Go ahead women of Northern Michigan, breathe my rarified air. Yep. I touched Carter Oosterhouse
, the carpenter-model-star of a slew of HGTV shows (currently, Red Hot and Green
and Carter Can
). Want the sizzling truth? He put his arm around me. Okay, enough. I'm old enough to be his mother (he was born when I was a freshman in college—I did the math). But here is what I really want to say about Carter: He’s a really good guy.
The hometown boy was here to film an HGTV
special, scheduled to air during the 2009 holiday season, called Carter Comes Home.
The premise is a real-life surprise home makeover for a local woman who cares for special needs children, plus a top-to-bottom redo of Traverse City Fire Station # 2's kitchen and lounge area. The Eighth Street station was buzzing with people when I got there Friday afternoon. Carter was there—somehow figuring out how to make the renovation happen amid all the contractors and cameramen—also helping were his two brothers, sister, father and a handful of childhood friends. His brother, Todd, had flown in from Texas, sister Sienna from L.A.
The reno team included a number of our Traverse
and Northern Home & Cottage
friends. Among them Steve Cobb of Trevarrow (Wolf Appliances
) installed a gleaming new stove, Bob McQueen from Traverse City's Art Van Furniture
unloaded a truck full of new furniture, Northwood Kitchens'
Jenni Henderson brought cabinets and Dan Brady from Dan Brady Painting & Wood Restoration
wielded the paint brushes. But the piece de resistance, had to be what Tyler Oosterhouse lugged in from his company, Bay House Design
. But you'll have to watch the show to see what that is!
Producer Patrick Jager gracefully directed everyone through what felt as much like a party as it did a construction and film set. And just for the record, the L.A.-based Jager says he even loves Traverse City in snowstorms, so Patrick we love you.
Amid the hubbub, the on-duty firemen hung out in the garage grinning—they’d been banned from their lounge area during production so the on-camera reveal would be a total surprise. Not to worry about the sideboard of food, the piles of construction equipment, the gazillion people milling around, they told me. Were that alarm to go off, the station door would open and they'd scream that gleaming red truck outta there.
I’m embargoed so I can’t describe what that fire station renovation looks like—but I can tell you it went from 1960's hideous to somewhere I'd move into. I can also tell you that Carter and his kin embody everything we love about Traverse City—down-to-earth neighborliness and a real sense that if you just pitch in you can make the world better. My favorite moment of my interview with Carter came when I thanked him for putting a spotlight on our Northern Michigan home-building industry—so in need of love right now as it is. His star smile sobering momentarily, Carter shook his head and told me anything to help.
Here's a video of my interview with Carter: