For the 2013-2014 season of This Old House TV, general contractor Tom Silva and the rest of the show’s crew will renovate an 1872 Italianate in the historic Boston suburb of Arlington. The program will feature the update and expansion of the 2,100-square-foot house, which is in good shape, but, like many older houses, suffers from an outdated floor plan and multiple rounds of renovations by past owners.
Shown: With nearly all its exterior details intact, the Arlington house is a good example of the Italianate style, featuring a hipped roof, corbeled cornices with a wide overhang, and a central tower-like element.
Family Needs Space
Heather and Malcolm Faulds and their two children have lived in the house for five years. “We bought it in part because we love its period feel,” says Heather. “So we plan to preserve and restore original details when we remodel.” They will be adding a bit more space and are reworking the floor plan to improve the house’s function and circulation.
Among the home’s many period features is a soaring entry foyer with a handsome double-L stair. All the details here will be preserved, and an opening will be cut into the foyer wall for accessing a new coat closet and mudroom just beyond it.
The cased opening between the living and dining rooms will be enlarged to create a more open feeling, but each space will remain distinct and separate so that the feel of the original floor plan is retained.
A previous owner lowered the ceilings on the first floor, as seen here in the living room, where they nearly touch the top of the window casing. During demolition, these ceilings will be removed and restored to their original height; they hope to find crown molding behind it, but if not, they’ll add it.
What’s now a first-floor playroom will give way to a much-needed coat closet, a mudroom, and a half bath, accessible directly from the front entry. “We won’t trip over shoes in the foyer anymore,” says Heather.
A new, larger kitchen is high on the Fauldses’ priority list for the renovation. The full bath just off the kitchen will be converted into a pantry.
The enlarged kitchen will extend into what’s now the Fauldses’ home office, located adjacent to the kitchen in what’s now a single-story bump-out in the back of the house. An addition on top of this bumpout will create a master suite upstairs.
A Better Basement
The home’s subterranean space will be insulated, and a playroom and media room will be added there. Plumbing and air-handling ducts will be rerouted, and the boiler will be replaced.
Though the handrails for the stair must be raised to comply with safety codes, the TOH crew will match or preserve as many original details as possible here. A new window will be cut into the wall to let more sunshine in.
Current Sleeping Quarters
Heather and Malcolm will move from their current bedroom, one of four on the second floor, to a master suite in the rear of the house.
The second-floor bath will be demolished and replaced with a small laundry room; a new bath for the kids and house guests is to be located right across the hall. The blue bedroom adjacent to the bathroom will become Heather and Malcolm’s master suite.
Future Master Suite
The back wall of the future master bedroom, adjacent to the wall with the window, will be demolished to add a walk-in closet and a his-and-hers bathroom
The backyard view of the house will change once the addition goes in over the first-floor bumpout. The yard itself will get some landscaping and the house will be repainted. The rear chimney stack, which passes through the kitchen and second story, will be removed.
Preserving a Gem
The 1872 Italianate has been deemed “historically significant” by the city of Arlington.