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"This Old House" Announces Scandinavian Redesign and Cottage Remodel

Monday Apr 23, 2012
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CONCORD, Mass. - The Emmy® Award-winning PBS home improvement series This Old House® has selected a 19th-century Victorian-era home in the city of Cambridge, Mass., and a woodland cottage circa 1935 in rural Essex, Mass., as its latest renovation projects for the upcoming 33rd national season.

The locations represent a city-and -country theme and provide fresh, new angles that are remarkably different and, in some ways even contrasting. The Cambridge Project will showcase a renovation for a young family in a bustling urban setting while The Essex Project is a quiet country cottage that will be transformed into a universally accessible living space for aging parents.

The This Old House Cambridge Project, featuring 15 brand-new episodes, premieres nationally on PBS in October 2012 (check www.thisoldhouse.com/tvschedule or your local listings). The Essex Project, featuring 11 episodes, premieres January 2013. Viewers will be able to watch full new This Old House episodes Sundays after each show premieres atwww.thisoldhouse.com/watchTOH.

"We have two major remodels this season, each conceived by a homeowner with a very clear vision," says host Kevin O’Connor. "Whether you’re a city person or prefer the calm of the country, our viewers will find aspects to love about both the stylish family home in Cambridge and the accessible in-law cottage in Essex."

The first project sits in the densely packed urban neighborhood of Avon Hill in Cambridge. Homeowners Sally and John, along with their two young daughters, must preserve the exterior of their 1887 Victorian-era former two-family house to comply with conservation district standards. Inside, however, they will eliminate decades of 1960s and ’70s remodeling that has already stripped much of the house’s historic character.

The result will be a brand-new house within the shell of an old one - an open, modern, bright Scandinavian style home with the kitchen, dining, and living area on the first floor, the kids’ bedrooms on the second floor, and a grand master suite in the third-floor attic space. Sally and John selected architect Marcus Gleysteen who will employ a crisp, clean design, white-on-white details, and accents of natural wood to evoke a Scandinavian-modern feel.

Beyond the design of the Cambridge Project, the This Old House crew will be deconstructing the interior and will be re-using, recycling and reselling as much of the salvaged material as possible. They will be working with EcoBuilding Bargains, a non-profit, to resell much of the salvage.

They also will be replacing the electrical and plumbing systems, adding air conditioning for the first time, and upgrading the heating system and insulation to be more energy efficient.

The Cambridge Project will showcase a renovation for a young family in a bustling urban setting while The Essex Project is a quiet country cottage that will be transformed into a universally accessible living space for aging parents.

For the second half of the season, This Old House travels north to the marshes, farms, and woodland hills of Essex, Mass., to help a family renovate a cottage in the woods as an in-law house for their parents. The modest 1935s "Hansel-and-Gretel" style cottage has been neglected over the years and homeowners Julie and John want to restore the original character of the home, while creating an eclectic and universally accessible interior intended for aging parents - where first floor living is enhanced by views of the rocky outcroppings and dense forests in the area.

The homeowners chose architect Sally DeGan and her team at SpaceCraft Architecture, Inc., to bring the rooflines of the house into harmony, while adding a small addition for a new kitchen, a four-season porch, and master bathroom and bedroom on the first floor, all connected by an open floor plan. While the three-bedroom home has two bedrooms and a bath upstairs for caregivers or grandchildren, the new design will allow residents to live entirely on the first floor.

This Old House general contractor Tom Silva will keep the look and feel of this woodland cottage by using cedar shingles, casement windows, and a metal roof for aesthetics and durability. The natural stone from the property will be used to create a veneer for the foundation. There is quite a bit of overgrowth around the cottage, which means a path in and out of the house will have to be created along with an enlarged parking court. Outdated plumbing and heating systems will get a much-needed upgrade as well.

"We have two completely different projects this season that are each relevant and exciting in its own way," says senior series producer, Deborah Hood. "From Scandinavian design in the city to universal design in the country, we hope these projects will offer good ideas, solid information, and plenty of inspiration for our audience."

Show producers found the properties in Cambridge and Essex after an exhaustive search, which included extensive outreach to the local building/architectural community and a public call for entries in late 2011/early 2012. That search yielded several hundred submissions.

Live, 24/7 progress of the Cambridge and Essex projects will be available in the coming days on thisoldhouse.com/webcams. Visitors to www.thisoldhouse.com also will be able to access other special features, such as a "before and after" photo gallery, project overview, products and services information, and a time-lapse archive of the projects’ progress.

Readers of the blog oldhousemyhouse.thisoldhouse.com/ will get frequent behind-the-scenes updates on the projects from the homeowners and show producers.

Viewers also can become fans of This Old House on Facebook or follow the show on Twitter.

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