Episode Descriptions

bedford house before this old house remodel

Saturdays at 1:30pm ET (check local listings)

Also in prime time exclusively on PBS Thursdays in the first half of The This Old House Hour at 8pm ET (check local listings)



Program #3101
Bedford Project, Part 1 of 16

Saturday, October 8, 2011 at 1:30pm ET (check local listings
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This Old House opens a new season with work on a 300-year-old farmstead that is rich in Colonial history. Homeowners Joe and Becky Titlow plan to preserve the historic part of the house while adding space and modern amenities with two small additions. Architect Dan Quaile presents the plan using a remarkable model generated from a 3-D printer, while general contractor Tom Silva inspects the structure and historic window sash, which will be restored. In the basement, plumbing and heating expert, Richard Trethewey, finds the relic of an antique water pump system, and a newer mechanical system that contains some inefficient and unsafe aspects. Master carpenter Norm Abram is concerned about the high water table, especially when it comes to excavating for the new additions. Landscape contractor Roger Cook considers the half-acre lot and what the homeowners would like to add—a storage shed, raised garden beds, a new driveway, and stone walls. The bulk of the landscape work will be clearing and reclaiming nearly half of the back yard that has been overwhelmed by brambles and invasives.

Program #3102
Bedford Project, Part 2 of 16

Saturday, October 15, 2011 at 1:30pm ET (check local listings)

Landscape contractor Roger Cook starts by transplanting the shrubs and plants from the front of the house to a place where they can be "heeled in" for safe keeping until the job is complete. Homeowner Joe Titlow shows host Kevin O'Connor how his company builds highly detailed architectural models (and a whole host of other useful items) by printing them with a 3-D printer. Then, Roger gets to work clearing the small trees and overgrowth that are in the way of the new family room addition. Near the oldest part of the house, Kevin and master carpenter Norm Abram dig in by removing the front entry porch and the accessibility ramp. Then, in accordance with the new EPA lead paint laws, they set up to begin removing the peeling and rotted clapboards. Out back, general contractor Tom Silva shows Kevin how he's laying out for the new addition, and excavation begins. As expected, water is discovered, and Roger gets to work setting up a drain and sump pump system to deal with it. Mason Mark McCullough arrives to demo the exterior parts of the 1970s-era chimney that are in the way of the new addition.

Program #3103
Bedford Project, Part 3 of 16

Saturday, October 22, 2011 at 1:30pm ET (check local listings)

Master carpenter Norm Abram continues work on removing the old clapboards, while out back at the new addition, general contractor Tom Silva and mason Mark McCullough carefully open up a hole in the old fieldstone foundation that will connect the old basement space to the new. Inside, host Kevin O'Connor finds window restoration specialist Alison Hardy and her crew removing the historic sashes to be taken off site for rehab. Plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey visits the local library to see the oldest existing flag in the country, the Bedford Flag, first hand. Back at the project house, Tom shows Kevin a rotted sill that he found during demo and explains how he plans to patch, rather than replace it. The footprint of the addition starts to take shape as Tom forms the new foundation out of ICFs. At the end of the day, a concrete truck arrives for the pour.

Program #3104
Bedford Project, Part 4 of 16

Saturday, October 29, 2011 at 1:30pm ET (check local listings)

Host Kevin O'Connor arrives to find the floor and walls of the new entry addition framed up, and general contractor Tom Silva getting ready to create the connection to the main house. He lends a hand as they frame up the new roof that will overlay the existing roof. Mason Mark McCullough returns to repair the exterior chimney that was cut away to make way for the new family room addition. Mark shows Kevin how to weave in the bricks so they look like they've always been there. Homeowner Joe Titlow shows Kevin why he wants the hulking fireplace and chimney gone from his kitchen, and they get to work removing it from the top down, brick by brick. Master carpenter Norm Abram revisits the oldest This Old House project to date, the Acton Project, to see how the addition there is holding up after 17 years, and what they'd do differently if they could do it all again. Back at the project house, Kevin and Joe check out some recent discoveries from the jobsite—musket balls, sleigh bells, ox shoes, and silverware from the Colonial days.

