Going to Extremes
Local builds new career as TV home makeover star
June 16, 2010 - When entering the construction business around 25 years ago, the last thing on Steve Frasher's mind was that he would end up doing what he loves for national TV shows.
"I ended up getting into construction back in 1984 and haven't looked back and have been doing construction ever since," he said. "I ended up working with a guy who was a jack of all trades and really taught me a lot, so when he left and went to Florida, I opened up my own business and then started doing the same thing we used to do, such as remodeling kitchens, basements, the whole nine yards."
Frasher, a Goodrich High School graduate, still recalls his first job on his own was a big basement remodel job, one he thought he might not be able to handle.
"I had to stop doubting myself and say 'you know what, I can do this. It isn't anything I haven't done before," he said. "'If I can't figure it out, I have enough friends in the business that can help me figure it out.'"
After getting "burned out" from wearing too many hats running his own company, Frasher decided to go to work for somebody else, another remodeling company. Due to downsizing however, he ended up getting laid off and the company eventually went under. He then found another job working with an insurance restoration company, which was called upon to do a project for Extreme Makeover Home Edition in Oak Park.
"I met the project manager for Extreme. We ran around together for the two weeks they were here. Out of the blue I just said, 'Hey if you ever need any help, let me know.' He says, 'Are you serious?' That was the changing point," Frasher said. "I ended up getting a phone call from a gal who was the executive producer for a television show. It happened to be the project manager's (for Extreme) mother. She was running a show called Renovate My Family on Fox.
Frasher said they were having issues "turning the houses over." The houses that should have been built in seven days, instead were taking six to eight weeks to complete. After receiving the call Sunday after church, Frasher flew out to the set in California on Wednesday for an interview.
"They hired me right on the spot and said, 'Here's what we're offering.' I said, 'I have to talk it over with my wife first and really think about this,' he said. "What they were offering me was better than what I was making in a month for a week's worth of work. It really economically made sense."
As a result, Frasher was able to help get them from nine weeks behind schedule to nine days, and finally down to three days. The unique thing about Renovate My Family, said Frasher, was changing the family's life was not the whole story.
"You're changing the subcontractors' lives as well," he said. "That's what you don't really think about, because now you're showing them (the family) the principles behind helping your neighbor out."
Since being on Renovate My Family, Frasher has also starred on Town Haul on TLC, and co-hosted Home Rules on HGTV. Now, he is venturing out to be the main host for a show on another network.
"For them to see the potential for me to carry a show is pretty wild, pretty honoring and humbling," he said.
The show will deal with houses that have been damaged due to natural disasters such as tornadoes, fire, floods, and hurricanes.
"It's different when you plan something and you plan to have a remodel done or plan to build a house or addition. You set yourself up, you think about it, and you prepare for it," Frasher said. "But when you're asleep in the middle of the night and a tree lands on your house and you've got water pouring in, it's a whole different avenue. When you're not prepared for it, it's very emotional."
Frasher has also experienced natural disaster when his parents' house caught fire due to lighting strike, as well as having a neighbor shoot up his house twice with a 22-caliber shotgun. He said the police eventually caught the neighbor and he was sentenced to prison time.
"He was a kid reaching out for help, who didn't know how to reach out for help," he said.
Frasher has another side to him besides construction. He is also a member of the "Stand Strength Team" where he is known as "Dr. Steel" or "Doc Hollywood." Stand Strength is a group of Christian ex-athletes and bodybuilders, who travel around the nation telling kids to say "no" to peer pressure, drugs, and alcohol, while demonstrating feats of strength.
Despite him being on the road a lot doing shows for TV and traveling with Stand Strength, Frasher said his wife Terri is very supportive.
It's not easy a lot of times. Sometimes I'll be gone for weeks, but she's accepted the fact that's what I do," he said. "It's a sacrifice we do together and sometimes she'll come out on the road."
When not on the road, he keeps busy drumming up local business for his company, Phoenix Restoration.
"I do insurance restoration, but in between not doing any of the insurance work, if somebody needs a bathroom done, or a kitchen, some deck boards replaced, little stuff, I'll do that," he said.
He credits his hard work ethic to his parents who raised him with a "jump in, get her done attitude." If anybody needed help, his family was the first to be called and would help out without expecting anything in return. Frasher says he looks at doing construction whether locally or on TV as a ministry.
"My mission is for people to help each other out, like we did in the first early stages of America. If your neighbor needed some help whether it was fence mending, roof, a barn, the whole community came together and they put it up, they put it up with the intention or the notion they weren't getting paid, but it was building it forward," he said. "We've lost it and I want to bring it back, one family at a time."
Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.