Episode Descriptions


Season 15: Belmont, MA
1907 Shingle-style Victorian
This project premiered on PBS
September 1993
18 half-hour episodes; Programs #1301-1318

Program #1301
The season starts in front of a magnificent example of Victorian architecture, then we visit the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities to learn more about the style. Then we arrive at our subject house, Dean and Lauren Gallant's 1907 Shingle-style Victorian. After a spin around the outside, we go in and meet the homeowners, who show us the rest of the house and discuss their plans for it. Richard Trethewey specialist checks out the systems and our master carpenter decides to have the siding checked at a lab to see if it contains asbestos.

Program #1302
The asbestos removal crew begins to strip the house of shingles, under the watchful eye of a state official. As a prelude, our master carpenter visits a lab to confirm that the shingles contain asbestos, while our host meets a doctor who confirms the health dangers of the fiber. Back at the house, the crew sets up pump-jack staging, and the Gallants talk about the estimate ($91,000) versus what they can afford ($80,000).

Program #1303
Our host visits a landfill engineered to accept hazardous waste, such as the asbestos off the side of the Gallants' house. Back at the house, Richard Trethewey helps Dean fix a leaky sink in the upstairs library, in preparation for setting up a temporary kitchen in the space while the old kitchen is demolished and rebuilt. Our master carpenter gives Dean and Lauren some help in removing the cabinets from the old kitchen, and they continue the job by pulling down plaster, lathe and blown-in insulation.

Program #1304
The guys meet Dean as he's removing damaged wood shingles, which have been revealed now that the asbestos siding is off. Earlier, our master carpenter and general contractor surveyed the building, assessing which shingles would need replacement, and gave Dean a lesson with a shingle ripper tool. The crew begins to patch in with new shingles, and Lauren describes her plans for the new kitchen so far. Finally, Dean begins to remove the old chimney, using an aerial lift to access it.

Program #1305
While the guys use a new airgun and lightweight nylon hose to shingle the base of one of the turrets, Dean reviews some options for rehabbing and improving the energy performance of the building's windows. We then visit a house where a company is installing insulated glass in old sashes, preserving the historic look of the house while modernizing its windows.

Program #1306
Dean tries out various ways of removing paint from the window casings—heat gun, heat plate, and chemical strippers. Upstairs, our master carpenter replaces the old window band moldings with new stock. Lauren and kitchen designer Phil Mossgraber use a model to take a walk through the proposed new kitchen. Then our host revisits last season's main project, the Graham Gund-designed redo of Jan and Brian Igoe's ranch.

Program #1307
Our host arrives to find the crew getting ready to frame up the gutted kitchen. First, though, the plumbing stack had to be moved; Richard Trethewey shows what's involved in such a project. Tom Silva explains how past work has compromised the framing system, and how he plans to insert a carrying beam and jack up the floor. Outside, homeowners Dean and Lauren strip the last bit of paint from an oval window frame using a caustic paste. Dean shows our host newly discovered rot on the porch walls, and the two discuss the idea of putting wood shingles on the front slope of the roof. Dean visits a jobsite to see the details of shingling over an eyebrow window. The window crew begins refitting the old windows with insulating glass, and our host helps the crew put in the engineered lumber beam in the kitchen.

Program #1308
Our master carpenter rides a horse into the Washakie Wilderness in northwestern Wyoming, where US Forest Service carpenters are repairing, with hand tools only, a National Historic Register log cabin.

Program #1309
Our host visits an eight-color historically accurate paint job west of Boston, under the supervision of SPNEA's Andrea Gilmore. Andrea comes to the Belmont house to advise homeowner Lauren Gallant about the paint colors she's considering. The guys critique the trim details on the porch, which has been poorly repaired and patched over the years. Using inference and a turn-of-the-century architectural pattern book, they make an educated guess as to what the original look must have been.Richard Trethewey helps plumber Maura Russell work on the PVC piping in the new laundry room, then he and our host meet up with plumber Christine Ernst in the basement.

Program #1310
Our master carpenter gives us a tip on hiding nails when shingling, while our general contractor builds a cedar and fir deck for the new back entry. Out on the front porch, our master carpenter begins replacing the old, "wrong" square columns with new round ones, choosing between polymer/fiberglass/marble columns and traditional wood ones. Going with the wooden ones, he primes them with alkyd, coats the interior with a tripolymer sealant and uses vented, polyurethane caps and bases. Then we take a trip to the Jimmy Carter Habitat for Humanity Work Project in Winnipeg, Canada.

