California builder David Bohler sees the process of creating a home differently from most other builders.
BOHLER BUILDERS GROUP has experienced much more than its five minutes of fame.
The company spent years working for ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition until the 2013 season and followed that up with NBC’s American Dream Builder in 2014. Owner David Bohler and his team now are working on a series for Fox, Home Free, similar to American Dream Builders but for couples and set to air July 22. Host of the show is Mike Holmes from HGTV’s Holmes on Homes.
Bohler Builders will be remodeling eight houses in Atlanta for the show, and the winning couple lands a new home. Aside
from all the work on screen, Bohler Builders serves the residential market in California’s Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino counties, working heavily in remodeling for those space-challenged communities.
“One thing Extreme Makeover: Home Edition has taught me in my years there is that anything is possible,” Bohler says.
“We can figure this out and break this project down into pieces we understand and tackle it from there. You can’t get overwhelmed by the scope of something or the timeframe that you have, or don’t have.”
A project Bohler says is near to his heart from the show was one in Joplin, Missouri, months after a tornado ruined homes in the community. With a coalition of 20 builders, Bohler Builders oversaw the construction of seven houses in seven days.
“That was an awesome thing to be part of,” Bohler says. “It was definitely the highlight of my career, the fact that we were able to build seven houses in seven days and the camaraderie and the love that was put into the project.”
Breaking into the Business
Bohler grew up around construction, with a father who did commercial construction and a mom who was an interior
designer. His two older brothers also worked in the trades, and he got his start in Southern California’s residential construction industry in 2003.
“I always kind of knew I’d work in construction in some way,” he says. “I felt like I was good at it. I saw myself in the construction world, both in the design side and the build side. I always knew that would be the road I would travel down.”
He still finds building a rewarding challenge.
“Taking on challenging projects is one thing that sets us apart from others,” he says. “We’ve done everything from installing the side of an airplane into a home to creating a dirt bike track in a backyard.”
That diversity blossomed with his entry to hit TV.
Bohler first volunteered on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition in 2006 and was called back a year later to interview for a project manager role.
Producers said they needed someone who could stay involved and likes to work.
“I met both of those criteria,” Bohler says.
The show called back two hours after his interview and ask if he could fly to Alaska in two days to shoot. He did it.
“It was the best decision we ever made,” Bohler says.
His wife ended up working on the show and traveling with him, and the team built houses in 48 states.
“It was just amazing to meet elite builders all over the nation and just to soak up their knowledge and be part of their
team,” Bohler says. “It was a great experience overall. I’ve taken a lot of what I’ve learned and applied it to my day-to-day business. Aside from that, there was the overwhelming, heartfelt side of that show of the community coming together to take on a project and build a house for someone they didn’t even know. The construction side was a bonus.”
The work also gave Bohler and his team a deeper sense of what “home” really means, and that’s an ideal that carries through in their work with families in the region.
“Our goal is to make that client happy from start to finish,” Bohler says. “We want this to be an enjoyable process.”
The company offers some commercial work, as well as special projects, and about 40 percent of Bohler’s work is in residential.
The rest is still television work, building sets or building for remodeling and building-centric shows. So far, the company has worked with a number of different on-screen projects, such as PG & E’s Energy House Calls, FX’s Kitchen Nightmares and Spike TV’s Bar Rescue.
That background has prepared Bohler to take on projects others might shy away from, he says. In 2012, the team said
yes to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s Skyhook Foundation, which commissioned them to design and build Jabbar’s interactive traveling memorabilia showcase at the Staples Center. The catch was, they only had five weeks’ notice.
“We had to come up with the design, work with the location, plan the build out and curate the whole thing within that five weeks,” Bohler says. “We were able to provide a solution to that client that most people wouldn’t be able to do.”
That television success has meant a boost not just to the company but to the trusted partners who work with him.
“My team has the commitment not only to the brand but also to our clients,” Bohler says. “They treat our clients as I would treat them and want them to be as happy with our work as I would want them to be. That’s something about our team that I’m really proud of.”