By Mike Readling, Source: TC Palm
PALM CITY, FLA - Bobby Gomez knows a good thing when he sees it. Especially when what he sees is a castle.
Gomez, a coach at Ultimate Cheer and Dance Allstars in Port St. Lucie, has coached McKenna Knipe for the past four years. After a visit to her house in Palm City, Gomez’s mind began working overtime.
“He called me up and asked if I had ever seen ‘Teen Cribs’ on MTV,” said Knipe’s mother, Laura Crawford. “He said, ‘You’ve got to watch it,’ but I went home and forgot about it.
“He called that night and told me it was on right now and that they would take our house. I told him he was crazy. I mean, we don’t have bowling alleys and stuff like that in the house.”
What Crawford, her husband, Dean, and McKenna did have, however, was an 8,500-square-foot Tudor-style castle on 3.5 acres running alongside Bessey Creek. It is a teenager’s dream come true and it fit perfectly into MTV’s plans to continue to woo that audience.
“They said what they liked about it was it was different. It was a castle and they had never shot one of those. And there was so much for the kids to do outside. They had not ever filmed anything as expansive and kid-friendly outside,” Laura Crawford said.
“All the local kids are here and they’ll come and stay for days. We pretty much run a local laundry service and Dean is a short-order cook for breakfast.”
For two days last weekend, two film crews from the music network descended upon the Crawford castle on Southwest Winding Way. They filmed the lagoon-style pool, the five-car garage, the game room and the guest house.
When the episode airs toward the end of the year it will be the first “Teen Cribs” episode to take up the entire half hour.
McKenna, an aspiring model and actress who has two films coming out, hosted the show at her home. She led an on-camera tour, pointing out the things in the house that appeal to a teenager’s eye and the things that didn’t.
Among her favorites were the refrigerator and freezer in the kitchen, which are hidden behind a faade designed as an armoire; and the game house, which is located above the garage and features a movie theater, pool table, bedroom, kitchen and bathroom.
“When I have friends come over we mostly stay in the game house,” said McKenna, who is scheduled to be in Japan from October through December for several fashion and couture shoots and, she hopes, to sign a cosmetics deal. “It’s where we spend the night. It’s like our own little house.”
While she was leading MTV cameras through the expansive house, about 45 of her friends were holed up away from the sensitive microphones, waiting for their chance to get on TV. Laura Crawford credited the “mom wranglers” who showed up to help organize the chaos for helping the day go so smoothly.
At one point — after McKenna’s entrance on a monster golf cart with mud tires — the film crew chose three friends to join in the shoot.
Ella Callahan, Zach Cramer and Katie Convertini filmed a segment in Mckenna’s room, one of three master suites.
“It was fun. But it was really weird having to see behind the scenes and how they film a show like that,” Zach said. “Other than that, having the film crew follow you around was different.
Ella said, “There was a lot of sitting around while they set up for stuff. I thought there was going to be a lot more people there. I just like this house so much. It’s so much fun.”
MTV 'TEEN CRIBS'
What it is: A 30-minute show on MTV that features houses around the nation suited to teens. Many are customized spreads with indoor treehouses, large pools, gymnasiums, golf courses, skate parks and other unusual activities.
Airs: 4-4:30 p.m. weekdays on MTV. An air date has not been set for the Crawford episode, but it is tentatively scheduled to air at the end of the year.
Other featured cribs: While most “Teen Cribs” episodes have been shot at homes owned by non-superstar families, MTV filmed “Celebrity Teen Cribs” at houses owned by Shaun White, Teddy Geiger, AJ and Aly, Bow Wow and Omarion.
THE CRAWFORDS' 'CRIB'
Built: 1986 by local optician Brian Schmidt. The Crawfords bought the house in 2006 and took two years to renovate the inside, finally moving in to the estate in October 2008.
Dimensions: About 8,500 square feet of air-conditioned living space. Renovations turned it from a seven-bedroom, 3 1/2-bath house into a three-master-suite home with two offices, a guest house and 4 1/2 bathrooms.
Highlights: Five-car air conditioned garage, lagoon-style pool with rock waterfall and hot tub, trampoline, basketball court, game house with movie theater, pool table, kitchen, bedroom and bathroom, guest house with 80-inch television, 3.5 acres frontage on Bessey Creek.
Home trivia: The house was designed to be able to host photo shoots. Ed Hayslip of Hayslip Landscaping gave the front a traditional Tudor look with manicured trees and hedges, varying degrees of green and sharp angles. The property features an Old Florida section, a tropical area with rare and unusual palm trees, and a Florida Keys-style trail through the woods that leads to a 2,000-square-foot pavilion. The grounds can be rented for weddings or other events.