[music playing - theme song]
And we're here in Rutherford, New Jersey.
SHERRI: We were kind of friends for a while.
We dated on and off.
LAZZARO: But our first official date was actually in 1999.
We went to Paris.
And that's the last time we went away together.
Now we have three kids and--
LAZZARO: Sherri's got a heart of gold.
She will go out of her way for a complete stranger.
And it's not for the accolades.
It's not for the pat on the back.
It's because she genuinely wants to help somebody.
This one went through.
SHERRI: So about Lazzy-- hard worker,
good, honest guy, great dad.
Are you crying yet?
I am really excited to surprise the Degennaro family.
They have lived in their Rutherford home
with their three children, Julianna, Nick, and Talia.
LAZZARO: So Talia, she's the heart of the family.
She's lively, she's curious, inquisitive.
She'll say hello and I love you a thousand times
while you're in a five-minute discussion with her.
Can you see me?
JULIANNA: Talia is the most outgoing in our family.
She is always one to smile.
SHERRI: The welcoming committee, that's when she's known as.
Yeah, we call her the welcoming committee.
Even in school, she's the welcoming committee.
SHERRI: My dad used to say that's the best
gift you can get.
Despite any disability she may have, just to put her in a room
and make somebody else smile is a gift you can't get anywhere.
GEORGE OLIPHANT: At nine months old,
Talia was diagnosed with hypertonia, which
is a lifelong disease that causes
low muscle tone and developmental delays from head
SHERRI: Everything Talia does has been delayed--
walking, talking, running, everything.
She does progress at a much slower rate, academically.
JULIANNA: Good job.
JULIANNA: Everything is delayed a little bit,
but it doesn't stop her from being who she is.
LAZZARO: It's not sad. We're not sad for her.
We're really happy in how far she's come.
We're happy in how far she's brought us.
Because she doesn't know anything other than happiness.
And in this day and age, you need that.
GEORGE OLIPHANT: The Degennaros' oldest daughter, Julianna,
wrote me a heartfelt letter asking if I could come and help
rescue the family's basement.
In its current state, the basement is a catchall.
And to make matters worse, Laz works
from home in the basement.
Kind of dark getting down here.
It's dark, it's old, it's dated.
It's unsafe at times, especially for the kids.
Talia knows I'm down there, she'll
call from on top of the stairs, but she refuses to come down.
Come on, let's go down to the basement.
She has a lot of fears, anxiety, one being stairs.
LAZZARO: It was a selling point to this house
when we moved here because we figured, oh,
we have a finished basement.
Little did we know--
Then his wife turned it into storage.
I'm with Talia on this one.
I wouldn't even set foot in that basement in its current state.
It is totally underutilized.
It's basically an entire floor that's not being used.
Let's give the Degennaro family, and especially Talia,
the basement they deserve.
JULIANNA: To get our basement redone from "George
to the Rescue," like, what it would
mean to us is the entire world.
I think if "George to the Rescue" came to our house,
he would really make Talia happy.
SHERRI: I'm just visualizing her face
to see something like that.
LAZZARO: To get her down there might just spark
other things to come with her.
And that's really what this was all about for us.
Everything else is secondary.
What's up, Lazzaro?
How's it going, Degennaro family?
SHERRI: Oh my god.
GEORGE OLIPHANT: I heard the screams from behind the door.
I am speechless.
- Thank you. - Yeah.
Anyhow, I understand you guys have
some issues with the basement.
That's the word on the street.
You don't go in that basement, do you, Talia?
Now Sherri, I understand you store quite a bunch
of things in that basement.
I might have to organize that a little bit.
We might have to purge a little bit.
- We need to get rid of it all. - Just a little purging.
What do you say I come and take care of the basement
and turn into a space for the kids
and for the family as a whole? - Absolutely.
Usually I am the one doling out all the hugs
on "George to the Rescue."
But when it comes to the Degennaro family,
Talia has got me beat tenfold.
It's time to get our experts in to figure out how we're
going to pull off this rescue.
I'm bringing in some really close friends of mine
to help me out.
