The Winchester House; The Lake Forest Dream Kitchen
Host Steve Thomas recreates a homeward commute from the 1920s, returning by train to Winchester, Massachusetts, a town that retains much of its original early 1900s character. Waiting for him at the station is master carpenter Norm Abram in a classic Ford Model A ""Woody."" A short drive through town brings them to a 1922 Colonial Revival home in a charming neighborhood known as the ""Flats."" Steve steps out back door to find new homeowner (and master gardener) Kim Whittemore pruning perennials. Their tour of the first floor reveals a tired but well-maintained house in need of updating. Meanwhile, general contractor Tom Silva, Norm and plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey search for trouble spots. Convinced that the home has ""good bones"" and needs primarily only surface work, Steve and Norm seal the deal with new homeowners Kim Whittemore and Bruce Leasure welcoming them to the This Old House Family.
Host Steve Thomas checks in with general contractor Tom Silva and painting contractor Jim Clark, who are busy testing means by which to strip nearly 30 layers of lead-based paint from the exterior of the house. In the backyard, landscape contractor Roger Cook shows homeowner Kim Whittemore how to properly ball and burlap several trees and shrubs, moving them to safety before construction begins. Looking to enlist the help of a good architect, Steve meets project architect David Stirling, whose firm has worked on some 120 houses in Winchester; they tour a beautiful home he designed from the ground up. Later, back at the project house, they meet up with homeowner Bruce Leasure to sketch out some solutions for the master suite.
Master carpenter Norm Abram arrives on site to find the demo crew suspended over the roof dismantling the top of the unused kitchen chimney. Architect David Stirling and homeowner Kim Whittemore look at the latest plans for expanding the kitchen and improving flow on the first floor. Meanwhile, landscape contractor Roger Cook meets with entomologist Bob Childs to explore ways to save the property's signature hemlocks from a potentially fatal infestation of woolly adelgids, which have been attacking forests up and down the East Coast.
Host Steve Thomas lends carpenter Charlie Silva a hand in slowly jacking up the second floor, then general contractor Tom Silva glues and bolts reinforcing LVLs to the damaged floor joists. Plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey arrives to drain the heating system and disconnect the old radiators. In the kitchen, homeowner Kim Whittemore and a friend take down the chimney brick by brick. The next day, some unwanted trees are cut ""up"" rather than cut down, as they are chain-sawed apart and lifted piece by piece out of the backyard with the help of a large crane.
It's time to begin excavation on the new Kitchen foundation! Excavater Jeff Dervin brings in a backhoe to knock down the back entry porch. In the basement, master carpenter Norm Abram and general contractor Tom Silva jackhammer through the floor to install footings for a new steel support column. Architect David Stirling presents homeowners Bruce Leasure and Kim Whittemore with a new layout for the master suite, and landscape contractor Roger Cook invites host Steve Thomas and Kim to see a nearby vintage greenhoue for inspiration.
Contractor Mark Dimeo uses a 30"" diamond blade to cut a new doorway into the existing basement foundation. Host Steve Thomas checks in with painting contractor Jim Clark to see how a new non-toxic chemical paint stripper is working on the multiple layers of exterior paint. Architect David Stirling and homeowner Kime Whittemore discuss strategies to deal with the house's asymmetric roof dormers. Then, Steve and Kim go shopping for the new addition's windows.
Master carpenter Norm Abram shows host Steve Thomas the new foundation for the kitchen addition and explains how to properly anchor it to the old foundation. General contractor Tom Silva and his crew begin demolition on the rotted sections of the sun porch, and Norm explains why they should salvage the roof to save both time and money. Down the street, Steve and homeowner Kim Whittemore visit a recently renovated sun porch, kitchen and media room for design ideas. In the master suite, plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey lays out a plan for the rough plumbing.
Chimney specialist Mark Schaub meets up with host Steve Thomas in the Winchester living room and shows him why the chimney is smoking, with the help of a diagnostic ""fluecam."" In the kitchen, general contractor Tom Silva shows master carpenter Norm Abram and Steve how he reinforced the framing of the kitchen addition with engineered lumber and steel. Recalling the issue of the cantilevered second floor, Steve takes a look at a major renovation of perhaps the most famous cantilever in the country, that of Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater. Back at the project house, Steve lends Tom and Norm a hand on the deck structure for the new sun porch.
