Breck man featured in Extreme Makeover-Home Edition show
BRECKENRIDGE – Brian Woffard and his eight children live in a 4,600-square-foot, eight-bedroom home with a two-story gym, a “monster kitchen” with an $8,000 subzero freezer, a plasma TV, 10-person sauna and hot-tub in a suburb of San Diego.This is the house that Drew Anderson built.The Breckenridge man and his best friend Bill Larson were selected by ABC’s Extreme Makeover-Home Edition to remodel the Woffard’s 1,300-square-foot home. And they were given five days to do it.The reality show will air at 7 p.m. today.
ABC officials selected the Encinitas, Calif., family from about a dozen others to have their home completely remodeled. Woffard, a chiropractor, was widowed four years ago when his wife died from complications from the flu.ABC picked Anderson and Larson after church members and city officials contacted the television station to see if the Woffards would qualify for the remodel.”The kids are all very athletic,” Anderson said. “The dad just couldn’t keep up. He couldn’t do anything with the house. The house was kind of a hole.”The four boys lived in modified quarters in the two-car garage of the single-story house. The four girls lived in a bedroom inside.Anderson, a branch manager for Reconstruction Experts, and Larson, of Pacific Commercial Construction, were told to get started June 9.
ABC gave them a budget – under his contract, Anderson is not allowed to reveal the amount – and provided construction materials.”They said, ‘Here’s what we want to do; bring an architect,'” Anderson said. “They gave us two weeks notice.”In that time, the two contractors found more than 250 tradesmen and subcontractors to volunteer their time. Designs were drafted and approved by the city. They lined up electrical, sewer and water. They developed a construction schedule, divided into 30-minute blocks.The family knew they were in the running to be on the show, but didn’t know for sure until the morning of Wednesday, June 22, they had to be out that night. ABC officials then whisked them away to the South Pacific for a week. That day, police barricaded the street. Neighbors parked elsewhere and volunteered their front yards for material staging areas. Camera crews, buses, caterers and others lined the street.
Demolition began Friday night. Crews had to turn the house back over to the family the following Tuesday.”It was exciting,” Anderson said. “It was trying, but it was exciting.”And for the next five days and nights, framers, electricians, plumbers, painters, carpenters, roofers, concrete pourers and others worked.”At one point, the house was packed,” Anderson said of the estimated 115 workers in the home. “We had plumbers standing over electricians standing over the HVAC guys standing over the sprinkler guys. We had every trade in the book. And everyone was great.”
Intermixed among the workers were the camera crews.”They were like gnats,” Anderson said with a laugh. “One thing I learned is you can’t be starstruck. It helped that I’d never seen the show. They’d come in and say, ‘We’ve got to get this shot,’ and I’d say ‘You gave me five days; I’m going to build a house.'”The looming deadline and the excitement kept crews going 24 hours a day. But it also exhausted them. A framing crew that had worked for three days off-site then 18 to 20 hours on-site left, exhausted. Anderson had a back-up crew. City building inspectors stayed on site from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. and came back if summoned from home. Crews kept in touch by cell phone and radios. Production crews monitored every word using tiny microphones clipped to their T-shirts.By Sunday, crews were behind schedule. All had slept two to three hours since Friday. At one point, Anderson called Larson to tell him he had the plumbers in the front yard and needed to know what color paint they needed.”Everyone had done their share of long shifts,” Anderson said, adding that he went 52 hours before getting sleep. “By the time you’re done, you’re so emotionally distraught that you’d cry if a bug hit your windshield.”
Keeping the crews on schedule was the hardest part, Anderson said.”That, and keeping sane,” he said. “If you lose it you’re not going to get one sub to stay. And the second you lose it, the cameras are all over you. They’re looking for drama.”But they finished earlier – and a bit under budget – than any other Extreme Makeover construction crew had in the past year the show has aired, giving movers time to bring new furniture into the house. The kids – aged 5 to 18 and all surfers – got new surfboards.Anderson isn’t sure what to expect Sunday night when he joins his parents in town to watch the show.He saw a preview in which he was pictured crying. He was joined by the rest of the crew when the house was finished – and again when the family was ushered in in a stretch limousine to the cheers of about 3,000 onlookers.
“I think they thought we brought them into a different neighborhood,” Anderson said. “There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. All these construction workers, all bawling.”Anderson has already spoken with ABC about another remodel – he won’t reveal the location.”I’m a glutton for punishment,” he said. “But it’s very exciting. It’s good to see good things happen to good people.”Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 228, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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