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April 12, 2006

HGTV Dream House

Yesterday at 5 PM Shannon and I got the call that we have been selected for the HGTV series "Dream House" !!! Here's the whole story...

About 6 weeks ago, we were lying in bed surfing the Internet looking at house stuff (windows, siding, etc.) We've been talking for a while about pitching our story to timber frame magazines etc. so we thought "hey let's check out HGTV" - just for laughs. They have an area of their Web site that lists upcoming series, and through that we read about the "Dream House" show. We filled out the form, had a laugh, and sent it in.

Much to our surprise, we got a response the next day. It was from High Noon Entertainment who produces the show. They sent a detailed questionnaire that they wanted us to fill out. Lots of questions about our backgrounds, our dreams, the construction process, plans, etc. So we filled that out and sent that in. A day or two later Shannon got a call from Lauren Kotlen who wanted to do a phone interview. I was in a meeting and when Shannon got off the call she IM'ed me saying I needed to call Lauren, which I did right away. She was so fun to talk to, and we had a great interview. Shannon and I couldn't believe this had gone this far - they had received over 6,000 entries!

The next several days entailed multiple email exchanges - we sent them tons of pictures and stories from the blog, as well as answered individual questions. Eventually Lauren told us that the Executive Producer of the show, Debra Koeher would like to do a phone interview as well. Shannon and I each talked to Deb individually, and part of the reason for that is Deb would ask us both the same question, trying to see where there might be tension, disagreement, things like that, which will make for good TV. Through the whole process we made it clear that not only is the house a dream, but the whole idea of founding a vineyard is as well. Both for us, our children, family, and friends.

After weeks of information gathering, Lauren and Deb put the final touches on the pitch to HGTV. At this point Shannon and I were sure the bottom was going to fall out at any moment, but we kept doing our best to provide any info they asked for. Then a few days after they made the pitch to HGTV, we got the news that the network was interested and they were going to fly Deb out to spend a day with us, filming Shannon, Tristan and I, as well as our contractor Ron Hawes and footage of the old house, the property, and the vineyard.

Deb was fantastic to work with. We were so at ease being with her, and never felt awkward in front of the camera. And not to be a dork, but the last question she asked me (basically about Tristan) I actually got choked up and could hardly get my answer out. Reality TV I suppose, and that's what it's all about.

Deb then took the footage back and worked with her editor to create a 7-minute pitch for HGTV, which she sent off to them last Thursday night. Waiting around for the last few days has been awful, but all became worth it yesterday when we got that call.

This will be an incredible opportunity for us, as well as our local industry. We are so grateful to Lauren and Deb for working so hard with us - their encouragement and personalities made the whole experience very enjoyable. Filming starts next weekend with the planting of an additional 1.25 acres of vines, and will continue for 2-3 days per week from groundbreaking to move-in, probably 10-12 months. The series will be 13 30-minute episodes and will start airing around the time we move in to the new place.

This all seems so surreal right now, but I guess it definitely proves that you never know where a path may lead until you take that first step. Wish us luck!

Posted by Stephen at April 12, 2006 3:52 PM