Aspenites learn what to do with a ‘Nice Package’ |

Aspenites learn what to do with a ‘Nice Package’

Naomi Havlen

Put three roommates together with a large box of home-decorating supplies for 24 hours and what have you got? A “Nice Package,” that’s what.”Nice Package,” the newest show by Banyan Productions, makers of The Learning Channel’s wildly popular “Trading Spaces,” premiers tonight on the Oxygen Network. And it features a trio of Aspenites.But unlike “Trading Space” and a host of other reality TV/home renovation programs, “Nice Package” is a quirky show where contestants must use every item in a giant package to renovate a part of their home, trying to emulate a designer’s vision that they haven’t seen. In the case of tonight’s episode, it all began earlier this year when “Nice Package” sent a decorator to the North Forty home of Mark Devlin without his knowledge. After looking around, the designer decided what it would take to make the living room and kitchen look better.Then Devlin and his two roommates, Bronwen Halliwell and Kenton Bruice, were delivered a giant package of everything they’d need for the transformation. For 24 hours they worked to get everything in the right spot – paint, flooring, furniture and all.Devlin, a local investment banker, said he’s not a fan of reality television. But he had fun making this show.”It was definitely tiring – we had a 24-hour period to put together what the designer wanted,” he said. “But it was pretty fun, and in the end I really kind of enjoyed it.”Ben Rindge, director of development for Banyan Productions, said the actual “Nice Package” is an 8-by-10-by-12-foot box containing everything from plasma TVs to couches, paint, fabric and accessories. Contestants are judged by the designer when the 24 hours are up, based on categories like workmanship and layout.If the designer is satisfied, the contestants get a prize they’ve been wanting, like a tropical vacation. So why Aspen for the series pilot show?”We wanted the location to be a character itself,” Rindge said. “In focus groups for other shows we learned that the setting is critical, and there’s something curious and fun about Aspen. The people who live there are great and it’s the perfect backdrop.”Other “Nice Package” episodes will be filmed in Seattle, Harlem, Hawaii, Taos and New Orleans, he said. What makes the show unique is the reality aspect combined with the 24-hour deadline.”At 3 a.m., people get really wacky,” he said. “That format creates a lot of humor.”Of the shows shot so far, Rindge said Aspen is his favorite. The show also includes a host, and two handymen, Jeff and Ryan, who help out the contestants in their quest.Devlin couldn’t give away what happened when he and his roommates took on the “Nice Package” challenge, but confirmed he likes his living room and kitchen better now.”Some things I did change back to the way it was, but in all honesty, it’s a much better living scenario,” he said.”Nice Package” premieres tonight, July 9, at 8 p.m. EDT on the Oxygen Network.Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is

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