Tour ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’ home

Published 9:05 am Wednesday, December 3, 2008

People interested in seeing the recently completed home of Dirk and Susan DeVries — which was constructed as part of the ABC TV show “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” — will soon have the chance to do so as part of a fundraiser for Hollandale Christian School.

Albert Lea Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Susie Petersen, who is helping to organize the event, said the opportunity to show the house was an idea thought up by the DeVries family themselves.

“So many people have been so wonderful in the community that they wanted to open it and show it,” Petersen said. “They were blessed so that’s what they want to do.”

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Tours of the home will be given from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 13. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children under 12. The family will be there to greet those in attendance.

There will only be 2,500 tickets sold, with 300 people going through the house every hour, she said. All tickets have to be bought in advance.

People are encouraged to bring one food item for the Albert Lea Salvation Army food shelf, and the Hollandale Christian School will be selling coffee, hot cider and other refreshments.

Local musicians, including Julie Stoneking, Roxanne Irons, Jill Stevens, Lora Virgil, Sharon Astrup-Scott, Brock Besse, will be playing the DeVries family’s new piano inside the house as people are walking through.

Jared and Shanna Dawson will be performing music outside of the house, and the Albert Lea High School Caroliers will be there too.

The tour will come a week after the show airs on television. It will air at 7 p.m. Sunday.

“Extreme Makeover” producers knocked on the door of the DeVries family on Sept. 30. The next day they were sent on a vacation to Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. Larson Contracting and volunteer workers demolished their house Oct. 2 and began building a new home in about 100 hours. The house was finished on Oct. 5, and the keys to the new house were handed over Oct. 6. On Oct. 7 — the big day — the rain-soaked crowd of onlookers hollered, “Move that bus!” while the DeVrieses stood wide-eyed and open-mouthed at the surprise of seeing their new house. On Oct. 8, the family received more gifts from the community, including a new Ford pickup from Poet and ethanol producers.

Betty Nienoord, who goes to Hollandale Christian Reformed Church with the DeVries family, said the process of getting the application ready for the TV show began in April, when she and another friend, Beverly Draayer, were over at the old DeVries home helping to clean it because Susan had been ill.

The house was cold and drafty and it leaked when it rained, but the two friends didn’t know whether they should bring up the idea of the makeover, Nienoord said. They wanted to be delicate about the situation.

They suggested it to Susan one day, and Susan told them she thought it would be fun, Nienoord said. Susan told them to ask Dirk, and Dirk said, “Sure, let’s do it.”

Together with the family, they helped get the application ready and make a video to send off too.

Now that the makeover has passed, Nienoord said, the family brought up the idea of the open house tour that will have proceeds go to the Hollandale Christian School.

She said the tour will allow many people to get through the house in one day, while satisfying some curiosities that people have about it.

Limited tickets are available at the Albert Lea Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce, Doyle’s Hallmark, Addie’s Floral, Garden Diva and Hollandale Christian School.