April 22, 2010

Dream House Archive

DIY has finally posted on-demand archives of all our shows. Here are the links - enjoy!!!

Episode 1 - "Meet the Mackeys"

Episode 2 - "A Foundation and a Harvest"

Episode 3 - "Timber Frame and a Name"

Episode 4 - "Sweat Equity"

Episode 5 - "Busting Budgets and Timelines"

Episode 6 - "The Pressure is Mounting"

Episode 7 - "Desperately Seeking Solutions"

Episode 8 - "Making it Move-in Ready"

Posted by Stephen at 7:02 AM

June 16, 2009

Wonderful Email

This email put such a big smile on our faces that we thought we would share it with you - received this after the last newsletter went out:

Dear Stephen and Shannon,

Thank you for the emails you are sending to keep us apprised of the events at the vineyard and the development of your business/family. I watched every episode of Dream House and happily followed the realization of your dream. It was so enjoyable to watch the way you both pulled together during such an exciting/stressful situation. During previous installments of Dream House, I have been frustrated sometimes at the events that unfolded and how husbands/wives or friends treated each other during the construction. Having gone through a home renovation myself, I realize that is pretty much the norm, but it is not pleasant to watch on TV! Your family was a joy to watch and an inspiration/testimony to hard work and determination. I was in awe of both of you most of the time for juggling so many roles and not letting it get the best of you.

My husband and I are not wine experts by any means, and are just getting our feet wet in finding what we like. I wish your establishment was closer, so we could come enjoy all it has to offer! One day, however, we intend to include your vineyard on a trip "down south". Until then, I am thrilled to hear of your upcoming addition to your family. Hope the delivery goes well and all are healthy. What a great name you chose!

Best wishes for continued success in your business, but most of all in your lives.

[[Your Friend]]
Hackettstown, NJ

Posted by Stephen at 8:44 AM

November 24, 2008

Thank You

Shannon and I are incredibly grateful and humbled by the kind notes we've been receiving from viewers of the HGTV show "Dream House". Thanks to all of you for taking the time to email. Hope you don't mind I decided to anonymously pull some of them together to share with everyone.

