Ron Pivarnik works on a desk for the makeover home. (Jed Kirschbaum, Baltimore…)
Ron Pivarnik steadied a long, slender piece of wood on his work table and quickly marked it using his carpenter's pencil. The ordinary timber was slated to be part of something more spectacular: a bakery-themed piece of furniture for one of the bedrooms in the largest home in the history of " Extreme Makeover: Home Edition."
"We're trying to take their vision and make it tangible," said Pivarnik, 40, a self-employed project manager from Glen Burnie who spent an entire week making custom furniture for the recipients of the Northeast Baltimore home: seven girls from Boys Hope Girls Hope, an international nonprofit that places bright, at-risk children into group-home-style settings.
When the ABC reality TV episode debuts in September, Pivarnik might not get much screen time, but he and other volunteers are responsible for many of the "oohs" and "ahhs" that the cameras will catch as the girls explore their new home.
"They are the house," said Chris Rachuba, chairman of the Maryland Community Builders Foundation, which organized the build. "If they are not here to do the work, the house doesn't get built."
More than 1,000 volunteers were used to build the 11,120-square-foot, three-level house. Many of them were local home professionals who were responsible for design elements such as decorative murals, window treatments and floral design.
Jake Scott, 31, one of three carpenters who travel with the show, was impressed with the skill set that the volunteers brought to the house.
"[They] are 100 percent critical," he said. "We need them. There is way too much on our plate."
One of the desks that Pivarnik constructed was used in a travel-themed room. The desk drawers were made to look like pieces of luggage by using suitcase handles to replace traditional drawer pulls.
"Everything is custom," Pivarnik said. "It is a labor of love."
Lisa Bower, interior decorator
Background: Owner of Madella's Interior Decorating, based in Ellicott City. Bower, 39, has studied at MICA and is a member of WCAA (Window Coverings Association of America)
'Extreme' role: This was Bower's second time with the show. "It was such a great experience the first time," said Bower, who worked on an 'Extreme Makeover' house for a family in Pennsylvania in 2008, that she decided to do it again. "This was such a great way to give back to the community," she said.
On the set: Bower worked with a group of 13 window treatment designers from her local WCAA chapter to transform store-bought drapes into custom-looking gems. Bower and her crew also made 80 pillows to be used throughout the home.
TV secret: The larger pillows are being used in the basement area, which is being called a lounge. Smaller pillows, embroidered with messages to resemble the heart-shaped candies associated with Valentine's Day, are being used in one of the themed bedrooms.
Eddie Wingrat, floral designer
Background: Owner of Flowers and Fancies in Owings Mills. Wingrat, 60, began working in a flower shop shortly after graduating from college with a history degree. He realized that he had a knack for the trade and has owned his business since 1971.
'Extreme' role: Wingrat donated 35 floral arrangements and positioned them throughout the house, augmenting the common area spaces and some of the bedrooms, the great room, bathrooms, and computer area. "We added florals to the designated areas to make the house a home," Wingrat said.
On the set: "The designers gave us the ability to work with the flowers," Wingrat said. He was able to have fun using tons of colorful flowers to go with the themed rooms. In an outdoors-themed room, Wingrat incorporated a lot of branches and garden-type flowers such as delphinium, hydrangea, roses, orchids, allium, and wheat grass. Sherbet-colored roses such as bright orange, lavender, and pink were used for a Parisian Bistro-themed room.
TV secret: "Flowers can last a while if treated properly," said Wingrat, whose buds were unaffected by the delayed construction schedule. He used flowers shipped in from various regions of the country and South America. "The flowers were very fresh. It was really perfect timing. Whether it had been Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, the flowers were perfect."
Judi Miller, architect
Background: Owner of Architecture by Design in Ellicott City. Miller, 45, has been an architect for more than 20 years and has extensive experience with multifamily projects.
'Extreme' role: Miller worked as the lead architect for the $1 million home. She completed the concept for it in a single day and finished the construction drawings in just about two weeks. Miller worked around the clock at the house, leaving only for a few hours to rest, but she said it was worth it. "It was a opportunity of a lifetime, and it was an opportunity to make a true difference in others' lives," Miller said. "I'd do it all over again."