This season, This Old House TV will renovate a three-story 1895 Queen Anne in the Boston suburb of Belmont. The 3,200-square-foot Victorian-era find captured the hearts of Murat and Katherine Bicer a year ago, when they were looking for the perfect place to raise their son and daughter. Despite its curb appeal, the house clearly needed work. “We love old houses and reusing old things, but there were major issues to address,” says Katherine.
Among them: no insulation, drafty windows, a kitchen with no room for a table, a master bedroom with no bath, and a missing wraparound porch—one of the couple’s favorite elements of Victorian-era houses.
Architect Matthew Cummings has stepped in, promising, he says, “to breathe life back into the home by taking the best it has to offer in terms of its wonderful exterior elements—shingles, columns, bay windows—and playing them up by making it more stately on the interior.” He is also committed to making those spaces more functional and family-friendly. Kitchen designer Linda Cloutier has joined the team, and an interior designer, Amanda Reid, will help with paint colors, furniture, and other finishes.
This Old House TV’s general contractor, Tom Silva, and crew will take charge of the redo, which includes a small side addition and structural repairs. To revive the home’s period charms, they will add custom trim, repair oak floors and install new ones, and reinstall old windows after they’ve been rehabbed.
“Fortunately we had many original elements to work with here,” says Silva, pointing to a number of original five-panel interior doors, which the previous owners had stowed in the basement. Other period pieces, including a claw-foot tub, a marble-topped vanity, and brass sconces, will be relocated around the house.
The side addition, at 160 square feet, will be key in making the house more functional. It will hold an entry, a mudroom, and a powder room. The kitchen will be a large, airy space with ample views of the backyard and have an adjacent area for casual meals and homework.
The first floor will include a family/TV room, a more formal living room, and a traditional dining room for gatherings with family and friends.
A master suite will take shape on the second floor after co-opting two bedrooms. Stretching from the front to the back of the house, this haven will incorporate an original bay window and sunroom overlooking the backyard. The two children’s bedrooms will remain intact, but the hall bath will be gutted and rebuilt with new fittings and finishes. The third floor’s two bedrooms will also be taken down to the studs and revamped as a playroom and a guest enclave with a previously eclipsed gable window finally in full view.
And that missing wraparound front porch? Silva and the rest of the crew will build one, complete with a shingled gable, shingled piers, and mahogany decking. As a final touch, a fresh paint scheme will take the exterior from drab beige to Victorian beauty—a fitting finish for a vibrant family with a love of old things.