fireplace mantel

This Old House

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We are beyond thrilled to be featured on the upcoming season of “This Old House,” providing the fireplace for one of the much-beloved show’s home renovations. So this week we’re delving into the history of one of our favorite shows.

The Show’s Beginning

The very first episode of This Old House was broadcast locally in Massachusetts on February 20, 1979. Host Bob Vila, contractor Norm Abram and plumber extraordinaire Ron Trethewey renovated a dilapidated Victorian in Boston. Producer Russell Morash discovered Abram when the contractor built a barn on Morash’s property. Vila was a builder and developer with no prior TV experience, but Morash invited him to take a screen test.

This initial season ran for 13 weeks and set a ratings record for the station WGBH Boston. PBS picked the show up the following year, and This Old House became a national sensation.

The ‘80s

The 1980s found the crew converting a 10,000 square foot Victorian into condos, delving into energy efficiency and venturing beyond its home turf of Massachusetts. The crew headed to sunny Florida to renovate a tract house in Tampa, and remodeled a 1923 Craftsman in California.

This Old House began to win Emmy Awards in the ‘80s, starting with Russell Morash triumphing in the Outstanding Director in a Talk/Service Show category. Cameraman Dick Holden was honored with Outstanding Achievement in Technical Direction, Electronic Camera, and Video Control.

The decade closed with Bob Vila departing and a new host, Steve Thomas, joining the series.

The ‘90s

The show’s crew renovated houses from New Mexico to New Orleans in the ‘90s, and made their first international trip. They refurbished the top floor of a Georgian style building in London’s Notting Hill neighborhood. They enjoyed some aloha while expanding a termite-damaged seaside bungalow in Honolulu.

The Emmys kept coming. This Old House magazine hit the newsstands in the mid ‘90s, and the empire’s website went live in 1998.

2000 and Beyond

In addition to the show renovating houses around the country – and even one in Bermuda– This Old House started to spinoff into other shows. Ask This Old House allowed fans to get their remodeling questions answered by experts. A “Meet This Old House Tour” visited Home Depots around the country, bringing fan interaction to new heights. This Old House Books published many helpful volumes, including This Old House Essential Yard Care and Landscaping Projects, Ask Norm and This Old House Essential Kitchens.

The Dream Kitchen Project allowed contest entrants to compete for a kitchen remodel to be documented on the show. The first winners were a Lake Forest, Illinois couple with five year-old triplets.

Both the show and the magazine won many awards throughout the early 2000s. Kevin O’Connor took over as host in 2003.

The Coming Season

So, what’s next for This Old House? Its 37th season premieres Saturday, October 1st, and features a home in Arlington, Massachusetts. Be sure to check your local listings for the exact time of the airing.

And, as we mentioned earlier, we’ll be helping with updating a fireplace! Will we be contributing our Carved Brentwood, or maybe the Lexington? We can’t tell you—that would ruin the surprise. So be sure to tune in!

this old house

Our beautiful Lexington

And if all this home renovation inspires you to upgrade your old house, give us a call! Don’t worry, our newfound celebrity won’t go to our head. We’ll always be delighted to help our old friends beautify their homes, so give us a call today!

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