Saturday, August 14, 2010

Port home, architect cooking on HGTV

Let's be clear about this: Andrew Sidford does not know whether he's getting thrown off the island or not. Not Plum Island, where the Port architect does a lot of his work, like Sea View House, a unique, striking home on the dunes that we've written about before, but in a "reality" TV sense, after lots of old-fashioned intrigue and dramatic backstabbing. But there'll be none of that on HGTV's "Bang for Your Buck," which looks at three similar home projects and, after much poking and prodding, decides which represents the best investment for the homeowner. This week, they'll be looking at Sidford's kitchen renovation at the home of Jocelyn and Frank McLaughlin at Plum Bush Downs — just a plover's egg throw from the Plum Island Bridge — which the architect describes as "a radical transformation from a cluster of dark rooms closed off from its to-die-for location to  a bright perch, positioned to enjoy views of the Great Marsh," done on a shoestring budget of just $75,000. 

 Sidford's work has been featured on HGTV programs three times over the past decade — twice on "Old Homes Restored," once on "Dream Homes." This is his first shot on "Bang for Your Buck." It came about after show producers came across his work online and asked if he had interesting kitchen projects going on. He did. Of course, it was more than just a standard renovation project. It always is with Sidford, who set up shop in the city nearly a quarter-century ago and whose projects also include the reconstruction and renovation of the historic 1850 carriage house of Lord Timothy Dexter. Even when he's working small, he always asks clients what they would do if they ripped the whole thing down and had to start from scratch, what would their dream house be like. "That usually scares them," he says. But it also gives him a big-picture sense of what they're trying to accomplish — and what makes their heart go thumpa-thumpa. The issue, beyond fixtures and surfaces, was the experience. "The home has an amazing exposure to the marsh, but doesn't take advantage of that," he says.

It's a no-nonsense affair — no tribal councils, no poking and prodding for "dramatic" revelations. HGTV filmed Sidford and Joselyn McLaughin giving a walking tour of the project. (Hubby Frank decided to pass on a small screen debut.) Later, the host did the same walk-through, adding his perspective. There's some footage of Sidford and McLaughlin watching  and reacting. All of this is repeated at two other locations with (so far) unnamed architects and clients. There were two days of filming.

The show will debut at 3:30 p.m. Aug. 14  on HGTV. Check your local listings. Or you can check the show's irritating and not terribly helpful website.

And, just double checking, how does it turn out?

Nope, Sidford still doesn't know. 

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