16 years after 'Extreme Makeover: Home Edition' Raleigh family says it's a gift that keeps on giving

Barbara Gibbs Image
Thursday, July 21, 2022
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Before all the wildly popular home renovation TV shows, there was "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" on ABC. Years ago, that show came to Raleigh and changed the life of the Riggins family.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Before all the wildly popular home renovation TV shows, there was "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" on ABC. Years ago, that show came to Raleigh and changed the life of the Riggins family.

Now 16 years later, life is giving the Riggins family another big gift.

It was 2006 when the "Extreme Makeover" crew tore down the Riggins' old, troubled home in Raleigh's historic Mordecai Village and transformed it into a 2,300 square foot, mortgage-free masterpiece.

Now in 2022, the Riggins family is still living in it and still loving it.

"It showed God's promises coming true," family matriarch Linda Riggins said.

After 16 years, Linda lovingly calls the renovated home "lived in."

"I call this my mommy wall," Linda said pointing to a wall adorned with pictures of her family and placed so she can see it while she works in her kitchen.

A happy collage of friends, family, Linda, her husband and their three children through the years. So many photos, spilling across the room on the refrigerator, she now calls the "Friend Fridge."

Another of Linda's favorite spaces is a room that was never revealed on the show.

"Welcome to my writing room," Linda beams. " I've always liked reading and writing; that was my safety."

Having a young family when they moved in, Linda didn't use the room in earnest until a few years ago. She believes waiting all these years to use the special room was God's perfect timing.

"Before five years ago I heard, 'Linda, you can write; you have a way with words.' But Barbara, I didn't believe that," Linda explained to ABC11 Anchor Barbara Gibbs. "But I kept writing and I kept reading and now I say it out my own mouth, 'A momma can write.'"

Now, Linda Riggins is a published author.

"WORDS: Beholding Black Women, that is the title of my first publication," Linda said proudly showing off the manuscript. "It is a collection of poetry that celebrates the Black woman that I am and that I am becoming and quite a bit the Black woman I was."

The cover, designed by Linda's brother, shows Linda looking in the mirror, "and I'm seeing all the faces of these women--my mom, my grandmothers and my sisters--who shaped me."

So from the gift of her secret writing room, within the gift of an Extreme Makeover home, comes Linda's gift to others.

"This is a snippet of my life story of resilience, of celebration, of persistence, of survival, of love, of joy, of hope. These are huge things," Linda said.

Linda's book of poetry -- WORDS: Beholding Black Women -- is available on Amazon. You can also connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.