This Old House Magazine
Hosts With The Most Image Credit: This Old House Magazine
Hosts With The Most Image Credit: This Old House Magazine

Hosts With The Most

Bob, Steve, and Kevin share stories and memories from their years on This Old House

Kate Wood

Bob Vila

(Seasons 1–10)

This Old House’s first on-air host actually started out as its first homeowner. In the never-aired pilot for what eventually became This Old House, Bob and his wife showed a Boston Globe reporter around the circa-1840 Newton, MA, house the couple had restored.

One year later, Bob got a call that a totally revamped version of that pilot had been green-lighted. “I was restoring brownstones, and thought it would be good publicity for my company,” he says. “Plus, I thought it would be fun.” The show’s first season, with the Dorchester House, debuted on Boston’s PBS station, WGBH, in February 1979.

A degree in journalism, as well as his experience as a contractor, came in handy for the hosting gig. “I wasn’t intimidated by a camera; I’d been trained as a journalist,” Bob says. “But before This Old House, nobody had really been interviewing people like electricians and plumbers.”

Houses people could relate to, like Season 7’s low-slung Tampa House, built in the 1950s, stand out as favorites from his time on the show. “Renovating a house that was a little run-down, but wasn’t a disaster, let viewers see the possibilities in buying a 30-year-old ranch.”

Steve Thomas (Seasons


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