When they opened the door on Aug. 4, the Rhodes family was in shock.
To that point, seven relatives had been living in a one-bedroom house in the city’s neglected American Addition neighborhood. Jackie and James Rhodes slept upstairs, while their daughter and four grandchildren spent nights on furniture in a first-floor sitting room.
When they saw who was knocking — host Ty Pennington and his “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” crew — they knew that was about to change.
“We knew five families were picked from the area,” Jackie Rhodes said by phone this week. “We were just in total awe. It was a dream come true.”
Less than a week later, the house at 1507 Dewey Ave. had been demolished and replaced with a luxurious, 4,000-square-foot residence for the popular ABC series. The episode airs at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16, on ABC.
“It was a career challenge like none other,” said Ed Snodgrass, vice president of P&D Builders, the Delaware company that built the home and mobilized local crews. “Part of the story that I try to get across to people is that there’s so much more behind the scenes than you can imagine.”
In 42 days, P&D solicited donations, secured corporate sponsors, printed signs, organized fundraising efforts and even hosted a pep rally. Everything was done according to the show’s infamously feverish timetable, with the demolition and construction lasting just under 106 hours.
“You’ve got to strike while the iron’s hot,” Snodgrass said. “It can’t be done without the entire community.”
Volunteers invested 35,000 man-hours at the build site, he estimated.
Though still getting used to their new house, the Rhodes remain grateful for it.
The family began living together in August 2010, after the Rhodes’ daughter, Mikia, underwent surgery to remove a large, noncancerous brain tumor and was unable to maintain her house.
Now everyone has more space to stretch out.
“My husband likes the bedroom,” Jackie Rhodes said. “I’m more out in the front area of the house. The kids, they hang out down in game room. We’re big Buckeye fans. When the game comes on, that’s where everybody hangs out.”