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Monday, October 08, 2007

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition in Colorado Springs!

I announced it last week, but yesterday we had the opportunity to holler "Move That Bus!" as the bus pulled away to reveal the brand new home for the Woodhouse family. Here are some photos for you to view of the event:

Extreme Makeover Gives a Home to the Woodhouses!


The day started early for my husband and me. After coordinating with the others from ACFW, some from our church home group, and my sister-in-law and her family, we decided we'd be the ones to get there early and save spots for everyone who might come. So, we went to the early service at church, grabbed an early lunch afterward and headed to the new home site. After parking and walking to the spectator area, we were in place around 11am. Not long after, the crew asked all of us to move closer to get everyone on camera. Then again around 12:30, we were asked to move a second time. We ended up with decent spots just off the western front corner of the house.

The one BIG miracle of the day was the weather. For the entire week leading up to the reveal, temperatures had been in the 70's with clear skies. Perfect for the round-the-clock construction, but not so perfect for Kayla (the daughter in the family) who suffers from Hereditary Sensory Autonomic Disorder. Her body can't regulate its own temperature, and she has no sensory feeling. She can even pass out walking from the house to the car if circumstances aren't just right. Temperatures inside and out can be no higher than 62 degrees for Kayla.

But this day? It was a cool 56 degrees with an overcast, which hid the sun. This meant Kayla didn't need an umbrella to keep the sun off of her; nor did she need her cooling pack to keep her at the required temperature. Today? Temperatures are back in the 70's. God is awesome!

In typical "TV" fashion, there were a lot of test runs, a ton of standing around and waiting, and quite a bit of retakes. They even had a "fake family" stand in for the Woodhouses so the media and film crews could block the shots. A boom camera was set up over the crowd and periodically went into action. I have no idea how much of these shots will be included in the actual show, but it was fun cheering and waving for the camera. :)

The "reveal" was set for 2pm, but the house had to be cooled down to 60 degrees before the family could enter. The crew had to tote in 6-8 portable AC units to speed up the process. Ty Pennington came out, but soon went back in after several shout-outs from the crowd called for his attention. He returned again a little later holding a giant thermometer above his head in a "success" pumping motion with his arms before winging the thermometer frisbee-like off into a clear area. The house was finally ready!

The family arrived on site around 10am and were herded off to a blacked-out trailer to prevent them from seeing anything beforehand. EMHE sent the Woodhouse family to Breckenridge, CO, where they received free ice skating lessons and the royal treatment at the resort there. They came home Sunday and waited for their shining moment.

That happened a little after 3pm. The bus moved into place blocking the view of the house. After a test run with an empty limo, the driver returned to get the family. Ty Pennington had been inside with the crew and designers doing a final check, and the crew outside made the grounds look spotless. They also primed the crowd, placed the VIP folks in their special section, then arranged the designers and EMHE team of volunteers and others who had worked around the clock for the past week to get this house finished.

Finally, the time came! Whoops and cheers sounded as the limo came driving down the road and stopped with the bus between the limo and the house. The family exited and was greeted by Ty, who spent a few minutes chatting with them, as he does on every show. I had a fairly good position, so I held up my camera and zoomed in to snap several shots. You'll see from the photos posted that they came out pretty good...even if I DO say so myself. :)

Oh, and before I forget--for those of you who are familiar with the metal divider barracades often used at public events to section off areas or close in specific areas for media, VIPs, etc.--I straddled one of those for about 2-1/2 hours on and off so I could get a view above all the heads. My husband could see fine, but he's 6'3". I don't have that luxury at a full foot shorter. So, I had to take drastic measures. My legs are blaming me for it. LOL!

Ok, back to the story. After a chat with the family, Ty and the crowd hollered, "Driver! Move That Bus!" and off it went!

As predicted, Kim (mom) and Kayla both cried at the sight of their new house. Joshua (son) made faces at the crowd and cameras, and Jeremy (dad) remained stoically impressed. They moved toward the driveway, where they were greeted by EMHE crew and finally the design team. After a round of hugs, several conversations (which we'll hear when the show airs in January) and more instructions, the family walked up the driveway and stood at the edge of the walkway to their front door.

