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Newton Centre

The renovation of a 1915 Dutch Colonial Revival will kick off This Old House TV's 30th Anniversary season this fall. The house is in Newton Centre, a suburban community a few miles west of Boston.

Homeowners Bill and Gillian Pierce purchased the house in 2004, mainly because of its convenient location near the center of town and its appealing period details. Still, they knew the tired old place needed some freshening up—not to mention a floor plan more accommodating to their family of four. They also knew they couldn't afford to do too many improvements and alterations. So they spent the past few years tightening their spending, saving their pennies, and prioritizing their needs so that they could get a quality renovation at a price they could afford.

And now, at long last, they're ready.

Working with local architect Paul Rovinelli, the couple will design a modest 330-square-foot addition that will complement the old home's existing style and scale. The addition will alter the house's footprint just enough to create space for an eat-in kitchen, a family room, a home office/guest room, and a small library on a landing between the first and second floors. Bill and Gillian will also address pivotal maintenance issues and repairs, both big and small, such as installing a new shower door in the master bathroom, fixing an old sink faucet, upgrading antiquated light fixtures, and installing a new attic stairway.

This season's project will allow viewers to see how Bill and Gillian are able to stretch their budget and get a high-end renovation at an affordable price. Most likely, the couple will have to make some sacrifices along the way—the kind many TOH TV viewers are all too familiar with these days.

"In this economy, most Americans are finding they have to focus on needs versus wants," says TOH TV host Kevin O'Connor. "And this project speaks directly to that challenge."

The TOH TV crew will advise Bill and Gillian—and the show's audience—on how to budget, plan, and pace home-improvement projects. For instance, although the couple can't afford to install central AC just yet, they'll set the stage for that project by putting in ductwork for a forced-air heating system, which can easily accommodate AC later.

Along with the TV show's second project this season, the rehab of a foreclosed Second Empire home in Boston's Roxbury neighborhood, the Newton Centre renovation puts the season's emphasis squarely on quality, not quantity.

"Throughout the history of This Old House, the show has always tried to tell relevant stories, and this season is no exception," says producer Deborah Hood. "Both of our 30th Anniversary projects reflect, in different ways, the current economic climate, and we hope these new episodes can provide our viewers with both insight and useful information they can apply to their own situations."

New episodes of the 30th Anniversary season and the Newton Centre project begin airing in October on PBS. Check local listings for the date and time in your area. The Roxbury project will premiere in early 2010.