To do the design, I've got my friends from Roost
Interiors, Ali and Kasey.
And to deal with all the construction side of things,
we've got Ryan Hodgson from RTH.
All right guys.
Don't be scared.
RYAN: Interesting. GEORGE OLIPHANT: Yeah.
Interesting, good word
Lot of stuff down here.
RYAN: So are they going to donate all this stuff or--
We are-- we already got Salvation Army on board.
They're going to come in.
They're going to take it all out.
I'm going to help Sherri and Laz get rid of all of this stuff.
You have your work cut out for you.
- That sounds fun. - It's like a Band-Aid.
You've just got to rip it off.
You've just got to get rid of it.
Can't even start this rescue until we get
everything out of the basement. - It's time to modernize.
It's time to give them a more sophisticated space.
This will be a great start to a new beginning.
ANNOUNCER: "George to the Rescue"
is sponsored in part by ScotchBlue Painter's Tape.
For more information, go to ScotchBlue.com.
Before we can even think about starting construction,
we've got to get this basement cleaned out.
That means all of Laz's boxes and all
of Sherri's sentimental stuff.
Boxes are ready.
We're ready to fill them up.
What is in here?
SHERRI: This is for clothes.
GEORGE OLIPHANT: Tell me this was a costume, Laz.
This isn't some old memory, right?
LAZZARO: That's where I met Sherri.
GEORGE OLIPHANT: Yeah.
The game of Operation?
Nah, I don't think so.
It's got to go.
Oh my gosh.
What's in there?
Don't go in there yet.
Box it up. Throw it out.
How about that cute little picture
with the baby and the Shar-Pei?
I love it.
You know we got our work cut out for us when
you've got a call in the army.
And what I mean is the Salvation Army.
Major Dupree is here with his squad
to help us clear everything out of the Degennaros' basement.
All proceeds will go to helping those in need.
Win, win, win.
I'm feeling tired.
How are you feeling?
- I'm feeling-- - But relieved.
We'll look back on this and the next thing you know,
we'll be cleaning out everybody else's basement.
Sherri to the rescue.
GEORGE OLIPHANT: We cleared out that basement.
We got rid of the boxes.
We got rid of all that stuff.
And now it's ready for demo.
So Ryan, not only do we have all RTH here,
but we have the Peacocks-- RYAN: The Peacocks.
--the bowling team here--
- I'm excited. - --for demo.
You guys ready for this? - Yes.
GEORGE OLIPHANT: This is not Ryan's first rescue.
As a matter of fact, last time we
became such good friends that I ended
up joining his bowling team.
Hammer, bowling balls, pins, sledge hammers,
whatever you want to use.
So the Peacocks is a bunch of-- it's a group of dads.
We bowl at a place called the Commonwealth
Club in Montclair, New Jersey.
We are a team.
And today we're here to do some demo together.
RYAN: We are taking out all that terrible 1980s wood paneling.
And we are going to take down the ceiling,
bring it all down so we can get sheet rock
and make this place new.
GEORGE OLIPHANT: You know, I should
really have the Peacocks come and help me out on every demo.
This is moving so swimmingly.
We're rolling perfect 300s right now.
We were taking the basement out like a hot knife
I mean, literally, they say many hands make light work.
We're not even like 15 minutes in and we're almost done.
GEORGE OLIPHANT: Who's bleeding?
CJ, the captain of the bowling team,
while he was hitting the sledgehammer,
took some shrapnel to the face.
But hey, it's all part of the game, right?
No, it's just [inaudible].
Like you had a piece of wood stuck in your face.
GEORGE OLIPHANT: So Ryan, on a traditional bowling lane,
you may be a little bit better than me, just a little bit.
But when it comes to construction site bowling--
- You got me? - I think I can take you.
A little mano y mano driveway bowl-off.
I can do this.
So I have a challenge for Ryan.
Whoever knocks down the most pins wins.
And if I win, we're going to have to take out the kitchen,
RYAN: Cabinets are dated, the appliances are dated.
It looks like it's pretty crowded in there.