They moved toward the front door, then stepped aside to allow the media to precede them inside. The crew them moved them to stand in front of the dining room window on the porch so they could look out at the crowd and wave, posing for photo ops. I have a great one in the mix that I'll be sure to send to Kim for her scrapbook. Finally, around 3:30, the family checked out their new house!

Ty stood outside, looking over a script or something, waiting for the family to go from room to room and allow the camera crews to record their initial reactions. Stuart and I didn't stay and wait for them to come back out again, but after the family was inside, their brand new car was backed into the driveway to await their exit. EMHE always does something extra special that no one knows about beforehand. This car was one of them.

It's a 2009 Ford Edge, a prototype that no one in the world owns yet, and they won't for another year. You can see it here. Awesome car, inside and out, and perfect for this family.

Some of the ACFW folks stuck around, so I'm able to continue with this story. About 30 minutes later, the Woodhouses came back out with Ty, who had gone in to reveal Kayla's room--his special assignment for the week. It took them three run-throughs of revealing the car to the family to get it on film. They did a fantastic job of acting surprised the second time equal to the first, but by the third time, they all found it quite humorous. Still, the joy of the car took precedence.

Once that surprise was revealed, everyone pretty much disbursed. Other filming and final details were wrapped up today with EMHE and the Woodhouse family. I can hardly wait until Kim invites us to her home so we can see it in person, close-up. From what I've heard, it's similar in layout to the home they were "renting" after losing their home to foreclosure last year when Kayla required brain surgery and the medical bills prevented them from paying their mortgage.

The new house is a 4200 square-foot stucco home with a duo-tone exterior, 2-car garage and spacious back yard. The 3 bedrooms are on the west side of the house with the living room and dining room in the center and the kitchen on the east side. The basement has a bowling alley, ice cream parlor, and a home theater styled after a drive-in, with seats from a 1964 Mustang convertible. A wall-size aquarium is in Kayla's room. And, of course, each room is custom-designed with the family's needs and wishes in mind. It'll be exciting to see it from the inside once all the hoopla settles down.

Please continue to keep the Woodhouse family in your prayers. A local bank and several other organizations have set up donation accounts and resources to help the Woodhouses with future utility costs and other expenses. There was even a charity event Friday and Saturday where money was raised to cover the $500,000 in medical bills that have accumulated just in the past year. One place you can help with finances is: BIGG City. We won't know until the show airs whether or not there were any announcements of checks given to the family as have been on other EMHE shows. I do know hundreds of thousands were raised.

This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I'm so glad I had the chance to be involved, even in such a small way. How awesome to say I actually know a family from EMHE. :)


Paula said...

This is so cool! Wish I could've spent the day with you guys! Thanks for sharing the experience so I could feel a part of it.

Tiffany Amber Stockton said...

You're welcome, Paula. I'm sad you weren't able to join us too. At least you were with us in spirit!

Becky said...

Thanks for posting. I'll be sure to watch the actual show.

Anonymous said...

Tiff, thank you to you and the rest of the ACFW people who were there--you stood for all the rest of us who are thrilled about our ACFW sister and her family getting such an outpouring of love and support. Can't wait to see the show!

Anonymous said...

God is soooo good! I praise Him for blessing His children in such unimaginable ways. Thanks for sharing your insider-story.

Cecelia Dowdy said...

Wow! I wish I was there! Thanks for posting such a detailed description of the events!

Marion Kelley Bullock said...

I'd love to have been there. Thanks for posting such a neat account of this, Tiff.


Kacy Barnett-Gramckow said...


For those of us who couldn't join you to cheer for Kayla and family, thank you!

Tiffany Amber Stockton said...

It was awesome to be there and even better to know how many fellow ACFWers and prayer warriors were represented by our group.

Looking forward to January and the Sunday night airing of the show for the entire world to see!

LaShaunda said...


Thanks so much for sharing. My daughter and I are big fans of the show. She asks every week when is the writer home coming on.

I'm going to send her your link so she can read it.

Congrats on your marriage.

leah said...

Tiffany, My name is Leah Evans, and I was in Jeremy & Kim's youth group when they were in El Dorado, AR. I knew they had gotten this AWESOME opportunity so I started researching and found your site. How great it is!!! I was so thrilled to read your blog!!!! Thanks for the pictures ;) Make sure Kim makes you some home-made rolls in her new kitchen (and tell her I said so) :)