The Milton House; The San Francisco House
The show opens in the historic town of Milton, Massachusetts, founded in 1662 and the site of the c. 1725 Colonial home the show purchased for renovation and eventual sale. The This Old House crew looks the old structure over, including the massive post-and-beam barn on the property. The diagnosis: questionable room layout for modern life, some rot, but a remarkable sound house with a lot of potential. Jinny Devine, owner for the past 38 years, recalls raising her family of four boys in the home.
Our host arrives to find excavator Herb Brockert preparing to knock down the rotting ell off the barn. The crew salvage a few valuable bits before it goes, including the cupola and an arched window. A group of young men, from a program that acts as an alternative to juvenile detention, work to dismantle the brick patio in the back of the house and haul in fiberboard to protect the house's delicate old floorboards. Architect Rick Bechtel and our host discuss some ideas about reworking the house's floorplan, including moving the kitchen from the dark northeast side to the sunny south. Our host goes to New York City to visit the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club Decorators Show House, which has been going annually for 25 years, to get ideas for turning the Milton house into a similar showcase at the end of the renovation. Richard Trethewey checks out the the house's aging heating system, complete with solar collector.
The show opens with a visit to the top of Great Blue Hill and its historic weather observatory (built in 1885) to view the sights: the town of Milton, downtown Boston (8 miles northeast), and the 7,000 acres of parkland that comprise the Blue Hills Reservation. At the jobsite, the crew takes up planks in the front part of the barn in preparation for turning it into a garage; the structure reveals various areas of rot and poor construction. Forms are in place to accept the concrete coming to make up the new workshop's foundation, and landscape architect Tom Wirth assesses some of the site's challenges, including a lack of proper accesss to the front prospect of the house. Historic photos shows a gravel or shell drive that once passed by the home's front, and Tom thinks a similar scheme would be appropriate. Insulation specialist Graeme Kirkland shows us the results of a blower door test he's conducting: the house changes its interior air 11 times an hour in a simulated 15-mile-an-hour w
Our master carpenter lays out lines for subslab ductwork in his workshop, and the crew strips off the barn's old shingles. They will use a shingle panel system when they replace the siding. Tom Silva shows us his new jobsite trailer, leased complete with office and secure storage room. A surveyor works to put together a certified plot plan, while we see the excavation work around the main house for the kitchen foundation and for a perimeter drain along the front rubblestone foundation for years. In the barn, our master carpenter puts in one of the new post to make room for the garage to come - earlier he used new one-piece footing forms and a waterborne lazer level to provide solid bases for the new posts, poured by a small-batch concrete delivery truck. In the future media room, the crew removes the lally column, holding up the building with jacks and a cripple wall before inserting a flitch beam of laminated veneer lumber and steel.
Our master carpenter's workshop continues to take shape, as Richard Trethewey lays out radiant floor heating tubes over a layer of rigid insulation. We meet audio/visual systems contractor Steve Hayes to get a preview of what the new media room may look like, and visit a showroom to see the range of equipment options. We see a virtual walk-through of the new workshop put together by Randy Levere, while the crew tears down the old kitchen addition, which has revealed itself to be woefully built. Paint stripper Brooks Washburn uses a paraffin-based paste to remove dozens of layers of old paint from the front staircase, and our host suggests trying it out on the historic front facade. Finally, the concrete arrives to complete the floor of the new workshop.
A big day on the site: the structural insulated panels for the new workshop are hoisted into place - they, along with a massive ridge beam of engineered lumber, form the entire workshop structure, complete with window, door, and sklight openings. We are introduced to a range of metal roofing available to top off the workshop, while our host meets furniture and finishes restorer Robert Mussey in his shop, brings him back to the house, and gets some advice on the care and feeding of the historic pine paneling. Landscape architect Tom Wirth checks in with Milton town civil engineer Jim Greene about moving the driveway and any wetland issues involved.
The house's new spaces are framed and sheated, giving us a chance to tour the new kitchen and media room. The front facade is now completely stripped of its burden of 200 years' of paint, ready for primer and a new color. Architect Rick Bechtel and window specialist Mike Roach discuss the new windows they are specifying for the new work (all wood units, double hung, insulating glazing, applied six-over-six muntins), and decide that, rather than being replaced, the historic sash of the front part of the building should be restored and weatherstripped. At the workshop, we see now, low-cost, breathable building wrap, then watch as the crew installs one of the new skylights. Then a roll-forming machine spits out metal roof panels for the building's new standing-steam roof. Finally, we see the engineered wood product that is being used to trim out the house - it's very stable, warpfree, consistent, and cheaper than clear pine.
