In a recent video released by TLC, Joy Duggar appears to forget that Jim Bob hired a professional contractor for building the family’s 7,000 foot Arkansas home. Instead, she gives Jim Bob Duggar and her brothers all the credit, with a vague mention of ‘some friends.’
TLC recently released a brief clip in which Joy Duggar took Jeremy Vuolo’s friends on a tour of the home — which is unusual by most standards, with a large laundry room containing four washers and four dryers, a massive shared closet space, and dorm-style rooms for 19 kids, rather than individual or smaller shared rooms — before Jeremy and Jinger’s wedding.
After the Duggar family’s guests express their awe at the size of the closets, Joy begins to lead them back toward the stairs, and Jeremy’s friend James Song asks Joy who built the house.
James: Who built the house?
Joy: My family, my dad and my brothers.
James: They did all of it?
Joy: Well, I mean, they had some friends help out, but….
James: But they put the structure….you guys did it? Really?
However, those who’ve seen the old Duggar family specials and early episodes remember it a bit differently, and Jim Bob Duggar confirms it in the family’s book, The Duggars: 20 and Counting.
While the Duggar family does say that all but the smallest kids pitched in to work on the house (incidentally, notice Joy also leaves the Duggar girls uncredited — Jim Bob describes in his book certain specific tasks they completed, including laying PVC pipe for the heating system), and does credit friends and family for help, it’s a bit more complex.
For one thing, some of those friends helped in a professional capacity — for instance, Jim Bob mentions his brother-in-law, John Hutchins — who was in the bulldozer business and was able to help prepare the land for building. Hutchins also taught several of the Duggar males to run the machines themselves.
Another friend the Duggar family credits is Clark Wilson.
The Arkansas Traveler noted in 2006 that the Wilson family left their home for a year to help build the Duggar family home — that’s a bit more than dropping by after work and spending a few spare hours with a drill. Clark Wilson, who was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in 2015, also isn’t just a pal with passing knowledge of a hammer — he’s a carpenter by trade, so he’s another professional who worked on the Duggar home. Jim Bob specifically credits him with such design elements as the large staircase in the home, which he says Michelle Duggar described and Wilson created for her.
Even with all that help, and a house built from a kit the Duggar family ordered from Kodiak Steel Homes (with pre-cut beams and prepared materials), Jim Bob says that the building went three years past the originally planned deadline — and he hired a professional contractor, Dwayne Andregg, to complete the job.
As for the interior, in The Duggars: 20 and Counting, Jim Bob mentions the interior decorator from New York, Deborah DeMere, who the Discovery Channel hired as a gift to the family — and who he credits for the slide that goes into the playroom, the secret hideaway, loft, rope ladder, and reading nooks requested by some of the Duggar kids, and the colors, fabrics and furniture that made everything whole.
Of course, in August 2002, when the family began work on the steel home, Joy Duggar would have only been approaching her fifth birthday. The house would eventually be completed in 2006 — the year Joy would turn nine. It’s no great shock there would be aspects of the building project Joy wouldn’t remember clearly.
Jim Bob and the Duggar boys building the house themselves fits with the narrative of self-sufficiency that the Duggar family’s religious sect preaches — something defied again in the same 2006 Arkansas Traveler article linked above — it mentions, among other corporate names and products, a garage bay “…fully stocked as a pantry with rows of products provided by the Campbell’s Soup Co., a sponsor of the family’s program tentatively titled ‘The Duggar Dream Home’ which is slated to air on The Learning Channel in March.”
Perhaps Joy Duggar’s oversimplification, leaving out all the professionals that were hired or volunteered their work on the house, is a further reflection of this same value.
[Featured Image by Duggar Family Official/Facebook]