The thousands of passers-by have trickled down to a few dozen. Television camera crews that captured every moment and the volunteers who helped build east Charlotte's most famous house have moved on.
Things are almost back to normal for Curtis and Alisha King about a month after their 1,900-square-foot, one-story brick house was torn down and replaced by a 5,100-square-foot residential wonder as part of ABC's “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” As some of the notoriety has faded so, too, has some good will, replaced by grumblings from a few neighbors who've complained that the house on 4214 Sudbury Road is simply too big for their modest Windsor Park neighborhood.
I talked with Curtis about how the family is enjoying their new house and how they've handled criticism from some neighbors. The neighborhood has mostly single-story homes.
“It's been a few people complaining. I don't pay too much attention to it. We thought we knew them better than we did,” King said. Some neighbors have supposedly taken their complaints about the home to city officials.
“We didn't have any control over the type of house they were building,” King added.
The brouhaha over the Kings' house hasn't dampened the family's elation. They're still in awe.
“It's just overwhelming, really a blessing,” King says.
The Kings were selected after show producers learned about how the family was struggling to operate a day care out of a mold-infested house, one that was causing allergy problems for their daughter. After getting the news about their selection, the family was whisked away on a weeklong vacation to Puerto Rico (paid for by the show) while the house was being built.
It took just over 100 hours to build. The home features lavish furnishings worth an estimated $75,000 as well as toys and educational material for the Kings' day care.
The family isn't allowed to talk too much about what's inside and isn't allowed to let media inside to take pictures until after the October airing of the “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” show, which will feature the house.
After the couple and their three children moved in, Curtis said, “(They) were scared to touch the furniture, but after a while we realized we were home.”
The Kings' 19-year-old son loved the house so much he didn't want to leave when it was time to head off to college in California.
The house hasn't been appraised yet, but it's believed to be worth about $800,000. The couple still must pay taxes on the house. However, money is typically set aside by organizers to help families pay taxes.
Also, the Kings must pay the remaining mortgage on their old house.
Nevertheless, they believe their new house is a testament to dreams coming true.
“We're hoping this house can be a light for other people that anything is possible.”