Home improvement?

The Baltimore Sun

When James Buechler volunteered for the Style Network's Clean House, a show that clears the clutter from your home, he got more - actually, less - than he expected.

He did get new furniture, paint and organization in his Sparrows Point house, which he said he is mostly pleased with. But much of the makeover stopped where the cameras did, leaving parts of walls without color, a hallway half-tiled and a lot of nicks and dents from the 50-person crew.

The show did not haul away trash, storage tubs and plywood from a staging area in the backyard. It covered the lights leading to Buechler's basement with plasterboard, so he has to walk downstairs in the dark. His carpets are filthy.

And while he had agreed to give up many of his clothes, particularly shirts, and other items, he and his wife say they cannot find any of their socks or underwear, among other belongings.

"I'm not complaining about what they did do; in fact, it looks great," Buechler said of the makeover, finished a little over a week ago. "I'm complaining about what they didn't do. ... They just bailed."

Buechler bid to be on the show by telling producers that his wife of six months would not move into his home because of the clutter. He said Clean House staff members told him they were planning to redo his kids' rooms and the basement, where years' worth of stuff belonging to the family and to Buechler's former wife had accumulated. In the end, Clean House decided that the story was his new wife and made over the basement, living room and master bedroom in an effort to make it her home, too.

In the course of a week, the crews wrestled away belongings, sold them at a yard sale and got busy with the whirlwind makeover. But after the crews left, Buechler began finding things in strange places. Dining room chairs were in a son's room, and living room furniture was piled up or outside on the deck. His old mattress was in the garage.

The show's producers said that they would be back to wrap up the day after filming ending, but Buechler said he's seen only one workman, who came to plug holes left by lighting.

The show has been in touch with Buechler and released a statement to The Baltimore Sun: "Clean House has completed more than 100 home makeovers during its seven-season run. Similar to any home improvement project, follow-up is sometimes required. In the case of the Baltimore Clean House family, we are currently reviewing and evaluating the homeowner's requests."

The experience has left the Buechler family disappointed and a little annoyed. Buechler added that he didn't know until he read in the newspaper that his makeover was part of a series that a press release titled: "The Style Network Expands 'Clean House: The Search for the Messiest Home in the Country' to Multi-Episode National Event." He thought his was just a makeover done on the road rather than in the show's Los Angeles base.

The Buechler's know they aren't the only home show participants to not like everything they are left with. Homeowners frequently express their displeasure with the makeovers on camera, rather than after the shows leave town. Buechler also knows that he signed up for an entertainment show.

Buechler, an engineer, said he doesn't want money or more attention. But he does want Clean House to clean his house, as well as finish the hard-to-match tiles and paint.

And maybe find his shirts and underwear.

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