Host Steve Thomas finds homeowner Kim Whittemore experimenting with Colonial Revival paint colors on the front of the Winchester house. For further ideas, they travel with building conservation specialist Andrea Gilmore to see a classic Colonial Revival that is a high expression of the style. Plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey plans a radiant heat solution for keeping the exterior concrete basement stairs ice-free. In a side story, Steve visits a local museum dedicated to Winchester resident and photographer Arthur Griffin, noted for his legendary work with baseball's Ted Williams, and master carpenter Norm Abram takes homeowner Bruce Leasure through a variety of roofing options to replace the house's tired asphalt shingles.
Host Steve Thomas arrives at the Winchester house to find a surpirse in the backyard: the house to the rear is fully exposed now that the neighbors have cut down additional hemlocks. A few miles away, master carpenter Norm Abram takes a look at a real estate development success story - a 1950's ranch has been torn down and replaced by a brand new Colonial Revival handcrafted to feel like an old home. In the Winchester basement, general contractor Tom Silva shows Norm and Steve the adjustments made to help reroute traffic around the future media room instead of through it, and chimney specialist Mark Sucaub uses a centrifugal hammer to break up the ailing chimney's old flue.
The Winchester kitchen addition is nearly complete, and general contractor Tom Silva installs the last of the new historically accurate double-hung windows on the sun porch. In the kitchen, mineral wool - an old-style insulation known for its fire resistance and sound deadening capabilities, now revamped for the residential market - is sprayed into the walls. Custom cabinetmaker Jeff Peavy lays out the design and material choices for the kitchen, and roofing contractor Tom Evarts shows master carpenter Norm Abram his crew's project: architectural asphalt for the main roof, and flat-seam lead-coated copper for the addition. Plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey shows host Steve Thomas the new plastic water supply lines, and the heating and cooling system, supplied by flexible 4"" ducts.
Using a 70"" tree spade mounted on a front-end loader, landscape contractor Roger Cook and arborist Matt Foti remove a healthy (but poorly located) blue spruce from a front yard in a nearby town and replant it in Winchester to begin the process of screening the backyard. To help with decision-making in the media room, host Steve Thomas and homeowner Burce Leasure visit a house that has both a high-end theater in the basement and a more modest media room on the first floor. Back at the project house, plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey shows Steve three polyethylene tanks that will sotre 1,125 gallons of harvested rainwater for reuse in the garden. Master carpenter Norm Abram takes a trip to Vermont to visit coppersmith Larry Stearns who is busy building a ""This Old House"" weathervane.
With the weather turning cooler, Steve finds painting contractor Jim Clark under pressure to finish the exterior painting. On the third floor, Norm learns that Tom is off the job having emergency knee surgery due to a recent injury. With Tom out of commission, foreman John Sheridan gives Norm an update on what's left to do. Steve joins interior designer Manuel de Santaren to see how his firm designed the living room of a similar Colonial Revival. Manuel's partner, Carolina Tress-Balsbaugh, meets Steve and homeowner Kim Whittemore at the project house to present their design ideas for our living room. Flooring contractor Patrick Hunt discovers three different species of wood flooring used throughout the hosue - heart pine, beech, and oak - and shows Norm how to use a router to nearly patch holes left by the old radiators. In the backyard, Steve finds that Roger has planted a small forest of spruce and white pine to provide shade and privacy.
Steve arrives to find Roger out front hauling away the last of the dismantled driveway. Inside, Steve finds a recovering Tom Silva, fresh from surgery and walking with a cane, but back on the job. Tom shows Steve an extruded polystyrene crown molding that is affixed only with joint compound, not nails. In the kitchen, soapstone installer Glenn Bowman shows Norm how his crew customizes soapstone counters on site. In a side trip to the Vermont woods, Glenn shows Steve how he is prospecting for deposits of soapstone in a long-abandoned quarry. In the garage, Stev finds Dave Hahn installing sectional overhead garage doors designed to look like original 1920's swingout doors.
