Knoxville's Extreme Makeover home family finds 'new normal'

Knoxville's Extreme Makeover home family finds 'new normal'

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The Watsons along with their children, Atley, Ava and Silas went from a crumbling home to a house many of us can only dream of. The Watsons along with their children, Atley, Ava and Silas went from a crumbling home to a house many of us can only dream of.
"Suddenly we have time in the evening to play and to do things as a family," Mandy said. "Suddenly we have time in the evening to play and to do things as a family," Mandy said.

By TEARSA SMITH
6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - It's been four months since Daniel and Mandy Watson got a new lease on life with the building of their Extreme Makeover home in West Knoxville.

The ABC show rolled in, tore down and then built something the Watsons say has changed their lives.

Now that the dust has settled, the family is falling into what they call their new normal.

In January, Daniel and Mandy Watson became a household name in East Tennessee when they were chosen for the new home because of the good work they do for single mothers in the area.

They run The Restoration House of East Tennessee, a non-profit organization that provides single mothers with housing, mentoring and advocacy.

The family says their experience is still unreal, but every day they're getting more used to it.

"It has definitely been a different experience. It no longer takes an hour to fill the bathtub and so things move faster, and things are much more efficient," Mandy said. "Suddenly we have time in the evening to play and to do things as a family."

The Watsons along with their children, Atley, Ava and Silas went from a crumbling home to a house many of us can only dream of.

"A lot of people ask us if we have gotten back to normal yet. And what we tell them is, we are starting to find the new normal. We don't think we will ever be back to the old normal, which isn't a bad thing," Daniel said.

It's no doubt their new home, which 6 News cameras still can't get a peak of on the inside, is bigger than their last one, but that also means it's more work to keep clean.

"There is a little more maintenance, but it is still easier just because it's organized and things are put together and the spaces are defined. And it's not as hard to keep up with things," Mandy explained. "We feel way less burdened."

Being on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition not only blessed their family, it benefited their charity, Restoration House.

"We are getting volunteers every day. Our program staff has moved to full time," Daniel said. "We are starting to work with some new families. We are up to six from the five that we had. We are also in the midst of a building project."

They're also able to bring their work home with them. "It's kind of become the hub of the Restoration House, which is kind of the idea that we always had," Mandy said. "It would be that community center, that hub where life happens and the families can come together."

When asked if they have any regrets, Mandy said with a laugh, "No we would definitely do it again, in a minute."

The Watsons say Restoration House is working to build 15 family units this year to house more single moms. They hope to break ground before their Extreme Home episode airs.

The couple also says they're getting requests from across the country to replicate the Restoration House model.

One question many people had about the family getting such a big home is, how are the utility bills? The Watsons say the solar panels installed for the home are more than covering the bigger expense, and they're very thankful.

The reveal for their Extreme Makeover home is this Thanksgiving on ABC.

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