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Carter Oosterhouse and Amy Smart talk with Mark and Theresa about Carter’s Kids

Mark and Theresa with Carter and Amy at Carter's Kids and Rebuilding Together project in Philadelphia

Carter Oosterhouse and Amy Smart talk Carter’s Kids playgrounds w/ Mark & Theresa

Theresa: And you are inside MyFixitUpLife with my husband Mark.

Mark: And my wife Theresa. Beautiful sunny day.

Theresa: It is a beautiful sunny day and we are here at one of the ten thousand projects that Rebuilding Together does every year.

Mark: That’s right, this is their national project though and we’ve got some VIP’s.

Theresa: Some vips.

Mark: What’s that book that Jack reads? It’s a Dr. Seuss book – ‘The Vipper of Vip.’

Theresa: ‘The Vipper of Vip,’ we do we have vipper of vips here with us at Rebuilding Together.

Mark: We do. So Carter Oosterhouse, before you leave, welcome to our show.

Carter: Well thank you.

Theresa: Welcome, and I’m so glad that you brought your lovely wife, Amywith you.

Carter Oosterhouse - founder of Carter's Kids and host of HGTV's 'Million Dollar Rooms'

Carter: I didn’t bring her, she wanted to be here alright. She was like ‘Listen, if you’re going to Philly, I’m going to Philly with you. You’re building a playground, I’m building a playground.’

Amy: I like building playgrounds.

Carter: She’s pretty adamant about it.

Mark: That is awesome Amy.

Theresa: I really like that.

Mark: This is great. And we can see the playground, which is sort of behind where we’re set up, and it’s beautiful. That thing is awesome.

Carter: Yeah, I mean it’s great. You know the whole idea behind building a playground is getting kids aware, getting kids active, not sitting inside and being stagnant, and really curbing childhood obesity. And what we’ve learned over the years of building playgrounds is that it really brings a community level, a community sense of parents bringing their kids to play, and then they start talking and they’re like ‘What are we doing on this block, what are we doing over on that block.’ So there’s just more than we really know, more than we fully understand yet to just building a playground where kids can play, and we’re learning that as we go. And you know at the end of the day when you see the kids running around that’s amazing.

Amy Smart - actress and Carter's wife

Theresa: And it’s such a cool organization too. For everybody listening you have to go to and check it out. And as a mommy person — and I always like to say that…

Mark: Mommy person…ok gotta check it off — once every show.

Theresa: But you do, you do connect with other families when you’re out on the playground because you’re standing there and you’re watching your kids play and enjoy the playground, and what else do you have to do aside from socialize and meet other mommies, and other daddies too — I don’t want to leave the daddy people out.

Carter: See we don’t have kids yet so we’re a little slow on that uptake. We didn’t realize that that’s what parents do you know.

Theresa: If you guys want to practice at all we have two that if you just want to watch for us later.

Mark: Yeah if you’re not busy say in like five minutes.

Theresa: We would let you that would be awesome. If you want the experience of watching kids play on the playground you can use ours.

Carter: Ha Ha okay.

Mark: But you do also raise a very serious point and something that we care about very much — childhood obesity.

Theresa: Childhood obesity.

Theresa talks with Carter and Amy

Mark: You know the general health and activity that we experienced as kids, that’s declining and I guess my question is — of all the things that you could build, renovate, do, why choose this one?

Carter: Well I think I really knew, as a builder, I wanted to build something and I wanted to give back in some way. So building something I was like ‘What am I going to do, what’s going to be fun, what’s going to be interesting?’ I knew I wanted to work with kids, and then it just seemed like playground was the natural fit and I started looking into it, and at first there was no other reason other than simply because I’m a builder and I wanted to work with kids. That was the first and foremost. And then it became the childhood obesity — did you know that kids are 400% more likely to be physically active if they have something attractive to play on. So 400% so what we’re saying essentially is kids are going to sit home and be kids — play video games, watch TV, play on the computer and they have so many alternative things to do, but if they have something that’s fun, you know they look outside and they have a playground that they want to play on, they are going to play on it. And they are going to be physically active and be kids and break their arms and get hurt and do all that fun stuff, but at the same time that’s what you want, and that’s what we’re trying to do so like I said, I’ll build a playground anywhere. Anywhere we can, we’ll do it. If we’re building one here today we’ll build one on the block across the street tomorrow.

