Huntington Station’s Heather Moore got a home makeover courtesy of the CBS reality series "Secret Celebrity Renovation" and her longtime friend, Merrick native Debbie Gibson. Newsday's Elisa DiStefano has the story.  Credit: Newsday / Chris Ware

Merrick-raised pop music star Debbie Gibson joins the ranks of famous people gifting a "Secret Celebrity Renovation" to a friend, family member or inspirational person on the episode of that series airing Friday at 8 p.m. on WCBS/2.

The recipient? Heather Moore, the Long Island Music Hall of Famer's longtime friend and personal manager, who with husband Colton Wands and their teenage son, Parker, has lived for a dozen years in a modest Huntington Station house. "Heather's the kind of person who gives, gives, gives to everyone else and doesn't necessarily think of herself or doing those upgrades for herself," says Gibson, 51, by phone from her home in Las Vegas. "Renovations are a high-class problem," she concedes, "but they're inconvenient because you have to uproot your life."

"I work a lot, I travel a lot and this was our first home that we owned," says Moore, 52. "And we'd wanted one that was done and livable — no projects. I've never renovated anything in my life, so it felt like a daunting task." After Gibson landed the episode, Moore recalls, "She turned to me and said, 'What about we do your house?,' and I was, like, 'What?' And I said, 'Let me check with my husband, make sure he's on board.' "

He was. Soon, Moore and family were ensconced in a friend's home — the producers "had offered a hotel, and we decided no," she says — and the roughly three-week renovation began.

"It just needed to be lighter and brighter," Gibson says of Moore's home. "Like, out with the cherrywood from the '70s or whenever it was from. I kept saying we wanted to take it from cherry to cheery."

Gibson personally took a sledgehammer to some countertops. "I'd never swung a sledgehammer in my life until this! It definitely hurt my wrist and my arm a little," she says. "But I actually kept some pieces of her old countertops as souvenirs." Moore herself has long had a souvenir of Gibson's that appears in the episode: the piano on which the then-teen wrote her 1989 No. 1 single "Lost in Your Eyes."

The show also depicts other touchstones of Gibson's Long Island, where her father Joe and her recently deceased mother Diane raised Debbie and her sisters Michele, Denise and Karen: Camp Avenue Elementary School, Church of the Sacred Heart, Calhoun High School — to which she returned for her 30th reunion in 2018 — and "Galleria Pizza, which is my favorite," she says. She sees old friends including NYPD Det. Ron Luparello.
Moore was her choice for many reasons, Gibson says, but standing out was that "she stuck with me through a particularly daunting health chapter," including years of Lyme disease and other maladies. "I kept saying to her, 'Why haven't you left me? You didn't sign on for all of this.' And she was, like, 'Oh, I know you're going to be well. And you on your worst day is better than a lot of people on their best day. I'm not going to abandon ship when times are tough.' And she really stuck to that. And it's so thrilling because I've been having such an amazing chapter now and we're reaping those rewards and enjoying this part of it so much."

Each episode of the CBS show finds contractor and "Survivor" alumnus "Boston Rob" Mariano and interior designer Sabrina Soto working with a celebrity — including actors Annaleigh Ashford and Billy Gardell, athletes Aaron Donald and Shaquille O'Neal, singer-dancer Nicole Scherzinger and others this second season — to renovate a home of the celebrity's choosing. Nischelle Turner ("Entertainment Tonight") hosts.

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