I just wanted to let you two know what an inspiration you both are. We have watched you on Dream House and admire the way you both interact with each other even in the face of an amounting stress. You both kept your dream alive, not only with the build of your dream, but in your dream of each other. You are both truly inspirational, hard working and exceptional people. May God bless you both and you have a world of success.
Hey you guys! Just finished watching the last episode of Dream House! Sure wish we lived closer, we are in Washington State. We would love to come and visit sometime. We really enjoyed watching your dreams come true. The heartfelt toast at the end was almost too much. My husband and I just got married last month (a second for both of us) but would have waited, if we could have had it at your place! You both are incredible people, parents and ...wait for it...grape growers! Wish we could taste your wine. Maybe someday. Best Wishes for a long and happy life!
You are correct in that we can attain the American dream. Ours started 8 yrs ago when we were in the chips and employed. 30 acres in nw Montana and an 11,000 sq ft home later, we are nearly finished. After 5 major orthopedic surguries, we r ready to be done. Tile,floors, elec, cabs,framing,trim, paint,etc. Guest house is avail 2 U gratis..
Shannon and Stephen, I watched the Dream House series and was totally inspired by your determination and efforts. Owning a small vineyard has been my dream for many years but in Southern California, even a token when an acre of bare land is well over a million. But as I mentioned, you both inspired not just myself but probably countless people to go after that dream. Congratulations on your home and business.
No help needed. Just wanted to thank you for allowing me the opportunity to watch you and your dream grow before my eyes. I can\'t tell you how I couldn\'t wait for Saturday morning to watch what was going to happen next. Stephen, you already know this, but I just want to remind you about how lucky you are. A wife, and 2 beautiful little boys, and now this.... the winery, a dream come true. Good luck with you and your friends and family.
We just finished watching Dream House and I must say your story is great! Your home and winery are beautiful, way to go! Very inspirational!
Just finished watching your "adventure" on HGTV. For an "old guy" like me (only in numerical years), it's refreshing and exciting to see a young family follow their dreams. There is no doubt in our minds, that you will be successful in your endevours and combine success with an enjoyment of what you really want to do. We will be ordering wine shortly and wish you nothing but best wishes!
Just finished the last episode. I'm in tears! Wonderful job guys!! I'm so happy for you that you are 'living the dream'!
Just another Dream House viewer, who happens to have lived in beautiful Loudoun County for about 20 years [b4 moving to Palm Coast FL couple yrs ago]... to offer a quick CONGRATS on #1 your really lovely relationship & #2 realizing your Notaviva dream. All the best to you, your family & business!
Had to drop a note to tell you how much I have enjoyed watching your family on "Dream House" all these Saturday mornings. I will truly miss you. You are most definitely an inspiration in this crazy world. Not only for your hard work and dedication to your Dream but also as a loving couple and Family. Although I am not close (Arizona) I hope to some day visit your vineyard and see your accomplishments in the flesh. Good Luck to you two, I know you will have great success!!
We watched the final episode of HGTV this morning - saw them all! Anyway, it was just awesome how it all was done and so moving - I just plain cried. What a GREAT story and the way it "ended" with the closing of the front door and the "new beginning." Again, congratulations to all!!!
I\'ve watched with true amazement your story on TV in \"Dream Homes\" and have to admire you two (4). You guys are an inspiration of the American spirit. My wife and I will visit you this spring and purchase some of your wines for our collection. We\'re big wine lovers and my older brother is the founder of Etude wines and owner of Soter Vineyards up in Oregon. I\'ll have him and his family out here this summer and will also bring them out to sample some VA wines. Best wishes to you all. You\'re a special family; we\'ll see you in the spring.
Can I purchase a DVD set of the building of your Dream Home? You and Shannon are amazing. You two are so inspirational. I want my kids to see this show. I too, have always believed whatever a person puts their mind to~they can achieve. You have just showed us a fine example of this. We\'ve watched your show from the beginning. The last episode I cried right along with you and was so glad that you both achieved your goal. Bless you both and your boys. May you always have great success in family and in your business.
Hi, We have watched with admiration your journey to Notaviva, the country side is beautiful and the house well it is absolutely amazing. We hope some day to stop by for a visit. My husband Arnold and I love a good glass of vino and would like to try yours. After watching the building process every week I feel like I know you and if you were my children I would tell you how proud I am of you for accomplishing your dream and doing it with style. Stay true to yourselves and you and Shannon will go far.
I just wanted to let you know how moved I was at seeing the episode of Dreamhouse today. It was the first one I have seen. You two are an inspiration!!! I have been to quite a few vineyards in Michigan, Oregon and California but none of them moved me like your beautiful home and setting. I have recently retired and will surely be visiting your amazing winery in the near future. Good luck with your venture and thanks for making my quiet Saturday morning one worth remembering!!! Oh, yes, and where can I find your wines in Michigan???
I just finished watching your last episode and I wanted to thank you for opening up your lives with people. I want to commend both of you on following you dreams. Since day one of watching this show, I said I would love to visit your place in the future. I hope to get there sometime soon. Once again thank you.
Hello Steve and Shannon, We have been watching the construction of your vineyard, your dream home, on HGTV. It has been great to see your accomplishments, and we feel like we have shared your family trials, and specials moments. I realize these episodes are past, and you are under way runnig your winery, and gaining successes as a \"business of the year\"! I share your growing pains, as partner of a small architectural firm with my father. My wife is the daughter of an apple grower, upstate NY. Wishing you much success! Now, as a wine-lover, I need to try one of your reds. Recommendation? I like most reds, especially Pinot Noirs.
I've been watching the construction of your house and vineyard on HGTV since the first episode. I've agonized with you and your family. My husband and I do renovation work, so I understand completely how much work you, especially, and your wife have done. My heartiest congratulations on the almost and hopefully by now completely home. I hope you vineyard is a wonderful success.
We have been watching you build your dream on HGTV and have been amazed at your tenacity, dedication and creativity. We want to support you as you continue to build. Do you ship your wines?

