Episode Descriptions


Season 14: Lexington, MA
1950s Ranch
This project premiered on PBS
September, 1992
20 half-hour episodes; Programs #1201-1220

Program #1201
The new season starts off with a visit to the Haggers at Kirkside in Wayland. The lawn has come in, and the place looks great. Then it's off to Newton, where a developer has found it economically sound to buy up tired little ranches and upgrade them radically—the idea the show will explore this season. In Lexington, our host meets Brian and Jan Igoe, and their children Brennan and Sarah, in the ranch house they've lived in for the past nine years. They want to expand it, and the crew agrees that the basic structure is sound and can be added onto without the need for repair first. The guys tell the Igoes they'll help them on their project.

Program #1202
We meet architect Graham Gund in his offices at Bulfinch Square, a historic complex he restored. After a tour of the offices, Graham takes our host to look at a house he designed in the Massachusetts countryside. He agrees to take on the redesign of the Igoes' ranch. Meanwhile, our master carpenter investigates a new style of insulated concrete foundation forms. At the ranch, architect Rick Bechtel discusses the Igoes' wish list with them.

Program #1203
Architect Graham Gund reveals his plans for the Igoes' ranch, using a model and drawings. The crew begins to file for a building permit and to figure material and labor costs using a computer program. Meanwhile, our host takes viewers back to London to see Jeremy and Carla Vogler in their now-complete flat.

Program #1204
Our host catches up with homeowners Jan and Brian Igoe, urging them to vacate the premises before the demolition begins. The guys discuss the strategy of laying down fiberboard to protect the house's oak floors during construction. Tom Silva tracks down Richard Trethewey to find out how he plans to heat the new addition. We meet foundation contractor Ken Lewis hard at work digging the front bump-out's footings and learn about the Dig Safe program. (Ken hits an unmarked water pipe. ) Then we take a look at the foundation hole for the new addition. A concrete cutter puts a doorway through the old foundation wall to connect with the new cellar. Graham Gund and Rick Bechtel disuss continuing design changes to the new addition.

Program #1205
Arborist Matt Foti and crew remove a large swamp maple from the site. Tom Silva takes us to see another, simpler ranch expansion he did in a nearby town. Back at the site, our master carpenter and host discuss the new polystyrene insulating foundation forms Ken Lewis is installing; then the concrete is pumped over the house and into the completed forms. Later, our host checks in to see the slab poured and termiticide applied to the new foundation's perimeter.

Program #1206
Lumber arrives on the site, and mason Lenny Belleveau applies a hard cement coating to the above-grade portion of the styrofoam foundation forms. Architect Graham Gund leads a tour of Church Court, an adaptive reuse project where a burnt-out church was transformed into a condominium.

Program #1207
With the roof demolished, the crew begins to deck over the new second floor. The addition is decked over, and our master carpenter and architect Rick Bechtel discuss plans for the new front entrance. Our host talks with homeowner Brian Igoe about his new chimney, and then tours a ranch renovation in a nearby town.

Program #1208
With framing well underway, homeowner Jan Igoe gives our host a tour of the developing spaces inside the house. He then talks to framing specialist Gil Straujups, who has been hired to speed the job along. Richard Trethewey supervises the removal of the house's underground oil tank. In the new mudroom, our master carpenter shows us how he is attaching closet sills to the concrete floor. Then architect Rick Bechtel takes us on a tour of a nearby housing development where the homes are historically inspired.

Program #1209
Homeowners Brian and Jan tour the house and see how the kitchen ceiling has been removed. Landscape architect Tom Wirth visits the site and accepts the challenge of reworking the approach to the house's front entrance. Upstairs, Tom Silva shows us some new ventilation chutes he's using, as well as an engineered wood trim. Then we visit timber-framer Tedd Benson at a jobsite on Squam Lake, New Hampshire, and see Tedd and his crew fabricate scissor trusses for the Igoes' great space.

Program #1210
The timber trusses are craned into place in the new addition, with stressed-skin panels following to form the new roof. Tom Wirth arrives to show us two alternatives for the new entrance's landscaping, and inside Richard Trethewey demonstrates how the waste pipes were modified to handle the two new bathrooms. The guys examine the architectural shingles that are going on the new roof.

Program #1211
The crew prepares an opening to accept a new window. Housewrap is discussed, and inside our general contractor demonstrates how he is trimming out the windows with engineered wood trim. Upstairs, our host discusses various parts of the library's design with Brian and Jan, and we see how mason Lenny Belleveau built the library's fireplace. We then meets Todd Dumas, who is putting the copper valleys onto the building. Our host shows the ridge vents that are part of the roof venting system, then catches up with electrician Paul Kennedy, who shows the mix of new and old wiring he's facing.

