We’ve always been fans of the PBS series This Old House. But now that one of our very own fireplace mantels will be featured this season, we are absolutely glued to our television sets. Since we’re so proud of being a part of the show, we’ve decided to do episode recaps leading up to the episode that will feature our Amhurst Mantel. Here’s what happened on day one.
The Setting: Arlington, Massachusetts
The season’s first project is a house in Arlington, Massachusetts. This Boston suburb was founded in 1635. Originally it was a village called Menotomy located on Concord Road between Boston and Lexington. Revolutionary War buffs will recognize the name. The Battle of Menotomy is remembered as the bloodiest fighting on the first day of the war – April 19, 1775. Eleven Americans and two British were killed right in Arlington. The town is still very patriotic, and proud of the sacrifices it made to help win America’s freedom from Britain. Every April, townspeople stage a reenactment of the bloody battle. The patriotic citizens also claim that Samuel Wilson, perhaps the basis of the Uncle Sam character, was born in Arlington. An Uncle Sam statue stands proudly downtown.
Photo courtesy: Real Estate Boston
This season’s project house is a 2,344-square foot brown Arts & Crafts style house with white trim, built in 1909. It stands in a residential neighborhood with houses of similar vintage. As the cast of This Old House explains, Arts & Crafts was an architectural movement that strove to get away from the fancy details seen on Victorians. This particular house is more in line with the British than American Arts & Crafts style, with a Tudor influence apparent in the gables.
Nick and Emily Deldon grew up in Arlington. “This is a fantastic neighborhood,” Nick said as he showed the crew around. They bought the 1909 house in 2013, and live there with their four-year-old daughter and their 120-pound Newfoundland dog. Since the house sits on a half-acre, they felt there would be plenty of room for their daughter and dog to play.
So what does the crew plan to do to this house? A lot!
On episode one, master carpenter Norm Abram, landscape contractor Roger Cook, host Kevin O’Connor, general contractor Tom Silva and plumber/HVAC specialist Richard Trethewey took a good look at this Arlington home. They trod the three stories, the basement and the yard, and listened to Nick and Emily’s renovation dreams.
Some of the plans are pretty big, such as adding an addition to house a bigger kitchen and family room downstairs, and an additional bathroom upstairs. The current kitchen will become a pantry, laundry room and bathroom. Their daughter’s huge playroom will be the new kitchen.
Emily and Nick are also planning the smaller details, like restoring the bannister and newel post to a chunkier, craftier feel, as well as fixing the funky ceiling and crown molding in the dining room.
Our favorite plans, of course, have to do with fireplaces. Right now there’s a massive old brick fireplace in the living room. We can hardly wait for the crew to start on that. They’re also planning a second fireplace in the new family room. We have ideas for that, too.
Photo Courtesy: Real Estate Boston
Richard has plans for updating the antiquated heating system. When he’s done, he expects to cut the family’s $10,000 a year heating bill in half.
As Kevin summed it up, “It’s a lot of work, but a pretty good plan.”
We are already counting down the days until episode two.
Do you love This Old House? Does it inspire you to improve your own beloved abode? Tune in to the show on Saturdays this October and check your local listings for specific times. If you’re itching for a mantel update of your own, give us a call!