Alicia Keys Surprised a Special Education Teacher with a Home Makeover — See the Results
Alicia Keys is giving back to a Los Angeles hero that experienced devastating losses during the coronavirus pandemic.
The singer and philanthropist teamed up with Amazon Home to help Susanna, a special education teacher, get the home of her dreams after a tough year. The mom of two lost five family members due to COVID-19; she continued to teach her autistic students through it all, as well as support her own daughters with remote learning. For the past four years, her home has required a lot of reconstruction — so Amazon and Keys stepped in to help.
"Everything is so surreal with Alicia Keys," Susanna told Amazon. "[She's] someone that I would listen to — she's been my hero."
The Amazon Home team completely transformed Susanna's entire home, including her kitchen, living room, bathroom, bedroom, and backyard, using furniture and decor from brands like Safavieh, Christopher Knight Home, Instant Pot, Vera Bradley, and more. (If you see something you like, Amazon created a storefront dedicated to Susanna's new space, so you can shop some of the exact pieces that were used for each room.)
Keys tells PEOPLE that some of her favorite items chosen for the renovation include this bright yellow toaster and a granite molcajete, which she said are "so beautiful you just want to leave them out on your kitchen counter." She noted that along with the kitchen, her favorite part of the makeover was the backyard, which now features items like a fire pit, an in-ground trampoline, and tons of seating.
"Susanna told us she likes to host family and friends so we really wanted to make sure she had a space to do that," Keys says.
Inspired by the renovation, Keys also created an Amazon storefront featuring all her personal home must-haves, including beautiful furniture, like this mid-century dining set and a tufted velvet chair, and elegant kitchen essentials from Smeg and KitchenAid. Keys picked a handful of cozy and calming additions, too, including this handmade wooden candle and a meditation sound bowl.
"Because of the pandemic, I empathize so much with how much teachers have been through," Keys said. "Susanna lost some very special family members... and still made herself available to her students because she knew what a challenging time it must have been for them. I really love that I get to help someone who has devoted so much of their life to helping others."