'This Old House' Hits Los Angeles ... and I Hit the Job Site

Today's cuppa: English afternoon tea

Thumbnail image for ThisOldHouse_main.jpgEarlier this fall, I visited the crew and host of PBS' "Ask This Old House" as they helped a homeowner in Pasadena, Calif., upgrade his kitchen light fixtures (more on that when the airdate is announced). Then, a few weeks later, I headed to the eastern side of Los Angeles to visit this year's winter project for the mothership, "This Old House."

(Above, from left, landscaper Roger Cook, HVAC/plumbing expert Rich Trethewey, general contractor Tommy Silva, host Kevin O'Connor and master carpenter Norm Abram)

Below find excerpts from the press release that describes the project, and below that is a slideshow of a few of the things I saw that day. I'm planning to head back over when Abram is in town, to add more material for a feature story to run closer to the premiere.

(And, BTW, I learned from producer Deborah Hood that Silva can cut a rug, so will he be the first general contractor on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars"? If I could see him and "Deadliest Catch" crab Capt. Sig Hansen in the same show -- blue-collar ballroom nirvana! Ah, well, a girl can dream ..)


Spanish Colonial Revival to Get Hollywood Treatment on New Season of Emmy® Award-Winning Show

CONCORD, Mass., (September 23, 2010) - For the first time in its 30-year history, the PBS home improvement series This Old House is traveling to Los Angeles to tackle a West Coast renovation project. A charming 1930s Spanish Colonial Revival home located in the picturesque hillside community of Silver Lake will get a Hollywood makeover from the show's expert crew. The This Old House Los Angeles project, featuring 10 brand-new episodes, premieres nationally on PBS beginning Thursday, January 27, 2011 (check www.thisoldhouse.com/tvschedule or your local listings).

In order to accommodate a growing family, the This Old House team, with the help of local tradespeople, plans to expand the home's existing footprint, add a second floor and make updates for modern living, while preserving the quaint period details that make the property unique.

Homeowner Kurt Albrecht purchased this home in 1998 and moved in with his wife, Mary Blee, shortly thereafter. The couple was not only drawn to the original period style of the house and its view of the Silver Lake Reservoir, but they loved the diverse community and its central location to most Los Angeles areas like Downtown, Glendale, Burbank and Hollywood. The one floor, 1,500-sq.-ft. house was the perfect size for a young, married couple so they only made minor cosmetic updates at first. However, in recent years as their family began to expand and basically outgrow the two-bedroom, one-bath house, they decided it was time for more extensive renovations.

The This Old House experts are working with Los Angeles-based contractor Steve Pallrand and his design-build firm Home Front on a modest 750-sq.ft. expansion which includes a new second floor, larger kitchen, new family room, two additional baths and two more bedrooms. The plan also calls for preserving and replicating some of the homeowner's favorite existing period details such as arched doorways, tray ceilings, plaster ornamentation, inlaid floors and art deco light fixtures. ...

Show producers found this Silver Lake property after an exhaustive search, which included extensive outreach to the local building/architectural community and a public call for entries earlier this spring, which yielded several hundred project submissions. Previously, the expert crew renovated four other homes in California, two in Santa Barbara, one in Napa Valley and one in San Francisco. The last California project was completed 10 years ago.

Click here for my second visit to the job site.