Building a Privacy Fence and Touring the Completed Kitchen

Project: Bob's Shingle Style Home, Episode 25, Part 1

Good fences make good neighbors, and we’ll see what to do when there’s a tree in the way.  Bob tours the finished state-of-the-art kitchen, complete with appliances from 5-Star, Sub-Zero, Jenn-Air and others, then joins Ryley and Greg in the workshop to convert an armoire into an entertainment center.  The third floor family room is complete, with a knockout surround sound system from Bose, a 52-inch Phillips TV, and a Marvel mini-fridge.

Part 1: Building a Privacy Fence and Touring the Completed Kitchen
Bob reviews the progress of the western red cedar custom fence, designed to provide privacy and block the carport from the neighbors’ view. Jay Triandafilou has scribed the fence around existing hemlock trees on the property line, creating a straight fence without damaging any trees. The fence’s gate mirrors the architectural design of the home.
Part 2: Making an Armoire into an Entertainment Center
Part 3: Touring the Completed Third-Floor Family Room
This project centers around the remodel of Bob Vila's own gracious Shingle Style home in Cambridge, MA. It's a house with a lot of history and beautiful architectural details, many of which were obliterated in remodels of the 50s and the 70s. On the centennial of the house's construction, Bob gets together the best talents in the business to recreate and renew it to its former glory, making some important modifications along the way that will transform this into a dream house for today.

Also from Bob's Shingle Style Home

Hi I'm Bob Vila Welcome Home Again. It's getting close to the end of this project. Today we're building a fence along the property line then I'm taking you inside the kitchen to tour of the finished installation. All the appliances are working right next to all of these beautiful cabinets. Then we'll be in my workshop, we're going to create an insert for an old amoire so that we can have a TV entertainment center in the master bedroom, and then on the third floor, we've got the real entertainment center with Bose surround sound. Stick around. It's good to have you home again.

Bob Vila's Home Again

One thing about living in an urban situation is that you have property lines, houses in close proximity and you want to deal with privacy and beauty, and our landscape architects have taken care of a lot of the requisites in terms of beauty. They've put in a combination of lilacs and red stemmed dogwood along the property line here so that when they're bare you can see the neighborhood. In the summer they'll be beautiful but I especially like them in contrast against our fence, or just picture it in the snow.

Here we have the beginning of a solid fence which will give us privacy in this parking area, and hide cars from the neighbor's view.

It's 6 feet high.

It's made out of western red cedar and Jay from Architectural Fence, you and the fellas are doing a marvelous job.

Thank you.

But here is where you have the real challenge, right?

Cause, we have these hemlock trees that someone planted long ago on the property line.

Yes, what we did, Bob, was we shot you a straight line on your property and without.

And without removing the trees.

Without removing the trees we were able to scribe, we have to scribe these sections in place.

This is exactly what you are doing.

So, that when you put this section in through here and join the two

It's going to, you're going to see the trunk of the tree

We're gonna see some of the trunk of the tree

The rest will be solid fence.

I think it is a neat way of doing it.

It is.

Obviously, you don't want to disturb the trees.


How do you go about scribing?

What we do is we hold the panel up This part being flush with this post here.

We have an extended pencil.

A very simple device.


You just put a pencil on the end of a little piece of wood here.

And then we traced the trunk of the tree, right down along the section line here.

And of course, that will probably require making several cuts cause

Several cuts hard.

your first cut's going to be rough, and than you'll fit it up against it and cut it again.

That's correct.

All right, well I'll get out of your hair. We want go tour the kitchen but first let's take a look at this gate that they made. This, if you have followed some of the detailing inside the house, this echoes the archotrod that we have in the front hall and of course they have laminated to get this arch. Let's go take a look at the kitchen.

We've just gotten the kitchen door installed. And let me tell you, there's nothing like having a kitchen that incorporates a little bit of mud room, so that when you come in, you got a place to hang up the outer wear. The idea here that the whole kitchen space has three main areas.

This area is as I said a mud room a place for clothing, as well as a larder Nor pantry for food stuffs a secondary sink in this area here for flower arranging or for doing salads and the like.

Our side by side refrigerator which, of course, is the cold larder. And what I love about these big sub-zeroes is that you can fit in and flush-mount the siding. This is the bead board siding, the same exact stuff that we've got everywhere in the kitchen.

Over here, we've got one of two Jenn Air extra large convection or regular ovens with all the digital controls. And what I really like about this is that it gives you the option to have the baking operation, or the turkey or whatever, going on in here. And you have got a secondary oven in the main area of the kitchen, where you can be doing other stuff.

Now the second third element is the galley kitchen itself so that here you've got a huge combination of things happening but what we wanted to do in terms of the design was really kind of to look towards a commercial installation, a restaurant installation and we've got a fabricated stainless steel hood which was made right here in Weymouth, Mass but most major cities have these type of companies that will manufacture.

