This Old House Create Marathon

Watch the talented This Old House crew take a fixer-upper from drab to fab. The Brookline house, built in the 1920s, receives a complete overhaul — from basement to roof — in this special 13-episode marathon.
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Show Schedule
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A Brownstone in Brooklyn

Episode #01 · For the first time in the show's history, host Kevin O'Connor and master carpenter Norm Abram take This Old House on the road to New York City to restore a neglected 1904 brownstone in Brooklyn. Homeowners Karen Shen and Kevin Costello will convert the former rooming house into a three family home while preserving and restoring period detail wherever possible. In Brooklyn, Norm meets veteran brownstone remodeling contractor Michael R. Streaman at a similar job down the street to see how he transformed one of these rooming houses into a beautiful, modern family home. Back at the project house, Streaman gets to work on demolition and also starts stripping the paint off the back of the house to prepare the brick for re-pointing and eventually the installation of new energy-efficient windows.

Classic New York

Episode #02 · Host Kevin O'Connor and landscape contractor Roger Cook visit Prospect Park, a 585-acre urban oasis unofficially known as "Brooklyn's Backyard." At the project house, master carpenter Norm Abram meets contractor Michael R. Streaman and homeowner Karen Shen to see how the framing is progressing and to hear about their thoughts on the kitchen layout. To learn more about how brownstones were used in the past, architectural historian Charles Lockwood takes Kevin to Manhattan's East Village to see a perfectly preserved rowhouse dating to 1832, including the original intact kitchen in the basement. Then, to see how the old-fashioned spaces can be updated, they visit a restored brownstone in Park Slope,

Preservation & Planning

Episode #03 · Host Kevin O'Connor and plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey visit lower New York Harbor, taking in the city skyline and the Statue of Liberty from the water, and from Liberty Island. At the project house in Brooklyn, master carpenter Norm Abram meets local wood refinisher John Thomas for an assessment of the multiple wood finishes in the house (including lots of deteriorating shellac) and how to properly restore them. At a tile showroom in Bensonhurst, designer Carole Freehauf shows homeowner Karen Shen some period-appropriate tile combinations for her bathrooms and kitchen. Back at the project house, Richard gets an update on the plumbing and heating progress, and sees how brothers Randy and Erik Gitli are converting the old steam radiators to hot water.

In With the New

Episode #04 · After starting the day at nearby Tom's Restaurant, host Kevin O'Connor finds homeowners Kevin Costello and Karen Shen inspecting the new exterior paint job at the project house in Brooklyn. Inside, general contractor Tom Silva finds local builder Michael Streaman laying down new 5/16" white oak flooring in the parlor with two accent strips of cherry as a decorative border. Nearby in Red Hook, plaster contractor Stuart Sobczynski shows Kevin how he's replicating the plaster crown mouldings for the house, and later, the new mouldings are installed at the house. In the back yard, landscape designer/contractor Bob Reitmeyer shows Kevin the progress on a new retaining wall, and the brick patio that is going down in a herringbone pattern with a soldier course border. On the garden level, local millwork contractor Mitch Berlin installs new replacement windows on the back of the house. On the top level rental unit, a local spray foam insulation contractor has arrived to insulate the top of the building to keep the heat from escaping up and out—and just in time, as a snowstorm blankets Brooklyn.

Making it their Own

Episode #05 · At the project house in Brooklyn, homeowner Karen Shen shows master carpenter Norm Abram the progress in the owner's unit while flooring contractor Neale Rattray installs new white oak flooring in the top floor apartment. In the new master bathroom, local plumbing contractor Randy Gitli shows plumbing and heating contractor Richard Trethewey the showerhead combination that includes a master showerhead, a handheld showerhead and tub filler. The set up is equally complicated behind the walls with volume controls and a thermostatic valve that Randy installs that day. Design correspondent Carole Freehauf shows host Kevin O'Connor the paint color scheme for the first floor which will be monochromatic to let the beautiful woodwork take center stage. Local builder Michael Streaman takes Norm over to his woodworking shop in Greenpoint to see the progress on the custom kitchen and how his crew is replicating baseboard profiles using routers instead of expensive custom knives. In the backyard, homeowner Kevin Costello lends a hand installing the new privacy fence that he found at a local home center.

