I’ve been a big fan of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition since the beginning, for both the home construction aspect and for “making the world a better place” by building a new home for deserving families. On December 11, 2006 I read an article in the Austin American-Statesman that the Extreme Makeover team had chosen an Austin family for a new house project. The O’Donnell family has 6 children, 5 with autism. No other families with 5 biological austistic children are known in the world, and their house was falling apart as they focused their energy and money on getting the kids the specialized help they need. I found out from this followup article that the house is only 4 miles away from where I live!
Update: The episode aired on February 19,. 2007. My big scene was cut! Oh well. A wrapup article from the Statesman is here.
Here are a great group of pictures taken around the site through the week by the builder - right from the knock on the door through the family arriving
On Sunday, Ty and the design team arrived in the bus and did the traditional bullhorn wakeup call, talked about the project and sent them to a camp for autistic children in Crested Butte, Colorado. On Sunday
they moved out the contents of the house and did demolition. They poured the concrete slab Monday at 3 AM (about 3 hours behind schedule) and the framing was half done by Tuesday, as you can see from these
pictures I took when I visited the site. I went over at lunchtime so the site was not as active as I was expecting. I saw Eduardo,
the landscaping guy on the design team, from a long way off. The site was well-managed with safety and security in force, and a spectator area set up across the street.
A lady who lives in the area said she heard the old house was about 2200 square feet and the new house will be 4600 square feet!
That’s going to take up almost all of the small corner lot, but it makes sense in Texas as you just can’t spend a lot of time in your backyard with the scorching heat, like you can in other areas of the country. I’m sure they’ll use all of that space for bedrooms for 8 people and facilities for the kid’s special needs.