Sneak Peek: The Austin Episodes
Go behind the scenes to see how Norm, Tom, Richard, Roger, and Kevin follow an eco-friendly renovation in the Texas capital, home to the oldest green building program in the country.
Homeowner Michele Grieshaber has lived in this two-bedroom Craftsman bungalow for 10 years, but her new marriage means making room for hubby Michael Klug and his two sons. Michele and Michael want to add only a pair of bedrooms and one bath by bumping up the unused attic. But the twist is that they intend to do a "green" renovation, which means the products and building methods they choose will have as little impact on the environment as possible.
Michele's having a bit of fun with green builder Bill Moore, whose distinctive look she deems fitting for an American Gothic parody. Michele and Michael met Moore on a house tour of green projects and knew right away they had to have this veteran of environmentally sensitive renovations as their pro.
Michael Klug (center, in stripes) reviews plans with Bill Moore and crew. After working alongside Moore and his team, the TOH TV crew quickly realizes that this crazy bunch includes some of the most talented—and quirkiest—pros in the area.
Michael is one of the founders of a hologram company, so he puts his expertise to use to give the cameras a vision of what the house will look like with its second-floor addition.
One of the first projects the show witnesses is the creation of a second floor—and the stairs that will get you there.
Master carpenter Norm Abram surveys the opening Bill Moore has cut into the back side of the roof to make way for a large gable. The space will become Michael and Michele's master bedroom.
A few weeks into the project, and Michele can give Norm (and the viewers) a tour of her framed-in upstairs space.
Michele keeps host Kevin O'Connor smiling between takes.
The renovation schedule will have to coincide with a tight TV-filming schedule, which means doing an eight-month job in only four months. With so many crews working at once, the house starts to look like Grand Central Station
The house is losing a deck and gaining a three-season screen porch off the kitchen, so the crew brings out the big guns to drill through the hard "black gumbo" soil for the new footings.
Meawhile, on the front forch, Moore's crew tries to figure out how to lower the house by a couple of inches (after they raised it on the back) to even out the 4-inch difference caused by heaving in the soil.
An important part of keeping the jobsite green, as the show demonstrates in one remote segment, is recycling the demolition waste and unused building materials. The large container shown here will go to a facility that sorts and recycles all the throwaways from the project.
The green ethos won't just affect the house's structure; the entire yard will be made over to be sustainable, with native plants, rainwater collection, and the proper hardscaping materials.
All the members of the TOH crew got to spend some time checking out the show's first totally green project. Here landscape contractor Roger Cook gives Kevin a lesson in native plants.
Another important green aspect in the house will be the energy-efficient lighting, which will save the owners hundreds of dollars in electric bill...and the planet tons of fuel. Here, lighting designer Mark Loeffler demonstrates for Kevin the difference among the many choices available for interior lighting.
Near the end of the project, Austin is hit by a freak spell of cold weather and ice storms, which threaten to delay the finish. Will they make the deadline? Tune in to see.
On the final day, the crew gets a visitor: Will Wynn, Austin's mayor, gives them some important news about This Old House's attempt to earn the project the highest green rating the city has to offer.
Mayor Wynn gets the grand tour from Norm, Michele, and Bill Moore.
What's a trip to Austin without a visit to Allens Boots, home of some of the finest Western wear in the country? Watch carefully to see whether any of the guys gets himself some Texan style.
The show crew soon learns that the tile guys also happen to be champion barbecuers, so they invite them to cook up something authentic for the wrap party.
And, of course, country music fan (and general contractor) Tom Silva can't come to Austin without taking his pals to the Broken Spoke, also known as "the best dancehall in the world." Here Tom takes TOH producer Deborah Hood for a quick spin, showing off his dancing prowess. Watch the final episode to see which of the other guys makes it onto the dance floor before the night is through.
Watch all eight episodes about the Austin house, beginning February 8, to see how our guys take this simple bungalow project to the next level.