Restoring and Replacing

Episode #06 · At the project house in Brooklyn, host Kevin O'Connor arrives to find local builder Michael Streaman and stair fabricator Stephen Dijanic installing the vintage spiral stairs that the homeowners bought online. The new plaster medallion is installed in the parlor and design correspondent Carole Freehauf reveals the design choices for the two rental apartments. Homeowner Kevin Costello lays down click-together linoleum floor tiles in one unit while cabinet installer Oliver Earl deals with concealing ductwork over his cabinetry in the other unit. Finish carpenter Mario Quintuna shows master carpenter Norm Abram how he is rehabilitating the original five panel interior doors by patching holes, cleaning up edges and replacing panels. At the end of the day, the spiral stair is nearly complete and ready to be tested. Homeowner Karen Shen is thrilled with the way it looks and that Streaman found a way to modify it to make it fit.

Made in New York

Episode #07 · At the project house in Brooklyn, master carpenter Norm Abram learns how local wood refinisher John Thomas is using a faux painting technique to disguise old and damaged woodwork. The custom kitchen is installed in the owner's unit while design correspondent Carole Freehauf meets Ian Gibbs at his SoHo showroom to see window treatment options and how the shades are custom made in his Queens workroom. Tile contractor Mauro Zanutto arranges a mud bed for tile on the garden level floor while upstairs in the master bath he prepares to lay the mosaic floor by doing a complete dry layout. Also, in the garden level apartment, the finished countertops arrive for the kitchen.

The Dream Team

Episode #08 · After a brief visit to the Brooklyn Navy Yard, master carpenter Norm Abram helps local builder Michael Streaman reinstall old interior door trim in the new library area. In Bensonhurst, host Kevin O'Connor finds countertop fabricator Alex DeMeo unloading a container of marble just in from Italy and the slabs of manmade quartz and resin being made into countertops. Later, the countertops are installed at the project house with cutouts for the range and seams made on site. In the basement, plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey meets electrical contractor Vinny Verderosa to see how the new service is set up for the three-family house. Then Richard meets local plumbing and heating contractor Randy Gitli to look at the mechanical room that contains two complete systems—one for the ground floor apartment and another for the top three floors. Upstairs in the master bath, tile contractor Mauro Zanutto shows Kevin his unconventional method for grouting the floor tile.

Wood Finishes Restored to Original Brilliance

Episode #09 · At the project house in Brooklyn, local builder Michael Streaman reinstalls the beautiful white oak entry doors that were absent for several months when they were stripped of old paint and restored by wood refinisher John Thomas. Inside, John works his way through the parlor woodwork, covering, blending and matching color as he goes. In the kitchen, local plumbing and heating contractors Randy and Erik Gitli finish their connections to the appliances, the kitchen sink and install a new pot filler over the range. On the second floor, homeowner Kevin Costello shows master carpenter Norm Abram the new temporary wall in the master bedroom that creates a nursery for their youngest son. Eventually, the wall can be removed when they take over the third floor apartment. At a landmark home store in the Flatiron district of Manhattan, design correspondent Carole Freehauf gives host Kevin O'Connor a lesson in shopping for furniture while making selections for the project house. Electrical contractor Vinny Verderosa shows Kevin O'Connor the strategy for fire prevention in the project house and some new technology in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. At the end of the day, flooring contractor Neale Rattray arrives to sand and seal the new oak floors in the boys' room.

The Brownstone Is Beautiful Once Again

Episode #10 · With the Brooklyn brownstone nearly complete, master carpenter Norm Abram and host Kevin O'Connor arrive to find a bustling sidewalk with both sod and furniture being delivered. In the backyard, landscape contractor Roger Cook sees how the sod is being laid down while local builder Michael Streaman installs the last of the missing spindles at the base of the main staircase. Norm visits Mount Laurel, New Jersey, to see how the turnings were made by both a CNC lathe and with chisels by hand. Design correspondent Carole Freehauf shows Kevin the finished rental apartment on the top floor. The apartment has a casual monochromatic scheme that lets the woodwork take center stage and a stunning kitchen with period-inspired details and modern amenities. Homeowner Karen Shen shows Norm the completed master bedroom level, now accessible from within the owner's unit by a vintage spiral staircase. After a look at the backyard transformation, the crew gathers on the front stoop to celebrate the completion of the project and to congratulate Michael Streaman on a job well done.

