To kick off the 35th anniversary season of This Old House TV, general contractor Tom Silva and the crew will renovate an 1850 Greek Revival rowhouse in the historic Boston neighborhood of Charlestown.
The program will feature the restoration and updating of a 1,500-square-foot brick house perched on the slope of Bunker Hill. "After putting things off because of a busy career, I'm finally ready to start renovating," says Angela Daigle, who bought the place about 10 years ago. "I love and respect old houses, but I need some modern updates, too."
The three-story house has small rooms, and the fixtures are falling apart. Prior remodels have covered over problem areas and masked the house's period charm, and have also failed to make the space more functional; the first floor lacks a bathroom, and the total closet space is inadequate.
Architect Sally DeGan from SpaceCraft Architecture designed the new layout. To update the first floor, the crew will add a 4-by-10-foot bumpout at the back of the house and demolish a nonfunctioning chimney that eats up space in the kitchen to make way for a dining nook. The extra space will improve the flow of the kitchen, as imagined by certified kitchen and bath designer Kathy Marshall, and allow for the addition of a much needed powder room. A vestibule with storage will separate the kitchen from the backyard. At the front of the house, the sitting room will get a new salvaged marble mantel appropriate to the period but equipped with an energy-efficient gas insert. The second floor will benefit from an updated full bath, as well as expanded closets in the guest room. The main living room, at the front of the second floor, will be outfitted with custom built-in cabinetry, including bookcases; an entertainment center; and a small wet bar. The original Greek Revival marble mantel will also be restored and retrofitted with a gas insert. "I'm so excited to have an adult living room" says Angela.
The master suite, tucked away on the third floor, gets an expanded footprint, thanks to the joining of two dormers. That change will also provide the space for an enlarged master suite, including a roomy bath, a dressing room, and a laundry room.
Outside, in addition to the new dormers, the facade will get new working shutters. In the backyard, the existing retaining walls will be replaced to prevent further erosion. "I really bought the house for the backyard," says Angela, "so I'm happy the bumpout won't take over back there." The crew will maintain a modest footprint for the bumpout, which will be built with the original clay bricks salvaged from the back wall that was demolished to create it. For the finishing touches, Angela's stone patio will get a built-in grill and outdoor kitchen—all the better to enjoy her own slice of history.