No, Not Finished Yet: Extreme Conditions After the Deadline at Houston’s Extreme Makeover House

“I’ve just been told we need Gatorade,” HHN Homes manager Linda Stewart emails Swamplot from the site of the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition build on Goodhope St. in South Union. “Water is not doing the trick as far as electrolytes are concerned.  If you can spread the word and people can just drop off 3-4 6 packs would be great.”

Wait a sec . . . wasn’t the weeklong building project’s grand finale this past weekend? Didn’t the Johnson family come back from Paris and wait patiently to see their new home? Didn’t thousands of well-wishers shout “Move that bus!”?

Yeah, that all happened Sunday night — only a little more than a day later than originally scheduled, despite all of last week’s rain. But don’t imagine the Johnsons are gonna get to move in too soon . . . not with these kinds of requests still going out:


“We still need lots of trim carpenters interior and exterior cornice. We need professional painters both interior and exterior,” writes Stewart. A note on the HHN Homes website for the project indicates work is still continuing, 24 hours a day. And there’s a broader request listed, for general volunteers, electricians, stagers, and — for Tuesday — siding installers. Siding???

Oh yeah, and “patio furniture.” Will all the work get done before . . . the episode airs?

Photos: Sarah Rufca, Culturemap (Sunday reveal) and Candace Garcia (Saturday construction)

31 Comment

  • i dont understand this house at all.. anybody??

  • Thursday or Friday last week, a request for an artist to help with an art/spray booth was forwarded to an email list I’m on. Maybe that is in some sort of outside shed that needs siding?

  • God, what a joke. The lengths that BS TV shows with go to in order to exploit someone for the sake of short-term warm-and-fuzzy feelings for their viewers.

    I wonder if someone will ever do a ‘one/two year later’ follow–up documentary on the families that are recipients of these throw-together houses. The electricity bill (alone) must be a crushing/crippling blow months down the road once the camera crews and fanfare have all died down…much less the new property taxes.

  • Jeez sanchO,
    Can’t you tell it’s an updated riff on the Santa Maria del Fioro cathedral in Florence? It’s just got some stucco and a balcony thrown in for “fun, easy living”. The Johnsons seem like a nice family. I just hope their Tuscan-Texerranean manse doesn’t leak or rot in five years.

  • They’ll need a shovel for all that BS, sorry this is a song and dance and is aimed at entertainment not philanthropy. Thank a real hero, not some part time let me show up so I might be on TV weekend warrior. I think more of the person at Salvation Army accepting donations..

  • I kind of like the watch tower next to the balcony. Meth lab could go in there nicely :)

  • They sure do a lot of begging for “donations” and “volunteers”… furniture, flat screen TVs, installers, gatorade.

    Any house built this fast is sure to be a turd.

  • It does make you wonder about the structural integrity of all the houses that have been built although of course Houston is just, well, a special treat to begin with.

    Like everyone else from Hollywood that ventured into our tropical paradise, I suspect Extreme Makeover will not be returning. The next lucky family from Houston will simply be relocated.

  • “From john:
    I wonder if someone will ever do a ‘one/two year later’ follow–up documentary on the families that are recipients of these throw-together houses.”

    It’s been done. Article and Slideshow:

  • That is one ugly house.

  • From the article linked by Pone Tonie above:

    These days, the show is backing away from the boom-era showpieces. We “scaled back,” says Conrad Ricketts, an executive producer for the show created and produced by Endemol USA. The average size of current makeovers is 2,800 to 3,000 square feet.

    They seemed the forget about that on this house. Didn’t they announce that this one was 4500 sf?

  • Why all the last minute begging? This show attracts about 10,000,000 viewers and is among the top 40 in ratings. But they can’t spring for gatorade? Or design? Now that the show is over, I would hate to be the one trying to get all those ‘volunteers’ to finish their punch list items.

  • Project Row Houses this is not.

  • I worked at the house fri morn midnight to 6am, sat 2-9, sunday 2pm arrived, left at 730 as people shouting move that bus. The city inspectors were there earlier Sunday, and numerous things have to be fixed before it will pass. I dont know what or where they went wrong, but as of Sunday, there was still alot to do inside and the left side of house needed stucco.

  • City inspectors? On Sunday? I didn’t even know that was possible. Must have cost someone a lot of money.