Posted by Stephen at 11:46 AM

October 4, 2008

Episode 1

Hey check out our forum if you want to get involved in commenting, inquiring, or doing anything else around our appearance on the HGTV show "Dream House".

Visit the forum!

Posted by Stephen at 9:03 PM

September 11, 2008

HGTV Dream House Set To Air!

Well gang, it's official:

HGTV Program Guide

Show Descriptions - scroll to 1900 Series

More from our Web site:

Dream House article archive

Construction Journal

Vineyard Journal


Posted by Stephen at 1:52 PM

August 16, 2007

Final Shoot Day

Although the housewarming party was supposed to be the last HGTV shoot day, Sean needed to come back out and get some "beauty shots" which are essentially some sweeping shots of the interior and exterior used as b-roll. They brought in a little jib to get the moves, and we saw some of the footage in the preview monitor and it was pretty cool. We did manage to get the bloodwood finished but didn't get the tasting bar done, nor the tasting bar / foyer floor. Oh well, I'm sure some crafty editor will work around the lame parts!

Enjoy the pics

Posted by Stephen at 7:34 PM

July 21, 2007

Housewarming Party

Today was the big housewarming party! It was basically a dual-celebration, in part for Tristan's second birthday and also to celebrate moving in to our new home. A few weeks ago, we were trying to figure out when to have the housewarming, and the HGTV producers told us that was all they were waiting for. Oh yeah? They said "have the housewarming party and we'll leave you alone" and so we just picked a day! We knew we'd never have the house totally finished by Tristan's second birthday, but what the hell let's just get this all over with so we can lock the doors and get some much-needed rest.

So we put out the word to friends and family and had an amazing turnout. Of course George, Pam, and Bill were on hand to shoot some interviews, and Sean MacLaughlin flew out from Colorado with Lori Legler to produce the footage.

It was also very important to us to invite back all the construction crews who made it all happen, so we invited all the Lancaster County Timber Frame staff and all the Ron Hawes staff and subs. They didn't all make it but those who did were very glad they got to see the place all put together. So many times the subs see a house while it's just framed and never see the finished product, so we thought they'd enjoy it and sure enough they did! The construction crews came out in the morning, then we took a break so the boys could get a nap, then had the main party in the afternoon. We had a great turnout, and actually hired an acoustic guitarist to break-in the music loft. It was very cool to hear how well the acoustics of the space translate the stringed instruments - lots of good music ahead for sure.

We spent the afternoon visiting, telling construction stories, eating, and of course drinking wine. The response to our homemade Viognier was amazing, and we finished almost every bottle we had saved for the event. Of course part of the TV shoot had to be a speech and toast, so that fell to me. It was incredibly hard to get the words out - so many people to thank for their support, hard work, and words of encouragement that kept us going through so many difficult challenges. It's hard enough giving a speech like that for 60 family members, but imagine doing it with a TV camera one foot from your face. I'm an emotional slob anyway, so I pretty much lost it through the whole thing.

The best part of the day was when we asked everyone who was there to sign the tasting bar. So many well wishes and wonderful thoughts that we're going to leave in place when we cover the bar to keep everyone with us forever. Can't stop reading all the notes, as they are so encouraging and supportive!

Having everyone over and putting our first big party behind us really makes the house feel like a home. Before today it was a structure (although a pretty damn cool one) but now it has a heart.

Enjoy the pics

Posted by Stephen at 11:32 AM

April 23, 2006

Background Story in the Vineyard

Today was more shooting of the vineyard background story for HGTV Dream House, as well as the story of the old home that will have to be razed to clear the new home building site. Sean told us that we'd have a different crew today, and when I got to the vineyard at 9 AM they were there shooting outside footage of the shack. Producer Steve, Kevin the cameraman, and Rob the audio engineer were all excited to be working on the project. I opened up the house and took them inside to start checking lighting angles etc. Of course it was very cloudy outside so the light wasn't great.