Program #3105
Bedford Project, Part 5 of 16

Saturday, November 5, 2011 at 1:30pm ET (check local listings)

Host Kevin O'Connor meets with landscape designer Jenn Nawada Evans to see her plan for the rambling site. The first order of business is reclaiming a good percentage of the backyard from invasive vines and brambles that have been encroaching on the lawn for years. Landscape contractor Roger Cook and his crew make quick work of it using a skid steer loader with a brush hog attachment. General contractor Tom Silva and master carpenter Norm Abram assemble and raise the gable wall for the new family room addition. Then, on the front of the house, Tom and Kevin repair a historic windowsill that has collapsed, while adding new insulation, flashing, and side casings to the opening. At the end of the day, Norm and Kevin demo the old, low ceiling in the ell to see if any head height can be reclaimed for the new kitchen.

Program #3106
Bedford Project, Part 6 of 16

Saturday, November 12, 2011 at 1:30pm ET (check local listings)

Host Kevin O'Connor arrives to find the new family addition framed up and sheathed using something fairly new – a coated OSB product that has the properties of a house wrap built in. Building science expert Joe Lstiburek explains why he thinks the sheathing board, when properly installed with taped seams, beats traditional methods of keeping air and water out of a building. Inside, Kevin finds general contractor Tom Silva and a major discovery—a cast iron pipe that was run several years ago straight through two structural beams in the kitchen. The fix is a new footing and lally column in the basement, and new post supports in the kitchen placed to accommodate the new stove vent hood. Master carpenter Norm Abram meets window restoration specialist Alison Hardy at her shop in Peabody, Massachusetts, to see the historic window sash stripped, repaired, re-glazed and repainted. Later at the house, they will be weather stripped and outfitted with new hardware to increase their insulating and mechanical performance. With the structured now fully repaired, Tom and Kevin take down the old wall of the ell, opening up the kitchen to the new family room for the first time.

Program #3107
Bedford Project, Part 7 of 16

Saturday, November 19, 2011 at 1:30pm ET (check local listings)

General contractor Tom Silva tops off the existing cellulose insulation in the walls of the oldest part of the house. Meanwhile, landscape contractor Roger Cook takes homeowner Becky Titlow to see a display of "garden to table" raised beds at Elm Bank Reservation in Wellesley, MA. Then, back at the house, landscape designer Jenn Nawada lends a hand as Roger builds raised beds out of fieldstone from the old foundation, and Becky plants the first vegetables for her family. On the roof of the new addition, Tom shows host Kevin O'Connor how he's using a self-sealing membrane on the low slope roof, and at the drip edge, to properly waterproof the roof.

Program #3108
Bedford Project, Part 8 of 16

Saturday, November 26, 2011 at 1:30pm ET (check local listings)

General contractor Tom Silva finishes up the last of the structural work by replacing an undersized and partially rotted old post in the kitchen. Meanwhile, window restoration specialist Alison Hardy reinstalls the restored historic window sashes in the dining room, adding spring-action hardware and weatherstripping to make them more efficient. In the garage, host Kevin O'Connor finds electrician Allen Gallant upgrading the electrical service to 100 amps so it can function as a workshop. Allen installs a system of metallic tubing as conduit on the inside of the building, and outside, brings the wires to the garage via a fishing system controlled by foot pedals for safety. Then, Kevin meets interior designers Dee Elms and Andrew Terrat at a house they designed in Cambridge, MA that inspired the look for the Bedford Project kitchen. Back at the house, Tom shows Kevin how he's removing the more modern narrow strip flooring in the study to reveal the more historic wide pine boards underneath. With a light sanding and clear finish, the 200-year-old patina will stay intact.

Program #3109
Bedford Project, Part 9 of 16

Saturday, December 3, 2011 at 1:30pm ET (check local listings)

General contractor Tom Silva installs new red cedar clapboards on the oldest part of the house using a story pole to match the coursing of a later addition. Then, plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey arrives to help remove some existing plumbing that's in the way of the new kitchen. Meanwhile, landscape contractor Roger Cook installs a new horseshoe-shaped asphalt driveway that will later be topped with a rustic finish to make it look like a stone driveway, without the mess or the maintenance. Then, Richard shows host Kevin O'Connor how he's solving a rough plumbing problem by using a wet vent in the downstairs powder room.

