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Keep Houston Press Free
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Extreme Makeover: Kemah Edition

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Photos by Lee Riner / Click here for a slideshow
​The Kemah Boardwalk has been hopping more than usual lately -- and in a weird way, some of it's because of Hurricane Ike ("You Bastard!")

It's not gawkers hoping to see debris everywhere, 16 months later. Although we did see a large, phallic-shaped edifice lying on its side, just off the shoreline. A one-story lighthouse knocked to the ground or misplaced personal massager? Someone needs to step forward.

Rather, it's gawkers piling aboard shuttle buses in one of the parking lots, endeavoring to catch a glimpse of a real-live Extreme Home Makeover.

Forget Joe the Plumber -- this family needs to run for President! Or at the very least, be upheld as the Americans to Emulate.

Larry and Melissa Beach and their 13 children applied to be one of the show's recipients of a brand-new house, built in a week by a couple hundred professionals and local volunteers. They were understandably crowded in their single family home, and Larry's wages as a CenterPoint lineman only went so far.

Then Ike hit, and since their house was flooded, they've been smushed into a tiny travel trailer on their property. Tough times got tougher, but that -- along with their body of good deeds (they've fostered more than 85 children, of whom they've adopted eight), a recommendation by the mayor and a lovely blend of photogenic looks and respectful humility -- pushed them over the top.

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​After 16 months of Laundromats, the family is blessedly receiving TWO laundry rooms, one for both floors of the 6,000-plus-square-foot house.

The family's in Disney World, courtesy of the show and its sponsors, until "the reveal," expected around 4 p.m. Thursday.

Local mosaic artist Sharon Plummer got word Sunday night she and her colleagues would have 24 hours to build, transfer and install a massive, mosaic headboard in one of the teen-aged girl's rooms.

For more photos from the set, check out our slideshow.

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