I'm going to use the quality double hand, I think.
That's the way we're going.
No pressure, but if you miss this shot,
we're doing the kitchen, too. - All right.
I got that.
ANNOUNCER: "George to the Rescue"
is sponsored in part by 3M.
For more information, go to 3MDIY.com.
GEORGE OLIPHANT: All right.
No pressure, but if you miss this shot,
we're doing the kitchen, too. RYAN: All right.
OK. I got that.
I guess the kitchen we're doing.
I guess we're doing the kitchen.
RYAN: The kitchen needs a lot of love.
And if there's anything I could do to help the missus out,
get her a beautiful kitchen, I'm happy and proud to do it.
KASEY: So we're so happy to be able to do a little bit more
for Sherri and Laz.
We want to see this space light, bright, to help make
the space feel a little larger.
RYAN: The guys have pretty much taken down all the wall
panels, taken down the ceiling.
We're just going to clean it up for now.
My stair guy came here.
We're going to get her all new stairs,
open it up, make it feel safe to come down there.
GEORGE OLIPHANT: We've got Bernard and his team
doing all the painting.
So best way I can get ahead for them is I can take my 3M
ScotchBlue Painter's Tape, and I can just mask off things
like this trim right here because we're going to have
a little chalkboard wall here.
Super-sharp paint lines.
This is looking awesome.
I'm a huge fan of this panel versus that wall
that was here originally.
The cabinets turned out beautifully.
Solid Fine Craft did an amazing job.
We were able to do these two-tone cabinets, a little bit
of gray and beige on the bottom, and then
the white upper cabinets.
I think that makes it really special.
Smooth like your baby's bottom.
Ladies, we have a lot going on.
We've got Glen Rock Stairs here.
They're trying to put in the railings.
Stairs obviously already look beautiful.
And we got Mitchell Gold Bob Williams trying
to deliver the furniture.
ALI: We have a sectional sofa coming in for the basement.
That'll be in the playroom area.
We have a desk for Laz.
And they've also given us a gorgeous kitchen set.
GEORGE OLIPHANT: So you got everything from the dining room
to the playroom to the office.
ALI: They were very generous. KASEY: They're very generous.
You guys want help putting this couch in?
Have you got the door off?
How you feeling?
Ah, I'm loose.
You guys got this?
Bernard just painted these walls.
You guys are statues.
Do we look stressed out?
I'm like, that, George? - You look a little--
KASEY: Is that going to fit?
I just want it to make it down. MAN: It did.
I'm like, please make it down the stairs.
It's down the stairs. It's down the stairs.
ALI: The couch is in fine now.
We can accessorize it.
So we're ready for the rest of the pieces
to come in and get them all styled.
It looks a little bit different, huh?
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As I expected, Ryan from RTH Builders totally crushed it.
The house is perfect.
The basement is as cozy as can be.
Now we've got to get Casey and Allie here
so we can get our design on.
This is already so much more lighting.
Oh my gosh, this is so much brighter.
What's the design plan?
For the game area, we're calling it,
we wanted to give them an air hockey table
because we heard that Talia loves to play air hockey.
GEORGE OLIPHANT: If you lose grip of it,
just let me know so I know when I get sandwiched
at the bottom of the stairs.
[MUSIC PLAYING - "THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER"]
ELECTRONIC VOICE: 15 minutes.
All right, 15 minutes.
ALI: This will be our TV lounge area we're envisioning,
just a lot of comfortable seating.
And then we'll decorate the walls, do it up.
In the back we have kind of a surprise for Laz.
Center it on the wall.
This is insane that there's actually
an office space for Laz now.
Because before, I don't know if you guys remember,
that it was just like-- ALI: Oh, we remember.
GEORGE OLIPHANT: --this, like, cleared
area of, like, a little bit of desktop
just surrounded by boxes and stuff.
Laz's office just got a huge upgrade.
Now he has a nice, clean, bright workspace, plenty
of room to put his computer.
And we have a bright light from Lamps Plus
so he can work, and styled it with some other work
accessories. GEORGE OLIPHANT: You know what?
