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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Hall family, friends see new 'Makeover' home

By Denise Neil
The Wichita Eagle

WICHITA — In front of their family, friends, a half-dozen television cameras and Ty Pennington, Carl Hall and his family saw their new home for the first time Thursday afternoon, courtesy of ABC's show "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition."

Pennington, the show's celebrity host, delivered his famous line, "Bus driver, move that bus," at about 3:30 p.m., as rain spit and teeth chattered on a gray, drizzly day.

The orange bus rolled away, revealing a blue ranch-style home with a soaring front entry. The Hall family, including Carl, a former Shocker baseball star who was paralyzed in a crash last summer, his wife, Stacey, and their four children, Megan, Maddie, Logan and McLaine, gasped and cried as they got their first view.

Surrounded by Pennington and celebrity members of the show's design team, including Paige Hemmis, Jillian Harris and Paul DiMeo, the family maneuvered around mud and made their way into the house, where an afternoon of filming was still in front of them.

The interior of the four-bedroom ranch is said to have a design that marries rustic and contemporary touches, with an elevator that will transport Carl from the basement to the main living area.

Hundreds of people shivered in the muddy fields around the house to watch the reveal. Some showed up as early as 10 a.m., and by 3 p.m., the wind picked up and temperatures dropped to a chilly 37 degrees.

The crowd included members of the Hall family, local dignitaries such as Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer, and WuShock, whose bright yellow head will no doubt be easily spotted when the show airs in May.

Work started on the house, built on a corner lot at 11026 W. Hollywood Court, a week ago and continued around the clock until the reveal this afternoon.

The hours leading up to the big reveal included plenty of television trickery.

Producers urged the crowd to chant "move that bus" over and over as the van that would eventually drop the family off moved toward the house. Only on the third take was the family actually in the van.

Also for the cameras' sake, Pennington thanked the design team twice, followed each time by a round of hugs between the designers and the family.

Among the people close to the house for the reveal were several classmates of the Hall children, including a gaggle of eighth-grade girls in plaid skirts who are in class with Maddie at St. Peter Catholic School, just up the street from the new house.

Kathy Kausse accompanied her daughter, Sarah, and several friends, who admitted they were there as much to get a glimpse of Pennington as to support Maddie.

"They're really hoping for sleepovers," Kausse said.

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