2018-02-15 / Front Page

LIGHTS, CAMERA, RENOVATE

World War I-era home undergoing TV facelift
BY EMILY JONES


PHOTO BY ANDREA VON HOHENLEITEN PHOTO BY ANDREA VON HOHENLEITEN The cast and crew of “This Old Home,” an Emmy Award-winning PBS show in its 40th season, are on-site prepping a 1915 cottage for demolition. The goal is to rebuild the Plymouth Road home with modern upgrades while maintaining the historic integrity.

An Emmy Award-winning home improvement show will showcase the razing — and re-raising — of a cottage built during World War I.

For the next six months, camera crews from the PBS show “This Old House” will team with Sweenor Builders to renovate a 1915 cottage on Plymouth Road. It will mark the show’s 40th season in which filmmakers craft episodes by following contractors through renovations. As the top-rated show in its genre, the Kevin O’Connor-hosted series inspires homeowners to expand their perceptions on necessary steps to make a house structurally sound without diminishing its historical characteristics.


PBS camera crews at this Plymouth Road house are working alongside contractors to document the six-month overhaul of the 103-year-old cottage. The new structure will be built to net-zero specifications, which means no energy waste. PBS camera crews at this Plymouth Road house are working alongside contractors to document the six-month overhaul of the 103-year-old cottage. The new structure will be built to net-zero specifications, which means no energy waste. According to the sneak preview, the project is set in “a coastal town just across Narragansett Bay from Newport. Many of Jamestown’s houses date from the late 1800s and early 1900s, when summer visitors built modest cottages to enjoy the ocean breezes and sandy beaches. Today, those dwellings — uninsulated since they were originally built just for the summer season — are being rebuilt to increase energy efficiency but keep the old charm.”

According to Sara Ferguson, coordinating producer, most of the projects are based in Boston. While the show does a few renovations annually near the Massachusetts capital, they try to expand to a remote city or town each season.


“This Old House” is using the project as an opportunity to find apprentices who can work alongside experts. Dubbed Generation NEXT, the goal is to close the skills gap by encouraging young adults to master vocational trades. 
PHOTOS BYANDREA VON HOHENLEITEN “This Old House” is using the project as an opportunity to find apprentices who can work alongside experts. Dubbed Generation NEXT, the goal is to close the skills gap by encouraging young adults to master vocational trades. PHOTOS BYANDREA VON HOHENLEITEN “This location is our remote project of 2018,” she said.

In its most recent series, “This Old House” is using the Jamestown project to search for apprentices who will work alongside the experts. Dubbed Generation NEXT, the campaign’s goal is to close the skills gap by encouraging young adults to master vocational trades.

“The show is trying to encourage people to get back into the careers of construction,” Ferguson said.

Donald Powers, an architect who owns the fixer-upper, is looking forward to incorporated the apprenticeship program, especially with the potential for green energy. According to Powers, homes built to net-zero specifications balance energy so there is no waste. This will be crucial as the two-bedroom renovation includes an addition on the southern end of the home, which will expand the footprint to 2,000 square feet.

“I want the house to still look like a cottage, but more energy efficient,” Powers said.

As of now, construction is in the demolition stage. Cameras will document the stages of construction as it occurs. The house is expected to be finished in August, with airing of the first episodes in September.

Interested apprentices can visit the program’s website to apply. The casting call for the Jamestown project ends Feb. 23.

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