Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Reveal Day!

The above picture is the before shot of the Hill's house in Suffield, Connecticut. In one week the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition crew along with Enfield based Pecoy's Construction Company cleared the entire of lot and rebuilt a new mega house. Sunday, June 28, 2009 was reveal day. After hours of setting up it was finally time for those three famous words...


Ta da... here is the new and improved Hill house! It is fully loaded with 3 separate bedrooms, 7 smaller sleeping alcoves, an over sized laundry room, a stocked media room, workout room, and sprawling kitchen, living room, and sun rooms. Out back is a full basketball court, personalized with the Hill's name, and a beautiful stone patio with built in fireplace. Sorry no pictures were allowed, but trust me it's unbelievable!

I am very happy for the Hill family. Since this began I have met many people that know them very well and think they are the best pick for such a gift. However, I have to wonder if it's just too much. I know it's Hollywood, but wouldn't it make more sense to spread the charity out to more than one family in the community? There has been non stop coverage of the build, for obvious reasons. It isn't everyday that Hollywood parks itself in a small town neighborhood. It is exciting, but there is also a little discussed realty that is not as exciting.

Real people's lives are disrupted, their land and homes used and often abused by the unimaginable amount of crew members, volunteers, and of course the fans who hope to get a glimpse of some Hollywood glitter. The neighbors agree to participate with a good heart and absolutely no idea of how immense the ordeal will become. Community companies donate building materials, water, food, snacks, flowers, entertainment, and countless man/woman hours. When all is said and done the community is drained physically, mentally, and monetarily.

A recent radio program opened their phone lines to discuss the impact an event like this has on the neighborhood and the entire community. It is too soon to know what the outcome and overall impact on Suffield will be, but some very good points were brought up. A major issue was the fact that the Hill house is now worth a considerable higher amount of money than the surrounding houses. So even though no one else added any actual value to their houses, some even sustained damages, their property taxes will go up. Another serious issue was brought up by callers who knew neighbors of past Extreme Makeover families in Connecticut and New York. They said many of the damages and costs are left on the neighbors when the show is finished and the crew moves on. I am hoping, for my friends and their surrounding neighbors, that this is not the case in Suffield. I am all for giving and helping hard working families struggling to get by, but not at the expense and burden of other hard working families.

Let me know what you think. Knowing these factors would you be willing to let Extreme Makeover: Home Edition take over your neighborhood? Do you think the show is perfect the way it is or needs to evolve into a show that not only helps a family in need but also has a more positive impact on the entire community?



  1. My husband and I have discussed this at length, and we both feel the houses built should be scaled *way* back. Several people who get these homes can't actually afford to live in them long-term with the added maintenance and tax costs (if they could, they would have put that money into their existing home already), so they end up losing or fighting to keep the house anyways. And that's after all of the upheaval you've described to the neighborhood (which I personally wouldn't tolerate well).

    I think the intentions are good, but the houses should be built on a scale that fits in with the existing neighborhood (not huge, unaffordable "show homes"), and the show should pay for *all* damages inflicted on neighboring homes as well. Just my opinion, of course.

  2. That is a good point. I have heard those same concerns from members in the community. Even people who are friends with the family are worried they won't be able to maintain it. And to make matters worse, I just found out today that the police are now keeping extra watch on the neighborhood because fans think they can just walk in and see what the house looks like. Some have even walked into the neighbors houses to ask for a bathroom. This has really turned this quiet street upside down.

    Thanks for your comment.
    Kristin :)

  3. I happened to come across this post, today, as I was looking around for more information regarding the build, since I donated services from a company i co-own to this build and to the VIP "It's A Wrap" party after the build. I neither agree or disagree about the size of the house. We should all be great full that someone is stepping up to the plate and lending a helping hand to families in need. Since extreme makeover has started, they have done over 160 builds and many more to come! I wanted to comment on a few things in the above two comments. The affordability of the house to the tenants is not an object anymore. As we have all probably heard, many of these homes were being foreclosed on or having to be sold because of the sudden increase in the property value, taxes sky-rocketing, utilities spiraling out of control, however, in order to build these homes now, the show must provide enough money to keep the family in the house or enough in private donations. Furthermore, everyone on the street, in whom house/yard must be used for the build must sign a waiver allowing use of there land. The show DOES pay for ALL of the yards to be done. If you take a drive down Mathers street you will see that every yard that was destroyed by the enormous crews, has been re-done. The show certainly takes into consideration all of the neighbors around them. Some people know or may not know that the week this build was happening, there were torrential downpours and everything, and everywhere was flooded, including the VIP tent where I was. Many companies, including mine lost a lot of money from equipment damages, but in the end it was all worth it, to be able to give to a deserving family and help a community better itself is something that words cannot express. I am not writing this in the state that I am "yelling" or "upset" at the above comments, but just to clarify, so when you do watch the show, you're not wondering about the neighbors houses and if the family can afford to stay there.

    p.s. The show will be airing this Sunday, October 11.


  4. Hi Erik,

    First I want to thank you for coming across my post and feeling strongly enough about my words to comment.

    A friend of mine is a neighbor of the Hill family, so I have witnessed the build and aftermath first hand. I have never and would never say that the families that are chosen don't deserve all that they get from Extreme Makeover Home Edition. I simply blogged about the process from an insider's viewpoint. I have always loved the show and think it's important to help others in need. At the same time, I was also surprised how much the neighborhood was affected by the whole process and how much the community donates for this one house to be built.

    Yes, the weather did play a huge role in much of the damage done to properties and equipment and most of the repairs have been done in the 3 months since. My point, or should I say my opinion, was that these neighbors dealt with a lot more than they realized they would. Besides the property damages, they also had their lives distrupted. As I'm sure you know, the construction did not stop at night. It continued day and night for the entire time. Armies of people and endless parades of trucks made their daily lives more challenging. Imagine the exhaustion of the neighbors by the end. Also, the show may have made accommodations for the chosen family's increased expenses but they fail to take into consideration that replacing an old house with one worth close to a half million dollars will affect the property values of the entire street.

    Watching this house come together, which was amazing to see happen in a week, I couldn't help ask myself: Since when does helping someone in need mean providing them with such excess? I stated, and I still believe that the show could do more for the entire community in addition to the family in need. A new house, of any size, would be an extreme change for most. The excess should be spread through out the community. Since most money, supplies, and services are donated by businesses in and around the community why not spread them just a little thinner to benefit more than just one family. Libraries and schools are always in desperate need of donations, up grades, and supplies.

    My intention of this blog was not bash the show or the families that are chosen for it. It was also not my intention to offend any of the generous people and businesses that gave their time, equipment, and expertise to this project. It's a great show that gives hope that everyone deserves the chance to achieve the American Dream and then they provide one family with an amplified version of that dream. I don't think it would hurt it's ratings to evolve with the challenging times and start helping the entire community they visit.

    Again I'll state that these are my opinions. You are welcome to agree or disagree with them.

    Thanks again for your comments. I will be watching the show when it airs on October 11.