Program #3110
Bedford Project, Part 10 of 16

Saturday, December 10, 2011 at 1:30pm ET (check local listings)

Master carpenter Norm Abram and general contractor Tom Silva rebuild the front door surround to eliminate rot and also to create a more attractive and historically accurate entranceway. Certified arborist Matt Foti inspects the ailing American Beech tree, and finding die back and root compaction, prescribes deep root injections that will both amend and aerate the soil. Host Kevin O'Connor meets nurse-turned-general contractor Monica MacKenzie at an antique home she recently renovated in Hingham, Massachusetts. Back in Bedford, interior designers Dee Elms and Andrew Terrat show Kevin and homeowner Becky Titlow where the design for the new space is headed—a sophisticated blend of modern and rustic elements that will be comfortable and low maintenance for the family.

Program #3111
Bedford Project, Part 11 of 16

Saturday, December 17, 2011 at 1:30pm ET (check local listings)

Landscape contractor Roger Cook installs a 3,000-pound slab of reclaimed granite for the front step. Meanwhile, general contractor Tom Silva installs new wood windows in the addition that come with exterior trim already attached and finished in the factory. In the next town over, in Concord, Massachusetts, master carpenter Norm Abram stops in to see the progress on the period restoration of the Colonel James Barrett house, a little known house that played a big role in the American Revolution. Back in Bedford, host Kevin O'Connor finds plumbing and heating contractor Richard Trethewey and local HVAC contactor Kevin Doran sealing and insulating the old ductwork, and also fabricating new ductwork for the addition. Meanwhile, in the backyard, Roger and his crew have prepped the soil, and are broadcasting a rye grass mix that will blend with the old lawn but will require less maintenance.

Program #3112
Bedford Project, Part 12 of 16

Saturday, December 24, 2011 at 1:30pm ET (check local listings)

General contractor Tom Silva and master carpenter Norm Abram install the massive decorative timbers in the new family room. Meanwhile, plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey shows host Kevin O'Connor the location for the new A/C condenser and how to set it on a prefabricated concrete mounting pad. Then, Norm visits the Parson Capen House in Topsfield, MA—a house similar to the Bedford house from 1683 that's been largely unaltered over the years. Back in Bedford, Tom shows Kevin the progress on the new front entry deck and how he's fastening the mahogany deck boards with a new hidden fastening system. It consists of a tool that serves as both a spacer for the boards and a jig for the proprietary screws. In the backyard, homeowner Joe Titlow works with family and friends to install a new garden shed that he ordered online from the home center. At the end of the day, the insulation crew arrives to add closed cell spray foam insulation to the new addition.

Program #3113
Bedford Project, Part 13 of 16

Saturday, December 31, 2011 at 1:30pm ET (check local listings)

Landscape contractor Roger Cook uses old-style bricks made in Massachusetts to create a winding path to the new entry door. He uses half-bricks strategically placed to cheat the joints just enough to make the turns. Meanwhile, inside, wallboard and plaster are up, and the cabinets are going in. Kitchen designer Kathy Marshall shows host Kevin O'Connor the challenges of fitting a modern kitchen into an ell from the 1700s, and the solutions she came up with along with general contractor Tom Silva, to hide some of the imperfections. Then, in the family room, plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey unpacks the zero-clearance gas fireplace to show Kevin how it works before it is installed. Next, master carpenter Norm Abram helps Tom make and install wainscoting for the powder room out of old sheathing boards. Then, outside, Tom gives Kevin the news that our red farmhouse will no longer be red—the homeowners liked the gray primer so much that the finish color has been switched to a similar gray-blue. Painting contractor Mauro Henrique uses an airless sprayer to begin the transformation. Meanwhile, in the kitchen, the eleven-inch-wide white oak floor boards go down with staples, glue to prevent cupping, and cut nails for historic effect.

