At long last, High Desert residents will get to look inside the new home of the Almquist family in Phelan.


The Almquists, who run the Forever Wild exotic animal sanctuary, were the recipients of a home remodel -- an entirely new home, in their case -- by the producers of the Extreme Makeover Home Edition television show in February, along with an army of volunteers from around Southern California.


The Phelan house project -- including remodeled pens for tigers, alligators and more, along with a new visitor's center for the sanctuary -- will be featured in a special two-hour episode of the show on March 29, beginning at 8 p.m. on KABC 7.


Hesperia architect Tom Steeno, who designed the house, said it only took him a day to design the Almquists' new home, instead of the week it would normally take.


"I felt like it kind of designed itself," Steeno said of the four-bedroom, three-bath, 3,300-plus square foot house, which he describes as "contemporary tribal ranch."


Like the hundreds of others who worked on the project, Steeno's team worked on the project for free -- six weeks of unpaid labor, in their case.


"It was exciting to do this," Steeno said.


The first week of February was a blur of activity, with construction on the site going on around the clock, with builders from various different fields working alongside each other.


"It was insane," said Steeno. "Friday, the day before [the house's unveiling], I didn't think we were going to make it. ... If it didn't stop raining, we were sunk."


But the rain did stop Saturday morning, and the workers went into high gear, painting, landscaping the front yard and more, right up until the moment the bus was rolled away to reveal the Almquists' new home to the family.


Steeno had regular contact with the show's cast, who were also filming at a build site for an episode being shot in Tucson at the same time. Like other volunteers who worked on the show, his firm will be listed on the show's official Web site and he'll likely get some airtime during the episode.


"Does that really equate to jobs? Who knows," he shrugged. "But it was one of the funnest experiences ever. Oh, yeah."


Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is seen locally Sunday nights at 8 p.m. on KABC 7. The episode featuring the Almquists' new home will be a two-hour special, from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., on March 29.


Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com.