Victory Garden chef Marian Morash and kitchen designer Phil Mossgraber work to refine a plan for the new kitchen, with special attention to window and appliance placement. Out in the workshop, T.J. Silva uses an airless sprayer to apply a stainkilling primer to the interior walls and ceiling, while the crew begin to apply the newly arrived shingle system: 2' x 8' panels, prestrained, with braided corner units that go up quick and cost less than uninstalled traditional shingles. Security system consultant Steve Yusko shows us the wireless radio transmitter that will link the property's alarms with a central monitoring station, redundant with the regular phone link. In the media room, a/v expert Steve Hayes pulls speaker wires and adjusts the rooftop DSS (digital satellite system) dish to pull in a clear signal. Finally, lighting designer Josh Feinstein gives a tour of the many lighting control options available for the new house.
Our host arrives to find our master carpenter unpacking the new stationary woodworking tools for the workshop; they admire the newly shingled barn, whose panelized shingle system the general contractor estimates saved him almost two weeks' labor. At the main house, the crew shingles the low-pitch roof over the media room, taking special care to first cover the deck with a waterproofing membrane. Inside, we see the restructuring being done in the dining room: using engineered I-joist to level the ceiling and reinforce the floor above; carefully removing the old floorboards to get the rotted subfloor, strengthening it with more I-joist and a new plywood deck. Our host meets with chefs Julia Child and Marian Morash in the kitchen to discuss the layout, work surfaces, islands, tables, and flooring options. Out at the workshop, the team puts togehter the deck using an undermount system and decking made of recycled plastic bags and sawdust, and checks out the nerw woodworking tools. We watch
Richard Trethewey is on site to see the new gas line being laid and the old oil tanks removed, courtesy of a gas company program. Coppersmith Larry Stearns shows off the fabulous copper weathervane he's made for the new workshop cupola, which he and the master carpenter place the roof. Arborist Matt Foti and his crew work to clear the way for the new driveway, as well as cleaning up damage and debris from the spring's surprise snowstorm. We recieve a tour of the studded up master bathroom, and watch as a new kind of retractable screen system is put in at the workshop's new French doors. Excavation contractor Herb Brockert shows us the work he's done laying in the new driveway and discusses his concerns about properly draining the site. Finally, paint expert Andrea Gilmore shows us the results of her research of the house's exterior: 16 coats of paint, the last eight of which were white, with earlier schemes ranging over from the original dark brown with red trim to a putty color to a y
Our master carpenter inspects the new garage doors, made of redwood to look like old-fashioned outswing carriage doors but operated like modern overheads. The construction crew thickens the sills of the new windows to match the old trim style and installs a three-window mulled unit in the kitchen. Our host tours Milton with realitor Susan Bolgar-Wiesjohn to see what kind of properties are available in this town of 25,000, just 9 miles from downtown Boston. Lighting designer Josh Feinstein gives us an overview of the workshop's new lighting package, while landscape architect Tom Wirth and architect Rick Bechtel discuss plans for the shade garden.
A busy day at the site, as several weather-sensitive jobs are brought to completion. The crew puts in the final touches on the cedar clapboarding and window trim, explaining to us the fine points of keeping out the water. A new fiberglass bulkhead is installed, while painter Seth Knipe shows us the proposed colors for the main house. Inside we watch the insulation contractor Don Sawyer and crew spray a fast-expanding foam into the open stud bays of the media room, into the joist bays of the crawl space, and down into the cavities of the master bedroom's walls, whose old fiberglass has been pulled out. Outside landscape contractor Roger Cook supervises the installation of an in-ground sprinkler system to take care of the lawn-to-be, which a hydroseeding company sprays over the prepared soil. Elsewhere on the property, paving contractor Larry Torti shows us the new MacAdam driveway he's laying, using recycled paving as a base, liquid asphalt as a binder, and rice stone as a surface coat.
Our host arrives to find the site thick with trucks delivering drywall, cement board, and interior wooden doors. In a rapidly filling barn, he meets electrician Allen Gallant installing a lightning arrestor on the workshop panel - it's a simple $25 device that protects all the house's and barn's outlets from damaging power surges. Off of the exercise room, a prefabricated cedar sauna goes in, while arborist Matt Foti trims and props up the old apple tree outside the workshop. Down by the road, stonewall builder David Nyren and crew build a farmer's wall across the old driveway opening and a riprap retaining wall at the bank cut for the new drive, and lanscaper Roger Cook and crew lay in the shade garden's brick patio. Landscape architect Tom Wirth shows us choices for the latticework around the shade garden, and tells us about the specimen terrs he's ordered for the property: a lacebark Chinese elm, two American hollies, and a cornelian cherry. Plumber Ronald Coldwell checks the state
The show opens at the Milton gravesite of Captain John Crehore (born 1694), the builder of the Milton house. At the house, our host checks out a new clogfree gutter system, a prefabricated wine cellar, and the central vacuum system. He and plumbing & heatind expert review the hot water plan for the building: radiant tubing on the first floor, a high-efficeincy gas burner and hot water tank downstairs, and a superinsulated pipe to take hot water to the barn. The This Old House team installs a prefabricated wainscoting in the house's dining room. In the kitchen, designer Phil Mossgraber checks in and unpacks the new cabinets, while writer Daniel Levy gives us a short historical tour of the old house, including a look at a secret passage that may have played a role in the Underground Railroad. In the patio garden, landscape contractor Rodger Cook works with members of the Milton Garden Club to plant the newly arrive shade plants, and accepts delivery of new trees from the nursery.
