Add to that the pressure of tapings, two little ones underfoot, Jacob's real job plus graduate courses — and it wasn't exactly a walk in the park.
Her husband agrees that family, friends and understanding colleagues were crucial during the process. "We could not have done this without them," he says.
But even that support wasn't much consolation when the Rubinsteins encountered sudden mishaps — like the time the entire family came down with a case of the stomach flu. And yes, the cameras were rolling.
Still, they forged ahead.
"The first episode, we were really nervous, but the crew was great," says Megan Rubinstein, who acknowledges feeling a tad self-conscious about how she'd look on television. "They made us feel really comfortable."
"We kind of forgot they were even there," Jacob Rubinstein says of the crew, noting that he had no vanity and sported "holey T-shirts" and work pants that were falling apart.
"We're not too bashful," he adds. "Actually, we're kind of opinionated."
Then a pause, and his wife interjects.
"We're controlling," she says, chuckling.
But neither could control what happened when they finally got around to the biggest job — the kitchen.
Imagine five layers of flooring, exploding pipes and a frantic race against the clock to get the base cabinets set before the granite team arrived. And that's just part of the story.
Viewers will have to tune in for the rest.
The Rubinsteins will be watching, too. The couple, who plan to host a viewing party this weekend, have had only a peek at one episode. They've also seen a few preview commercials.
"I really am interested to see how we are portrayed," says Jacob Rubinstein. "What aren't they gonna show? What are things they'll skew for a little drama?"
While they hope for a (mostly) flattering depiction, the Rubinsteins say they didn't do this for fame or fortune. While the couple was compensated for their time, they did have to purchase their own materials and supplies.
Whether we'll see them stealing kisses in the aisles of Home Depot or Lowe's is anyone's guess, but they did enjoy the camaraderie.
"We worked really well together," says Megan Rubinstein. "We learned about our work styles, and what each other's capabilities and desires are."
And someday, when the kids are older, their folks will haul out the DVDs and show them the series.
"I think we made the right decision to do this," says Jacob Rubinstein, who notes that they haven't had the house reappraised since the improvements but believe its value has increased.
"We were definitely pleased with the results," he says. "When we walk into the laundry room, we can say, 'We actually built this.'"