Robin and Doug Leslie were living an idyllic life with their four young boys and had moved into their dream home, a fixer-upper on eight-and-a-half acres on the banks of the Mississippi. The loving couple had been thrilled when they found the 130-year-old former plantation cottage with its two bedrooms and 1900-sq. feet. Despite being renovated in the 1970s, the historic house had taken a turn for the worse and looked dated with its shag carpeting and wood paneling. Nevertheless, they were excited to invest their time and care into a home that they could look forward to improving over the years. Doug, determined to restore it and bring it back to its original state of grace, was going to make this a home the family could be proud.
But just days before Christmas in 2003, Robin received the life-altering news that both her oldest son, Merlin, and Doug had been killed instantly in a car crash. Robin was left with a broken heart, alone to care for three surviving young children and an unfinished and rundown house. A school guidance counselor by profession, Robin now finds that she is the one who needs help, as does the family home, where the boys have to sleep together in a room downstairs because their dad never got the chance to remodel their bedrooms.
Robin takes one day at a time and knows that life must go on for her and her three young boys—Spencer, six, and three-year-old twins Brent and Brandon. Though she’s committed to finding a way to finish what Doug started, it was he who was the handy one, and on a school guidance counselor’s salary, she can’t afford to hire anyone to do the work for her. Enter Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.
While the design team, contractors and hundreds of workers and volunteers labor to transform the home in just seven days, the Leslie Family goes on vacation in Banff, Canada at the Fairmont Hotel. Among the many extreme changes to the Braithwaite home is a new backyard playground, built with the assistance of legendary BMX rider and six-time X Games medalist Mat “the Condor” Hoffman.