They loath to do it for a residential job unless the architect really knows his stuff and has done a great job.

See this?

This is a souvenir from the old Julia Child set on PBS years ago.

Was given to me and we've kind of incorporated it here, so that you have the option of using all these pots and pans and having them right where you can see them.

The stainless steel continues down as a back splash in a shelf and has these beautiful counters that flank our stove.

You've got to see this because when a fabricator really does quality work they can do a beautiful rounded edge like that.

And so we've flanked our cook-top with stainless steel.

The cook-top itself is from the Brown Stoveworks, a five-star model, and this is well, it's an incredibly heavy duty, and hig h quality affair, and one of the things that it has that is really wonderful, is it has the high out put burner which you can turn back to a micro simmer where you actually only hav e the center part burning so that you can really simmer a sauce very very lightly.

And in the middle you get a barbecue, which you can pull out and replace with a skillet depending on what you want to cook. So this is the heart of the kitchen, this is really where we're going to have some fun.

And of course on the opposite side at forty two inches, the ideal dimension. We've got the complete preparation area and you'll noticed this unusual counter top material is soap stone a product that originally was used extensively in the nineteenth century out of Vermont.

The quarries up there have been exhausted for large stones and these stones in fact come from Brazil. The beauty of the soapstone is that it comes raw as it were. You fabricate it on site. You can take a regular router, and you can do these edges and these bonos quite easily.

When you complete it, you get an natural surface that you can do food preparation on. Although it tends to dull your knife, which is another reason for using good butcher blocks. These are hard rock maple from Eastern Butcher Block, which I've always loved to have because you can just carry them around from place to place.

T he main sink in the kitchen, the Kenetico purified water source, and, of course , our good old Moen valve, not European, made in America, which gives you those same terrific features.

The dishwasher, this one's a Jenn Air as well, and the big thing with European dishwashers is that they are so quiet. Listen to this when you put it on one of the cycles. It's an extremely quiet machine, very, very high quality.

Then you go from this middle third to the third part of the kitchen, which is where we have got the family eating arrangement. You've got this element here where you can take the dishes and bring them right over here, and you can get a kid to Put them away after they're done in the dishwasher, and then of course the butler's pantry area over here, where our installers, Todd Allen and Jimmy Shields have done a spectacular job of blending all these cabinets, and putting in all these wonderful moldings and in fact we got a couple of nifty features here such as this.

These are also sub zero of new product where you can have a secondary refrigeration area, breakfast area and it matches the cabinets.

Anyway, I am in love with the kitchen.

We gotta break for messages, I'm gonna go up our brand new staircase, when we come back, we'll be in the master bedroom, looking at an Armour that I'm going to turn into a kind of an entertainment center.

Stick around. Alright our next project is right here in the master bedroom and it involves a fun project.

This is an armoire, probably 80 years old or so. I bought it a long time ago for very little money.

The doors are a little warped and in any case I thought it would be good to use it here not for hanging clothing, but rather as a mini entertainment center in the master bedroom.

I've got this large television set and the idea is to house it in here but if you just put it in it would be too low. So, what we're gonna do is we're gonna design and build an insert that will retrofit this thing to act as a entertainment center.

We'll have the TV up higher room for a VCR and we'll flank it on either side with storage for tapes.

But let's down to the workshop . We'll hook up with Bob Riley who has already got a little bit of a start on the project and we'll show you how to do it. Hey Riley,

Hey Bob.

How its going?


So you've already got a head start on us here, with our set of shelves.

Yes yeah.

Here, lets look at this a minute cause the actual thing that we're building, if you will is composed of four verticals and three or four horizontals. But it's basically a box with shelves that we're going to be fitting together and the key is to fit it and to have the kind of joints that will give you lots of strength.


That's what you've been working on right now is rabbiting out .

Right. We're done with all the rabbiting, and so I think were about ready to dry fit this whole thing.

Ok this is the base. That's the shape of the box.

Where's the other side?

That's it right there

Now that gets glued. and nails and then this is the one for the other side right. I think we have to finish these off, don't we?

Oh yes right we've got to chisel out where the radial arm wouldn't go through..

Exactly, when you cut with the dado blade you get to a point where you have the blade curvature naturally coming up and if you want that to square off you gotta go at it with a chisel and a hammer so lets gets that cleaned up.

Were gonna put a bit of carpenters glue on the corners of this box if you will. The areas where the shelves themselves go we'll skip the glue and just nail them in.

Ok let's get the other side on.

Whoa. Snug.

Now we'll put the top on, and I won't need to hold it anymore.

With the basic box done, we'll assemble the flankers, which will basically give us shelf space.

Here you go.


Shelf space for VCR tapes.

You know what? I gotta...yeah. There it is. Okay. Go ahead.

Now, because the antique piece is made out of a wood that looks to be cherry, we've invested in a little bit of cherry stock that we're First of all as two decorative gussets, these angles will help to give the piece strength.

