Season 13: London, England
1857 Late-Georgian Townhouse
This project premiered on PBS February 1992
Seven half-hour episodes; Programs #1120 - 1126
This Old House goes to London for its first overseas project. Our host meets with homeowners Jeremy and Carla Vogler—he's American, she's Australian—while our master carpenter visits their British contractor, David Booth, at one of his jobsites. With their realtor, we see two other flats the Voglers considered before buying the raw-space top floor of a circa 1850 townhouse, which they propose to open up and modernize. Our host visits an architect to discuss the planning permission necessary before the mansard roof can be altered or a roof deck put on.
Contractor David Booth introduces us to a "rag and bone" man who collects scrap from building sites with his cart and horse. David explains the elaborate scaffolding job and then takes us up to the flat, where the roof is off and bricklayers are extending the mansard sides. Our master carpenter arrives to give the British crew a lesson on pneumatic nailing, and he and David go off to The Building Centre, a showroom of building supplies and design ideas. At the flat, architect Trevor Clapp and homeowner Carla discuss the evolution of the flat's floorplan. Finally, our host and homeowner Jeremy tour a kitchen design shop.
The guys start the day with the English crew at breakfast. At the site, they inspect the new steel beam work with contractor, David Booth. Richard Trethewey goes through the flat and discusses the plans, and then takes viewers to Bath, site of Roman plumbing works around 2,000 years old. Our host catches up with homeowners Carla and Jeremy, who have just received news that they are over budget.
Our host visits the Tower of London and meets a Beefeater and one of the famous ravens. At the flat, site supervisor, Finn Hurley, updates us on framing and roofing progress. We then visit master thatcher Christopher White and get a lesson in this ancient roofing art. Our master carpenter visits a woodworking shop where the Voglers' new stairs will be made. Back at the flat, David Booth arrives with news that the local planning authority has said work must stop on the mansard extension so that they can review the proposed plan. A planning consultant adds his comments, and the homeowners are given the news.
Made-in-the-U.S.A. windows arrive by air freight on the site, where the council planner has given the Voglers three design options for making their front facade acceptable. David and the guys look at plastering in the master bedroom and dry rot treatment in the stairwell. They then take a trip to the country, where our master carpenter looks for some old columns at an antiques warehouse and our host tours an ancient mansion. Back at the flat, the guys look at new plasterboard nail guns and a convertible table saw, and Carla explains Jeremy's and her decision to move the steel structure back.
The show starts at an ancient stone circle on the Salisbury Plain, then we check progress on the site. Richard Trethewey explains the shower, pump and heating systems and introduces plumber Stan Newton. On the roof, David shows the single membrane weatherproofing system. Our master carpenter points out the features of the American custom windows, and then takes viewers to the workshop where the flat's kitchen furniture is being made.
Our master carpenter shows us the details of the new staircase leading up to the flat. Carla goes through the lighting plan for the entire flat. David Booth reviews the front wall and discusses the kitchen installation. Tiler Terry Harrow works in the master bathroom, while the guys inspect the hardwood flooring and trim and stainless steel hardware. We then visit the Thames Barrier. New steel beams are fitted in the front wall, and only a few feet away Jeremy looks at the recently installed kitchen. Design consultant Peter Leonard walks through the flat with Carla.