The This Old House Hour

Thu, 01/29/2009 - 8:00pm
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 (l-r) Plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey, master carpenter Norm Abram, host Kevin O'Connor, general contractor Tom Silva, and landscape contractor Roger Cook.

Anthony Tieuli

The Emmy Award-winning This Old House partners with custom home building company Bensonwood to build a new timberframe home that will reflect New England barns built centuries ago. Cutting-edge techniques, including extensive use of prefabrication and green technologies, will be implemented to construct a new home on property owned by the Favat family in Weston, Massachusetts. The This Old House Hour airs Thursday, January 29 at 8 p.m. on WXXI-TV 21 (cable 11) and WXXI-HD (cable 1011 and DT 21.1).

The town of Weston, about 20 miles west of Boston, was a vibrant farming community when it was founded in 1713. Over the years, as Weston evolved into a suburb, the farmhouses, fields and agricultural barns were slowly lost, one by one. Today, almost 300 years since the first barn was raised in town, only a few proud survivors remain. The utilitarian spaces, period details and rustic character of these old barns are the inspiration for the Favat family’s new home.

In the first half of the hour, the Favat family takes host Kevin O’Connor to see Land’s Sake Farm, a local nonprofit farm stand where they can get organic flowers, fruits, vegetables and even timbers for their house. Back at the project house, landscape contractor Roger Cook sets the last of several underground tanks that are part of the rainwater harvesting and runoff control system required by the town. On the back entry porch, general contractor Tom Silva uses a new hidden deck-fastening system to put down composite decking.

Upstairs, Tom’s brother Dick Silva is cladding a wall in reclaimed galvanized metal to achieve a rustic and industrial feel. Designer Carole Freehauf meets with painting contractor Debi Gaudet to see the neutral paint color palette selected for the second floor and how she has prepped to paint the room with a new low-VOC paint that comes from a local home center.

In the second half of the hour, plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey and Kevin replace an old tank-type water heater with a new, energy-efficient “tankless” unit that is fueled by propane. Roger helps a homeowner level his sagging concrete walkway using a method called “mudjacking.”

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