We were extremely honored this week to participate in the Extreme Makeover Home Edition Nashville Build at Lighthouse Christian School. Back during the Nashville Floods in May, you may remember this image of a portable classroom floating down the interstate. That classroom belonged to Lighthouse Christian Schools run by the Sweat family. That iconic image has come to represent the devastation of the flood for our community. To read more about the Sweat family and the Lighthouse Christian school, you can click HERE.
Many people have asked how we got selected to participate in the EMHE Nashville Build. That answer is easy; We Volunteered. I had a friend on facebook send me a link to sign up as a volunteer. I noticed that they were looking for skilled volunteers in the category of “murals and faux finishing”. I submitted our application on line and within 24 hours I was being interviewed by a show design producer. She visited our website and asked me to submit pictures of some murals we had completed. Within the next hour a stream of emails began to fly back and forth between EMHE design producers and myself. We probably exchanged 20-30 e-mails trying to get a game plan together. I got an email on Saturday morning at 8am asking if we could be at the site by 12:30 to meet with the graphic designers, photographers and set designers. After a mad dash for a babysitter (thanks Katherine) we loaded up and headed down to Blue Hole Road to the job site.
We were greeted warmly by Nate Galui, our design producer. I thought he looked familiar at the time, but we were so caught up in the moment that I didn’t give it a second thought. As I was writing this post I “googled” him to make sure I was spelling his name right and I discovered why he looked so familiar. He was a contestant on the 2009 season of HGTV’s Design Star. I am a DIE HARD Design Star watcher, so I am bummed that I didn’t discover this earlier so I could have chatted with him about it. Bummer!!!! Here is a link to his Design Star exit video. We were then ushered to a VIP trailer that was head quarters for the design team. There was a tent and trailer virtual city erected on the premises that housed all the VIP’s and worker bees. The area we would be spending the majority of our time in is called “Art World”. It is a couple of huge tents where all the wood working and painting takes place. If you’ve ever watched the show and seen the area where they are working on “TY’s special project”, that is Art World. You are supposed to have special access passes to be admitted since it is where the TV producers and TY hang out. So, that first day we were introduced to the design plan and which elements we would execute. I can’t tell you what we worked on, but it was amazingly cool as you would come to expect from this show. They always deliver in aesthetics, design and innovation. Before we left, we stopped at the food tent. They have a tent that serves up a hot meal pretty much 24/7 with drinks, water and snacks. The food was amazing. We had roast beef, rice and steamed vegetables with red velvet cake for dessert.
Just a word about how smooth this whole production operates. Every single thing is donated from the building supplies, to the labor, to the tents and food. It is the perfect picture of a community coming together to help a neighbor in need. We were at no shortage of volunteers either. What else would you expect from the Volunteer State? Nashville volunteers, you made us proud. Anyway, they had the construction schedule mapped out down to the hour. They had about 50 sticky post it notes in the design trailer that was an hour by hour plan of when things were to be built, painted and installed. AHmazing.
So, our team showed up to paint Tuesday night at 6pm.
They were running behind on the regular wall painting due to a little trouble with the crew of volunteer painters. We heard they got frustrated and walked out earlier. As a matter of fact EMHE Nashville Build sent out an “all points bulletin” through their social network channels to recruit available straight painters to come out and help. So, our guys grabbed a roller and got to work putting on the straight painting coats. Luckily, the original painters regrouped and came to their senses and came back and finished the job. So, Tuesday night the guys worked until about midnight. They went back Wednesday night and worked from about 7pm till 3 am. Thursday they worked from 12 noon until about 12 midnight. Friday morning, they worked from 8am until the reveal at 2pm.
They got to meet some super talented people during their time there. Brooks worked with a local artist, Kelly O’Neill. You can check out her beautiful art HERE. The designer for our room is Paul DiMeo
He was down to earth and genuine. They also got to stand shoulder to shoulder with the extremely popular, Ty Pennington. I was really excited that Leigh Anne Tuohy, interior designer and subject of the nationally acclaimed movie “The Blind Side.” was a guest designer on this project.
As luck would have it, Brooks got to meet her on Friday and do some last minute projects for her room. Super Cool!!
We feel so honored to have been a small contributor to this enormous undertaking for this very deserving family. The episode airs on November 7th. Don’t worry, I’ll be sending out reminders and maybe an invitation to a viewing party. Did I mention that we got a really cool souvenir t-shirt?
Photo credit: Photos pulled from Extreme Makeover Home Edition Nashville Build Facebook page