TV personality and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition carpenter and co-star Paul DiMeo is more than just your average handyman. Cultivated at a young age in theater arts and carpentry, DiMeo has managed to become an amalgam of performer and extremely talented homebuilder, using his love for animals as an inspiration for much of his work – especially in his own living space.
DiMeo is no stranger to animals – in the past he’s had five dogs at a time, but is now content with his three rescued strays: Nizhoni, a one and a half year-old mixed Cattle Dog found on a Navajo reservation in Arizona, and whose name means pretty face in Navajo; Lucy, a one year-old mixed Lab; and Barkley, an eight month-old Lab mix.
Hailing from Philadelphia and now in L.A. by way of New York, DiMeo gathers a lot of his experience from his earlier years in the theater. “Building a home is very similar to building a set,” says DiMeo. “It’s just a very permanent set; a set that you want to be there that’s still there twenty years from now!”
When he’s not working on the show, he’s working on other homes – from celebrity’s (George Hamilton, Anne Archer, Madonna) to houses with a little…extra. “One of my favorite projects – I got to make a series of pens for various animals. A pig sty and a goat pen was a lot of fun for me!”
And let’s not forget the extreme dog houses he’s made for clients in the past – puppy duplexes complete with swimming pools. You won’t find any of that fancy stuff at DiMeo’s own home – they enjoy giving their pets the freedom to run around like the animals they are. “We love our furniture,” smiles DiMeo. “But we love our animals more. We have dogs, and that’s one of our passions.”
Now, some tips from Paul DiMeo on how to practically keep your home and garden pet-friendly:
- Hardwood, tile floors, and throw rugs. They’re much easier to clean, and as you know, animals have accidents!
- Be aware of the plants in your yard. What we may find really attractive can really upset the stomach of or poison a dog or a cat – do your homework!
- Semi-gloss paint. If you have animals that keep rounding the corner making marks, you won’t be able to clean it the way you can with semi-gloss walls.
- Scotch Guard fabrics or use slipcovers. If you let your animals up on your couches and chairs, you need to do this!
- Get a good vacuum cleaner. We use one from Dyson, made especially for people with pets. Otherwise, you’ll get those tumbleweed furballs!
For more info, visit: PaulDimeo.com.