Program #1311
In a big day at the jobsite, arborist Matt Foti and his crew cut down four conifers that had been hiding the house and keeping it damp. In the kitchen, the crew installs new true-divided-light windows, while on the roof Jim Normandin is beginning to lay on the new wood shingles. Finally, in preparation for the paint job, painter Lou DiSanto and crew powerwash the building.

Program #1312
We meet electrician Our host Russell, who is completing the rough wiring in the kitchen. Lighting designer Melissa Guenet reveals her plan for lighting the kitchen and new bathroom, while outside Larry Torti and his crew lay down an old-style macadam driveway. Up on the roof, our master carpenter and roofer Jim Normandin carefully shingle over the eyebrow window.

Program #1313
We arrive to see the new paint colors going up, while Tom Silva continues to re-detail the porch trim with proper fascia and wood gutters. Meanwhile, our master carpenter visits the island of Martha's Vineyard to see the country's oldest carousel and a full-blown historic restoration of an 1891 Queen Anne. Back at the house, kitchen designer Phil Mossgraber and homeowner Lauren Gallant show us their choices for kitchen countertops, cabinets and flooring. Finally, arborist Matt Foti gives the old oak a fall feeding.

Program #1314
Our host meets landscape contractor Roger Cook as he and his crew install a plastic drywell in the cramped space next to the garage. Homeowner Dean Gallant insulates beneath the kitchen floor, using breathable poly-wrapped insulation, which is easier to handle than the unwrapped product. In the kitchen, the crew has insulated both the exterior walls and some interior partitions (for sound transmission reduction) and put up a tough, cross-laminated vapor barrier that won't rip during the rough and tumble of drywall installation. At the rear of the kitchen, our master carpenter puts in the new back door. We meet historic interiors expert Susan Hollis, who is advising Lauren Gallant as to the proper Arts and Crafts-style wallpapers and lighting fixtures to use. Finally, our host visits the stained-glass workshop of Peter Mattison and Charles Billings, who are repairing the damaged windows from the Gallants' house.

Program #1315
Our host arrives to find the crew putting down a rubber membrane roof on the garage, while homeowner Dean Gallant helps Roger Cook lay a concrete block terrace outside the new back door. Meanwhile, artisans Peter Mattison and Charles Billings install the leaded glass windows they've repaired. We then travel to the Mark Twain House in Hartford, CT, a perfectly restored Victorian. Back at the site, homeowner Lauren Gallant is hard at work cleaning up the dust left from tearing down her sand-finish ceilings, which have been redone to a glasslike smoothness by the wallboard/plaster crew. Our host meets them in the kitchen, where they've used a fiberglass backer board around the perimeter for the tile backsplashes. He sees the device they use to lift drywall panels up to the ceiling, and watches as the brown base and veneer top plaster coats go down.

Program #1316
Our master carpenter checks out the new retractable awnings, while our host meets storm window installers who are protecting the leaded glass with custom units. Inside the house, Sarai Stenquist and her assistant Bruce Vivia put up a complex ceiling of wallpaper, and we take a tour of the California studio where the paper is made.

Program #1317
Our host arrives to find the crew finishing off the last of the porch's historic details, which it was able to duplicate thanks to a home movie provided by a previous owner. Charlie installs a new downspout with an improved fastening device. Inside, Tom Silva and master carpenter have hung the new kitchen cabinets, Jeff Hoskings has restored kitchen and living space floors, and tilers Joe and Chuck Ferrante are beginning the countertops, using a new tile backer board and handmade Arts-and-Crafts style tiles. Finally, we watch as an authentic linoleum floor goes down in the mudroom.

Program #1318
The final days. Our host arrives to find Don Franklin of DeAngelis Iron Work installing a new railing on the front stairs, while inside lighting designer Melissa Guenet shows him her completed work in the new powder room and kitchen. Our master carpenter checks out the new garage door with dual safety reversal features. Plumber Maura Russell and Richard Trethewey go over the new bath china, kitchen sinks and recycled radiators. The next day, Lauren shows off the new Arts-and-Crafts style lighting fixture hanging in the arcade, and we take a tour of the Shingle-style house where the craftsman who made it works and lives. Back in the arcade, historic interiors expert Susan Hollis and carpet merchant John Burroughs unroll a period carpet that provides the final touch to the room. In the kitchen, designer Phil Mossgraber gives us a final tour, pointing out appliances and finishes. Next stop: Hawaii.