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Two New Rooms

by: Jaime Valdez, The real result of the remodeling project was a much larger bedroom for 15-year old Alyssa Chertude, pictured, and another room for her brother Payton Chartude.

A year and a half ago, the Chertude family in Sherwood was threatening to outgrow its home. Just a soccer ball's throw from Snyder Park, the 2,000-square-foot house - ample room when they moved in 10 years ago - was modest by current standards.

Most significantly, their teenage daughter, Alyssa, was literally growing out of her bedroom. Her tiny room, not more than 8 by 12, had a bed so small it could no longer contain the growing girl's frame. Now 15 and 6 feet tall, it's easy to see that something had to give.

'She was really cramped,' says her mom, Michelle, a patient relations representative at the Providence clinic in Sherwood, and they couldn't give her a bigger bed because it wouldn't fit in the room.

The solution was simple, if a bit radical. West Linn builder John Sramek, owner of John Sramek Remodeling, proposed knocking the roof off the Chertudes' two-car garage and building two new bedrooms for Alyssa and her brother Payton, who is two years younger.

Then, making things even more interesting than merely living with a remodeling project while you continue to occupy the house, the Chertudes learned that Sramek had been approached by the folks at HGTV with the idea of doing a 'New Spaces' episode on them.

'Really, what sold it was them,' Sramek says of the Sherwood family. The HGTV people 'wanted an Ozzy Osbourne kind of family.'

OK, let's pause it there for a minute. There's nothing bizarre or creepy about the Chertudes. In fact, they're a pretty all-American family. The dad, Patrick, is a deputy with the Washington County Sheriff's Office, and the kids are about as normal as you're going to find.

The show, titled 'Cool Teen's Room,' aired on HGTV on Jan. 19 and can be viewed on their Web site.

'Filming the show was a lot of fun, but it was challenging,' admits Sramek. 'The producers were always looking for something to go wrong, but as the contractor, it's my job to avoid that.'

John Sramek Remodeling was selected from among 300 Oregon applicants to appear on the new HGTV series.

'Part of it was just luck,' says Sramek, about the timing of the filming and the job itself. 'They needed the job to start at a certain time.'

That was almost exactly a year ago, he says. They started by knocking the roof off over the garage. Alyssa, meanwhile, moved in with her younger brother.

'For three months, they slept in the same room,' says Michelle with a big grin.

'The TV guys, they just loved that,' adds Sramek. 'They figured it was just a matter of time before things would blow up.'

But the film crew was a hit with the family, in spite of the conditions, says Michelle.

'We loved them. They were great,' she says. 'We miss them.'

Anyone who has gone through a major remodel can testify that it's trying, she says. And then having it recorded by regular visitors can add to the drama.

'It was a little inconvenient,' she concedes. 'It's stressful, having somebody coming through your house.'

Once the new rooms were framed in and sealed off from the weather, work on the inside went fairly fast, they say.

In addition to the kids' two rooms, a 20-by-6-foot storage space ran the width of the house, behind the two bedrooms. Access to that space - deemed the future home of Christmas decorations and similar items - is through a door in the back of Payton's closet. It also can be reached by a pull-down staircase in the garage.

What used to be Alyssa's room is now a semi-public space containing two desk-top computers and a video game area featuring a large TV faced by two comfortable chairs.

One other significant by-product of all the changes is that Michelle inherited Payton's old room, and it now serves as a sewing room.

'I've always wanted a sewing room,' she says.

The entire project cost the Chertudes about $60,000, they say, but that includes their decision to replace all of the home's LP siding at the same time.

'One of the nice things about doing an addition over the garage,' says Sramek, standing beneath the new section and looking up where two heavy beams were inserted to hold everything up, 'is that we basically demo'd this roof and didn't have to spend what you would to put in a whole new foundation.'

Fortunately for all involved, the weather was uncharacteristically dry and mild.

'We did this job about this time last year,' says Sramek. 'We must have had three weeks of 50-degree weather. That's another thing that the TV people were probably disappointed about.'

Now that the kids have decked out their rooms with the colors and accessories they wanted - light blue with horses everywhere in Alyssa's room, everything Oregon Ducks green and yellow in Payton's - it's hard to remember how much they needed this change, says their mom.

'Truthfully, I could not imagine what we did before,' she says.

'I got a cool new room,' summarizes Payton, who admits there wasn't a lot wrong with his room before. 'I got to have what I wanted it to be. It wasn't bad; I just kind of wanted a new room.'

The change is more radical for his sister, though. She was just 5 when she moved into her old room.

'My room was too small, and I had too much stuff in it,' she says. 'It's great. I love the color and everything.'

Now, says, Patrick of his daughter's bigger bedroom, 'She has room for her friends to stay over with her.'

The net gain in space is actually only about 500 square feet, putting the total house now at about 2,500.

'It's not a huge house,' says Michelle. 'But it works for us.'