A Train for Joey

Randomly searching You Tube yesterday for old TV shows I worked on yielded a episode of HGTV's Outer Spaces and gave me something to blog about today. Being art director on the show was always hard work, often challenging but sometimes a bit mind numbing. Every yard had similar basic needs week to week...painting, landscaping, fence fixing and so on. So when unique and just plain fun projects could happen, I jumped on them. On this episode I got in trouble for my enthusiasm.

This particular season of shows had already done a few yards with kid's playhouses in the spotlight. The network wanted us to stop including them for awhile (and "over the top" projects in general). Guest designer Rick D'Amato's plan for this backyard was to take the family's love of trains and create a modern Americana feel. Any ideas for the family's son Joey was frowned upon, although Rick, myself and few others really wanted something. Especially when there was one undefined empty space and a train playhouse would be a fun compliment to the planned station platform inspired feel of the back porch.

I just decided to make one for the yard anyway. I promised producers it would not be big or too "over the top". I even remember saying it would be a small detail, just a minor addition. Yea, well...that changed when I started to make it. I couldn't help myself. You can hear host Susie Coelho's surprise first seeing this "small detail" in this clip (at the 3:00 minute mark)...

The segment showcasing it in depth was not planned. Joey's train was impossible not to see from other parts of the yard and had to be addressed in more detail. I knew I was in trouble and a phone call from a perturbed supervising producer at the home office was in my future. In the end, the family liked it and made Joey really happy...

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