If Michael Moloney was my favorite host on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, it would follow that Paul DiMeo would be my least favorite. After all, the two were nearly opposite in personalities. While Moloney was known for his unstoppable chipper spirit, DiMeo was frequently upset or emotional. But that’s not the case.
DiMeo may have been emotional, but to me, it always came across as showing how invested he was in every project he worked on. That investment showed, because his work on Extreme Home Makeover was always very well-done. After the end of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, DiMeo secured a new show on the Discovery Channel.
Building Wild follows DiMeo and Pat “Tuffy” Bakaitis as they build crazy cabins and other rural homes for people. The show just finished airing its second season in April, so let’s use the season break to look at Paul DiMeo’s career as a whole.
Paul DiMeo on Broadway
Paul DiMeo was born in Media Pennsylvania, where he got a very early start in home renovation. When he was just five, his family’s house burned down, and he lent a helping hand to his dad and siblings as they reconstructed the property. He attended Point Park College, a small university in Pittsburgh. There, he majored in Theater Arts, and learned how to design sets. He also broke into acting, and became the stage manager for the American Dance Ensemble.
With some experience to his name, DiMeo moved to New York. He made continued to develop his set design skills, working with the Open Space Theater, Dance Theater of Harlem, the Yiddish Theater, and Carnegie Hall. He also had several roles in various on- and off-Broadway productions, and even appeared in an episode of Third Rock from the Sun.
Outside of his work in theater, Paul DiMeo also spearheaded the “Loft Living” project, where he worked renovating history New York brownstones, including Aaron Burr’s brownstone, a historic landmark. With a wide variety of experience under his toolbelt, DiMeo moved to Los Angeles. Once there, he continued secure more famous of clients, including renovating the Ralph Lauren Polo store in Beverly Hills, and George Hamilton’s home.
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
When ABC held auditions for a home renovation spin-off of their Extreme Makeover series in 2002, it probably seemed like a dream role to Paul DiMeo. He was ultimately invited onto the cast because casting directors enjoyed his grumpy persona during his audition.
His personality was definitely one of the most memorable of the renovators on the show. He was even lampooned on Saturday Night Live, where they brought special attention to DiMeo’s tendency to cry at the drop of a hat.
The extra celebrity from working on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition allowed him to get even bigger remodeling gigs. By far the most famous was his construction of the MLB Fan Cave, where a fan and wingman watched and commented on every Major League Baseball game of the 2011 season.
Despite there being some controversy around Extreme Home Makeover, the show was a success for ABC, running for ten seasons before being cancelled. During that time, Paul DiMeo had a hand in designing and building almost 200 homes.
What’s Paul DiMeo Doing Now in 2018 – Recent Updates
After Extreme Makeover: Home Edition ended in 2012, Paul DiMeo took a brief break from television. But in 2014, he returned to the small screen, this time on the National Geographic Channel. With Pat “Tuffy” Bakaitis, they formed The Cabin Kings, and travel around the country remodeling and building new cabins in rural America for Building Wild.
While Extreme Home Makeover limited DiMeo to working on a couple rooms of a home, Building Wild gave him free control to design a complete building, which has led to some very innovative homes. In the first season, Tuffy and Paul built a cabin with a bus built into it, and another with a massive slide coming off the deck. The second season had my favorite project to date, where they built a cabin that was straddling a waterfall.
Another change from Extreme Home Makeover is that on Building Wild, DiMeo is the energetic optimistic one, while Tuffy is the grump. This dynamic might rub some audiences the wrong way, but I honestly prefer it to the unnecessary positivity Ty Pennington brought to Extreme Home Makeover.
The show, while not confirmed for a third season, is likely to get one, while will likely air sometime next spring.