"I wasn't sure I could ever afford a house in Boston. I got really lucky," says Lanita Tolentino, the new owner of the left unit of this restored duplex in Roxbury. She grew up just a few blocks away. The 1870s Second Empire, like many older homes in the area, had sat vacant and in foreclosure until it was acquired by local nonprofit Nuestra Comunidad last year. That's when TOH TV stepped in to help. The show's pros spent last season gutting and transforming both spaces—making needed structural fixes as well—to enable Nuestra to put them on the market as affordable housing. Combining period elegance with an updated layout and modern, well-priced materials, Lanita's first home is a study in smart renovation tactics for anybody who's fixing up an old place.
Shown: Long-wearing exterior materials enhance its look and will minimize upkeep.