Extreme Makeover Home Edition: A Supplier’s View

It was just another day at Specialty, but definitely not just another phone call.

This one was from a long-time roofing customer. “Would you be interested in supplying the gutter system for… an Extreme Makeover: Home Edition house?”

“Wow,” we paused. Our general contracting and roofing customers occasionally call in to create order lists to outfit quirky or extraordinary home builds.  But this?

A chance to install our gutter products on a fairy tale home? A chance to help a family in need? A chance to be part of a week-long community-wide construction blitz? A chance to participate in a popular national television phenomenon?

“Of course!” we said. “Where do we sign up?!” And one more added: “Do we get to meet Ty?!”

Many of us at Specialty Building Products had already been fans of the popular TV show and its celebrity construction crew for a long time. And here the Extreme Makeover bus was rolling into OUR town. It was coming to Hamburg, PA – just a 20 minute drive from our plant.

We were thrilled to have the opportunity to donate our products to this exciting project. As any Extreme Makeover viewer would know, the homes are always, always constructed using the best materials available. Premium landscaping, premium lighting, premium everything.

We’ve been manufacturing premium rain gutter since 1978… and now was time for our products to shine, on the local and national stage, and for a truly deserving family who would soon inhabit this new home.

The groundbreaking at this point was about 2 weeks away. We sell 21 different colors of aluminum gutters, as well as premium copper gutters. Our crew was making friendly wagers on what this particular gutter pick-list would look like. Most of us guessed the producers would request our most high-end copper products. There were some guesses that the home might boast unusual bold colors, and thus look good with our bold Grecian Green or Scotch Red. Or perhaps the family was into the nautical life, and thus our Heritage Blue color would suit?

A few days later, our roofing customer called to confirm they would need our “Eggshell” colored aluminum.

copper flashing and rain gutter

Specialty Design aluminum rain gutter and copper flashing on the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition house in Hamburg, PA

Eggshell is a light, cream-like color, and looks great on a home with a stone and/or stucco exterior. Turns out this home would have both.

We packaged up our Eggshell custom length downspout, elbows, mitres, trim coil, soffit and more for our truck. And there was some copper ordered after all – our beautiful copper flashing would soon line the valleys of the new home’s steeply pitched roof.

Fast forward to August 4 – it was Day 7 of 9 of the re-build of Trisha and Cora Urban’s soon-to-be-home.

We met at the local Cabela’s that morning to wait for a bus (not THE Extreme Makeover bus… but a nice bus nonetheless!) to take us to the construction site. Our customer provided us with our special vendor access tickets.

Which prompted us to ask ourselves – after all our years in this business, have we ever received VIP tickets to see a… construction site? We all had most definitely not… but, either way, with all the excitement and anticipation in the air, we felt like we had back stage passes to a rock concert… or the Field of Dreams!

About 10 minutes later we arrived at the site, then weaved through the shoulder-to-shoulder crowd in the Urban’s front lawn, and then we caught our first glimpse of the new home, about 95% done:

copper flashing and rain gutter

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition home in Hamburg, PA – Justin, Donna & Butch representing Specialty Building Products

There it was: a beautiful, fairy tale home. It was so exciting being there. And we felt extra proud to be part of the home construction industry that day.

Extreme Makeover Home Edition crowd

Local Extreme Makeover: Home Edition fans at the home construction site

Seeing hundreds of volunteer contractors wearing blue shirts and working together… feeling the excitement in the air… seeing the faces on people from ages 7 to 77 as they admired this dream home built right here in our home town… it reminded us all of the MAGIC that home construction really can be.

It was such a joy to be a part of it. And it’s such a joy to provide products for new homes – and the families that will inhabit them – each and every day.

For more photos of the entire homebuild, check out the Reading Eagle’s ongoing coverage. And for photos on the big reveal that happened the next day, check out ABC’s page.

About Justin Knabb

Justin Knabb is VP of Operations at Specialty Design and Manufacturing, a family-run, US manufacturer of custom home building products as well as custom industrial machinery. Justin is a fan of microbreweries, traveling, Apple products, and Philly cheesesteaks. He can be reached at 1-610-779-1357 or here.