Hold it.


OK, now from the side we're actually going to drive a screw into it to tighten everything together.



All the good and square.

Now, we will fit our shelves into the slots and we are going to fasten them also with a nail gun.

OK. Now, can we put in the central shelves?

Yeah, all set for those.

And these are fitting in nice and snug; the little ones. We don't need to glue them or anything.

You might have to spread that a little bit.


There you go.

Good. Good.

One more.

One on the top. That's strong.

Okay. Now these two do want to get nailed. And in order to do that ...

There we go.

Get Riley around the front there.

Alright now let's lay it down flat on the bench.


And this space is the face that you'll see when the armoire is open. So rather than leave the undressed edge, of the plywood, we are going to take a little bit more of that cherry, rip it down, and dress it up.


Okay, that's ready. Just put the last piece down in there and we'll

That looks good.

Put in a couple of finished nails.

Okay, well, why don't we take it upstairs and see what it looks like.


Okay , we're just about there, and there should be a little bit of play space. The way this was made and designed, so that there will be lots of air circulation. When you've got electronic equipment you want some air to go around it. What do you think?

That's really nice let's stand back and take a look.

Yea well you know the great thing is it fits in there, but also because it's birch plywood and it's cherry trim we're gonna be able to stain it and put and oil finish on it that will blend it and match really nicely. Now this was designed. for the VCR and the cable box TV will go right here and a little stereo unit goes in the bottom and of course on either side we have got plenty of shelves for favorite movies And when the whole thing is turned off. Shut the doors and it goes away. Thanks a lot Bob. We gotta break for messages don't go away. Okay. Well, now we're up on the third floor. And this will be our last visit here. If you recall, if you've been following the progress, we have two teenager's bedrooms and a bath behind me.

And then this great room. This living room, family room, whatever you want to call it. Where we've brought in this terrific furniture from the Baker company. This stuff is built, like, in the nineteenth century. It's so nice and heavy -- sturdy. It should be here for at least a generation or two.

And the main thing that I'm very pleased about is this 52-inch rear projection Phillips TV set, that is just ... Well, right now we're just playing with our camera and it. But the quality of the picture here is unbelievable.

Let's say hi to Joe Domato from Bose.

Hey, Joe.

Hi, Bob. How are you?

Good, how are you?


Now, the real important part of this whole set-up up here, as far as having a media center, is the surround sound. Tell us about that.

We have a new system from Bose corporation. It's a speaker system actually. It has some of what we call our cube arrays, they're right there on the wall right next to the television.

Cube arrays.

That's correct.

So that means you've got a collection of these cubes around the room.

That's right.

So, what's this thing you're fussing with over here?

This is a, we call this the acoustimast module and we've actually tucked it neatly into this bookcase. Kind of built it in sort of, but I'll pull it out a little bit to show you.

This is where all the base energy for the speaker system comes from. All the explosions that would happen in a movie or all the music that you would actually listen to that perhaps was reproduced by a bass guitar.

The deep sounds. Yeah.


OK. And this can also be mounted in new construction. For example, in between the floor joints so that you get the just the circular part aimed up into the room and then you put a grill over it.

That's correct. This is the part of the system that's meant to be hidden. So, no matter where you sit or stand in the room or enjoy your music and movies you can hear the sound from here.

Now how many of the little cubes do you have in the array?

Well, we have three in the front, for specific reasons for surround sound, for audio effects in the front and also the center channel dialogue. You have a television screen.

So the central one is for dialogue.


And the other two will pick, pick up what kinds of sounds?

Will reproduce all these sound effects. Like if a plane was going to come from the right side of the screen the sound would actually pass through electronically and that would give you the effect that there was movement with sound.

That that plane was actually flying through your living room.



That's excellent.

We also two more up here. We have a rear channel speaker, which is up here. This is a pair. They also are able the reproduce the ambient sound, the rear channel as we call it in the industry, and that's the effect that you get when something moves from front to back or vice versa.

Right. Well Joe I'll let you get back to your work over there. Thanks very much.

Thank you Bob.

Well if you recall we had some difficulties building our dormers up here these Two dormers were added on so that we could create an attic that had lots of ventilation and light

We did get our variance and now they are completed, and of course we've, We're down to the window seats, and can practically sleep a kid up here and the controls are all,
here for, you know, sound, music, etc. and then over at this end, what I consider to be the real focal point of the room is this terrific palladium window from Marvin.

This is the south side of the house, so that during the day this is flooded with light and of course you can't really have happy teenagers in a family room without a microwave, little Marvel refrigerator that fits neatly under the counter where we can keep sodas and stuff and generally speaking, a very very comfortable 3rd Floor.

Got to break for messages don't go away.

That's going to wrap things, but don't miss next week's show.

I'll be giving you a personal tour of my finished House.

'Til then I'm Bob Vila. It's good to have you home again.



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