  • no doubt yes inspectors on a Sunday, who knows who paid for it. But needless to say they left after 30 min and told to come back Monday or Tuesday, as the production crew was ready to start filming from Ty getting the keys to house to move that bus segment.

  • I hope others will come here and continue to update the progress.

    It’ll be interesting to see just when the Johnsons are allowed to move in.

    Guess we’ll have to wait until the show airs to see the final product and hear all the hype.

  • “…much less the new property taxes.” – John

    You meant just for the family; a friend who lived two blocks from a prior TV makeover one-off of theirs in Austin was betrayed to find the appraisal district start pumping up the valuations for blocks and blocks around. The neighborhood wasn’t McMansionizing; that was the only one. Nor did it attract any others: nor did they correct for that power-grab when real estate softened.

  • I hope one of the volunteers who are still working on it, will see this site and let us know also. I would like to know exactly when they get moved in. All of you wouldnt even believe the stories I could tell you, but it would take too much space

  • we definately wont see the inside until the show airs, unless you want to go volunteer your time.

  • No offense but this is way off the “need scale” for many who might have volunteered their time. Myself included. Habitat for Humanity this ain’t.

    As pointed out, again, there are all sorts of potential problems for the Johnsons down the road as a result of this. And for their neighbors as well when HCAD increases their valuations as well.

    Thank god the Johnsons don’t live in a historic district. They probably wouldn’t have gotten a new house.

  • Matt, I am not saying otherwise. I do agree they build way to big. I have worked for habitat for humanity also thru my church. sorry if I offended you or others. adios

  • I like the turret though any chance they’ll mounting some anti aircraft munitions on top? Or at least some sort of artilery?

  • From robin varner:
    Matt, I am not saying otherwise. I do agree they build way to big. I have worked for habitat for humanity also thru my church. sorry if I offended you or others. adios


    You didn’t offend anyone. I was worried about offending someone. My point, really, was how many homes Habitat for Humanity could have built with the money that went into this house.

  • Enough to house 5-10 families, agreed that house is extreme overkill..

  • my thought was when I saw it, how are they going to go from the electric bill they had on their little house, to the electric bill this one will result in. Sure, everything is energy efficient, but it is huge and huge costs money.

  • We completed the house and the family was able to go inside and see the finished home fully furnished Monday night (8/2/10) around 10pm. The first year electrical service is being provided by Champion Energy. This is the 5th home we have built with EMHE and are very proud of what they do for families in need. I have personally met with several of the families and they are very grateful for what EMHE and the volunteers do for them. I just wish more people would have shown their Big Texas Hearts and would have come out to help. One building crew did not even show up for the night shift one night and it put the build behind by 30 hours! Thank you to everyone who did come out to help us complete this new home for the Johnson family.

  • This house would have never got built in any more established neighborhood in one week they way it did. They shut down the whole neighborhood basically by blocking off entry points into the streets with Chain link fence and hired security. They were running high powered temporary lighting and industrial trailer generators to keep the place lit throughout the nights. They used other people lawns, backyards and surrounding empty lots as staging grounds for heavy moving equipment, lumber, materials, and viewing areas.

    If any builder would have even tracked a little dirt in the street or were using their nail guns after dark whilst building a home in Rice Mil, The Heights, Montrose, Hyde Park and Timbergrove, the HOAs would have raised a fuss about disturbing the peace…

    COH Building Code inspectors typically cost $250-500 for each trades overtime weekend inspections which is a very small cost for a fast moving project like this. Mutiply that for Building, Electrical, Plumbing, HVAC, Sidewalk, and its only a few thousand bucks. They spent more in bottled water that was being passed around everywhere during the build-out.

    Even though they claim the house as 2 story 4500sqft floor plan, its interior volume is actually much larger considering the second floor has double height ceilings in the game room and closets…

  • I think the makeover team should take into consideration the economic circumstances of the homeowners and the neighborhood. What’s the point in building some huge place they can’t even afford. And building a home that doesn’t fit the neighborhood is just dumb.

    Do they give financial counseling to the new homeowners?

  • How come there is always somebody,somewere who has something negative to say about somebody’s good fortune.I think they deserve everything they got and more.ok,so it’s not river oaks. does that mean they should only build single story homes in 3rd ward to match the area? Come on america. Just be glad there is a house in 3rd ward built for a very deserving family. Stop being so selfish.

  • agree Tommy S, be happy for them, wherever it is.