‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’ Touches Mayberry Homes

This article originally appeared on KeepingtheCastle.com.

    Karen Schroeder of Mayberry Homes in front of the house being built by ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition in Holt, Michigan.

Karen Schroeder of Mayberry Homes in front of the house being built by ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition in Holt, Michigan.

Viewers of the TV show ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition see Ty Pennington and the design team seem to do the impossible: put together a state-of-the-art house in 5 days, completely furnish it, professionally design the interiors, and present it to the family.

To accomplish this, magic happens behind the scenes. For every show, hundreds of volunteers donate their time, resources and skills to give a special family their dream home.

For the Nickless family in Holt, almost 1,500 volunteers signed in. It could have been utter chaos organizing such a huge crowd. But thanks to a dedicated group of seven people from Lansing-based Mayberry Homes, things run smoothly from the get-go.

Mayberry Homes is known for the quality of their homes and communities. They have also been recognized nationally for their commitment to customer satisfaction. As a company with a track record for volunteering in the local community, they are a perfect fit for the Extreme Makeover project.

At the site of the build this week, I had a chance to talk with Karen Schroeder, who co-owns Mayberry Homes with her husband Robert. We stood across the street from the house. The site was buzzing with activity, and Karen was happy to share with me the role of Mayberry Homes in the entire process.

Our chat started with the very beginning of the story. The Nickless family only learned that they had been chosen for the show last Friday, September 26, 2008. It turns out that even Mayberry Homes didn’t get a big headstart to prepare for the project. The producers of Extreme Makeover contacted them just under a month ago.

“We didn’t have a lot of notice”, said Karen. “We hadn’t applied for it. They just called out of the blue and asked us if we would do it.”

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The weeks leading up to the build couldn’t have been busier for the Schroeder family. Robert (right, in red shirt) and Karen’s daughter got married on Friday, the day of the wake-up call. I think you’ll all agree with me that preparing for a wedding and a marathon home-building project at the same time is no small feat!

As the builder, Mayberry Homes drew up the custom plan for the house, incorporating input from the show’s design team. Though they didn’t know the location immediately, they were given enough information to be able to plan the lay-out of the site. The Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’s design team gave them certain parameters to follow, such as a particular look from the front door.

Alongside designing the house, it was also Mayberry’s job as the lead company to coordinate everything that happens on the Lansing side of the endeavor:

“We had to secure all of the vendors and the contractors, and get them to do it, for free. All of our team is on. Then we had to get the volunteers. Then we had to organize and get food vendors to come and provide food for a thousand people a day.”

Though most of the materials for the house are donated by local groups, the appliances and some of the fixtures are not. The designers from the show choose what goes into the house as far as amenities are concerned. Electronics like refrigerators and TVs and fixtures like cabinets are brought in from the show’s national suppliers. Skilled volunteers then go in to install them.

The interior design is also provided by the show. For this home, the design team is comprised of Ty Pennington, Paige Hemmis, Michael Moloney, Ed Sanders and Rib Hillis. Mayberry Homes works with the team and helps implement their concepts.

For Robert and Karen Schroeder and the rest of the Mayberry Homes team, this whirlwind week is not something that will be easily forgotten. When I asked Karen to describe how the process has been for her and Robert, it seemed that there is no single word that can describe the experience:

“Awesome. Awesome. Overwhelming. An incredible journey.

“There’s been a lot of things happening in our lives. And, all good, all positive. This has been an amazing journey that I couldn’t be happier with. You know, this has been overwhelming…. It touches my soul.”

Thanks to Karen Schroeder for this interview and to Robert Kolt of Kolt Communications for facilitating access to the site.

(images from personal collection)