Saturday, November 04, 2006

Justin Fetherolf, Heather Smith, Curtis Smith, Casey Cook, Brenda Smith and Brandi Cook in front of the M-section house filmed for HGTV's special edition of "What's with that House," called, "What's with that Christmas House," set to air this December.

Rohnert Park house picked for reality TV special

By Nicolas Grizzle

Brenda and Curtis Smith's family has been putting up their Christmas decorations for about a month now, illuminating their M-section home in Rohnert Park three months before the actual holiday. What would cause the family to begin the late-December holiday celebration before Halloween? Television.

Cable network HGTV contacted the Smiths asking to film the family and their decorated house for the network's show, "What's with that House?" Only the Smith's house will be in a special episode called "What's with that Christmas House?" to air in December of this year.

Curtis said the house gets more elaborate each year. He said this year the addition of a 20-foot wire Christmas Tree strung with lights and a large, bright "Season's Greetings" sign on the roof of the garage pushed it to the most decorated it's ever been.

There are so many lights on the house that the Smiths have to borrow power from their neighbors. Though it wasn't on during the filming, the lights are programmed to run in cycles, something that Curtis said will be explored more in depth in the coming years. Giant gift boxes and lawn figures are just some of the sights in the lawn, and the entire front of the house is coated roof-to-ground in lights of many colors.

The reason behind all their efforts is simply to get the family together to celebrate a family tradition, said Curtis.

"It sounds kinda cornball," said the show's host, George Gray after being asked to rank the five or so houses he had seen thus far for the special episode, "But it's really about the spirit of the holiday."

Gray, dressed in a boisterous red, silky shirt, eyeglasses and sporting a head of bleached-blonde hair, said he was enjoying his stay in Rohnert Park. "New York, Paris, Milan, Rohnert Park, I've done 'em all," he said.

Though Curtis was a bit nervous about being filmed Tuesday, Oct. 24, he said he didn't hesitate to answer "yes" when asked if the family would like to be on the show. His and Brenda's daughters, Heather, Brandi and Casey along with family friend Justin Fetherolf worked on putting up lights and decorations early this year, including a stunning double arch over the driveway housing a Winnie the Pooh inflatable sled.

Normally the family begins decorating after Thanksgiving, but the chance to be on TV pushed up the schedule."It's a lot of work, but lots of people appreciate it," said Curtis. Neighbors were crowded across the street during the filming to watch and admire the display of holiday cheer.

Heather Smith has been helping with decorating the house since she was a toddler. "I didn't go on the roof for the first couple years," she said. Now 18, the Santa Rosa Junior College student still enjoys the process. "It's a family thing," she said.

Her favorite part of the process? Finally finishing.

Brenda said the decorations will be up probably until the end of December, and hopefully a Web site will be up with photos of the house and a link to view the clip of their house on the TV show. She said will hopefully be up by December 25.

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