The finishes have begun at the Milton project. We see the shellac and wax work painter John Dee is applying to the stripped old-growth white pine in the front wall - it now matches the look of the adjacement parlor. The crew directs a crane as it swings the new, 490-pound soaking tub through the master bath window. We visit the Wisconsin foundry where it was made. Meanwhile, tiling contractors the Ferrante brothers prepaer 16 x 16 limestone tiles for the bathroom floor using an extra-tile wet saw. Outside, our host meets a termite exterminator who uses an insect growth hormone bait to wipe out subterranean colonies. Upstairs, HVAC contractor Ken Winchester shows us the very important air-to-air heat exchanger, which introduces fresh air that picks up the house's exiting stale, damp air. In the courtyard, the new iron fountain has arrived, and the crew puts the finishing touches of the green lattice cedar fence. We meet Glenn Bowman, who is cutting and installing soapstone countertops i
The show opens to find landscaper Roger Cook and crew putting in a granite block curb around the driveway island to protect it from wayward vehicles. Inside, Charlie Abate shows us the butcherblock island countertop and discusses its care and feeding. In the old front rooms, painting contractor Steve Kiernan explains the steps he and his crew before painting the woodwork in the library and shellacking the wood in the parlor. Outside, the crew installs the new gas barbeque and side burner unit, while mason Lenny Belliveau shows us how he's dry laying a brick floor in the screen porch. Our plumbing & heating expert installs a chimney cap over one of the fireplace flues and shows us the aluminum liner he placed in the flue that handles the moist and relatively cool gas burner exhaust. Chiller units outside and barely detectable outlets inside make up the visible portions of the house's air-conditioning system. Jeff Hosking shows us the cleaning-screening-shellac-wax process by which he i
Interior designers begin their work as the construction crew scurries to finish up the job. Painter John Dee uses a wood fillerto repair the deteriorating front door, while kitchen designer Phil Mossgraber shows us features of the cabinets and the newly installed appliances. A designer from Laura Ashley Home Stylings discusses the family room's while painted woodwork and ""crackle-coat"" wallpaper, while Glenn Bowman routes out an integral drainboard in the kitchen's soapstone countertop. Upstairs, we see the new electronic shower control, and designer Cheryl Katz describes the progress by which she went from raw space in the master suite to a finished design. Jeff Hosking and the crew lay a new wide-plank pine floating floor in the dining room and we see the ceiling mural decorative painter Julie Williams is putting up in the media room using a unique color-transfer medium.
The show opens to find Roger Cook and crew laying down a sod lawn and we recieve a one-button key-fob controller demo from security expert Steve Yusko. Inside the house, we see the new flower sink and check out the new high-efficiency front-loading washer and dryer. In the wine cellar, Quarterly Review of Wines editor Randy Sheahan tells us some of the hows and whys behind the 216 bottles he's chosen. In the media room, a padded fabric wallcovering goes up, while upstairs, carpet and a master closet system are installed. We meet Robin Raskin, editor of Family PC magazine, to see some of the must-haves for the home office. Lighting designer Josh Feinstein and electrician Allen Gallant shows us the lighting and control package in the kitchen, while our master carpenter gets a test-drive of the new media room with a/v contractor Steve Hayes. Tom Silva shows us the old-fashioned brushed-brass rim locks he's using throughout the house.
The grand finale in Milton, with the house completed furnished with the work of 10 separate decorating teams. We tour the house, the barn and the grounds. The wrap party begins and the contractors and subs get a big thank you for a huge job well done.