Episode #112 · General contractor Tom Silva helps two homeowners complete the construction of their new backyard deck. With all of the framing completed, Tom installed the deck boards and railings using a very dense wood called ipe.Then, back in the workshop, Tom shows host Kevin O'Connor a few other types of hidden deck-fastening systems. (AKA ATOH # 916)

Episode #112 · General contractor Tom Silva helps two homeowners complete the construction of their new backyard deck. With all of the framing completed, Tom installed the deck boards and railings using a very dense wood called ipe.Then, back in the workshop, Tom shows host Kevin O'Connor a few other types of hidden deck-fastening systems. (AKA ATOH # 916)

Episode #201 · Tommy and Kevin cruise around Brookline in a '57 Chevy before rolling up to the latest project: a lackluster 1957 mid-century modern house in need of a total overhaul. They learn about the full scope of work, and Charlie starts in on demo.

Episode #202 · While old fixtures are salvaged and asbestos is removed at the house, Norm, Richard and Kevin head back to where it all began 40 years ago, in Dorchester, Massachusetts. Later, Roger starts to remove a tree that's threatening the property.

Episode #203 · Norm teaches the apprentices how to lay a sill on a new foundation, while Richard scopes the sewer to see what might be lurking inside. Kevin, the homeowners and their designer start in on a plan to create a sleek, modern space.

Episode #204 · The foundation of the house has no footings, so Mark McCullough pours a buttress. Kevin visits the 2001 Manchester by the Sea project. Back at the house, Richard solves a ductwork puzzle while Kevin and Tommy install a PVC trim overhang.

Episode #205 · Kevin meets electrician Heath Eastman to learn about in-counter outlets. Tommy visits former apprentice Nathan Gilbert to see what he's been up to over the past year. Back at the house, Norm teaches Carly how to frame a skylight.

Episode #206 · Jenn and the homeowners select pavers for hardscape. Tommy and Norm install a skylight in the bathroom, while the sewer line and water main are completely replaced out front. The original foundation is also repaired.

Episode #207 · Tommy teaches Kevin how to calculate the risers for a set of stairs. The foundation is insulated with a DIY foam system. Radiant heat is installed, and Norm and Richard head to Santa Fe to visit the project they did 30 years ago.

Episode #208 · Tommy shows Kevin the careful process of installing rafters for a cantilevered roof. Inside, Richard solves a venting problem for the kitchen sink before tackling the AC ductwork puzzle. Later, Tommy and Kevin install snow cleats on the roof.

Episode #209 · Mark McCullough rebuilds a century-old Puddingstone wall. Tommy and Kevin revisit the 2005 Cambridge modern project. Electrician Heath Eastman installs trimless LED recessed lights. Large tanks are installed under the driveway for rainwater runoff.

Episode #210 · Richard travels to the Midwest to see the manufacturing of plate glass and windows. Back in Brookline, Mauro teaches Kevin some cold weather painting tricks. Radiant heat is installed under the driveway, while the patio is installed in the front.

Episode #211 · Mark Ferrante lays giant porcelain tile in the main living spaces of the house. Kevin and Richard head to sunny Key West to visit the 20th anniversary project. Back in Brookline, a hanging retro fireplace and modern kitchen cabinets are installed.

Episode #212 · Finishing touches abound as the project wraps up: closet systems, modern baseboards and a linear wall drain in the master shower are all installed. Homeowner Sunil selects door hardware and Nathan Gilbert installs floating bathroom vanities.

Episode #213 · After months of hard work, the lackluster mid-century box is a modern marvel once again. Kevin, Tommy and Richard tour the home and review all the special features that went into this beautiful space Sunil and Neha can now call home.