Steve visits Middlesex Fells Reservation - a 3-mile by 3-mile park shared by five suburban towns North of Boston - and climbs Wright's Tower to take in the cityscape and some vibrant autumnal views. Back in Winchester, Steve helps Roger Cook and concrete contractor Syd March pour and trowel the new front walk. Custom cabinetmaker Jeff Peavey shows Steve the unique features of the newly installed kitchen cabinets. Outside, Tom shows Steve how to properly measure for storm windows. In a side story, Norm finds a custom storm window company in Connecticut that will plant aluminum storms to match any color trim. Under pressure to get the heat on down in the basement, Richard shows Steve what's new with radiant heat, and how he plans to heat three different types of floors with three distinct radiant zones. Tom and Norm carry out the architect's plan for elaborate pyramidal mahogany stairs off the sun porch.
With Steve away on assignment, Norm arrives to find Roger unloading and inspecting the last delivery from the garden center. On the sun porch floor, tiling contractor Joe Ferrante shows Norm how to apply grout around the new 12-inch by 12-inch Chinese slate tiles. Meanwhile, Steve and interior designer Carolina Tress-Balsbaugh visit a boutique in Boston that has been manufacturing custom lampshades for 150 years. Things heat up in the master bath as Richard tries out the new steam shower, then shows Norm how it works. Painting contractor Jim Clark demonstrates tips and techniques for prepping and painting the interior of the house, and flooring contractor Pat Hunt installs a new floating oak floor in the master suite. In the backyard, Roger shows Kim how creative landscaping can conceal the external air conditioning condensers.
In the second-to-last show, Steve and homeowner Kim Whittemore test-drive the new stainless steel appliances. Norm meets fencing contractor Mark Bushway to admire the entire custom package: a driveway gate (make to look like the 1920s original) perimeter fence, arbor and pergola, and a new plastic fence post system designed to prevent insect damage and rot. Steve visits a nearby upholstery shop to see several of Kim's chairs, just shipped in from Alabama, being stripped, repaired, and reupholstered. Closet system designer Marcy Weisburgh shows Steve how she designed the master closet to accommodate both a window and a steam generator for the adjacent bathroom. Electrician Allen Gallant installs a five-arm Colonial Revival chandelier made by a mail order company that builds to order and delivers directly to the job site. Tom and carpenter Jason Wood line the walls with cost-effective built-in bookshelves, made from MDF and popular laminate.
In the final show, Steve checks out the new garage storage system, including diamond-plated cabinets, toolboxes, and adaptable ""gear walls."" Window treatment specialist Kevin Murphy shows Steve the custom shades and drapes ordered by mail, and A/V expert Mike Smith shows him an ""out of the box"" media room solution that won't break the bank. Roger literally lays the groundwork for a lush new lawn next spring with a three-layer customizable grass seed mat. Norm and coppersmith Larry Stearns install a TOH weathervane atop the finished garage, while Steve test-drives some high-tech toys for the new home office. Moments before the wrap party begins, interior designer Carolina Tress-Balsbaugh reveals her multi-textured interior design for the sunroom, living room and dining room.
For the first time ever, This Old House let viewers choose the project. A nationwide Dream Kitchen search culminated in an online vote, with the Smith family of Lake Forest, Illinois, garnering the most votes. The challenge: Find more space in an old, cramped kitchen so homeowners Mike and Heidi Smith and their 5-year-old triplets can cook and eat in comfort. Plans for the 1928 Tudor include installing new custom cabinets and appliances, relocating an ill-placed powder room, and turning an old greenhouse into a new eating area at the front of the house. To allow the family to live in the house during the renovation, Richard Trethewey helps sets up a temporary kitchen on the sun porch, while Norm and Steve discuss design options with project architect John Krasnodebski. To contain dust and debris during demolition, the kitchen is sealed off from the rest of the house.
The day begins in Lake Forest's historic Market Square. Built in 1916 by Chicago architect Howard Van Doren Shaw, the square is America's first drive-up shopping center. Back at the project house, demolition is already a distant memory as project manager Jim Eimerman shows Norm and Steve the plumbing and electrical rough-in, the new bath stripped and reframed, and the brickwork associated with moving windows underway. Steve and homeowner Heidi Smith visit a converted 1920's carriage house belonging to design/builder Kris Boyaris and her husband, architect John Krasnodebski. Steve and John discuss the challenges of squeezing a powder room into a former dead space along the hallway. Demolition has revealed several pipes wrapped in asbestos, so Norm catches up with an asbestos abatement team to see an alternative to removal: stabilization and containment.