Shannon's mom came over to our place to watch Tristan so we could focus on the morning interviews. After doing interviews in the old home in various rooms, we headed out to the vineyard for some more. We did some shots walking down the road talking about the old house, and then went over to the deer fence gate to talk about the nightmare that installation was, and the different components of the fence construction. As we were starting to head into the vineyard a storm blew up quickly so we had to bail out and head into the house so Kevin could get some more footage. Once we were done there, it was time to relieve Sue so Shannon and I went back to the rental while the camera crew headed into Leesburg for lunch.

We met up with the crew and then went over to Fabbioli Cellars, the winery owned by our winemaking consultant Doug Fabbioli. Doug had invited us to a tasting of his new "Fratelli" wine. By now the skies had cleared and it was a beautiful sunny spring day. As we pulled up to the house, Sean and the camera crew suddenly were able to visualize what Shannon and I are setting out to create. A crowd of about 80 people were gathered outside the house on the large concrete patio/crush pad, enjoying both wine and the weather. Steve went up first to have people sign the release forms which allow them to appear on the show, then Kevin took footage of Shannon and I walking in and meeting Doug. Then we chatted with a few of the other guests, and obviously the camera crew drew quite a bit of attention. I have to admit it was a pretty weird feeling having the camera pointed at you and all those people staring.

So we hung out there for an hour or so, then I went into the cellar to buy a few bottles of wine. While inside, I noticed that Doug had several copies of the Loudoun Wine Trail brochure, so I picked one up and started leafing through it, and lo and behold our name is in the vineyard section!!! WOW what an awesome feeling! I ran out to show Shannon and Sean saw what was going on, and asked me to come out again with the camera rolling. So I did and we caught the whole moment on tape for the show. It was so cool to finally "see your name in lights" for the first time.

We finished up some more interviews in front of Doug's vineyard, then headed back to our vineyard to complete the day. While Tristan slept in the truck under Sean's watchful eye, Shannon and I got filmed walking the rows, de-suckering vines, talking about the dream house and the progress in the vineyard. We finally finished up shooting around 6 PM, and although we were exhausted we decided to go out to dinner with Sean to Magnolia's in Purcellville for dinner. Finally got back to the house around 8 PM and just collapsed. Good grief how are we going to get out of bed tomorrow and try to work???

Posted by Stephen at 8:57 PM

Background Story

Today was our first real day of shooting interviews for the HGTV Dream House series. Yesterday we did field shots during planting day, and the crew was onsite from 9 AM until 6 PM - it was a long day for everyone. We're still feeling the after-effects of all the work yesterday, but looking at the rain outside I'm so happy that I moved the planting up a day, because it is a mess outside right now.

The crew arrived at 9 AM just as we were getting dressed. George captured some footage of the outside of the rental, as part of our storyline is the fact that we're moving from this cramped one-bedroom rental into our dream house tasting room combo. We gave the crew a quick tour of the house to consider shots and lighting angles, and Chris decided to start doing interviews in the office, using the keyboard and guitars for background. I did an hour or so of interviews, talking about the music side of Notaviva, played back a few original tunes, etc. After taking a break, Shannon came in and we started talking about the numbers - a walk through the contractor estimates, the timber frame contracts, etc.

Then we moved into the living room, and Shannon and I sat on the couch while Chris interviewed us together. The basic setup was positioning a fill light for proper lighting temperature, then Chris would sit right next to the camera and lead us through our story - how we met, the travels back and forth from CT, the vineyard founding - basically all the different components of how this entire dream was devised. So after a while we got much more comfortable having the camera there, as it started to feel like we were telling our story to a friend and the camera just kind of disappeared.