Program #1212
Our host arrives on site to discover stone mason Roger Hopkins at work on the new landscaping. Landscape architect Tom Wirth explains the evolution of the winning plan. Inside, homeowner Brian Igoe is painstakingly back-priming all the vertical cedar siding, while the guys struggle to make the mitred corners on the redwood clapboards match up. Our host takes viewers on a tour of the factory where the windows were built. Back at the site, roofer Todd Dumas and his assistant Rusty put a standing-seam copper roof on one of the great room's bays. Inside, the guys discuss a piece of built-in furniture the architect has specified for the great room.

Program #1213
Work continues on the front landscaping, and Tom Wirth gives us an update on the layout. Inside, Richard Trethewey shows us the plastic tubing that has made rough plumbing proceed quickly. Stone mason Roger Hopkins is proceeding, with granite steps going in and a concrete slab poured at the front entrance. At the workshop, our master carpenter fabricates the columns architect Graham Gund has designed for the front entrance. Then we tour a Gund project outside St. Louis.

Program #1214
Our host catches up with Graham Gund as the architect discusses design issues with Jan Igoe. Meanwhile, our master carpenter tours the US Forest Service's Forest Products Lab, where wood is tested and evaluated. Back on site, Richard Trethewey guides us through the process of installing a whirlpool tub, while Jan continues to insulate the building. Kitchen and bath designer Glenn Berger shows off the layout of the new kitchen.

Program #1215
The job has suddenly taken a turn for the better, thanks in part to the homeowners' cleanup efforts. The crew installs the double front door, and electrician Paul Kennedy shows us the centralized audio/video/telephone wiring system he's installing. Our master carpenter continues his visit to the Forest Products Lab, where he sees recycled wood and paper technology. Back at the site, blueboard is going up in the great room, and landscaper Roger Cook goes to dig up a "pre-owned" tree for use in the Igoes' front yard.

Program #1216
After a major snowstorm, we arrive on site to find the granite steps installed and Herb Brockert's grading work in the backyard complete. Our master carpenter puts in the columns at the front entrance. Then we check in with Richard Trethewey, who explains the placement of the new oil tank in the garage. Upstairs, the plasterers are hard at work, patching a section of the old living room ceiling with drywall compound and applying veneer plaster along a curved section under the new staircase. Tom Silva installs extension jambs in the great room's windows, while in the basement the man who cut a hole in the foundation returns to try to smooth out the slab. Finally, Glenn Berger gives a tour of the kitchen as the cabinets begin to go in.

Program #1217
Roger Hopkins puts in the last pieces of the front stairs: flagging made from "scrap" granite. Inside, lighting designer Melissa Guenet gives a tour of the lights going into the new great room and kitchen. Upstairs, a fiberglass repair is done on the damaged whirlpool tub, while radiant heating tube goes in on the floor of the great room. At the workshop, our master carpenter works on the carcass and inlaid panels of the Igoes' new entertainment center. Back at the house, Glenn Berger shows some of the other storage cabinets he's installing around the house; the plasterers continue their work in the library; and tiler Joe Ferrante begins tiling the master bath.

Program #1218
We visit an iron fabrication shop to see how the front railings are being put together. Back at the house, a marble counter top is fitted into the kitchen, while manmade counters and a shower stall are fabricated on site. Roger Cook drops by with the pre-owned tree and plants it. Our master carpenter trims out a dormer window, and we check out the progress on the tiling. In the great room, Glenn Berger shows us a hutch made from kitchen cabinet pieces. In the mudroom, Joe Ferrante installs a heavy-traffic tile made from recycled glass.

Program #1219
Our host meets up with Jan Igoe to discuss the inadvisability of doing patches in the old floors. In the great room, Jeff Hosking and crew install a floating strip floor system, while our master carpenter continues work on the entertainment center at the workshop. Back at the house, Tom Silva is installing maple stair treads and woodworker Pike Noyes presents the handcarved "dollop" newel he made in his shop. Upstairs, Glenn Berger talks about his custom cherry bookshelves, and Roger Hopkins fits in the granite hearthstone. In the master bedroom, we see Paul Kennedy install a stereo speaker and check up on Corian progress in the bathroom.

Program #1220
The home stretch. The guys arrive with the entertainment center, and meet up with architect Rick Bechtel, who is starting his own firm. Tom Silva installs prefabricated cherry-veneer panelling in the library, while a mirror and glass shower doors go into the master bath. Sarai Stenquist works on Sarah Igoe's wallpaper, and Don Martini shows our host the security system.