The Lake Forest project is well under way as Norm works in his temporary garage workshop making the bracketed posts to be used on the breakfast room's exterior. Steve meets up with project manager Jim Eimerman for an update: a dip in the floor has been addressed with a steel beam in the basement and the floor resheathed with plywood; new windows have arrived; a new concrete floor has been poured in the breakfast room; and the drywall is up. In a flashback, Norm sees polyurethane foam insulation blown into the walls. Steve and Heidi visit kitchen designer Eileen Thurnauer at a showroom in Hinsdale, Illinois, not far from the airport. Back on East Atteridge, Heidi puts some countertop materials through a stress test and Norm, Jim, and Steve work to install the posts and beam on the front section of the breakfast room.
Steve and Norm arrive in Lake Forest to find local carpenters braving the cold, crafting custom cedar siding for the exterior of the kitchen addition. In the former greenhouse, Richard shows Steve how he saved the homeowners valuable real estate by putting radiant heat under the floors, and in the walls of the new eating area. Local historian Paul Bergmann shows Steve a shoreline mansion built in 1911 by one of Chicago's top architects, Benjamin Marshall. A reminder of a bygone era, it's for sale for $25 million. Project manager Jim Eimerman shows Norm the new steel beam in the basement, added to level out and support the kitchen floor above, and how the solution to this problem was the cause of another: the floor jacking caused substantial cracks in the plaster in other parts of the house.
With temperatures hovering near zero, Steve brings Tom Silva to Lake Forest for the first time. Before heading to the project house, they decide to check up on project manager Jim Eimerman at one of the other jobs that he is running. Architect John Krasnodebski shows Steve and Tom a few ways to minimize the transition from drywall to brick in the new eating area. Steve tells Tom about a visit he and Norm made to Chicago's Museum of Science & Industry to see planes, trains, and a captured German submarine from World War II. In the Dream Kitchen, the new prefinished oak floor is installed as homeowner Heidi Smith and interior designer Suzanne Cederlund reveal the emerging plan for the kitchen design.
Steve visits the Charles Glore House in Lake Forest to see what it's like to live in a house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Built in 1951, the Prairie style house's ongoing renovation is a labor of love for its current owner. Back at the project house, the cabinets have arrived in record time, and Norm recalls a recent visit to the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country to see them being constructed and finished. In the front hall, painting conrtactor Ben Evangelista begins repairing the cracks in the plaster caused by jacking the kitchen floor. As promised, it is a quick fix with tape, mud and texturing. With only two weeks to go, project manager Jim Eimerman says he's already working weekends, but predicts he'll finish the job on time.
On the way to the Lake Forest job site, Steve visits a stone fabrication shop to see where our Dream Kitchen countertops (an Italian sandstone known as Pietra del Cardoso) came from. Jim Kapcheck, a fourth-generation countertop fabricator, shows Steve what's hot in countertops and how his shop combines automation with hand-craftsmanship. At the job site, with only six working days left to go, project manager Jim Eimerman gives Steve a rundown of his punchlist. The countertops go in, Steve lends a hand setting the cast iron farm sink, and Richard installs an elaborate faucet system containing a retractable sprayer head and an undercover water filtration unit.
After only 12 short weeks, the Dream Kitchen is complete, and Heidi Smith and the triplets are already moved in and cooking up treats for the wrap party. Steve sees how a decorative painter treated the inside of the new kitchen cabinets and learns how a new control device will coordinate over 40 individual lights to create different lighting ""scenes"" for the kitchen. Acclaimed Chicago chef Rick Bayless arrives to take the new kitchen for a test drive and to answer the question ""How does a pro cook at home?"", shows Steve the inviting, functional kitchen he created in his house on Chicago's North Side. Homeowner Mike Smith reveals that the job cost around $85,000 - which doesn't include all the donated products. In the real world, such a transformation would have been $200,000 and taken much longer. As the wrap party begins, Steve and Norm commend all involved on a job well done and heartily agree that from location to contractors to homeowners this was a ""dream"" project indeed.