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Kevin’s Photo Album | Working on the Detroit House

Sometimes the only way to repair something is to start from scratch. Look through Kevin’s fourth Detroit photo album to see the crew at work (and an extra pic of the host himself!)

A Roof, Not a Garden

Photo by Kevin O'Connor

There’s not really a simple way to fix a roof. No matter how extensive the damage, it’s practically a guaranteed trip up a ladder, at the least. The previous owners of the Polks’ new place did make the ladder trip, but ascended equipped with soil instead of shingles. “Someone gave up on trying to stop the leaks on the parapet roof, so they filled it with soil to make a planter box.” Kevin says. “But that doesn’t stop the leak.”

Shown: Tommy and Frank sealing the parapet roof, which was functioning more like a tulip bed instead.

Roof Repairmen

Photo by Steve D’Onofrio

Frank, Tommy, and Kevin are even closer to the sun on this already sweltering June day to mend more shingles on one of the several roofs of the house. Here, they’ve already stripped the old shingles and will install new ones.

So Long, Linoleum

Photo by Kevin O'Connor

The Polks’ new kitchen plans don’t include the linoleum flooring and countertops added by one not-so-stylish 1970s homeowner. Those countertops have been removed and the flooring is well on its way. The kitchen cabinets have also been removed, a step toward stripping this kitchen to its bones.

Kitchen Demolition

Photo by Kevin O'Connor

“This will be the last time we’ll see the archway between the two kitchen spaces,” Kevin says. The wall will be coming down with the rest of the tile and linoleum in favor of a more open kitchen space.

Back to the Studs

Photo by Kevin O'Connor

A steel beam is in the ceiling space previously filled by the kitchen’s partition wall. This support made the kitchen demo much easier since the new space won’t need to be re-supported.

A powder room medicine cabinet in the right-hand side of the photo is still in place, but it won’t be for long. The kitchen and adjacent bathroom will be gutted back to the studs, cleared and made ready for the rebuild, Kevin says.

Smashed Tile

“Back in the second-floor bath, we decided to continue from the smash and grab,” Kevin says, referring to the hole in the tile where the bath faucets were removed while the house was empty. This room and the kitchen are the only two rooms that will be gutted back to the studs.

Full Circle

Photo by Kevin O'Connor

A 2-to-3 inch base in the master bath – known as a mud job – makes the demo extensive, but is another testament to the incredible quality of the original home. Richard chips away at the tile and base with a hammer, revealing the plumbing underneath.

“Richard spent his life doing this, so it’s come sort of full circle,” Kevin says. “His dad made him smash bathrooms first before he worked with the plumbing.”

Window Work

Photo by Kevin O'Connor

Tom Silva will devote plenty of time and masterwork to the bay window area. With the leaded glass window out, he’s cutting away at the rotted wood of the frames and jambs, which will have to then be restructured.

Stair Repair

Photo by Kevin O'Connor

Here at the front stoop of the Russell Woods home, mason Mark McCullough repairs damage from water and ice. The front porch doesn’t have much under its concrete base, so it sank, allowing the stairs to pull away and water to settle (and sometimes freeze) in between.

See Mark tackle many other masonry projects by tuning in to the Detroit season of TOH TV. Check your local listings.

Don't forget to check in weekly for new photo galleries from TOH TV host Kevin O'Connor! In the meantime, check out his Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for more photography. He can be found at @kevinoconnorTOH