September 17, 2007

Local interior designer had an 'Extreme' experience

Sarah Goodrich of Dassel donated time and talent for show’s Minnesota visit

By Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

Local interior designer, Sarah Goodrich of Dassel, volunteered her time and talent for the recently built “Extreme Makeover” home in Minnetonka.

Gabbert’s of Edina, where Goodrich works, donated the furniture for the living room, dining room, and master bedroom, as well as other accessories throughout Eric and Vickie Swenson’s new home.

Usually, the show’s furniture is donated by HOM stores, but since the producer had connections with Gabberts of Edina, they received the first right of refusal on the project.

On the sixth day, after the home was nearly complete, Goodrich, along with other volunteers including local cheerleaders and athletes (friends of the Swenson family children), helped move in furniture.

On the seventh and final day, Goodrich volunteered again to come back and help finish up some loose ends, such as hanging pictures and arranging accessories.

At one point, one of the designers entrusted Goodrich to organize the family’s mudroom, including putting the kids’ school supplies, purchased by the show, on shelves.

“It’s such a great feeling to know you’re helping someone out like that,” she added.

Goodrich happened to be one of the last volunteers to leave the house before it was revealed to the family.

At one point, she was the “right-hand person” to one of the show’s designers, Michael Moloney.

As a fellow designer and fan of the show, it was fun to see its top designers at work.

“They were working at top speed all the time,” she said.

“It was a once-in-a-lifetime dream,” she said.

Having been in the interior design business for more than 20 years, Goodrich is used to getting to know a family and helping them make a house a home. That’s what makes her career so rewarding, she said.

This opportunity, on the other hand, was on a completely different level for Goodrich.

During her volunteer work, Goodrich was able to meet the designers including, Moloney, Paige Hemmis, Tracy Hutson, Paul DiMeo, and of course, Ty Pennington.

The Swenson family’s home is the biggest house the show has done, at 5,600 square feet with seven bedrooms and five bathrooms.

It also drew the most volunteers the show has ever had, according to Goodrich.

“Must be the ‘Minnesota nice’,” she said.

The Swenson Family

After Vickie Swenson’s sister, Terri Lee, was murdered by an ex-boyfriend in 2006, Vickie and her husband, Erik, took in the Lees’ four children.

With three children of their own and another on the way, the Swenson’s three-bedroom home was not big enough.

Vickie and Erik are both teachers at Hopkins High School, where their students made a videotape nominating the family for the show.

The home was built by TJB Homes of Blaine.

The two-hour special will air Sunday, Nov. 25.

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