Episode Descriptions


Season 14: Miami
1917 mediterranean Revival
This project premiered on PBS
February, 1993
Six half-hour episodes; Programs #1221-1226

Program #1221
The crew heads to storm-stricken Miami, Florida, in search of a house to fix up. After seeing one that is too big a job for six short shows, they find a 1917 Mediterranean Revival-style home that was directly in the path of hurricane Andrew, surviving structurally intact but with significant water damage. Our master carpenter meets contractors Rich Groden and Brian Stamp at two of their jobsites. Our host talks with the homeowner's son, Tony O'Donnell, about the family's plans to restore and renovate the building.

Program #1222
With the wet plaster and carpeting removed from the house, some heretofore hidden features of the house are revealed, including a former window and the original fireplace detail. Our master carpenter sees the roofing replaced with a modified bitumen membrane system, Our host meets with the architect and homeowner's daughter Mary Ellen Frank. He also tours an example of Mediterranean Revival-style architecture with Margot Ammidown of the Metro-Dade Historic Preservation Office, while Richard Trethewey checks out the state of the house's plumbing with plumber Eddie Faccaviento.

Program #1223
Tree cutter Tony Sisto takes down a dead tree, with some difficulty, while our master carpenter checks the installation of the house's new air-conditioning system. Contractor Rich Groden explains his plan to make water run off the sun porch roof better, and we get an update on the electricians' progress. Our host meets with a window sales rep, who is ordering up as many standard-size replacement windows as he can get away with in order to avoid far more costly custom units. A concrete beam is repaired in the sun porch, and we visit Dr. Bob Sheets at the National Hurricane Center in Coral Gables.

Program #1224
Our host opens the Show at "Mt. Trashmore," a collecting point—one of about a dozen in South Dade—for all the debris hurricane Andrew generated. Back at the house, we see how the plaster walls are being patched and finished. Our host tours the grounds with landscape architect Kevin Holler, who has devised a long-term master plan for the property. The windows arrive, and contractor Rich Groden explains their features and method of installation. We tour the kitchen and hear designer Cecilia Luaces' plans for it. Finally, we visit a small Miami factory where cement tiles are being custom-fabricated to replace the broken clay ones currently on the house.

Program #1225
We see progress on the house with general contractor Rick Groden: window patch-in, interior plastering and trim. He then meets the man who is patching the exterior stucco. Our master carpenter talks with Brian Stamp about a concrete pour meant to strengthen faulty arches in the porch section, and then visits a home destroyed by hurricane Andrew—a structural engineer explains why the house failed. Finally, kitchen designer Cecilia Luaces supervises the installation of the newly arrived cabinets.

Program #1226
The final three days. The painters are hard at work; our master carpenter replaces a window that was broken during construction and shows us the hi-tech coated plastic membrane inside the panes that makes these windows energy efficient. Upstairs, our host sees that the pine floors have been sanded and refinished. We then watch a screened pool enclosure go up in a matter of hours, and checks out the new garage doors and the landscaping. Inside, tile goes down in the kitchen and around the fireplace. Our master carpenter visits a housing development where, because most of the homes are below the flood plain, houses must be raised up to meet code. Back at the house, our host talks to Margaret O'Donnell Blue, the 76-year-old owner of the house, and takes a final tour of the completed kitchen with designer Cecilia Luaces. At the wrap party, Brian Stamp tells about the budget ($75,000 paid out by the homeowner —$10,000 more than their insurance settlement—and $75,000 of donated materials).