"This Old House" Program Schedule

Season 27: Washington, DC
The Washington, DC House
This project premiered on PBS
February 9, 2006
Programs #2519-2526

Program #2519
Master Carpenter Norm Abram and host Kevin O'Connor travel to Washington, D.C. to help non-profit developer Mi Casa Inc. renovate an abandoned 1879 rowhouse. The group attempts to preserve economic diversity in transitioning neighborhoods by selling renovated houses to low-income families at below market costs. Architect Genell Anderson envisions a three-bedroom, two-bathroom home that features exposed brick, dramatic lighting, new windows, and updated amenities. With only $200,000 to work with, general contractor Mahyar Mahvi is hoping to save as much of the original house structure as possible. Norm and Kevin agree that the fire-damaged shell is going to need a lot of work, and that the budget must be spent carefully.

Program #2520
Host Kevin O'Connor visits the National Mall to see how the National Park Service is finishing up nearly 10 years of renovation at the Lincoln Memorial. Back at the project house, master carpenter Norm Abram finds the house has been almost completely gutted. General contractor Mahyar Mahvi had hoped to save many of the floors, studs, millwork, and plaster—but water damage had ruined them beyond salvage. In the basement, the news is better—a new slab has been poured, electrical service has been updated, and the new water service is underway. Out at the street, master plumber Robert Major replaces the 3/4" lead water-service pipe with 1" copper tubing. Up on Capitol Hill, landscape contractor Roger Cook meets garden designer Kevin Cordt to see how he designs beautiful, low-maintenance urban gardens on small rowhouse lots. Surprised by the radical changes at the jobsite, architect Genell Anderson has no choice but to go back to the drawing board.

Program #2521
Host Kevin O'Connor and master carpenter Norm Abram grab breakfast with the crew at Saints Paradise Cafeteria, a non-profit church kitchen in the neighborhood. Back at the project house, framing is almost complete. Architect Genell Anderson's new design features a more open floor plan and the addition of a small first-floor powder room. Upstairs has 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, and a laundry area. Norm meets with preservation planner Steve Callcott to review the procedures for working in the Mt. Vernon historic district. The restoration of the fašade will require approved specialists in architectural ironwork, brickwork, and roofing. Restoration contractor Danny Palousek shows Norm how he will begin repairing and rebuilding the brick on the front of the house. Plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey visits the Solar Decathlon on the National Mall where university students compete to design and build houses powered entirely by the sun.

Program #2522
Host Kevin O'Connor and master carpenter Norm Abram open the show at the most visited destination in the Nation's capital—DC's newly restored Union Station. Back at the project house, restoration contractor Danny Palousek has begun work on the exterior brick, while inside, general contractor Mahyar Mahvi shows Kevin the progress—the building has been insulated with expanding foam insulation, wallboard is going up, the stairs are under construction, and the new windows are going in. Norm meets millwork specialist David Baldwin at his shop in Millersville, Maryland to see how they are replicating new wood casings from originals found in the house. In the basement, HVAC contractor Michael Bonsby finishes installing the new high-efficiency, two-stage gas furnace. Although over budget due to items like the curved staircase and the additional powder room, project director Elin Zurbrigg feels she's still on track due to the 10 percent she set aside for overages. Kate Dieterich reviews critical color choices in the design she plans for the home.

Program #2523
Restoration contractor Danny Palousek shows master carpenter Norm Abram how he's repointing and rebuilding the decorative brickwork on the facade of the house. Host Kevin O'Connor ventures to the industrial waterfront of southwest Washington to see architectural ironwork specialist Fred Mashack's rehabilitation work on front entrance stairs. Inside, the drywall is up, taped and mudded, and cabinet installer Oliver Earl installs the new maple cabinets. Out back, garden designer Kevin Cordt shows Kevin his plan for the backyard—a functional urban landscape that features parking for two cars, natural wood fencing, a small shed, and a low-maintenance garden. Kate Dieterich reviews the kitchen flooring and other design elements.

Program #2524
Host Kevin O'Connor meets local Rick Lee for a tour of the most famous block in the neighborhood, the "U Street Corridor," which includes stops at Ben's Chili bowl and the historic Lincoln Theatre. Back at the project house, work begins in the backyard as fencing specialist Phil Brennan and his crew install a neighbor-friendly shadowbox fence and saltbox shed, while landscape contractor Dan Barry preps the planting beds. Inside, master carpenter Norm Abram finds the curved stair coming together and interior trim going up. Countertop fabricator John Huzway makes templates for the new engineered quartz kitchen counters using state of the art computer technology. Norm takes Mi Casa's project director, Elin Zurbrigg, to Washington's premier architectural salvage yard in search of a fireplace mantle to replace the one that was stolen. Owner Ron Allan shows them several period-appropriate options. Without a homeowner to work with, interior designer Kate Dieterich beings selecting paint colors by taking her cues from the architecture.