Sandy-damaged home to get a makeover

HGTV crew gives Long Beach family a surprise


Two parents, six kids, two dogs, one ferret — and one bathroom.

All eight members of the Enright family have been living in the top floor of their Michigan Street house since Hurricane Sandy destroyed the main floor. But they received good news last week, when the Home and Garden Television show “Spontaneous Construction” surprised them with a flash mob outside of their house, and told them they would be taking care of their renovations.

“I thought it was a joke,” said homeowner Lori Enright. “Things like that don’t happen to people like us.”

The Enright family has not had an easy time since the storm. They were without water for the first week, without electricity for the first month, had no heat or hot water until Dec. 30 and no TV until Super Bowl Sunday. With eight people and pets all living on one floor, sharing one bathroom, with just a toaster oven and a microwave for cooking, things can get a little tight, she said. But they have remained resilient and positive through the whole experience.

“We’re definitely a lot closer than we were before, said Enright. “We kind of just counted on each other and leaned on each other.”

It was that attitude that got them selected to be on the show. A neighbor submitted a tape of them to HGTV, because she thought they deserved the boost. And HGTV agreed.

“Their video was so compelling,” said HGTV Director of Programming, Danny Tepper. “They weren’t complaining and they were doing the very best they could day-to-day. This family seemed to feel that they could weather any storm if they stuck together.”

“Spontaneous Construction” is a new show that premiered in February. They use social media to not only find a homeowner to help, but also to gather volunteers to form a flash mob. The flash mob surprises the homeowners with a choreographed performance, and then turns into a “task mob,” and helps with the construction.

HGTV will be working on the house for the week, doing a top-to-bottom renovation job. Though they were initially on hand to help the show’s team, the Enrights have been whisked away as the team finishes the house up for Saturday’s big reveal. The episode will air on HGTV in April, accompanied by a related segment on “The View”, and Tepper thinks that the Long Beach community will inspire the shows’ audiences, the same way it inspired him.

“I saw a community of really strong people. These aren’t complainers and these aren’t people with their hands out,” Tepper said of Long Beach. “They’re people who are going to tough it out and survive because that’s how they’re built.”

And the best part for Enright? Getting her kitchen back.

“First thing I’m doing is cooking,” said Enright. “To just actually be able to cook and sit down in the living room with the family and do family things again; it’ll just be so nice to be a family in a real home.”