"This Old House" - renovating a cottage

schoolhouse_gwJune 16, 2013

It's on my PBS station right now (1pm. June 16), renovating a 1935 English Cottage. Already the homeowner is moving the kitchen into what is currently the livingroom area with fireplace. Interesting. TOH will be remodeling the exterior also.

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Will have to try and catch it on other night. All 3 channels are running fundraisers. Looking forward to new Inspector Lewis series tonight. DH and DSs and I like to predict how many bodies turn up before the criminal is apprehended. Oxford, like Midsomer, is not a very safe place in literary whodunit terms!

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 1:59PM
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Is that the Cambridge cottage? I just set it to record on DVR. As you know, I love cottages...especially with kitchen fireplaces :)

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 11:06PM
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Imhappy&Iknowit IOWA zone 6b

Not to hijack your post but lavender_lass, what is going on with your house? I've been doing other things that don't involve checking gardenweb so I've lost you.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 10:20PM
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My house is on hold...for a while. But the good news is, my husband is finally home!!!

He got sick back in August (some mysterious neuropathy) but he was finally able to come home last week :)

Still playing around with ideas, but it will be a while before we start any major projects. I would still like to have a big country/cottage kitchen with a fireplace and a separate living room. This just gives me more time to plan.....

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 10:12PM
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Lavender - so glad your husband is better and able to be back home. :)

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 10:05AM
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You know I only ever saw that first episode. Where are the rest? Can't find it on any of my PBS stations at least, maybe I can find them online.

Lass, I don't remember if it was a cottage in Cambridge. By the way, have been following your husband's progress and happy things are moving right along. Good luck to you both.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 10:15AM
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Thanks, everyone! Didn't mean to hijack your thread, Schoolhouse :)

I have recorded two episodes, but haven't had time to watch them. If you find them online, let me know! I really want to see the kitchen you were talking about.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 1:01AM
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I found it! Here's the 1935 cottage. It's cute, but I think I would have swapped the kitchen and dining room. But I do like the tile around the kitchen windows :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Link to This Old House cottage

    Bookmark   June 28, 2013 at 12:32AM
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Oh good, thanks! Now to find the episodes and view them in the correct order. I bookmarked at Episode 16 which seems to be the one I might have watched and the first in the series.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2013 at 12:03PM
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Finished with three episodes so far.

Remember when "This Old House" first came on the air and they used to actually TELL the home owner how much the renovations would be and most of the time prided themselves on how reasonable they could do it. Now they don't mention money at all. I bet the home renos they do now go into the millions. I'd be curious as to how much money the owners put into this cottage.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2013 at 10:07PM
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LOL! I remember the one Bob Vila did, where they added on an entire house to the back of the old house. Do you remember the one where they had a living room, dining room, small walk through office and a kitchen...then a breezeway out to the old garage and outhouse???

That was a neat old house, but rather than work with it and make it really charming again...they added on a new kitchen (like they need another seating area where the old kitchen used to be!) and an eating area and another living area. It was huge and then they chose some very 'interesting' wallpaper for the upstairs.

Anyway, the owners were going to contribute a lot of 'sweat equity' to keep the budget under control. They steamed off some old wallpaper and a few other things...then the budget basically doubled because they hired everything else done. Bob Vila made a big deal about that on the final few episodes and it was actually pretty funny. That might have been the end of the owner contribution and discussing budgets :)

    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 4:23PM
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Yes, the episode you linked to shows the final walk-through. The tour of the basement made me think they were in a nuclear submarine. Did you see that geothermal heating system and the waste system?

With all those complicated systems, plus a propane-powered generator that produces 38 kw, custom hand-made tiles from England in the kitchen, all that landscaping rock and all of those patios and lights outside, you are probably right that it was a million dollar renovation. Hand-made window screens on hinges? Who are these people? I would bet that their geothermal system alone cost more than my house. Their rock-moving bill was likely more than the cost of my house. I thought I was extravagant spending $5000 on real linoleum. I'll relax, now.

I would not call this place a cottage.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 8:15PM
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I have not had time to look at the links. Maybe later tonight.