Carter putting the finishing touches on the newest Carter's Kids playground in the Overbrook community in Philadelpia

Theresa: Well that is so good too because for the people in the Overbrook neighborhood where we are, now they have access to a playground. Before they didn’t, so 400% more likely to get out there and play now then they were before.

Carter: Well yeah, I mean you gotta think we’re not only competing with video games and computers and TV, but also older playgrounds. Remember when we were kids we had the playgrounds that had medal slides and stuff — they were really so dangerous.

Theresa: Yeah, and so hot!

Mark: Actually I can’t remember back that far, would you tell me? Would you remind me what they were?

Carter: Well then playgrounds sort of just went away and they made them really boring. And now what we’re seeing is they’re letting loose a little bit more as far as what you can build and what you can have out there. And I mean these playgrounds are big, they are fun, they’re adventurous and kids totally dig ‘em.

Theresa: And now you — Carter’s Kids — your organization, partners with Lowe’s and this year you’re working with Rebuilding Together to build playgrounds too…that is just really cool.

Mark: It’s totally awesome and is it all over the country, is it just here on the East coast, is it where you live? All of the above?

Mark interviews Amy Smart

Amy: Yeah it’s all over. In fact in Los Angeles we also work with the Environmental Media Association and we helped bring local gardens into the schools. And so we partnered up and we put a really beautiful garden with a playground to help enhance the community in Los Angeles. Obviously they are already doing that here in this beautiful space, having this amazing green house.

Mark: So is like food and healthy eating part of what you do personally because you’re obviously both in great shape — but part of the organization too?

Amy: For me, yes definitely. I think it’s a combination of having more of a holistic life. You know getting back to the basics of having green cleaning products, and eating organic and eating whole foods, and having great physical activity — just sort of the basics of having healthy kids and healthy people.

Mark: Well you’re preaching to the converted because we talk about this stuff in our house all the time.

Theresa: All the time.

Mark: Our eleven year old goes to school and it’s like what kind of meat product can you compress into a nugget and pass off as lunch.

Mark and Theresa talking to Carter and Amy live from Rebuilding Together in Philadelphia

Theresa: And the thing is at the school is candy — they feed our eleven year old candy during tests, like the state tests. They actually try to get the kids to stay awake and stay all excited to be taking the tests so they actually encourage them to eat junk food in school.

Carter: Isn’t that crazy. That is crazy.

Theresa: I mean you tried to do that when I was a child — you wouldn’t be allowed to eat candy.

Mark: We could have a soda on field day. That was like our whole thing.

Theresa: That was like a big treat. They can have so much access to junk food these days it just blows my mind. You can tell we’re very excited about this.

Mark: But to change the subject just a little and to put you on the spot a little and pick up a theme — you’re both in great shape, what do you do to exercise and stay active?

Mark working on the Rebuilding Together bridge project

Carter: Well thank you, thank you.

Amy: You don’t look bad yourself.

Mark: Awesome it worked! Somebody get that on — take a picture of her saying that! I’m sorry George is that equipment on? Okay good.

Theresa: That’s gonna be his new ring tone…a little creepy.

Amy: Ha ha. What do we do to stay in shape?

Mark: Do you ride your bike, go to the gym?

Amy: I do some yoga, I do some fun exercise classes, go running, hiking, tennis.

Mark: Just general knocking around?

Amy: Yeah.

Mark: Cool.

Carter: Yeah I think we just kind of stay busy. I run a lot — I haven’t as of late — but I do I run a lot and I try to stay busy, and do yoga with her, meditate with her, stuff like that you know. Just the random stuff, we try to switch it up. Like there’s no normalcy in our lives.

Theresa: And I think for busy people and busy families just trying to fit in five minutes, ten minutes here at a time makes more sense for most people.

Mark: And I’m guessing that maybe perhaps you travel a little bit?

Kids rushing the new playground after the ribbon cutting

Carter: Travel all the time.

Amy: Just a little.

Mark: Do you work out in an airplane seat?

