Becky West knows her good fortune. Her house is still standing after the October wildfires swallowed whole neighborhoods, leaving behind only charred debris and memories.
It’s for this reason West keeps her recent bit of good luck in perspective. A risk management analyst for the city of Santa Rosa, West, 44, recently triumphed in the “Win Danny & his Crew for a Day” home improvement contest out of 5,700 entries.
The competition is sponsored by the nationally syndicated TV show “Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford.” The TV host and contractor, along with his four-member crew, flew in from Mobile, Alabama, to work on West’s wish list of repairs on April 24. In addition to their free labor, they supplied about $1,000 worth of materials. A videographer captured the whirlwind repairs so Lipford can feature West in a show to be aired the week of May 21.
West was slow to talk too effusively about her win.
“I know so many people have lost their homes,” West said. “I don’t want to brag about aesthetic improvements to my house when I know so many people don’t have one. It just feels petty. ”
West’s home came through the wildfires virtually unscathed.
“I only lost a refrigerator filled with food because the power was out for a few days,” she said. “But see that air vent? It’s still gray from ash and soot. It’s still going through the air system.”
Still, after eight years in the house, she realized it needed some repairs and upgrades. Built in 1990, the 1,400-square-foot residence in west Santa Rosa is coined a Condiotti home after the late Art Candiotti whose mission was to build affordable homes for first-time homebuyers. West purchased the house in 2010, moving in with her two feline roommates, 15-year-old Banshee and Jack, a black cat. West was aching to repair the house’s annoying defects, which ranged from a malfunctioning pump in the pond out back to jagged flagstone out front. But West rarely tackled home repairs because she said she never had a proper do-it-yourself education, having moved more than 40 times in her life. She said she never lived in one place long enough to learn about preventative maintenance.
She said now she asks her self several questions before she tackles any project. Does she have the skills and know-how to do it, as well as the proper tools?
“If the answer is no to all, I hire somebody,” West said, with a laugh.
It’s not surprising “Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford” caught West’s eye when she was flipping through channels.
“In February I started binge-watching back-to-back 30-minute shows on Amazon Prime,” West said. “It was normal people doing everyday tasks and it inspired me to do them.”
West was excited at the prospect of having these people with tools in hand, tackling her list, so she decided to enter the contest.
Lipford said they sort through entries electronically, looking for middle ground; the crew doesn’t want to showcase a badly neglected home or a 15,000-square-foot mansion. They look for projects of $5,000 or less, and, naturally, a homeowner who can project a little personality on camera.
“We always look for people who will look good on camera and who are frustrated,” Lipford said, with a grin.