Family reflects on ‘Extreme’ experience

Published 9:34 am Thursday, October 9, 2008

Pulling into their driveway at 84588 200th St. in rural Hayward is never going to be the same for the Dirk and Susan DeVries family.

After all, when they pulled into their driveway Tuesday in a black limo to witness the unveiling of their new home as part of the ABC TV show “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” it wasn’t just any normal day.

That was the day they officially said goodbye to their old, familiar house with many problems to welcome a brand new house, specially designed for them. Not to mention it was all done in front of hundreds of eager spectators.

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“Every time we drive up that driveway, we’ll never forget it,” Dirk said.

Just more than one week ago, celebrity Ty Pennington and his TV crew knocked on the DeVrieses’ door to tell the family they would be receiving a home makeover. The family, which is made up of parents Dirk and Susan and their three children April, Derik and Hanna, spent the last week in Niagara Falls, N.Y., as the demolition of the old house and construction of the new house occurred.

Susan said she was ready to see the house go, but Dirk said for him that didn’t happen without some mixed feelings.

“It was sad because I grew up here since I was 8, so I know I shed a tear or two when I did see it,” Dirk said. “But it was both ways. It’s like a new chapter in our lives now.”

Susan said the family had no idea they were going to be selected for the show.

Some friends from their church had nominated them for it all, and those friends went forward with the nomination even after she and the family told them no thanks.

Now that it’s all over, however, Susan said her favorite part about the experience has been watching everyone give their time for the cause.

“It’s so beautiful,” she said. “It’s so perfect for us.”

April described the bedrooms inside the house as “awesome.” And it’s been amazing to see how well the designers knew what the family wanted, she said.

“They got it right on,” she said.

The family said they still can’t believe the makeover has happened to them, and in many ways the news still hasn’t sunk in yet.

“It’s been a whirlwind thing since it started last week, and it hasn’t stopped,” Dirk said.

“Everybody we know and everybody we don’t know, we want to say thank you,” Susan added.

The family said they were not expecting much sleep Wednesday night as they were having several friends and family over to see the new house. It will be the first time they are allowed to sleep in the house.

“It’s been an amazing week,” Susan’s mother, Eileen VanderVegt, said. “What do you say? I can still cry tears when I think about it.”

The episode is scheduled to air in December.