011309 Behind the Scenes: A Heart Felt Experience

January 13, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
As the house finally comes together, I can tell you this project will likely be one of the most memorable for everyone out here. From framers, to painters, to finished carpenters, and drywall workers, this job has got to rate among the most rewarding. What a way to give back to this place we all live, to make such a contribution of labor and love- to improve the life of such a deserving woman and her family!Watching the spectators and Extreme Makeover Home Edition designers interact has been a real eye opening experience. When designer Michael Moloney took a brief break from work Monday evening, he walked over and visited with many of those who arrived (by the busload) to watch the fast paced build. He signed a few autographs and posed for a few pictures and then continued his work. I stood around with the crowd to hear what their impression was of him. Every single person I talked to said that they could not believe how genuine and heartfelt the designers are in real life. They are really passionate about every project and it shows, not only Sunday night at 8pm. In person, the show's designers are really committed and they love the job.

Several people asked me about the Riojas family. They are in Colorado and completely unaware of what's going on here in Fresno. Some people inquired if the family can just log onto the computer and watch our stories on the website. The answer is no. I've been told the family is with a producer and they don't really have access to computers, cell phones, etc while they are away. So, the only glimpse of the home comes from the tape of Ty Pennington showing them the demolition taken from the home video camera.

The family will be returning home Thursday to what seems like a mansion, it's about 3200 square feet. It's two story and full of the conveniences and luxuries the family has never had. Their former home was just under 1300 square feet, so this one is much larger and accommodating. One of the construction workers told me the mother, Mary Ann Riojas has a jacuzzi tub big enough for her to swim laps in! That's what I'm waiting to see.

More than anything, the organization behind the whole project is amazing. Everything is precise, timed out and executed based on a strict schedule. The first day, a snag when the water main broke set crews back 6 hours, but the framers made up that time and as of Tuesday afternoon, the crew is several hours ahead of schedule.

We'll keep you posted on the finishing touches. The exterior of the home is expected to be painted tonight, so we expect a big change in the appearance!

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