This Old House's team goes to San Francisco to take on a unique project: the conversion of a 1906 church (lately a synagogue) into a home for Mark Dvorak, a store designer, and his fiancee Laurie Ann Bishop. A tour of the building reveals cavernous spaces, an institutional feel, dated systems, but a fantastic view of the Bay. The homeowners invite our host to their current apartment , full of striking furnishings they plan to set off against minimalist palette of finishes in the new building. Architect Barbara Chambers is the ideal professional to help on the project, living and working in a similarly minimalist home of her own design. At the church, she the homeowners thgrough a model of the proposed conversion, complete with a two-car garage in the basement, preserved chapel space, and kitchen, bath, and three bedrooms in the rear, two-story addition, formerly the synagogue offices. General contractor Dan Plummer check out the basement area, with its inadequate seismic enigneering,
The crew start the workday at the Powell Street cable car turntable, where cars are spun around by hand for the return trip over the Fisherman's Wharf. On site, general contractor Dan Plummer has three weeks of work to show: the woodwork in the chapel has been sanded, the baptismal fount has been filled with concrete for the new fireplace's foundation, and the entire rear addition has been gutted to the walls. The reason: termites. We meet exterminator Bill Pierce as he sprays down the plywood for the new subfloor with a borate solution; the new floor joists are of a pressure-treated Douglas fir that contains no arsenic or chromium, unlike conventional PT lumber. Richard sees a blown-in cellulose insulation treatment of the floor joist bays, while our host visits a Gap store that homeowner Mark Dvorak helped to design - the simple, monochromatic finishes are meant to push the clothes forward visually, and Mark and Laurie Ann plan a similar scheme for the church to highlight their furni
The show opens at a spectacular spot: the top of the north tower of the Golden Gate Bridge, 48 stories above the Bay. At the site, Richard Trethewey shows the recycling Dumpster - almost everything coming out of the job is reclaimed at a facility across the Bay. In the basement, Richard gets the underfloor heating story from Larry Luttrell, who is using a aluminum plates to direct the heat up through the chapel's old wood floor. Our host meets mason Jim Dayton, who explains the workings of a modern Rumford fireplace, while the master carpenter sees the framing work of Jim Pitcher and crew up on the second floor. Jim shows a rigid 3-4-5 framing square he's using, then we catch up with the window manufacturer's rep Glenn Eige to see the features of the new windows, including sound-deadening and infrared blocking. Richard visits a Berkley salvage yard where Mark and Laurie Ann have picked out some vintage fixtures, including two stunning lavatories. Back on the site, general contractor Da
The show opens with a walk through the magnificent Muir Woods, home of the coast redwood, the world's tallest tree. At the house, where general contractor Dan Plummer is dealing with yet another of heavy rain, we see the lighweight concrete mixed and poured over the kitchen's radiant floor tubing. Our host gets the rundown on the building's sprinkler system from installed Fred Benn, including a dramtic demostration. We visit the workshop of Peter Good in Oakland to see him building new exterior doors for the church - a matched pair for the front and a Dutch door for the side entrance. At the house, Jay Fenton shows the stainless steel flue he's installing above the new Rumford fireplace, while Dan Plummer and the team review the new stairs and the old-growth Douglas fir joist he's recycling into treads and risers.
The crew visits Coloma, California, where the Gold Rush began in 1848, to see Sutter's Mill and try their hands at panning for pay dirt. At the house, a break in the rainy weather means the crew can put up the new redwood siding, while inside Richard Trethewey helps plumber Jeff Deehan retrofit a vintage lavatory with a modern mixing faucet. Homeowner Laurie Ann Bishop shows us the transforing effect of the new windows in the chapel, and an energy consultant demonstrates their heat-retaining capabilities with a thermographic camera. In the basement, Richard discusses the new heating plant (a combination boiler and hot water tank) and the manifold system that will control the building's radiant floor heat. Our host accepts delivery of the church's custom exterior doors, and a cleverly disguised garage is installed.
Our host visits Alcatraz before heading off to the jobsite, where our master carpenter is hard at work installing the new front doors. First step: trimming them to fit the out-of-plumb opening. Progress in the chapel continues, with industrial halogen light fixtures being hung from the ceiling, while paint going over the dark waiscoting, and a cleft-slate surround gracing the Rumford firebox. Upstairs, the drywall has been treated with a bonding agent so that a two-coat finsh plaster can be applied, the result of a last-minute decision by the homeowners. A zero-clearance fireplace centers the master bedroom, and plumber Jeff Deehan wrestles with an old-wall-mount sink, retrofitting it with a foot-pedal-controlled faucet. Our master carpenter continues on his on his doors, using a mortice jig to position and installs the hinges. Homeowner Mark Dvorak accepts delivery of the kitchen cabinets he designed - built in a computer-controlled manufacturing facility run by Paul La Bruna. Finally
The final episode on the San Francisco project begins with a visit to the Marin County Civic Center, Frank Lloyd Wright's only government building. At the site, Richard joins our master carpenter to do a little gardening in the ten square feet of soil in front of the church, then Richard gets the rundown on homeowner Mark Dvorak's new front-loading washing machine, which saves 60% of the electricity and 40% of the water used by conventional top-loaders. Our master carpenter trims out a window using a wood fiber and resin composite material, while our host checks out the last-minute work in the chapel, including bottom-up privacy shades, a clean up with a backpack vacuum, and the staining of the floor with a very dark stain. The next day starts off with homeowner Laurie Ann Bishop having fingerprints read into the new security system. We catch up with general contractor Dan Plummer as he puts togehter his second-floor punchlist, Mark shows Richard the finished kitchen, and lighting desi