I’ve been a fan of This Old House since the very beginning (and where I first became acquainted with Norm). At one time I would have sworn I’d seen every episode, but in truth, I know I’ve missed a few over the years, although I’m certain I’ve seen at least part of every project. As I’ve enjoyed the revival of the later projects in the This Old House Classics episodes on DIY channel (and others), I’ve gotten curious about the actual locations of the projects. You know—maybe do a drive-by of some of them sometime when I’m in New England (the majority—46, currently—of the projects are in Massachusetts, all but two of those within 30 miles of Boston). Well, one thing from that germ of an idea led to another, and the next thing you know I was plotting locations onto my Street Atlas USA mapping program. In the chart below you’ll see what success I’ve had. And that success has run the gamut of unable-to-locate to specific addresses.
The fact of the matter is, I had to employ a number of tricks to come up with many of these. Some of the locations are explicitly stated on the program (not all at once, I don’t think—but a house number here, a street name there, glimpse of architect’s drawings, street number visible on the door, glimpse of street sign, etc.), others were tracked down by using the owner’s name and the phone book, still others needed some sleuthing of property records. I also got some assistance watching Inside This Old House episodes. I’m actually quite proud of my efforts—they’ve included interpreting aerial or satellite photopraphs and comparing public record floor plans.
Now, I’ve never subscribed to the concept that people somehow give up their right to privacy by nature of their celebrity, however fleeting or inadvertant, so you won’t find any actual addresses or even anything more specific than what I’ve already divulged. In fact, at the This Old House website, one of their FAQs says:
And that pretty well summarizes why you won’t get further details here, as well. And, no, I won’t divulge them by email, either.
I just thought you might be interested in what information is available and some other conclusions I’ve drawn from the effort. It’s been a fun piece of detective work. And apparently, I’m not the only This Old House “stalker.” I got a note from a visitor several years ago, who not only filled in some gaps I had in my information, but has actually driven by many of the projects. It helps that he lives in New England, but he’s also been to the San Francisco house as well as the Napa Valley house. Since I first put up this page, I’ve driven by the West Palm Beach house. It’s a lot smaller than it appeared on TV. My visitor friend tells me that’s been his impression of all of them he’s seen.
A couple of years later, another stalker appeared. His email indicated that he likewise has visited several sites and filled me in on a couple I didn’t have. Just recently, he made a trip to England and got a picture of the Pembridge Place project which we had collectively sleuthed via email earlier this year. This has been great fun!
Then, even later, another one contacted me, and I was able to incorporate even more data which is reflected below.
We still carry on a correspondence, which peaks every spring when the new projects are announced. We are the kings of stalkers.
Update: yet another stalker reared his head and provided the clue we needed to locate the Reading green house project.
By the way, I don’t know if it’s possible to recreate this body of work from scratch today. Some of the necessary data is still available online, but I relied on watching a lot of episodes (too many, my kids would likely say) of both This Old House Classics (the HGTV version) and Inside This Old House for a good bit of my clues. ITOH was off the air for some time, then resurrected, then removed again. I still picked up some useful stuff when it was back on.
TOH Classics hadn’t shown anything before the Concord Barn (the Vila years) in the past decade, as I recall, and is no longer in the HGTV lineup. There is a local station in my area that airs projects ala TOH Classics, but I don’t think they’re calling it that, and they haven’t shown anything older than O'Connor episodes. While DIY Network used to be a TOH Classics vehicle, I haven’t seen one on that network in some years. PBS consistently re-airs their most recent season, but they no longer go back very far before the next season starts. Furthermore, in the update of the TOH website in 2008, some of the material that was pertinent to my work has disappeared.
The final tally on this colossal waste of time: all but one located of 80+ projects. It’s a fine success rate, but I’m tired of calculating the percentage and won’t bother posting it.
