We have another reason to love Deshaun Watson: He's really good to his mom. The 23-year-old Texans quarterback and self-described mama's boy joined forces with Houzz, an online home remodeling and design platform, to surprise his mother, Deann Watson, with a renovation of her Georgia home.
It's all documented in the 23-minute season 3 premiere of "My Houzz," the platform's web series that sees celebrities take on home renovations for people they care about. Previous episodes have featured Ashton Kutcher (who also executive produces the series), Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis, Ludacris, and more.
Though we don't meet Watson's mom until the grand reveal at the end of the episode, she's a constant force throughout, and Watson gives her all the credit for motivating him to succeed. Born and raised in Gainesville, Watson grew up watching Deann—"my rock, my hero," he calls her—work tirelessly to make ends meet as a single mother of four. The family spent years living in public housing, at one point cramming seven people into a two-bedroom apartment.
Later, the Watsons qualified for a Habitat for Humanity home, a fresh start in a good neighborhood. "It changed everyone's lives," Watson says. "It made me motivated to fulfill my dreams. It helped me get to where I am today."
It's been the Watson home for more than 12 years now, bearing witness to achievements and tragedies alike—like Watson being drafted to the NFL and, shortly after moving in, Deann getting diagnosed with tongue cancer.
Though the disease robbed her of the ability to easily speak and eat, "she never complained," Watson says. "She's always been a fighter, and that really inspired me. If she can get through that, no type of adversity can hold me back from what I want to achieve."
It also inspired him to give back to the woman he calls his everything, beginning with a remodel of the home's nucleus. The dated kitchen, living, and dining rooms "need a little touch-up," Watson concedes. "I'm gonna do a little bit more than touch it up ... This is really the smallest thing I can do for her, because she deserves even more. I'm a mama's boy, so she gets whatever she wants."
Watson used Houzz to search Gainesville-area contractors, eventually settling on husband-and-wife team David and Laurel Mullikin behind design-build firm Infinite Home. The webisode follows Watson and the Mullikins' meeting, where they brainstorm open-concept transformations, play with new color schemes, order furniture, and project how it all would look through Houzz's virtual vision board of sorts.
Among other updates, they settle on new hardwood, cabinets and appliances; a bigger island that can accommodate Watson without "my knees hitting the wall;" modern art and lighting; and, perhaps most importantly, an electric fireplace to anchor the living room. "That's something that she always wanted but never really had the opportunity to do it," Watson says. "Honestly, if that's the only thing that y'all put in the house, she'll be totally fine with it." (You, too, can shop the items Watson purchased for his mom's reno via his Houzz Ideabook.)
Watson heads back to Houston, leaving his spunky Auntie Sonia—"like the other half of my mom"—to handle demo, which she does with aplomb—a high point of the episode is watching her enthusiastically swing a sledgehammer into her sister's old, dingy island.
Watson returns to help with finishing touches and unveil the transformation—which really is quite an improvement—to his mom. It's a sweet moment when the two walk hand-in-hand into his childhood home, Deann closing her eyes, Watson brimming with pride: "Everything you've done since I was a little kid, being a single parent, you deserve all this," he tells her. "You should have the best."
Of course, she's thrilled with it all. "I love my fireplace!" she says. "Look at my kitchen!" Watson points to a trio of pendant lights over the new-and-improved island: "I picked this out," he beams.
Later, the contractors return to meet Deann, and a slew of family and friends pile in to gush at the renovation before Watson initiates a champagne toast to his mom and her house.
"I'm not just saying this because he's my nephew," Auntie Sonia says, "but he's a real good person."