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  • Staff photo by Don Himsel

    Danny Lipford gets ready to record a video clip on-site in Windham Tuesday, October 5, 2010. Matt and Kristen Bouchard of Windham were chosen over 4,000 other entrants as the winners of the recent "Win Danny and His Crew for a Day" sweepstakes sponsored by John Deere.
  • Staff photo by Don Himsel

    The Bouchard's Windham home. Matt and Kristen Bouchard were chosen over 4,000 other entrants as the winners of the recent "Win Danny and His Crew for a Day" sweepstakes sponsored by John Deere.
  • Staff photo by Don Himsel

    Tim McCraney, left, and Allen Lyle work on the Bouchard's deck. Matt and Kristen Bouchard of Windham were chosen over 4,000 other entrants as the winners of the recent "Win Danny and His Crew for a Day" sweepstakes sponsored by John Deere.
  • Staff photo by Don Himsel

    The Bouchards' Windham home. Matt and Kristen Bouchard were chosen over 4,000 other entrants as the winners of the recent "Win Danny and His Crew for a Day" sweepstakes sponsored by John Deere.
  • Staff photo by Don Himsel

    Brad Rodgers tapes footage of the finished front yard landscaping. Matt and Kristen Bouchard of Windham were chosen over 4,000 other entrants as the winners of the recent "Win Danny and His Crew for a Day" sweepstakes sponsored by John Deere.
  • Staff photo by Don Himsel

    The crew tapes the Bouchards in their front yard near their finished landscaping. Matt and Kristen Bouchard of Windham were chosen over 4,000 other entrants as the winners of the recent "Win Danny and His Crew for a Day" sweepstakes sponsored by John Deere.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Windham home fix-up session filmed for TV

On Christmas Day in 2008, the Bouchard family found out their new Windham home had burned to the ground.

A construction worker accidentally left a heater too close to the drywall, sending the building up in flames. The house was in its final building stages.

Nearly two years later, their luck has changed. After the home was rebuilt on Bear Hill Road, Matt and Kristen Bouchard won a contest to be featured on an episode of the national TV show, “Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford.”

The Bouchards were randomly picked out of 4,000 applicants and won eight hours of work from Lipford and his crew this week. The episode was filmed Monday and Tuesday.

Matt Bouchard, 36, said he was at the Rosencrantz & Sons John Deere dealership in Derry and saw an advertisement for the contest. He wrote his name and address on a card and dropped it into the box at the store.

A dash of luck later, Lipford showed up at his door.

The Bouchards’ Windham home is only a year old and worth $468,100, according to 2010 tax assessing records, but Lipford said the high value of the property doesn’t mean it can’t use some upgrades.

“Home improvement cuts across all economic boundaries,” Lipford said. “Whether you live in a trailer or a nice house, there’s always a need for home improvement type of stuff.”

The biggest projects included landscaping the front hill with mulch and new plants, improving and securing the lattice work beneath the deck and installing a light for Bouchard’s workshop. Lipford and his crew also patched up a few dents in the drywall inside the house.

Bouchard, a Google employee who works mostly from home, said the hill in front of their house had become an “eyesore” and it was nice to have a professional crew dress it up. And with three boys younger than age 4, Bouchard didn’t plan to spend the money to have the landscaping done anytime soon.

“It’s great to have that done because it wasn’t in our budget this year,” he said.

The idea behind the episode was to show viewers how to make their “honeydew list” of household chores manageable, Lipford said.

“The key is to knock out small things so it doesn’t feel like work,” he said. “You can get a lot off the average to-do list in an eight-hour day.”

Lipford and his four-man team received some help from workers at Shady Hill Greenhouse and Nursery in Londonderry, who were hired previously by Bouchard to landscape the front of the house.

Ron Hill, owner of Shady Hill Greenhouse and Nursery in Londonderry, said his team was excited to work with Lipford. He thought the added exposure of a national audience could only help attract more customers.

“It’s a once in a lifetime chance,” Hill said. “I think it’ll help our business. Any good publicity is nice.”

Scott Gardner, the show’s writer and director, said his job behind the camera runs much more smoothly when the hired help is happy and accommodating.

Sometimes it’s not so easy, since Lipford and his team often move slowly during the camera shots but quickly afterward to get the job done in a timely fashion. The sporadic rhythm can throw off a contracting crew, Gardner said, but Shady Hill’s workers handled it well.

“We have to rely on someone locally and they’ve just been great,” Gardner said. “When they get excited about what’s going on, it makes our jobs so much easier.”

Lipford said he tries to avoid the drama that so many other home improvement shows use to attract an audience. His small crew is a “tight-knit group” and works on keeping it simple, he said.

“We’ve stuck to our guns, cuttin’ out the bull, and it’s been a great formula for continued success,” he said.

The strategy has worked. Lipford said the show is more successful now than it has ever been.

Lipford said the program reaches 1.5 million viewers per week in 208 cities across the country as it enters its 13th season this fall. The show covers popular remodeling projects, useful tips and the latest trends for the home, including an emphasis on being more energy efficient.

The episode featuring the Bouchards and their Windham home is scheduled to air in January 2011 on WMUR Channel 9.

Bouchard’s wife, Kristen, said she was a little nervous at first about the idea of a camera crew coming to the house, but she said they were personable, friendly and made the environment a lot of fun.

“It’s been beyond my expectations,” she said. “It was an area we had no idea what we were going to do with, but we trusted their judgment. I think they know I don’t have a green thumb.”

Cameron Kittle can be reached at 594-6523 or ckittle@nashuatelegraph.com.