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View Diary: An Italianate beauty – Clinton Town Hall (35 comments)

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  •  I wonder if H. J. Bigelow was of those Bigelows? (5+ / 0-)

    He was a renowned physician at Mass Gen and had a house built in Newton, eventually known as the Bigelow House. It was designed by the very same H. H. Richardson referenced in comments above.

    The house was featured as the second ever This Old House project when they restored the house and converted it into condominiums. Here's a contemporary article about the project. No date on the article, but the project aired in 1981.

    •  I normally enjoy TOH, BUT... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      exatc, commonmass, RiveroftheWest, ER Doc

      ...they made a MAJOR misstep with the 1849 Greek Revival farmhouse conversion in Carlise! (Ouch!) I was invited to view it...and was shocked........

      'Per Ardua Ad Astra'

      by shortfinals on Tue May 07, 2013 at 07:12:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Please elaborate. (4+ / 0-)

        You may be shocked to learn that I'm heavily invested in TOH—not financially, but I've devoted far too much time to it, as you can see at the TOH page at my personal website.

        •  You would be amused to know that (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          exatc, shortfinals, RiveroftheWest, ER Doc

          one of my summer neighbors here in Maine is Steve Thomas.

          I resent that. I demand snark, and overly so -- Markos Moulitsas.

          by commonmass on Tue May 07, 2013 at 08:25:19 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It took nearly 14 seasons… (5+ / 0-)

            For him to wash the bitter taste of Boob Vila out of our collective mouths. Personally, I wasn't as fond of Thomas as I have become of Kevin O'Connor, but he certainly had an impressive pedigree—sailor, rehabber, author, etc.—certainly contrast enough to Vila.

            But he never spoke to me as Kevin has. I think it might have been that pedigree that was the problem. Morash (Russ Morash, the producer) certainly needed that to get the audience past Vila, but all it did was move the problem from Vila talking down to the tradesmen (and the audience), to Thomas clearly able to interact with the tradesmen, but being too knowledgeable for the audience.

            O'Connor started raw, rolled up his sleeves, put on his tool belt, and grabbed a hammer as an apprentice. Even with a modicum of DIYing behind him, he took the audience with him on a journey of basics and learn-while-doing.

            One never saw either Vila nor Thomas with a hammer in their hand. Oh, Vila often tried his hand at some plastering (he had apparently done some with his father in his youth), but it was more embarrassing and showy than helpful. Thomas stayed above that, for the most part, but failed to engage the fans.

            Still, he was competent, and he appeared in a show after his TOH years and did a credible job.

            Thanks for the insight.

            •  I was thinking that Tim Allen hit close (4+ / 0-)

              to the mark, you sort of confirmed it.  IIRC, Kevin was the 'beneficiary' of a TOH build a couple of years before he got the host job.

              “that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.” Thomas Jefferson

              by markdd on Tue May 07, 2013 at 10:24:37 PM PDT

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              •  Kevin was discovered… (4+ / 0-)

                …doing a renovation and had Ask This Old House help when he ran into trouble removing wallpaper. They helped him and Morash remembered him. Ten years later he's as fresh and eager to learn as he was at the beginning.

                As far as the Tim Taylor character went, he was clueless, like Vila, but not a complete asshole.

                The two things I remember most about the early years was, one, in an interview with Russ Morash, he assured the reporter he'd talk about anything but Vila.

                In the second, the reporter (perhaps the same one) asked Norm Abram if he and Vila had lunch together on the set. Norm simply replied, "he was a high end kind of guy—I'm not."

            •  I like Steve. He's a very good neighbor (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              RiveroftheWest, shortfinals

              and since we are on an island, everyone gives everyone else a hand when they need it. He's helped me out a time or two. Plus we can talk sailing, which is cool.

              I resent that. I demand snark, and overly so -- Markos Moulitsas.

              by commonmass on Wed May 08, 2013 at 05:16:09 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I hope I didn't convey a dislike. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                shortfinals, RiveroftheWest

                He was certainly likeable. And I have a great deal of respect for his CV. I remember when he was first hired, I couldn't believe how much he'd done for such a young age. I just think Kevin is better in the particular role in which both were cast.

                If you haven't gathered from my sigline that I'm a huge fan of Norm Abram, well…

                Anyway, I think it was more than just casting by the producer that when Norm did a two part project of building a sailboat on The New Yankee Workshop, Steve (who was hosting TOH at the time) joined Norm in a "race" with the two boats that he'd built (Norm always built two of everything—a prototype to get the process ready for production, then the actual production piece, filmed while building). They clearly enjoyed the time together.

              •  My bro, Mike... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

       a Past Commodore, Barry Island Yacht Club ! He kept dragging me onboard, but I kept swimming back to shore....!

                'Per Ardua Ad Astra'

                by shortfinals on Wed May 08, 2013 at 10:53:08 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  Well, well, well ! n/t (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            RiveroftheWest, ER Doc, commonmass

            'Per Ardua Ad Astra'

            by shortfinals on Tue May 07, 2013 at 09:49:47 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Well....the windows in the 'joining' (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RiveroftheWest, ER Doc

          extension were only about 18 inches off of the wooden floor, giving a very strange feel, indeed.

          Also, the way the rooms were finished (I think that there were budgetary problems, towards the end) by inviting individual furniture companies or interior designers to complete them, and showcase their wares, was very uneven. I remember an oppressively heavy red flocked wallpaper in the dining room, and the 'breakfast' room that made me wince, because of the HUGE (and I mean 4 to 5 feet long), representation of a  fuzzy GREEN dragonfly hanging within about 3 feet of the table surface! Other guests on the tour (organized by WGBH) also remarked on these things.

          There were other things, but that is what springs to mind ATM....

          Sorry, it just struck me as a odd mixture.


          'Per Ardua Ad Astra'

          by shortfinals on Tue May 07, 2013 at 09:48:41 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Don't know if you remember the project (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            RiveroftheWest, shortfinals, ER Doc

            as it was in progress, but one of the setbacks they had was in the great area (converted from the barn) they built a big stone Count Rumford fireplace. Their longtime fireplace/chimney consultant, Mark Schaub, put in a wooden mantle made out of a big timber, but the building inspector didn't like it—too close to the fire.

            So, they wound up running a test in which they burned a very hot fire for a very long time, with a couple dozen heat sensors on the mantle, and finally determined it didn't meet standards. So, they had to tear it out and replace it with a piece of stone. I don't think it was a trivial rebuild to get that in.

            The coolest thing, though (no pun intended), was when after they got the ICF basement walls in, they brought a gravel shooter in to load the interior with gravel. Haven't seen that before or since (I think I saw one later on another show—not TOH).

            •  I remember...also the fact that the chimney was SO (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              exatc, RiveroftheWest, ER Doc

              large that it dominated two stories of the building internally, and also that the Great Room would be the devil's own job to redecorate, the cross beams must have been 40' off the floor.

              Also, we could NOT understand why you would not make any attempt to screen off the nice covered porch at the rear. It was stiflingly hot under there, and we tried sitting on the porch furniture. We were 'cooked' after 5 minutes. It had little utility in summer, and ZERO in winter. This was a LARGE porch, with room for tables and chairs, so it made no sense........

              'Per Ardua Ad Astra'

              by shortfinals on Tue May 07, 2013 at 11:15:30 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

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