'Building Wild': Unlike 'Extreme Home Makeover' Paul DiMeo builds houses and memories

paul-dimeo-building-wild-natgeo.jpg Zap2it: What drew you to "Building Wild"?

Paul DiMeo: I came off 'Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,' and there we were building homes. And the story behind 'Extreme' was always we would send our families away. They would go to Disneyland. ... And when these families would come back -- and over a decade I heard this -- the families would come back and say, 'Jeez, we really wish we were here.' And they were really, truly missing the best part of it. They're missing an entire community coming together to build them this house. They're away, so they have no idea who's doing what.

So when George (Verschoor, the show runner) and I were talking about what were some of the great things you could take away from that, well the fact that you could have your client working with us, meeting everybody and having their friends come. And of course, now bringing the scale way down.

Zap2it: So in addition to creating a tangible asset, you're creating memories. Twenty years from now these folks are going to remember you. That must be gratifying.

Paul DiMeo: Yeah. ... One of the things [one client] said to me was the fact that he was able to spend a day with his son building the chandelier is something that's a great thing. ... It was the same way with the other program. The story that was told on Sunday nights for nine years was certainly not the story that I spent the week with. The best part of it was the relationships you had with the builders, the relationships you have with the other carpenters, things that are never going to make television.
Photo/Video credit: National Geographic Channel