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The Arlington Italianate House

For the 2013-2014 season of This Old House TV, the crew, led by general contractor Tom Silva, will renovate an 1872 Italianate in the historic Boston suburb of Arlington

For the 2013-2014 television season, the This Old House TV crew, led by general contractor Tom Silva, will renovate an 1872 Italianate in the historic Boston suburb of Arlington.

The program will feature the update and expansion of a house that Heather and Malcolm Faulds and their two children have called home for the past five years. "We bought it in part because we love its period feel," says Heather. "So we want to retain that feel as we remodel."

The two-story, 2,100-square-foot house is in good shape, but, like many older houses, it suffers from an outdated floor plan and multiple rounds of renovations by past owners. At some point in its history, it was split into a two-family home, with the second story cut off from the first floor. And some of the ceilings on the first floor were lowered, perhaps to keep the inhabitants warmer in winter.

Tom and the rest of the TOH crew plan to add back a few details that were lost during past remodels as they rework the floor plan to improve its flow and function.

One of the house's signature spots is a formal foyer, a feature that's often seen in Italianate houses. "It's a beautiful space in a gorgeous house," says David Whitney, the project's architect, himself an Arlington resident. To declutter it of shoes and outerwear, a mudroom and a coat closet will be built into the existing space behind it, with an opening cut into the foyer wall to allow direct access to them. The first floor will also get a new half bath, a pantry, and an enlarged kitchen that makes better use of what's now a home office in a single-story bumpout at the rear of the house.

Up on the second floor, the biggest change will be the addition of a walk-in closet and a his-and-hers bathroom to create a master suite for Heather and Malcolm. This will require a small addition right over the old home office in back, and though it won't change the house's footprint, "it will give us a little more breathing room and storage space," says Malcolm. They'll also remove the existing second-floor bath to create a laundry area and build a new bath for their kids and guests right across the hall.

The changes to the house will be visible primarily from the backyard. "The home-office bumpout was an addition, so we're reworking this area when we create the kitchen and master suite here, so that this portion of the house feels more integrated as a whole," says project architect David Whitney.

New episodes of the Arlington House project will begin airing in early January 2014. Check local listings for the dates and times in your area.