull up these replies and can, maybe, reply.
      In our work we've dealt with monsters. They think they are justified in everything they do – to children, women and animals. You are right to call them monsters. I hesitate to call them animals, because all the animals I've ever known have never innately displayed cruel tendencies. Survival and cruelty are different. I think only humans know cruelty. It is sad.
      Happy to hear about your joy with your Peachy. Our Daisy was afraid in storms. We know all about that.
      Our Pete is displaying more & more of his personality. He is talking to us now. We have bonded with our adorable darling and he has bonded with us. Life is good in our little corner of the world.

      Wind Chime Girl on November 12, 2013 at 9:41 pm
    • And to think the term "puppy love" is used to describe feelings that are immature and usually brief. Personally I'll take all the puppy love I can get!;) So happy to hear your Pete is doing better. Hearing this makes my day. Hugs to you and all your darling fur babies, Sandy<3<3<3

      SID on November 13, 2013 at 5:09 pm
    • The best cat I ever had adopted us. He was an abandoned stray, he never forgot that we took him in when he was cold and starving. He was a family member not just a pet.
      We do love our 4 legged children.

      Eugenia27 on November 2, 2013 at 1:29 pm
    • Hi Eugenia! Our two cats – one used to live next door but hung out here. His Mom had to come over here to fetch him for his Vet visits!. When they moved away ('10), the Tom cat moved in with us. He became my 'sweet baby'. The 'princess', Miss B, showed up when we were finishing our house (09). She deemed us 'suitable' and stayed. Turned out she was a very sick little girl at the time. Miss B is our daughter, but she is very much her own CAT! She rules – until Tom checks her. They are so sweet, cute and each have their own personality.
      You've heard this, right? 'Cats rule and dogs drool' Ha! That saying used to aggravate me until I saw it with my own eyes.
      I love my kids to bits.

      Wind Chime Girl on November 2, 2013 at 10:30 pm
    • I know about cats ruling. Mine wanted a dog so I bought him one. I let him pick out his own dog out of the litter. He was the sweetest cat in the world unless he felt that his dog was threatened, look out, he became super cat. He beat up (on different occasions) a Dalmatian and another time a Jack Russell Terrier, then the owner of the Jack Russell.His dog was just as protective. She wouldn't go to bed at night until she knew her cat was home. Sent from my iPhone

      Eugenia27 on November 2, 2013 at 11:00 pm
    • Eugenia, that is a great and unusual story. A cat going up against a Jack Russell, a Dalmatian? Wow. That is one BAD/COOL cat! What a bond those two have. _There are so many cool stories about our 4-legged kids, you could probably write a book._WCG

      Wind Chime Girl on November 3, 2013 at 5:35 pm
    • I just got the cutest email from a "cat" friend of mine. It's titled "why every cat needs a dog".
      It's awe inspiring for anyone who is afraid to integrate their pets.
      Eugenia, I love your story – again.

      Wind Chime Girl on November 12, 2013 at 9:47 pm
    • LOL, one I hadn't heard! xD

      SID on November 4, 2013 at 1:24 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