This Old House TV // Season 32 // Episode 3

Cambridge 2012 | Modernizing a Balloon Frame

With the interior opened up, master carpenter Norm Abram shows host Kevin O'Connor the bones of the building, and the unique features of a balloon framed house—studs that run from sill plate to top plate, with floors that hang from that structure.
On the first floor, general contractor Tom Silva needs to relocate a load bearing partition wall, and take the dip out of the floor. He uses temporary supports, makes up a carrying beam, inserts the new structure, and then removes the old wall. Out front, Kevin and homeowner Sally Peterson meet Susan Maycock from the Cambridge Historic Commission to learn about appropriate colors for the outside of her Victorian-era house, and how many homeowners get it wrong by using too many colors in the wrong places. While the outside of her home will be traditional, inside it will be anything but, so Sally takes Kevin up to Porter Square to see the style she's after via a shop where owner Dale Anderson curates a collection of vintage and current Scandinavian items for the home. Back at our house, Tom continues to frame in the basement, but this time without wood—he's using new tongue and groove foam panels with embedded plastic studs and wiring chases. Kind of like a partial ICF, he installs them against the fieldstone foundation with a foam construction adhesive. Master electrician Allen Gallant shows Kevin how he's upgrading and relocating the electrical service on the house.

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