Nancy we had geothermal heating and it was wonderful. All it was was hot water 158-162 degrees at the hot spring. Piped down to the house and into the house with very small pump. It circulated through those old cast iron radiators and gravity piped back out into the pool and then from there out the overflow back into the river.

When it was really cold, 20 below zero, we could run a fan behind the radiators to move the warm air around. That was rarely necessary and we usually left a window or two open all year round for fresh air circulation. In the summer we just turned off the hot water to the house. We kept it in the hot tub and pool all year round but slowed it down with valves so the pool was cooler in the summer. It really was a very simple system.

LL I am very happy your husband is home and doing better.


    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 8:29PM
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Imhappy&Iknowit IOWA zone 6b

I put in geothermal last summer after my 4 year old heat pump died. Long unpleasant story. With rebates and credits, it was around $10,000. YIPES! But my electric bill with heat was about half of what I was paying for the heat pump which really didn't work in Iowa winters. So by the time I have it paid off, I will have a new system that will be saving me lotsa bucks. My payments added to my electric bill equal what my electric bill used to be. Now, it depends on which method you have to use for installation. Idaho has a pond. I have horizontal. You could also bore holes like a well. That's a bit more $$ but if you don't have the space for horizontal or the pond it's your next option. I'm so tight I squeak but my air is on today. It's not near as costly to heat or cool air that is 55 degrees as it is to do the same to outside air that is 95 degrees or minus 30 plus the wind chill. I should have done it long ago. I threw money down a rat hole for 4 years.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 9:02PM
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Have to agree with Nancy in Mi: lovely house but, as with most of TOH projects, high budget. I'm in south Florida and looked into generators after a couple years of bad hurricanes but the expense was too high. Aside from the generator and installation you had to fill a large propane tank which cost about $1000 at the time. Then, since we don't have gas piped in, once you use that tank (the vendor estimated 3 days) you have to hope you can get a refill. Mind you, I doubt you'd be priority if gas stations, hospitals and govt offices are off line. For a while home sellers were highlighting that they were on a hospital grid!!!

I've been reading articles on passive solar housing and it sounds like it's matured over the past 30 years. Try NY Times if you're interested.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 5:36PM
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I rarely watch TOH any more. Somewhere along the way the preservation and craftsmanship aspects seem to have dropped off somewhat, although I do know that preservation of both the interior and exterior were never really #1 priorities, now it seems much less so.

And I guess "cottage" is relevant to where you live/how much $$ you make, lol.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2013 at 12:41PM
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I miss Bob Vila! I think I may be the only one, though :)

It was a lot more fun to watch the show back then, maybe because there were so few shows like it. The houses were often smaller (remember the cute Cape Cod, where they did most of the work themselves?) and Bob was a bit condescending...but he and Norm were great together.

I remember the house with the old barn...the homeowners were supposed to do all this work, themselves. They did a bit, then paid to have someone else do the rest, totally blowing their budget. Bob gave them a bit of a bad time about that...but it was supposed to be owner 'sweat equity' back then. It's really changed.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 1:12PM
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My favorite scene from This Old House, but I can't find the video. John and Claire were the homeowners and they were getting their ranch turned into a cape home. In episode 607, the homeowner's uncle (?) was showing Bob Vila how to plaster the living room walls. He did this for a living and was helping out the homeowners.

Bob Vila asked...do you sand the walls after you apply the plaster? The guy about fell off the ladder...sandpaper Bob? Sandpaper? We don't sandpaper them, Bob!

I about fell off my chair, I was laughing so hard! LOL

Here is a link that might be useful: Link to picture of house

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 1:48PM
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These types of costs are what happens when people forget that old houses are OLD! I see this in some other forums-very respectable contractors and other people with valuable experience treating old home problems as new home problems. There are always going to be quirks and problems with old homes, some which need remedied and some which don't. TOH seems to go to the extreme and update and perfect everything. By the time they are done it is sometimes a new house! The budgets on these shows are extraordinary. M

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 9:37PM
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