I love the postcards.
Keep calm and call daddy.
3, 2, 1.
Your board should be affixed to the wall.
Great. That's amazing.
Getting Talia down into the basement
is going to be no easy task.
So I asked Nicholas and Julianna what kind of advice
they could give me.
They said make him inviting, soft, cozy.
She loves the color red.
I like this, ladies.
It's kind of jazzy.
Now Talia-- she can't resist.
There's the arrow saying, Talia, come down.
Have some fun.
Enjoy the basement.
Come on down.
When we first started this project, we had Talia in mind.
But now we were really able to give everyone in that family
something a little special.
This will be front and center.
Look at that.
ALI: We arranged for the Degennaros
to have a session with our amazingly
talented photographer friend, Joni Schwartz.
So she had the family out and took
some beautiful shots of them.
so you'll see them throughout the house.
I think after Sherri sees the new kitchen and the dining
room, this is probably as close as the kids
will actually get to being in here, except for meal time.
She'll be like, you guys have a whole basement to hang out in.
This is my domain.
RYAN: As RTH, we're always excited to give
back to the community.
And to help this family out makes me feel good.
ALI: We are so lucky and thankful
to George and the Degennaro family
for letting us rescue their house.
We can't wait to see what they think.
GEORGE OLIPHANT: Welcome home.
What's up, guys?
Seeing George again for Talia was was huge.
LAZZARO: She just wanted to run and give him a big hug.
SHERRI: She was chanting from the car.
She was chanting walking down the street, George, George.
- Are you guys ready? - Yeah.
Completely. GEORGE OLIPHANT: All right.
Oh my gosh, she's ready.
Let's do this.
Oh my god.
Is that an artichoke?
I love artichokes.
LAZZARO: Walking into the house--
We're never at a loss for words.
--seeing the kitchen not look the way
it used to, it was just, wow, there's no more yellow wall.
And then it's like, wait.
The dining table is different.
And wait, everything's different.
This is un-- this is not our house.
This is not.
The kids' reaction to the new kitchen
was just unbelievable, the best.
I mean, they actually cried over a kitchen.
They're really appreciative kids.
They don't take anything for granted.
I love it.
LAZZARO: I can't believe it.
Oh, I love this.
This is not-- this is not real.
SHERRI: I'm just beyond thankful.
We really came here because your basement needed love.
I mean, everyone knows that your basement needed some love.
Talia, you you don't like the basement that much, do you?
- No. - No.
Well, do you like the new kitchen?
Do you want to go down and see that basement?
Yeah. GEORGE OLIPHANT: OK.
Let's go see that basement.
Go, you got it.
Yeah. I'm ready.
Let's going down and check out this basement.
JULIANNA: Go ahead, Tal.
Oh my god.
Oh my god.
You're doing it.
To see my sister just run down to see the new basement-- she
came down there with, like, so much pride, knowing
that she was able to do it.
Oh my god.
What is this?
JULIANNA: This is insane.
Oh my god.
SHERRI: I love it.
NICK: Oh my god.
Oh my god.
I was just like, where are we?
LAZZARO: Just the carpeting, the handrails on both sides.
That right there was instant comfort,
knowing that it's safe already.
LAZZARO: Where did all this space come from?
Where did all this space come from?
- Really. - Dad, look.
SHERRI: Oh my god.
Oh my god, I love it.
I'm really happy that my dad's workspace
is a good spot for him now.
It's not just a whole bunch of papers and boxes
He has a nice, open, comfortable area
where he can stay and work.
I want to work down here.
LAZZARO: It's already impacted us positively
because Talia loves it so much.
That is the independence that we want from her.
That's the self-confidence we want for her.
Switch your feet. Switch your feet.
You have two handles now.
JULIANNA: It's just insane that she's so happy
and, like, that's all--
for a little sister, to a big sister, like,
that's all I would ever want.
LAZZARO: I don't even think the words "thank you"
are enough, really.
We do have a lot to be thankful for.
And this is just the icing on the cake, really.
TALIA: Bye, George.
See you later.