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Paul works as the designer and carpenter on ABC's reality TV show "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition". At age 5, Paul DiMeo began his affair with home renovation after his home burned to the ground. He and his father embarked upon their own extreme makeover to reconstruct the family home. Paul's deep understanding of family hardship shines through as the rugged carpenter with a heart of gold on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Paul is originally from Media, Pennsylvania, the youngest son of five children. While attending Point Park College in Pittsburgh, Paul was able to perfect his skill by building sets for the Pittsburgh Playhouse, and he also served as stage manager for the American Dance Ensemble. In the summer of 1980, he moved to New York City. While living in the East Village, he was befriended by Harry Baum and Lynne Michaels, the owners of The Open Space Theatre on St. Marks Place. There he built sets and learned the art of dumpster diving. He also freelanced for the Dance Theatre of Harlem, the Yiddish Theater, Carnegie Hall and numerous off-Broadway and Broadway houses. As he was settling in New York City, Paul realized his true talent was helping others. He continually renovated lofts and brownstones in Greenwich Village, Harlem, Tribeca and the East Village. He was the master carpenter on the restoration of the Landmark Brownstone of Aaron Burr and also renovated various celebrities' homes, such as Madonna and the Roe family. He was instrumental in recruiting a young group of people that helped pioneer "Loft Living" in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. After 17 years in New York, Paul decided to move to Los Angeles. Once again he pioneered the "Loft Living" movement by moving into an old firehouse in downtown L.A. He excelled in his field, renovating the homes and businesses of Hollywood's movers and shakers. His client list includes the Beverly Hills Ralph Lauren Polo store, the William Morris Agency, Glenn Close, Joan and Marty Ransholff, Arnold Rifkin, David Niven Jr., Ann Archer, Marjorie Lord, Angelo DeSapio and — his most memorable client — George Hamilton. In addition to his work on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, he continues to run the day-to-day operations of High Meadows Production, Inc., his event marketing/labor company. He currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Kelly, working on an extreme makeover of their very own.
Paul DiMeo helps ''At Home With The Brave''
Each week on ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Paul DiMeo is part of a team of designers, carpenters and craftspeople who change a family's life.
It should come as no surprise, then, to learn that DiMeo quickly agreed to host and help on an A&E special called At Home With the Brave, premiering Friday, which improves the homes of three soldiers returning from Iraq.
"The idea was, on a very grass-roots level, to go into a community and find a solider that had not been home for previous holidays," says DiMeo, "and to try to get the community to make life a little easier for them."
As on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, the stories on A&E's At Home With the Brave can touch the emotions.
There's Staff Sgt. Liza Paiz of Colorado, a single mother in the Air National Guard who was deployed to Iraq last spring, just days after moving into a new home. The house had unseen drainage issues, and while she was away, there was significant damage.
Then there's police officer and Marine Reservist Josh Horton, who was days away from returning to Illinois to be with his pregnant wife when he was wounded. When his wife, Taunacy, gave birth to quintuplets -- one of whom died -- they immediately needed more living space.
And there's Army Sgt. 1st Class Scott Hall, a career soldier who lives in central Florida. He was injured by a bomb in Iraq, and back home, his home was wrecked by Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne.
"When the hurricanes hit, he was on base trying to help others," says DiMeo. "And while he's helping others, his house is being destroyed by hurricanes."
The goal in At Home With the Brave is to get neighbors to help out.
"It's the community that's coming together," says DiMeo. "I'm just trying to make it all happen."
Local businesses and major chain stores also contribute items to each project.
"You're making someone's life better," says DiMeo. "You're not physically changing them. But it's things that I know, like making sure a toilet flushes."
And for a family with a loved one who's overseas or wounded in action, something as small as making sure a pipe doesn't leak means a lot.
"It's so much fun to see communities come together," says DiMeo.
He should know. In the past year, the designer and carpenter has become famous as part of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, where he and others, led by Ty Pennington, overhaul (and sometimes completely rebuild) homes. As with At Home With the Brave, the families at the center of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition are in need of special help.
Oftentimes, caring for sick family member has put a strain on the entire family, making it difficult to keep up normal home maintenance. In one recent episode, a husband's sudden death left a family farm in ruins and at risk of being lost.
DiMeo and company (including Paige Hemmis, Tracy Hutson, Michael Moloney, Constance Ramos and Preston Sharp) can end up giving the family more rooms, new furniture, flat-screen TVs, appliances -- and sometimes cars and scholarships.
Regular fans of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition have often seen DiMeo and his colleagues in tears when describing what they've done for the needy family.
"Emotionally, that's what propels us through each week," he says. "If you get exhausted or you get run-down, you try to put yourself in this family's situation. You want to make it great for them."
Still, it's a lot of work. When you're rebuilding a house in the course of a week, you put in long days. It's been no different in small towns around the country for At Home With the Brave, which DiMeo taped in the weeks off from Extreme Makeover -- and which might have more editions coming.
"The process in the end is a great thing," says DiMeo. "We're giving a family a new start."
When it comes to construction, Paul DiMeo goes to the 'Extreme'
If you're one of the legions who tune in Sunday nights to watch the weepfest we call Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, you know that Paul DiMeo can be, well, a little touchy.
The no-nonsense DiMeo is listed on the show's roster as being in charge of carpentry and attitude, and he shows great aptitude for both.
And who can blame the guy? We're talking about renovating houses, sometimes from the ground up, in seven days working with a team of talented but also highly opinionated professionals, plus a large cast of contractors and laborers. Wrap this around story lines involving a mother whose daughter has leukemia or a bunch of kids who have lost their parents or a family whose son is paralyzed from the neck down and you have the makings of great drama.
"Honestly, one of the main reasons I do the show is for the stories," DiMeo said by phone. He and the rest of the Extreme cast were in Queens, N.Y., this past week filming for the second season of the Emmy-nominated show.
"These families are in such need. I can look back and see that I've done something good," he said. "It's tough, though. I don't sleep much during the makeover and emotionally I'm drained. Plus, I'm a weeper. I'm great at funerals and weddings. In my family, we wear our hearts on our sleeves."
So despite his tough-as-nails attitude, he's really a softy.
Paul DiMeo is co-host in the ''Extreme Makeover: The Home Edition ''
In a race against time on a project that would ordinarily take four months to achieve, a team of designers, 100 workmen and even the neighbors, have just seven days to completely renovate an entire house — every single room, plus the exterior and landscaping.
Along with Ty Pennington, the other members of the design team that work their creative magic on the homes are Constance Ramos, Preston Sharp, Michael Moloney, Paul Dimeo, Tracy Hutson, Dawson Connor, Alle Ghadban, and Paige Hemmis To get the job done, they're going to have to cooperate with each other — a hard thing to do when they don't always even like each other. Tensions flare as tastes are disputed and the deadline approaches … can they get the job done?
Winner of the 2004 Family Television Award for Best Reality show, the show has been nominated for multiple other awards, including an 2004 Emmy nomination for Outstanding Reality Program.