The Enrights of Long Beach were engulfed in cheers and tears Saturday as the family of eight felt the full impact of a reality TV show makeover.
Family and friends lined the Michigan Street sidewalk as they entered their revamped home, which had been severely damaged by superstorm Sandy.
"It's a completely new home," said mother Lori Enright, 51, who works at a local pizzeria. "It's night and day."
"You feel like you are in somebody else's home," added father John Enright, 52, who manages a Bed, Bath & Beyond in Oceanside. "I never thought it could come out this good."
During the storm, water came up from the basement, destroying the first floor. The damage was so intense the entire family -- two parents, six children, two dogs and a ferret -- were relegated to living on the second floor for nearly five months.
On March 15, the Enrights were notified that they were chosen as the subject of the HGTV show "Spontaneous Construction," hosted by Atlantic Beach native and actor Ricky Paull Goldin. Carpenters and volunteers steadily worked on the six-bedroom house, getting it ready for Saturday's unveiling.
"While the storm didn't take their house, it took away their home," said Bill Borson, the show's co-executive producer. "Our goal was to give them their home back." The episode is supposed to air in April.
The team gutted the first floor. Every appliance was unusable and had to be replaced, along with the furniture. The crew laid down a new wood floor and reconfigured the space. In addition to putting in a new kitchen and bathroom, the Enrights were given a living room with a 60-inch TV and sectional couch, plus an office workspace and a pantry.
Each family member had their own personal highlights. For John, it was a table that seats eight.
"The dining table alone blew me away," he said. "We haven't sat down to eat dinner as a family in 10 years."
Lori was floored by the washer and dryer, a luxury she never had. Every Tuesday night after work, she'd be at the laundromat washing 10 bags of clothes until 3 a.m.
"It's a ton of weight off my shoulders. I can throw a load in while I do other things, and the kids can do their own," she said. "It puts a lot of family time back."
The second floor was carpeted and refurnished where needed, and received a new bathroom as well. Each child's bedroom was equipped with a 32-inch flat-screen TV, courtesy of Cablevision, which owns Newsday.
"It's like we've been nomads," said Lori, teary-eyed. "Now we're finally home."