The world of architectural design is exciting, rewarding, and filled with creative people adept at finding solutions. So when we were approached by the team behind HGTV’s Celebrity IOU, we had a feeling that although we had no idea what to expect, we would be up for the challenge! What was impossible to predict was how incredibly meaningful it was for our team to participate in an experience which is centered on giving back to an individual who made such an impact on her community. The world of reality television, where talent, creativity, and captivating storytelling converge, isn’t one into which we ever imagined we would delve. However, we were honored to play a role in this transformative mission, providing a touch of BrightBuilt and high-performance design to the life of an incredibly deserving Mainer.
BrightBuilt Home caught the attention of the Celebrity IOU producers, who were enthusiastic about the idea of leveraging our pre-designed accessory dwelling unit (ADU), the Sterling, to provide a backyard sanctuary in an accelerated timeline. The Sterling fit the needs of the project well, with its high-performance building specs, light-filled living space, pre-curated finish palettes, and modular design allowing for an expedited build. In fact, the base design was such a great fit that the only modification requested was a slight change in the kitchen layout.
To accommodate the constraints of shooting schedules, the on-site needs of the General Contractor (Maker Construction), and the manufacturer’s (KBS Builders, Inc.) timeline, weekly meetings were held to make sure the project was able to move to completion in a faster than typical time frame. The fact that the Sterling is a ready-to-go model made it well aligned for the show’s timing objectives and schedule goals.
With the design stage set, our journey took a thrilling turn as our team welcomed the cast and crew into our Portland office to film the discussions around selecting a palette from the finishes options. BrightBuilt Director, Parlin, worked closely with Jonathan, Drew, and acclaimed actress Glenn Close, the celebrity featured in the episode, to make sure that the Sterling would be the best fit for Robin, the recipient.
“I was so impressed with Jonathan, Drew, and the entire production crew. They were consummate professionals, very communicative and accommodating, and a real pleasure to work with,” said Parlin. “They really are pros at ad-libbing, doing things on the fly, and making things interesting and fun!”
As the design phase concluded, the incredible folks at Maker Construction, KBS Builders, Inc., and the Property Brothers themselves got to work on the prep, construction, and finish-out of the Sterling. As part of the site preparation, Glenn Close assisted in the tear down of the existing shed. “She’s a helluva excavator driver,” Parlin exclaimed.
With nearly all their shows being filmed in California, the crew was amused to find that local Mainers weren’t quite sure what to make of them. In fact, folks in Maine are so unaccustomed to production crews and filming, that many of them mistook the production site for a yard sale!
Watching the design jump from the page into reality highlights the skill, craftsmanship, and attention to detail required to bring these extraordinary ADUs to life. From selecting sustainable materials, prepping the site, manufacturing the module in the factory, and overcoming unforeseen obstacles, the entire team made huge efforts to ensure the process was smooth, timely, and delivered a high-quality outcome for the recipients.
On reveal day, the BrightBuilt team, production crew, the Maker Construction team, Glenn Close, and Jonathan and Drew gathered to unveil the finished Sterling to Robin and her family. It was a day of heartfelt emotions, joy, and excitement, that our team was so grateful to witness and take part in.
“Robin is an incredible human being,” Parlin said. “From the start, it was incredibly meaningful to be part of the crew to give back to her. I was really excited to give her a fresh, light-filled, beautiful new respite for her to recharge her batteries.”
We couldn’t be more thrilled with the outcome of this project and we hope it showcases the power of design to transform lives and create spaces that provide comfort, inspiration, and balance. We extend our gratitude to Jonathan, Drew, the Celebrity IOU production team, Glenn Close, Maker Construction, KBS Builders, Inc., and most importantly to Robin and her family.