At long last, I have found some time to post my photos of the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition St. Louis house build. Located in the heart of Shrewsbury, the Martirez family's home (see their story here) was completely torn down and rebuilt in six days! I have pictures from most of the major exterior portions of the project, and I'll post them with my observations on the project.
On September 3 (last Wednesday), the Seminarians received an email about Extreme Makeover coming to the Shrewsbury area, and the first signs of their presence were all the barricades and police patrols around the streets of our relatively small town. Luckily the main thoroughfares between the Seminary and main roads were still passable, so we haven't had too much trouble getting around in our cars.
Well, the house was destroyed quite quickly on the 5th (Friday) at noon. I, unfortunately, had prior obligations. From other seminarians, I learned that the demolition was quite a sight, and the house was gone within a very short time. I was able to visit the site later in the evening Friday, and all I saw was a large pit in the ground, and a couple bulldozers taking away tons of dirt. Dump trucks were lined up and ready to receive the dirt in a very efficient manner. Within an hour or so of taking this picture, the hole was mostly done, and preparations for pouring the foundation were begun.
Well, I visited again Saturday night, and I was amazed by what I saw—the walls of the house were already in place, and the roof was just being put on as I arrived. Within 40 minutes, all the structure of the roof was in place! You can see in the above picture one of the main trusses being put on the house; the crane operator was quite efficent at his task, as he was lifting two pre-fabbed trusses over the power lines at a time. I'm sure a few safety violations occurred... but it's all in the name of charity, right?
The next day I returned, and the house's main structure was practically complete. As you can see, work on the interior was already beginning in earnest.
I think this picture (from Sunday night, I think) illustrates the kind of cooperation and efficiency under which this project was completed. These bricklayers (along with their support team, mixing mortar and delivering more stones) went from the bottom to the top of the side wall in less than two hours!
Throughout the whole project, a time-lapse camera (it might've even been recording every frame to a hard drive, for all I know) was sitting on the roof of a man's house across the street. This camera and another mounted on the telephone pole in front of the house were omnipresent, capturing everything that happened on the jobsite. I'd hate to have to be the one managing all the media this project requires—it's probably all done in HD, too! They were using Canon and Panasonic cameras, for the most part, with some 'Wexler' wireless equipment.
Yesterday (Tuesday the 3rd), the windows had been installed by early afternoon, and the exterior of the house was practically finished, with minor touch-ups and decorative detail remaining to be done. The house has a unique style, but, fortunately for the neighborhood, it isn't wildly different than the rest of the houses in size or style. I'm sure the interior will be quite a bit more roomy, though!
The home is now complete, with only the smallest details remaining. Rooms are finished, furniture is in, and people are already bringing signs and snacks, camping out for the ~1:00 p.m. "Move that bus!" reveal. It's been a crazy week on that block, but I'm sure things will turn out wonderfully for the Martinerez family. It's been awesome talking to a lot of the Shrewsbury residents who I would otherwise never have known. So many people volunteered for this project—a fact that is typically lost to the viewers—and I've never seen this kind of community involvement in any other project.
It's definitely an experience I won't forget, and I hope you've enjoyed my pictures. You can view the full set of pictures (from all the times I visited) by visiting my Extreme Makeover pictures page or clicking on any of the pictures in this blog post. I have heard that the episode featuring the Martinerez family will air in late October or early November (although I could be wrong) - make sure to watch the show on ABC on Sundays at 6 p.m. (central)!