Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
It all began with a television producer’s phone call asking KraftMaid to help a deserving family in need of a fresh start. Seasons later, we are proud to remain the exclusive cabinetry provider of ABC’s award-winning program, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.
Episode 7The Vardon Family
When Stefan Vardon, 14, wrote a heartwarming school essay about his deaf parents and his blind and autistic 12-year-old brother, he had no idea that it would lead to the team from Extreme Makeover: Home Edition showing up at his family’s Oak Park, Michigan home. In two back-to-back episodes, the design team transformed the Vardons’ ordinary 980-square-foot house into a dream home outfitted with the latest communications and safety devices for people with hearing loss.
Meet Judy and Larry Vardon, who can’t hear their son Lance, and he can’t see his parents using sign language. This is not just a matter of inconvenience; Lance’s safety is also a concern, for sometimes Lance has found the house keys and let himself out in the middle of the night without his parents’ hearing him leave. The EM:HE team knew they had to find a way to make the family safe, as well as find the best way for them to communicate with each other – a real necessity for when Stefan leaves for college in a few years.
In an essay that Stefan had written – and which Judy included in the application for the show – he said: “I always have to sign to my parents in order to communicate, and always talk nicely to my brother for him to understand. I am so used to this life, it’s just that sometimes I wish I had a normal family and didn’t live this way. But the next day I am so happy that I have a loving family that treats me nice and loves me.”
Judy volunteers with blind and deaf children teaching Braille and sign language, while Larry is a welder for a car manufacturer who, in his free time, fixes his neighbors’ cars too, for free and without a garage to work in. Stefan, a nature lover, plays football in high school and is a car fanatic. Lance is a musical prodigy who likes Elvis, Beethoven and Mozart, as well as horseback riding.