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The Detroit House: Getting Started

Explore our progress on the kitchen, living room, roof, and windows during the renovation and restoration of the Detroit house. This season kicks off on PBS on March 30. Check local listings.

Planning for the Kitchen

Photo by Sarah Violette

Homeowner Tamiko Polk’s plans for the kitchen don’t include the linoleum flooring and countertops that a previous owner tragically installed over original tile. Here, Tamiko tells TOH TV host, Kevin O'Connor, what she hopes to see changed.

Working on Demolition

Photo by Sarah Violette

The kitchen is one of the rooms in this 1939 home that will get a complete facelift, from the studs up. Here, TOH TV host Kevin O’Connor assists in the kitchen demolition.

Exploring the Possibilities

Photo by Sarah Violette

Here, TOH TV host Kevin O'Connor talks to the Polks after finishing the demolition (though the pesky linoleum hasn’t left yet). Everyone is excited about the possibilities for this blank slate!

Doing the Prep Work

Photo by Sarah Violette

The existing roof is so damaged that it needs to be demolished and replaced. But before TOH TV general contractor Tom Silva and homeowner Frank Polk can start on a new fix, they must prep and protect other parts of the house. Here, they are blowing in insulation from the outside to protect the curved ceiling of the study at the back of the house from more water damage.

Replacing the Roof

Photo by Sarah Violette

The water damage in the living room prompted TOH TV general contractor Tom Silva and homeowner Frank Polk to look at the roof off the front parapet. A previous homeowner had filled it with dirt rather than properly fixing it with a lining of rubber roofing material. The two are correctly installing the latter here.

Prepping for Paint

Photo by Sarah Violette

Homeowner Tamiko Polk and her daughter, Monet, watch as TOH TV general contractor Tom Silva teaches them techniques for scraping paint off the ceiling.

Prepping for Paint

Photo by Sarah Violette

Homeowners Frank and Tamiko’s son, Christian, is also helping with the living room. Here, he learns how to use a paint sanding tool.

Fixing the Archway

Photo by Sarah Violette

The plaster molding on the arched doorway in the living room needed work. Here homeowner Frank Polk learns about techniques to restore and preserve the original craftsmanship of old houses.

Installing Pipes

Photo by Sarah Violette

TOH TV plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey and homeowner Frank Polk are installing new PEX piping here, since the old pipes were ripped out before the home was purchased. Unfortunately, that type of theft is fairly common for the abandoned homes in Detroit.

Prepping for Window Installation

Photo by Sarah Violette

One of the most impressive features of the home is its bay windows, which are leaded glass with stained glass crests. Before the restored versions are installed, homeowner Frank Polk and TOH TV general contractor Tom Silva replace rotted trim and molding.

Celebrating the Milestones

Photo by Sarah Violette

It's going to be a fun season of TOH TV! New episodes start March 30 on PBS. Check local listings or watch full episodes online.

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