After talking about the background story we pulled out the house plans and talked about all the different aspects of the design, things particular to the vineyard, things particular to the kids, and things that Shannon and I wanted. After doing a few hours of interviews on the couch, we moved into the kitchen, because a huge component of the new house will be the kitchen and they want to capture the difference between the rental and the new one. During all of this shooting, Tristan would go down for a nap, then wake up, so he was in and out of the shots all day, as obviously he is a central part of our story. He was such a good boy, climbing from Shannon to me and back while we were talking on camera.

Once all the interviews were done, we all went outside so George could do a few camera walk-throughs of the house - walking room to room getting footage to clearly illustrate the cramped living conditions we're enduring while building the new home.

Shooting finished up around 6 PM, and we were wiped out! Still, we had enough energy left over to head over to Jim and Shayna's for a relaxing evening visiting the gang. Have to get some rest tonight though, as we have another full day of shooting tomorrow!

Posted by Stephen at 8:35 PM

April 12, 2006

HGTV Dream House

Yesterday at 5 PM Shannon and I got the call that we have been selected for the HGTV series "Dream House" !!! Here's the whole story...

About 6 weeks ago, we were lying in bed surfing the Internet looking at house stuff (windows, siding, etc.) We've been talking for a while about pitching our story to timber frame magazines etc. so we thought "hey let's check out HGTV" - just for laughs. They have an area of their Web site that lists upcoming series, and through that we read about the "Dream House" show. We filled out the form, had a laugh, and sent it in.

Much to our surprise, we got a response the next day. It was from High Noon Entertainment who produces the show. They sent a detailed questionnaire that they wanted us to fill out. Lots of questions about our backgrounds, our dreams, the construction process, plans, etc. So we filled that out and sent that in. A day or two later Shannon got a call from Lauren Kotlen who wanted to do a phone interview. I was in a meeting and when Shannon got off the call she IM'ed me saying I needed to call Lauren, which I did right away. She was so fun to talk to, and we had a great interview. Shannon and I couldn't believe this had gone this far - they had received over 6,000 entries!

The next several days entailed multiple email exchanges - we sent them tons of pictures and stories from the blog, as well as answered individual questions. Eventually Lauren told us that the Executive Producer of the show, Debra Koeher would like to do a phone interview as well. Shannon and I each talked to Deb individually, and part of the reason for that is Deb would ask us both the same question, trying to see where there might be tension, disagreement, things like that, which will make for good TV. Through the whole process we made it clear that not only is the house a dream, but the whole idea of founding a vineyard is as well. Both for us, our children, family, and friends.

After weeks of information gathering, Lauren and Deb put the final touches on the pitch to HGTV. At this point Shannon and I were sure the bottom was going to fall out at any moment, but we kept doing our best to provide any info they asked for. Then a few days after they made the pitch to HGTV, we got the news that the network was interested and they were going to fly Deb out to spend a day with us, filming Shannon, Tristan and I, as well as our contractor Ron Hawes and footage of the old house, the property, and the vineyard.

Deb was fantastic to work with. We were so at ease being with her, and never felt awkward in front of the camera. And not to be a dork, but the last question she asked me (basically about Tristan) I actually got choked up and could hardly get my answer out. Reality TV I suppose, and that's what it's all about.

Deb then took the footage back and worked with her editor to create a 7-minute pitch for HGTV, which she sent off to them last Thursday night. Waiting around for the last few days has been awful, but all became worth it yesterday when we got that call.

This will be an incredible opportunity for us, as well as our local industry. We are so grateful to Lauren and Deb for working so hard with us - their encouragement and personalities made the whole experience very enjoyable. Filming starts next weekend with the planting of an additional 1.25 acres of vines, and will continue for 2-3 days per week from groundbreaking to move-in, probably 10-12 months. The series will be 13 30-minute episodes and will start airing around the time we move in to the new place.

This all seems so surreal right now, but I guess it definitely proves that you never know where a path may lead until you take that first step. Wish us luck!

Posted by Stephen at 3:52 PM