Color key indicates project was hosted by: Kevin O’Connor , Steve Thomas , Bob Vila
|year||The Dorchester Project||Yes||Began airing in 2021—Didn’t have to work on this, either. The woodworking friend mentioned below provided me with significant preliminary data before I even saw the first eposode.|
|2020||The Narragansett Project||Yes||Began airing in October, 2020—Didn’t have to work on this much at all. A woodworking friend provided me with significant preliminary data before I even saw the first eposode.|
|2020||The Cape Ann Project||Yes||Began airing in April, 2020—sleuthed fairly quickly, but with more difficulty|
|2020||The Paradise Fire Project||Multiple projects associated with the recovery from the 2018 Paradise forest fire in CA. Sleuthed by a friend of the page who reached out to me. Another stalker!|
|2019||The Westerly Ranch Project||Yes||Sleuthed probably two weeks after announcement|
|2019||The New Brookline Project||Yes||Aired in 2019—sleuthed within days of announcement|
|2018||The Jamestown, RI Project||Yes||Aired in 2018—sleuthed within days of announcement|
|2018||The Charleston (SC)||Two projects|
|2017||The Newton Project||Yes||Sleuthed within days of announcement|
|2017||The Detroit Project||Yes||Sleuthed within an hour of my seeing the announcement|
|2016||The Arlington Arts & Crafts Project||Yes||Sleuthed within minutes of viewing.|
|2015||The Belmont Victorian Project||Yes|
|2015||The Homes for Our Troops Project||Yes|
|2014||The Lexington Colonial Revival Project||Yes|
|2014||The Charlestown 2014 Project||Yes|
|2013||The Arlington Italianate Project||Yes|
|2013||The Jersey Shore Project (NJ)||multiple projects associated with the recovery from Hurricane Sandy|
|2012||The Essex Project||Yes|
|2012||The Cambridge 2012 Project||Yes|
|2012||The Barrington Project||Yes|
|2011||The Bedford Project||Yes|
|2011||The Silver Lake (Los Angeles) Project||Yes|
|2010||The Auburndale Project||Yes|
|2010||The Roxbury Project||Yes|
|2009||The Newton Centre Project||Yes|
|2009||The Brooklyn House||Yes|
|2008||The Weston House||Yes|
|2008||The New Orleans Katrina Project||Yes|
|2007||The Newton Shingle Style House||Yes|
|2007||The Austin House||Yes|
|2006||The East Boston House||Yes|
|2006||The Washington, D.C. House||Yes|
|2005||The Cambridge House||Yes|
|2004||The Carlisle Project||Yes||purchased by TOH, subsequently resold|
|2004||The Bermuda House||Yes|
|2003||The Concord Cottage||Yes||Kevin O’Connor’s first appearance|
|2003||The Lake Forest Dream Kitchen||Yes||Chicago area location|
|2002||The Winchester House||Yes||no longer owned by subject owners|
|2001||The Manchester House||Yes|
|2001||The West Palm Beach House||Yes|
|2000||The Charlestown House||Yes|
|2000||The Santa Barbara House||Yes|
|1999||The Billerica House||Yes|
|1999||The Key West House||Yes|
|1998||The Watertown House||Yes|
|1998||The San Francisco House||Yes||renovation of former church|
|1997||The Milton House||Yes||purchased by TOH, no longer owned by subsequent purchasers|
|1997||The Tucson House||Yes|
|1996||The Nantucket House||Yes|
|1996||The Savannah House||Yes||same neighborhood as the Mercer house featured in “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”|
|1995||The Salem House||Yes||“I fought the law and the law won…”|
big battle with the historic commission.
|1995||The Napa Valley House||Yes|
|1994||The Acton House||Yes|
|1994||The Honolulu House||Yes||no longer owned by subject owner|
|1993||The Belmont House||Yes|
|1993||The Miami House||Yes|
|1992||The Lexington Ranch||Yes|
|1992||The London House||Yes||(Well, sort of—I know the neighborhood, but have no useful mapping software to nail down the location)|
|1991||The Wayland House (Kirkside)||Yes|
|1991||The New Orleans House||Yes||probably no longer owned by subject owner|
|1990||The Jamaica Plain House||Yes||no longer owned by subject owner|
|1990||The Santa Fe House||Yes|
|1989||The Concord House||Yes||Steve Thomas’ first appearance|
|1988||The Lexington Bed and Breakfast||Yes||still in use as a B&B with website|
|1988||The Santa Barbara Bungalow||Yes|
|1987||The Westwood House|
|Yes||probably no longer owned by subject owner|
|1987||The Phoenix House||Yes|
|1987||The Brimfield House||Yes|
|1986||The Reading House||Yes|
|1986||The Tampa House||Yes||no longer owned by subject owners|
|1986||The Melrose House||Yes|
|1985||The Reading Ranch||Yes|
|1985||The Newton Cottage||Yes|
|1984||In and Around Boston)||(multiple projects)|
|1983||The Brookline House||Yes||energy efficient house built by TOH|
|1982||The Arlington House||Yes|
|1982||The Woburn House||Yes|
|1981||The Newton House||Yes||purchased by TOH, then converted to a condominium|
|1980||The Dorchester House||Yes||purchased by TOH, subsequently resold|
Thanks to my friends Pete Randall, Buddy Turney, and Brian Hunt for filling in some holes in my data with their own sleuthing.
Last updated: 25 February 2021