Local construction company, volunteers say putting together 'dream house' in a week was hard work - but worth it

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Local construction company, volunteers say putting together 'dream house' in a week was hard work - but worth it

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Published Monday, January 24, 2011   |  896 Words  |  

It's not a mansion, but it seems like one to India Dickinson, the recipient of a
new home in Beaufort thanks to ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition."
The construction of the 4,000-square-foot Lowcountry plantation style
home was directed by local builder Todd Hawk, owner of Bluffton-based H2
Builders, who supervised about 3,000 volunteers.

"I will never meet them all, but I want
to thank everybody who helped for their
hard work. They are the unsung heroes
of this," Hawk said at a press conference
outside the new house Wednesday.

There, the Dickinson family thanked the
show, H2 Builders and the volunteers. Marine
wife India Dickinson called the home
"a mansion" and "my dream house."

The Dickinson's original home, which
was razed, had mold, flood damage, shoddy
electrical and an inadequate foundation,
representatives of the show have

With six bedrooms and four bathrooms,
the house at 45 Mystic Circle has a bedroom
for each of India and Bill Dickinson's
five children: Grant, 16; Brianna,
14; Bailey, 10; Isabella, 8; and Sophia, 16
months. The Dickinsons were selected
from hundreds of candidates. Marine
Staff Sgt. Bill Dickinson, a 17-year veteran
of the armed services, is deployed in Afghanistan.

Hawk said under normal circumstances
the house would have taken about a year
to build and the price tag would be "in the
$850,000 range." Instead, it was built in a
week, and thanks to local fundraisers, the
Dickinsons won't have a mortgage.

The exterior of the two-story house,
which has a front porch on each level, is
both impressive and welcoming. A porch
swing and rocking chairs are painted lilac,
and the porch ceiling is "haint blue" - a
Gullah tradition where people painted
their ceilings blue to ward off evil spirits.
The tiny eye of a security camera is visible
near the front door, and in the backyard,
a wooden play structure promises
plenty of fun.

The house has Hardy plank siding-
which Hawk called "very lowmaintenance,"
an oversized, gourmet
kitchen with natural gas appliances, and
fireplaces in the backyard and in the dining
room. The garage is finished with
tabby (crushed oyster shells mixed into
concrete) and attached to the house by a
covered breezeway. In addition to brick
pavers leading to the front door and new
grass, the front yard has a white picket
fence, arched trellis and fountain.

Hawk, who had 15 to 25 employees working
around the clock at the site, said constructing
the entry stairs to the house was
difficult because of the volume of foot traffic.
He said he's still sorting out how much
participating in the show cost his company,
but is glad he did it.

"It was an excellent opportunity to give
back to the community," he said. "We just
don't want clients to think we can build
houses in seven days."

Founded in 1996, H2 Builders was the
Hilton Head Island/Bluffton Chamber of
Commerce Small Business of the Year for
2009,and has received many Lighthouse
awards from the Hilton Head Area Homebuilders
Association. The company has
built custom homes in Belfair, Berkeley
Hall, Colleton River, Hampton Lake and
Battery Point in Beaufort.

Details about the interior of the home
are under wraps until the show airs. But
sources who've been inside the home
created by Ty Pennington and his design
team of Paul DiMeo, Jillian Harris and Xzibit
say it has space that can be used for cup
stacking (a game where participants race
to stack plastic cups in a pyramid), murals,
a skate-board themed room for one of the
daughters, an audio system and electric
closet doors that operate with a remote

Local businesses were a big part of the

Anna Ruby, vice president of marketing
at J. Banks Design on Hilton Head Island,
said the company designed and staffed the
VIP tent. J. Banks emloyees "pulled an allnighter"
to place accessories and art, working
as assistants to the stars, Ruby said.

"We saw how much it takes to do this.
There is so much going on behind the
scenes," she said.

For some smaller businesses, participation
in the show involved real sacrifice.
Mira Scott, owner of Picture This, said
she received a "cold call" asking her to
contribute time and materials for framing.
She worked quickly to frame 19 photographs
in about three days.

"I enjoy being involved in philanthropy
in the community," said Scott, who is president
of the Hilton Head Island School
Council for the Arts, "but in this difficult
economy, this was a stretch."