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  • This Old House has gone to New England's smallest state to cover the renovation of a small house in need of a big makeover.

    A 1925 seaside cottage in Barrington, Rhode Island, has become the permanent home of Geoffrey Allen and Michelle Forcier and their young daughter. Recent transplants from Chicago, the couple relocated to Rhode Island so that their daughter would be closer to her grandparents and the extended family. When a house they'd been ogling just down the beach from the one they'd rented suddenly came on the market, they knew they'd found "The One."

    With its generous views of Narragansett Bay, the location is lovely; the 1,600-square-foot house, on the other hand, was anything but. Built as a tiny, seasonal Cape Cod, it had fallen victim to a hodgepodge of poorly planned additions and remodels. So Norm Abram and the rest of the TOH TV team are helping Geoff and Michelle turn it into a cheerful year-round homestead. Working with architect Mary Brewster and local builder Andrew Tiplady, they're opening up the house's first floor, relocating an interior staircase, and installing windows to take advantage of the views. A mudroom, laundry room, and two existing bathrooms are being updated. And some new spaces will appear on the second floor: a third bedroom, a master bath, and a covered porch.

    This project involves a lot more than just aesthetics. While the first floor of the house sits just above the flood zone, it's in the "Zone II" wind zone, which means that it faces particular hazards associated with strong winds of up to 110 miles per hour—a point that was tested for real when Hurricane-turned-Tropical-Storm Irene blew into town mid-renovation last September. Check out the episodes to see just how the Barrington house fared against the elements.

    New episodes of the Barrington Beach House project begin airing in January 26 on PBS check local listings and on January 29 at thisoldhouse.com.

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