Designing the home for the Heathcock family and ABC’s Extreme Home Makeover in Hattiesburg, Mississippi was one of the most emotional and rewarding experiences we have known as a firm. This opportunity was a way for us and hundreds of other passionate volunteers to give something back to a man (and his family) who has dedicated his life for our country. Mr. Heathcock is a true hero who has given far more than he has ever received.
When we initially got involved in this project, we had no idea what to expect other than assuming that if the builder (AAA Homes of Mississippi) had to build the house in 107 hours… then our design time would be as proportionately cut short. Guess what? That assumption was correct. We had a about 6 hours to develop a conceptual Floor Plan and another 8 hours to finalize the Floor Plan and Exterior Elevations. After all, cabinets, appliances, fixtures, and accessories had to be selected and ordered for timely delivery.
We were given some direction for the style preference and functional needs of the family. There were several challenges faced during the design process including severe zoning setback issues (limiting the footprint of the one-story home); designing the home to become Hattiesburg, Mississippi’s 1st NAHB’s “Green Certified Home”; a magnolia tree that needed to remain (Mississippi’s state tree); a sloping site differential of 5 feet; and an exterior design that would appropriately respond to the existing homes in a well-established neighborhood.
The pace never slowed until the very last minute working around the clock and torturous weather conditions. In fact, my wife and I were inside the home working on finishing touches while the family and crowd were cheering behind the bus waiting for it to move out of the way. We made it out just in time to see the reaction on the family’s face when the bus moved…definitely one of the most moving experiences of my life! We were truly blessed to be a small part of something so wonderful!
Please tune in March 21 to see the outcome!