An 1880s Shore cottage that's been in the same family for more than 30 years. A home built in 1954 that had last been updated just a couple of years ago. A 1940s house that its owner had finally paid off. Less than a year after Hurricane Sandy struck the East Coast, the This Old House TV crew will visit the New Jersey Shore for an eight-part special series that will report on the rebuilding of these three homes, all severely damaged during the storm.
This season will be like no other in TOH's history. Instead of featuring start-to-finish renovations, Norm Abram, Richard Trethewey, and the rest of the crew will be documenting the many obstacles that these homeowners face as they scramble to make repairs before the next hurricane season begins. They'll take a real-world look at the thicket of regulatory issues, construction challenges, and financial headaches that have confronted thousands of families whose homes were hard-hit during the 2012 hurricane.
Drawing on a network of neighbors and friends, longtime homeowners Jed and Christine Laird and their two children will see their 1880s cottage in Bay Head restored and raised above the flood zone. They're got the help of a two-man contractor team and a local architect who's reworking the floor plan and navigating complex FEMA requirements. "We had our wedding reception at this house and our girls are known for their seashell collections. We feel lucky that we can rebuild a place that's so dear to us," says Jed.
For Carlos and Maria Santos and their three children, the post-storm reconstruction "has been a real struggle," says Carlos. Located in mainland Point Pleasant, their home was originally built in 1954 as a small cottage, then expanded in the 1980s; they'd recently installed new flooring and had updated the kitchen. Like most houses in the area, the Santos's must be raised on pilings, and the first-floor interior will be rebuilt to its previous layout and specifications. They're acting as their own general contractors for the project.
"I have wonderful memories of my house; my family had great times there," says Rita Gurry, a semi-retired nurse whose 1940s cottage, located on mainland Manasquan, could not be salvaged because of extensive water damage. "There was never any question that I wanted it back." Gurry's home will be razed and replaced by a new modular house, which will be built on stilts and partly customized.
New episodes of the Jersey Shore rebuilding projects begin airing on October 3, 2013, on PBS. Check local listings for dates and times in your area. And if you want more details about these homes right now, check out TOH TV host Kevin O'Connor's blog posts at Old House My House.