Program #3114
Bedford Project, Part 14 of 16

Saturday, January 7 at 1:30pm ET (check local listings)

General contractor Tom Silva shows master carpenter Norm Abram how he's restoring the c. 1720 raised panel front door with flexible epoxy and a new paint job. Countertop installer Danny Puccio is on hand as the 1300‐pound marble island top is hefted into the kitchen, and kitchen designer Kathy Marshall shows how the hole in the marble will accommodate a concealed compost bin. Plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey shows host Kevin O'Connor how he's upgrading the ducted HVAC system to go from one zone to three with the help of a plug‐and‐play zone damper system that makes retrofits and zoning a hot air system easy. In Plainville, Massachusetts, furniture maker Steve Staples shows Norm how he's making our custom farm table top out of reclaimed floor joists. Back in Bedford, Tom shows Norm how he is using two old doors found in the house to make sliding "barn" entry doors for the new walk‐in pantry. Mason Mark McCullough installs the new raised brick hearth around the zero‐clearance gas fireplace using the bricks from the old kitchen chimney. Homeowner Joe Titlow takes on yet another project himself, this time composite decking and replacing the rotted railings on his back deck.

Program #3115
Bedford Project, Part 15 of 16

Saturday, January 14 at 1:30pm ET (check local listings)

Landscape contractor Roger Cook oversees the final finish going down on our driveway – a thin layer of liquid asphalt and stone that ends up looking like a gravel driveway, without the maintenance. Inside, master electrician Allen Gallant installs a new LED strip light at the old fireplace to give the brick surround a warm glow. Decorative painter Tony Bevilacqua shows host Kevin O'Connor how he created a bright custom canvas wall covering for the new powder room. In nearby Concord, Massachusetts, master carpenter Norm Abram meets blacksmith Carl Close to see how he's making a Colonial‐inspired boot scraper and doorknocker for our house. General contractor Tom Silva shows Kevin the new single garage door that's made to look like two carriage doors thanks to a false post down the center. Kevin meets with realtor Ron Phipps to discuss why antique homes can be challenging to sell, and how we've addressed the major concerns with the renovation we've done. In the basement, plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey shows Kevin the latest offering in hot water heaters – a hybrid type that functions like an instantaneous hot water heater, but with a heat exchanger and small storage reservoir that eliminates the wait for hot water and also improves efficiency. Then, lighting designer Susan Arnold reveals her strategy for lighting both the high‐ceilinged family room, and the low‐ceilinged kitchen, and how she's controlling everything with a new system that can be operated via an app on a smart phone or tablet.

Program #3116
Bedford Project, Part 16 of 16

Saturday, January 21 at 1:30pm ET (check local listings)

As the Bedford project wraps up, landscape contractor Roger Cook and landscape designer Jenn Nawada Evans install both the new and old plant material, adjusted at the nursery for the change in the color of the house. In the kitchen, tile contractor Mark Ferrante installs the ceramic backsplash tile with a crackle finish that requires sealing three times to prevent seepage and staining through the cracks. In the dining room, interior designer Dee Elms is on hand as wallpaper hanger Mike Bradshaw starts installing the new hand‐woven paper from Japan. The front yard design is compete with the arrival of sod, and Roger installs the reproduction boot scraper in the granite step by the front door while general contractor Tom Silva adds the doorknocker. As furniture is delivered, host Kevin O'Connor meets kitchen designer Kathy Marshall and homeowner Becky Titlow to see the finished kitchen, and the appliances and fixtures they've chosen. Homeowner Joe Titlow shows master carpenter Norm how he's managed to get a pretty good workshop space in the garage, despite budget constraints. Then, Dee reveals the design choices they've made in oldest part of the house – brightening up the parlor and transforming the dining room with color and texture. In the new addition, Dee's design partner, Andrew Terrat, gives Kevin a grand tour of the new spaces including the new entry, mudroom, powder room, kitchen, and dramatic new family room. The entire crew of This Old House joins for a party to wish the Titlows well in their "new" old house.