Norm and the entire This Old House TV crew are heading to Hollywood! Well, not exactly. But in 2011, the show will go to that fabled land of superstars and studio tours, stopping at its quieter and decidedly hipper cousin to the east, Silver Lake, home to the next project house.
A mid-century Mecca for film industry employees, as well as the location of Walt Disney’s first studio, the Silver Lake region of Los Angeles is renowned for its catalogue of iconic 1920s and ’30s architectural styles—including Spanish Revivals and other Mediterranean-style homes—as well as an enormous collection of Modern houses. Surrounding the reservoir that lends its name to the neighborhood, these charming houses sit on compact lots with the spectacular San Fernando Valley hillsides in the background.
It is here that TOH TV will work with the Los Angeles-based company Home Front Build to renovate an attractive 1933 Spanish Revival belonging to Kurt Albrecht and Mary Blee. Kurt was still a bachelor when he bought the two-bedroom, one-bath, single-story house in 1998. Back then, the pad’s 1,500 square feet provided more than enough living space. But with wife Mary and a two-year-old daughter in residence—and a second child on the way—the family’s feeling a bit squeezed for space. The layout and systems also have room for improvement. The kitchen is so small that the fridge occupies real estate in an adjacent laundry room, for instance, and the shower in the house’s only bathroom leaks so much that the family can’t use it.
Fortunately, Kurt and Mary now have the resources to perform a renovation that respects their home’s history. The focus will be a two-story, 750-square-foot rear addition containing an expanded kitchen, new family room, two additional bathrooms, and two more bedrooms. Despite its challenges, the house is loaded with retro-flavor charm, including arched door openings, tray ceilings, plaster ornamentation, gorgeous inlaid wood floors, period tile, barrel tile roofing, and some awesome Art Deco light fixtures. The homeowners are insistent on preserving and replicating many of these elements, and the This Old House TV team will be helping them do just that.
For the TOH crew, the pressure has never been greater to get the job done on time. Mary is due with baby number two right around the estimated completion date for the project!
New episodes of the Los Angeles house project begin airing on January 27, 2011 on PBS. Check local listings for dates and times in your area.