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"I've thought about entering under a different name so I could try to win it!" exclaims Jessica Andrews of the CMT Ultimate Country Home she's helping decorate. "As a fan, this kind of sweepstakes would be the ultimate for me. And with each artist decorating their own room -- I just think it's the greatest sweepstakes ever!"
As entries to win the sprawling Nashville-area home continue to pour in, it's apparent that lots of folks agree with Jessica, who put her creativity to work by designing a Spanish-style guest bedroom.
Jessica, Lonestar and Cledus T. Judd are among about a dozen stars who pitched in to help decorate the home and grounds, and appear in the 13-week CMT program that airs Saturdays 6:30-7 p.m. EST. The completed home will be given away during the final show June 28. Entry details are available in the sweepstakes section of CMT's website, cmt.com.
For Jessica, who's planning to move into her own first home this year, the design project gave her an outlet for her ideas. "When I get in my house," she declares, "I'll have such a clear vision of what I want to do and things I want to have. Being able to work with the designers has just really brought it out of me."
Lonestar's Michael Britt and his bandmates also worked closely with the design team of Jonathan Pierce and Kim Nunn, carpenter Kenn Cross and show host Lynnette Cole to create a distinct Southwestern motif for the home's great room. "We didn't want it to be bright and flashy," he recalls. "So the Southwestern colors lend themselves to giving the room the warm, cozy feeling we wanted."
Asked what member of Lonestar has the best design sense, Michael proclaims with a laugh, "That would be me!" But he's quick to say all the guys have their own styles -- revealing that he's more contemporary, Richie McDonald and Dean Sams lean toward more traditional and Keech Rainwater is "in another category altogether!"
Michael does credit Keech with a great contribution to the room. "He carved a beautiful large wooden bowl out of a big stump," he explains. "He's a handy guy -- he can carve things, he can play banjo, he can rappel. There's no talent to this man's end!"
The same could be said of Cledus, who is almost certainly the only "award-winning designer" among the artists. "I got Home Renovation of the Year in the state of Georgia for the 1800s house I did," he declares proudly. "And the house I have now had a two-page spread in Atlanta magazine back in January. So I'm an interior design freak. If I ever get out of the music business, that's what I want to do, absolutely."
His talents were put to the test designing the Ultimate Country Home's 8-by-20-foot powder room. Cledus didn't go far for inspiration. "Being on the Brooks & Dunn Neon Circus tour for the past three years, I just wanted to bring a little bit of the circus in there," he explains. "It's got a flowing curtain like the big top, with a lot of vibrant red, yellow, black, silver. And when you raise the toilet seat up -- there's a splashproof 8-by-10 photo of me!"
While Cledus says the work on his room went smoothly, there was one problem, he notes, presented by the lovely host, Lynnette, Miss U.S.A. 2000.
"It was hard to get any work done with her pullin' on my shirt-tail and wantin' my home phone number Ã¢ÂÂ¦ and all that," deadpans Cledus. "Yeah, it was tough."