Carter: Exactly. Well I travel because of the new show that we’re shooting for HGTV — which is called ‘Million Dollar Rooms’ we travel all the time because we have to go to somebody’s home to see their million dollar room. So we travel quite a bit. If you heard the schedule — I think I put last month like 30 thousand miles in a plane for one month, and the month before that was 25 thousand miles so it’s pretty hectic, but I love it. I love doing it. I get a lot of crazy ideas. I try to bring some of the ideas back to our home, and then I realize we don’t have that much money.

Amy: We’re not making our own million dollar room.

Mark: You can’t fit in a 4-foot plaster crown molding in your town house?

Theresa: And for everybody listening ‘Million Dollar Rooms’ is on HGTV and it’s Tuesday nights at 8:30.

Carter: Yup Tuesday night at 8:30 — wow you’re good I like that.

Mark: She is fast.

Carter: Yes, impressive.

Ribbon cutting by Carter and Amy for the Carter's Kids playground

Theresa: I try, I try.

Mark: Of all the rooms that you’ve seen before, and I’m not asking you to spill the beans on the new stuff, but what’s just the most out there — like you walk through and you’re like okay I get that it’s a million dollars but why would you do it kind of room?

Carter: Okay so one, which has not aired yet, it’s a house that’s on a 40 story building in Miami, and it’s a three story house on a 40 story building in downtown Miami. And it’s all plaster like the Taj Mahal. It’s a replica of the Taj Mahal, so you walk in and I think it was — this sounds ridiculous but I think it was — and people at home don’t think of me as any different, but it was a 13 million dollar room, two thousand square foot room. They spent two years, 40 people working on the home.

Theresa: And it hasn’t aired yet?

Carter: It hasn’t aired yet.

Mark: They must have spent a year bringing it up the elevator.

Carter: Oh yeah it was crazy to see, but it was more so the detail. Because the detail, they had these guys come in and they literally used chisels and knives and just chiseled the plaster away for two years.

Theresa: And you don’t want to bring that back home to your wife?

Carter: That part no.

Mark: But seriously did you back up against the wall and try to break a sconce off? Amy, look at this!

Theresa: Here honey I got you a souvenir. It’s a 5 thousand dollar sconce.

Mark: So that’s my next question, what have you stolen?

Carter: Ha ha yes everything. I steal a lot.

Amy: That’s a good question can you imagine.

Mark: Come back with a fork.

Carter: Ha ha exactly.

Theresa: It’s a 10 thousand dollar fork though.

Mark: Yeah. This is our mortgage.

Carter: Right, right, exactly.

Carter and Amy in front of the finished Carter's Kids playground in Philadelphia

Mark: The other side of that coin, the room that you walked into and you were just like ‘Wow this is just what it’s all about.’

Carter: That’s tough. I mean a lot of these homes that we shoot are over the top, they are elaborate, it’s the lifestyles of the rich and famous you know times ten. I mean because it really is. People who have had a lot of money, who have been very successful in their lives and may be they want to sell their home or show it off and we focus on it, and we shoot it and we get unprecedented access into these homes that nobody would ever have a chance or the opportunity to get into and we’re getting into a lot of really cool spaces.

Theresa: Now have you seen a million dollar playground, bringing it all back?

Carter: Oh look at that!

Mark: Look at that…bam!

Carter: Um, no.

Theresa: I think they should.

Carter: I think they should, and we’re working on that.

Theresa: Wherever your producers are they need to be scouting for that. And you could do a Carter’s Kids Million Dollar whole thing.

Carter: I know I should be working on that right now.

Theresa: Yes.

Carter: Okay, well, I’m writing that down.

Amy: Could you imagine a million dollar playground?

Theresa: A million dollar playground would be…

Carter: Diamonds incrusted.

Theresa: It would inspire every child to play.

Mark: Platinum slides.

Amy: Like real roller coasters.

Mark: Ha ha yeah that’s right. And unfortunately we have to roller coaster into a break.

Theresa: So go to and follow carter on Twitter — @c_oosterhouse, check him out on facebook. And check out Amy Smart on Twitter @AmySmart26.

Mark: Check out his website and follow us into a break, we’ll be back with more MyFixitUpLife.


Check out the MyFixitUpLife talk show that features this interview with Carter Oosterhouse and Amy Smart.

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