Find a Home

Modular Home News


Extreme Makeover Visits Nationwide

By HOLLY KOZELSKY - Bulletin Staff Writer
Source: Martinsville Bulletin

How does a company build an entire house for free in nine days, with six weeks notice?

The answer will be revealed in May or June on the season finale of the television show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Part of the show was being filmed Wednesday in the Nationwide Custom Homes plant in Martinsville.

On each episode of the program, which airs on the ABC network, a deserving person or family is provided with a new house donated by volunteers. The winner is notified and immediately sent away on vacation while volunteers build the new house on the recipient's lot within a week.

For the first time, the show will feature a modular home, said the show's interior designer, Michael Moloney. The materials and time to build the house are being donated by Nationwide and its employees, and its windows are donated by West Window, also of Martinsville.

In the plant Wednesday, dozens of Nationwide employees wearing blue Extreme Makeover T-shirts were involved constructing the sections of the house side by side. Among them roved a producer, a camera man, a sound technician and Moloney.

"This is the first time we've done anything like this," Moloney said.

Previously, each house was built on location. "Seven days on location - it's chaotic, dealing with the elements, and here it's controlled. ... It shows America how efficient they (modular houses) are," he said.

Having the house arrive ready to assemble will mean the crew on site "will have much less work to do, and that is a great bonus," Moloney said. "This house goes up in a matter of four hours, and we come in and do our magic" to finish and decorate it.

Modular houses normally are painted and finished in the factory, but this house will be finished on site to suit the style of the family who will live in it, without giving clues beforehand who the family is.

To comply with labor laws, employees did not work off the clock. Instead, they participated in a payroll deduction plan in the spirit of donating their time. Most employees volunteered to donate $100 from their pay through four payroll deductions of $25 each, said Tommy Rakes, vice president of operations.

Employees have given "phenomenal support" to the project, he said.

"It's been a tough economy and rough weather, and folks are smiling a bit more" as they work on this project, added Vice President of Sales and Marketing Dan Goodin.

Nationwide contacted the television show "about a year ago and asked them if they wanted to try a modular," Goodin said.

Extreme Makeover officials called Nationwide in mid-January to say that they would like Nationwide to build the house for the show. The catch was it had to be finished in six weeks.

"When the call came in, you have to react quickly," Goodin said.

Employees were called in to a meeting where the proposal to build the house was made, including the payroll-deduction donations, and they reacted with excitement and support, he added.

Richard Hodge, a member of the utility crew, said the workers are too focused on their goal now to get excited over being on TV. "It's a real challenge. ... We have a deadline we have to meet, and we're determined to get there."

The rapport in the plant is good because the project "was to help someone. As long as we can help someone else who really needs it, we're working to do as much as we can," said Hodge, who was building the house's walls Wednesday.

The house's design is a secret. Goodin would describe it only as "a very complex design. It's much more complex than we typically do, but not more than we can handle."

The show has narrowed the pool of applicants for the house to five families. The winning family will be notified during a personal visit from a representative of the TV show. While family members go on vacation, their lot will be cleared and the new house will be built, furnished and decorated, and their lot will be landscaped, all by volunteers.

Goodin, Nationwide President Andy Miller and associates James Seekford and Andrew Snuggs will coordinate the prepartion in Georgia. They will leave Sunday, and the house components will be brought to the site and put together the week after that.

Nationwide is coordinating the Georgia volunteers, especially through its Web site, So far, about 400 volunteers and 200 groups in the Georgia area have expressed interest in helping. Thirty-nine of the company's "key builders are donating time and materials," Goodin said.

"It's a huge production," Goodin said.

As well as construction, Nationwide will coordinate meals, shuttlebuses, tents and more for the volunteers.

The show, which will be the season finale, will air in May or June. Nationwide is planning a big viewing party for Nationwide's 200 employees and other local people associated with the project.


What's New

Tour this new model

Nationwide Homes opens a new HiPerformance model in Martinsville, Virginia. The Homestead V is one of 8 models in our popular collection of homes - Homestead Collection. Homestead Collection homes...

Read More
Top 10 Important Facts

What Customers are Saying About Our Custom Homes

"Dear Nationwide Custom Homes,

We would like to share with you our exceptional experience as repeat (two-time) Nationwide customers.

Eight years ago, we had the pleasure and satisfaction of building our first Nationwide Home with an independent builder. It was a recent job relocation that placed us in the position of having to sell that home and needing to acquire a new home and we knew that we wanted to build again. Although, we did consider the competition and explored our options with other builders, it was our first meeting with the staff at the Smith Mountain Lake office that made such an indelible impression that we were confident that Nationwide was the best and only choice to build our home again. The personal attention that Len Patridge, Linda DePierro, and Dawn Lane gave our family of 8 (2 parents and 6 kids) was remarkable. Having to drive over an hour to get to the office, we arrived less than an hour from closing. Without regard for time or consideration for their own personal commitments or obligations, they reached out to our family and patiently spent two hours listening to our needs and working with us to come up with a home that fit our family and budget. It was their knowledge, experience, and insight that guided and assured us that we would indeed have the dream home that we were looking for.

In addition, the commitment and devotion they brought to building our home made us realize and know that we weren’t just another “job” to them, but it made us constantly aware that they were working solely on our behalf and in our best interest. We were living in our camper during our entire homebuilding process, and Darrell Craig, our construction manager, made it his personal mission to get our family into “permanent” housing and in our home for the holidays. His coordinated efforts and diligence got us into our new home in less than two months from the time they broke ground.

Truly, the people who work from the Smith Mountain Lake office are extraordinary people and are a rare find. They are the type of people who represent companies well, give their companies a good reputation, and make their companies great. And when individuals like them, go above and beyond the call of duty and go the “extra mile” to get the job done, it is our personal belief that it would be inexcusable not to commend them and “give honor to whom honor is due.” We will forever consider the staff and contractors at the SML office our family friends, and should the need arise to build yet another home, there is no doubt to whom we will turn to get the job done.

We are also taking the liberty of sending a picture of our new Nationwide Home, and it is our hope that you would take comfort in knowing that we have been well served by your company representatives at Smith Mountain Lake.

Sincerely, The Harris Family "


Read more Testimonials

Quick Facts

Building with modular construction allows homes to be delivered up to 90% complete and built in one-third the time.