On Set: Extreme Makeover Home Edition

Thursday, December 15, 2011

On Tuesday, I had the honor of going to Bastrop to be part of Extreme Makeover Home Edition. I can't tell you how excited I was to be going-- as an interior designer and huge volunteer-- this was the ideal opportunity. I woke up early- 5:40am early and got ready, dropped CL off at the gym at work, then headed out to Bastrop. It was a foggy, foggy morning, and I was concerned that it was probably going to be like that all day, but that wasn't going to deter me. We got to the volunteer area, I turned in my contract (so sorry if i have to be discreet- i dont want to get sued!) and photo release, and picked up my shirt and hard hat-- yes, a hard hat!

they shuttle you from the parking area to the set (which im used to saying 'site' but this was definitely a set!) it was so surreal driving up in what was the woods in bastrop before the fire. it was miles and miles of burnt-to-a-crisp trees and empty slabs with fireplaces. it was devastating to see it that close up, that close to home. 

we got off the bus and headed for our duty-- painting! "building 1" was done and primed, and the "building 2" was ready for primer, and some men were feverishly working on "building 3". we started priming "building 2" when the rain came. it felt kind of pointless painting in the rain, but we did it anyways. it rained off and on for most of the morning. Luckily it stopped. I helped paint for most of the morning, then helped lay the floor joists on "building 3". it was cool seeing things come to life that quickly. we were literally looking at a iPad and taking the dimensions off and building things right there. If i learned anything during that part of my day is that all this CAD work i've been doing is literally pointless- the guys building the structure took everything into their own hands it it came out just perfectly! i even got to help cut some 2x4s on the saw!

around 1pm we headed up for lunch and before i could get in line, someone asked for volunteers for arts and crafts and i literally jumped out of my seat! this was totally up my alley and under a tent and out of the rain! we were moved to a tent in the back- past art world (where all the designers hang out!) and past production to 'santas workshop'. (this is going to be next years christmas special!) i then got to help make all the 'welcome home!' signs you see people holding up on the show when they reveal the house! it was so cool! we made a bunch- they wanted 'welcome home' 'merry christmas' and 'happy holidays' so i was happy to oblige. 

after making a few signs, i took lunch break. this wasn't an ordinary volunteer lunch either. i was expecting a burger, maybe a hot dog and chips, but no. they had grilled chicken, or steamed fish, rice, grilled veggies, salad with everything you could imagine, fresh fruit, and warm bread pudding. trust me, after being in the cold rain all morning, this was the best warm meal i've ever had! as i was standing in line, i felt someone come up pretty close behind me. i was like 'hmm this person is awfully close!' so i turned around, and it was Paul DiMeo, one of the designers from the show! i was a little shell shocked and surprised, but i said hello and we chatted for a couple minutes before heading back our separate ways. i was pleasantly surprised to see him muddy, with paint and saw dust on him-- these designers WORK. they aren't just there looking pretty and bossing people around. they are hard workers! i saw tracy hutson too- shes just as cute in person as she is on the show!

i went back to finish my signs when they called for us to go help with a scene. i figured, why not. we went to the back of the house with nick, one of the associate producers. he reminded me of seth rogen. he must have had 100 cups of coffee before chatting with us. he told us we were going to help with a scene and  we just need to look busy-- don't look at the cameras and dont talk. simple enough.

 while we waited for the crew to arrive, i started chatting with a man and woman in our group. they turned out to be mother and father of the wife that we were building the house for! it was really neat to chat with them about the family we were all there supporting. it was nice to see them so full of happiness with all that was being done for their daughter and her family.
yup. i wore white shoes. in the mud. and they are still clean!

after about 20 minutes, the crew arrived and we began "working". one of the guys from the show, jeff dye and one of the celebrity helpers came up and started talking/ interviewing and we were to help them build 'something' (dang disclosures!). that was all fine and dandy until jeff walks over to me and is like 'whats wrong with your shovel?!" (i had a long trenching shovel and not a regular spade one) i was like OH NO! they said not to talk! haha but eventually i looked up and said  "nothing, this is what they gave me- it works! wanna trade?!" i could have died. i kind of hope they cut that!

after that scene wrapped, i wandered around the set for a little and took some photos. i peeked inside, there wasn't much to look at yet, everything was covered (more discretion) and the appliances and furniture weren't installed yet. it really came together while i was there. they were doing a million things at once- inside, outside, decorating, landscaping- everything. there were so many people doing so many jobs it was amazing people didn't constantly run into each other!

i headed back to finish up a few more signs before calling it a day. it began to rain again, so we figured that was a sign to finish up and head home. it was such a great day, and i really can't say enough good things about everyone involved. i can't wait to see the show (it is supposed to air on 12/12/12) so i'll keep you all posted! 

i am so glad i was able to donate my time and skills to such an amazing program.if  you ever get the opportunity to be part of extreme makeover home edition, i highly recommend it!

(so by contract, i can't post a ton of photos, so if you want to see them, email me!)

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