Monthly Archives: January 2013

In case you missed it…

Ask this old house

You can now view my segment (and hideous kitchen) online! My segment starts at the 12:30 mark. Make sure you check it out and Tom and the gang have some great tips at the end. Let me know what you think!


I’m Ready For My Close Up (AKA Part 2 of My Time on the Silver Screen)

Photo Courtesy of Elyse Andrews, Somerville Beat

Photo Courtesy of Elyse Andrews, Somerville Beat

Yesterday I chatted about how I got selected to film a segment for Ask This Old House  so today I’m going to talk about what it was like to film a TV show that I’ve loved since I was a kid. Short and to the point: It. Was. AWESOME.

The project for the ATOH team was our cracked joist. Apparently, it’s a very common problem in old homes as our joists were notched so they sat on top of our main beam in the basement. This was common practice 100+ years ago and worked perfectly fine, until we started putting more and more stress by having large appliances (in our case, our fridge) sitting in the sweet spot of the joist. Add a high traffic area with our over-sized fridge, and you’ll have a cracked joist.  Builders today use hangers to connect the joist to the main beam, giving the joist proper support that it needs. But back to the filming!

We started relatively early in the afternoon, as they said our job shouldn’t take that long to complete. Tom Silva pulled up in his massive truck, where Adam and I (as well as his parents and Elyse) stood star struck. Let me tell you. He’s seriously the nicest guy to chat with. Coming with him, was the production entourage: Lighting, Sound, Producers, Assistant Producer, Camera guy all crammed in our teeny house. They brought so much equipment! The lighting, tools and camera could easily fill our entire living room.

We started off filming in the kitchen with our “opening” segment. This is where we cover the basics; welcoming Tom to our house and explaining why we wanted his expertise on our project. I’m not going to give the exact rundown of what happened here, but I will say…it took much longer then I thought it would take! I would be given direction by the director and while I thought I did a good job, I would be asked to do it again, but in a different manner. I now appreciate what actors go through! After we finished up we made our way to the basement where Tom was going to give our basement an inspection.

Tom giving our basement the once over

If only our basement was that bright! They brought in so many extra lights since our basement has very little natural light and setting those up take time! In between takes I was picking Tom’s brain about everything. How does our structure look? What would you recommend for the slope in our floor? What about moving our laundry upstairs, replacing the small shower? Being the good guy he is, he answered them all, and gave really great advice. I’m pretty sure I asked him (more than once) if he felt we had a good house on our hands, to which we replied, “You’ve got a great house with good bones. It’s going to make a great house for you!”


All in all, it was an amazing experience. With Adam and I being such big fans, it was incredible. Here’s a show we watch (and set our DVR for) filming in our very own home. When we discovered our joist was cracked, we had no idea how to even start fixing it and more importantly, how to prevent it from happening to our other joists. By having ATOH come to our house and show us how to fix it properly truly was a lifesaver! Had we listened to the structural engineer we brought in earlier that summer, we would have spent thousands (literally) in unnecessary repairs. Now we have the knowledge on what do to for the other joists, so we can reinforce them and give them the support that’s needed.

Joist signed by Tom Silva

For those that can’t read this, Tom wrote: “To Meghan and Adam From This Old House To Your House” Tom Silva, 9/10/2012

Plus, when the time comes to sell this place, do you think we’ll get extra points for having the joist that Tom Silva fixed from Ask This Old House signed by him? Maybe we’ll have to be on the look out for some fans like us.

For those that missed the show since it was on at the crack of dawn today, they’ll be showing it a couple of times this week. Make sure you put in your zip code so you won’t miss it! And if you want to view it online, you’ll be able to see it after January 8th, using this link.

Today, is a big day for Operation Restoration! (Part 1)

We have some HUGE news to share today on the blog…I’m going to be on TV! Ask This Old House specifically. And it starts airing TODAY! (Check out this link to see when it airs on your PBS station!)

So, way back in September something incredible happened. And no, it wasn’t the mister FINALLY proposing (which was also very incredible) but it was a visit from Tom Silva himself, and Ask This Old House! In our home! To film ME! Little ole’ me. How did this all happen? It’s quite interesting actually.

We’ve had issues with our furnace. Not only is it ancient, but where it’s located is also a problem, right smack in the middle of the basement and vents up through our chimney. We’ve been toying with the idea of getting rid of it completely (along with the water heater) and going green. What I mean is, getting a direct vent furnace and tankless water heater, which would allow us to remove the chimney entirely and then we’d be able to open the walls up without a giant brick eyesore in the middle of our rooms. So, Adam and I were casually chatting about the whole thing, when he mentioned “Maybe you should email Ask This Old House.” Since we had no idea how big of a project it really is, I took our question and emailed away. Hoping we’d get an answer soon.

Well, a few months later, we finally got a response! I got a call from one of the producers saying that they were interested in chatting with us about our project. So I gave him a call back and while the the furnace question was great, he wanted to know if we had any other projects, perhaps ones that were smaller scale? Of course we had smaller projects! I rattled off about 5 other things we had in our pipeline and he told me he’d get back to me if the team felt a project was right to pursue.

About a week later he called me back, saying that they were interested in our cracked floor joist, which apparently is a common problem in old homes. The producer came out to our house to take a look around and see our trouble area and said he’d be in touch.

That was it for a couple of weeks, until he called again while we were in Maine for a friends wedding. They wanted to film us and our cracked joist! I frantically called Adam and told him the news. They wanted to film that Monday! We both quickly shot emails to our bosses saying how Ask This Old House was coming to our HOME and we need that day off! Thankfully, they completely understood why we needed the day off and were so excited for us! So we rushed home that Sunday to clean the house like it never had been cleaned before, in preparation for it’s TV debut.

My dear friend Elyse from the Somerville Beat was kind enough to come by the day they started filming and caught some action shots of them filming. Here’s some shots she captured:

Photo Credit: Somerville Beat

Photo Credit: Somerville Beat

Photo Credit: Somerville Beat

Photo Credit: Somerville Beat

So tune in tomorrow when I chat about my experience filming and what it was like to hang out with Tom Silva for a day. And just a reminder, my segment (#1114) starts airing today (find out when it airs on your PBS station here) and if you don’t get PBS in your neck of the woods, or don’t have cable, you can view it online starting January 8th.