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This Old House® Heads To The Nation’s Capital To Tackle An Urban Rehab Project


This Old House will dive into one of America’s hottest urban renewal projects by joining forces with Mi Casa—a Washington, DC-based nonprofit organization that purchases, renovates, and sells city buildings at below-market rates to low-to-moderate-income families. The distinctive downtown neighborhoods of Washington, DC are undergoing an urban renaissance that is, in some cases, bringing rapid gentrification to areas that have languished for years. Making its first visit to the nation’s capital, This Old House will focus on a project in the up-and-coming Shaw neighborhood for its winter 2005-06 project.

This Old House will work with Mi Casa founder Fernando Lemos and project director Elin Zurbrigg as the Emmy Award-winning series chronicles the rehabilitation of a circa 1879 Italianate brick rowhouse located just ten blocks from the White House. Charged with the overhaul of the two-story building is architect Genell Anderson of The AMAR Group, LLC and “Mike” Mahvi, owner of Venus Construction, a Washington, DC-based contracting company.

The This Old House Washington, DC project premieres exclusively on PBS Thursday, February 9, 2006 in the first half of The This Old House Hour at 8pm ET (check local listings or

The Shaw neighborhood, part of the Mount Vernon Square Historic District, has been a center of African-American life since the late 19th century—one of its famous sons was Duke Ellington. Today it’s on the rebound from years of neglect. Over the past few decades, when many people had turned their backs on the inner city, the house had fallen from its unpretentious but graceful state as a single-family home to a condemned, fire-and-water-damaged house occupied by squatters. Mi Casa hopes to sell the house to a moderate-income family on its long waiting list, specifically someone that could not otherwise afford to purchase a house in the area.

“It’s an honor to be working in the nation’s capital, a place that is rich with architectural history,” says This Old House host Kevin O’Connor. “This project is very timely, as urban vitalization is at an all-time high and because our involvement reflects This Old House’s dedication to giving back to the community. Along with Mi Casa, we’re looking forward to helping a family realize the American dream of home ownership.”

“We are thrilled to partner with This Old House and bring national awareness to urban neighborhoods in transition,” says Lemos. “We hope to retain some of the economic and racial diversity that make cities interesting, sought-after places to live.”

Eight new This Old House episodes will trace the derelict building from its boarded-up neglected state to a crisp three-bedroom, two-bath home ready for a new family and a new life. Historic details such as the Victorian entryway, ornamental ceiling medallions, and a graceful curved staircase will be restored, while modern amenities like a fully appointed kitchen, central air for the muggy Washington, DC summers, and a new laundry room will make comfortable city living for the new owners.

This Old House magazine will feature the Washington, DC project beginning with the May 2006 issue (on sale May 1). In addition, will highlight progress on the job site 24/7.

This Old House is produced by This Old House Productions, Inc. for This Old House Ventures, Inc. and presented on PBS by WGBH Boston. Executive producer is Bruce Irving, senior producer and director is David Vos, and producer is Deborah Hood. Series founder is Russell Morash. Funding is provided by Andersen Windows, Inc., GMC, The Home Depot, and State Farm Insurance Companies.

This Old House is the No. 1 multi-media home enthusiast brand, offering trusted information and expert advice through award-winning television, a highly regarded magazine, an information-driven Web site, a comprehensive line of books, a DVD series, and live events.

This Old House Ventures, Inc. is a business of Time4 Media, a multi-media company whose enterprises include leading magazines, Web sites, television and radio programming, feature films, and events and exhibitions. Time4 Media is a subsidiary of Time Inc., which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Time Warner Inc.

WGBH Boston is America’s preeminent public broadcasting producer, the source of fully one-third of PBS’s prime-time lineup, along with some of public television’s best-known lifestyle shows and children’s programs and many public radio favorites. For more information, visit


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