Since beating breast cancer in 2014, former Dancing With the Stars co-host Samantha Harris says she’s made it her mission to “turn lemons into lemonade” — and she’s had plenty of practice doing just that while living in California’s San Fernando Valley, the place she’s called home for the past five years.
When she first saw the Mediterranean-style house she now lives in with her family, Samantha, 41, almost passed on it. “I remember saying, ‘Ugh, I don’t like it,’ ” she shares with Closer. “The walls and ceilings were painted dark colors, which made it dreary and cavernous.”
Samantha with husband Michael Hess and daughters Josselyn and Hillary. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Fortunately, her financier hubby, Michael Hess, 45, convinced Samantha to take another look. “Thank goodness, because he was totally right — and he’ll be happy I’m saying that on the record!” she adds with a laugh. “I realized the house had beautiful hardwood floors, and the travertine tile I didn’t like was easy to clean up. That’s when I thought, This is going to work. All we had to do was paint it!”
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The pale yellow hues Samantha chose to open up the space mirrors her sunny disposition. “I just passed the one-year mark and I’m still cancer-free, knock wood,” she says. “It’s a great feeling!” Now Samantha and her husband are “inspiring positivity in the face of adversity” through their website, GottaMakeLemonade.com, where “people share their stories about challenges in their life and how they deal with them.”
One challenge the couple faced in their old home was space. “We wanted the kids to have more room to run around,” says Samantha of her daughters, Josselyn, 7, and Hillary, 4. Good thing their new six-bedroom, seven bath, 7,000-square-foot home provides lots of great places for games of hide-and-seek — and there’s even a big playroom where the formal living room was supposed to be.
Samantha on the red carpet at the 2015 Critics' Choice Television Awards. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
“It’s light and convenient to everything,” says Samantha. “If I’m in the kitchen, I can still hear what’s going on in there, and if they’re arguing, I can always go break it up,” she says.
To read the full story on Samantha, pick up the new issue of 'Closer Weekly,' on newsstands now!
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