From Public Broadcasting to Home and Garden Television (HGTV) and their sister channel, DIY Network, one can spend hours on end watching, learning and dreaming about how to plan and complete a remodeling project. Here are some top shows to watch for home improvement projects:
The granddaddy of remodeling tv shows is This Old House. It’s been on the air continuously for 30 years and has won 17 Emmy Awards. The original premise for the show was restoring historic structures with modern ammeneties. However, there are also special projects, such as the upcoming New Orleans Rebuild. This standby of public television has a cast that are like old friends, coming into the home to clue us in on how to take an old wreck of a house (or sometimes barn or shed) and turn it into a masterpiece in living space. They are wonderful at showing us the latest products, include field trips to the manufacturers, and how they are best used. Over the years, there have been battles with local zoning boards and historic commissions, and various other problems that are eventually overcome one way or another. New shows air on Saturdays on local PBS channels. Old shows appear on HGTV or DIY networks as “This Old House Classics.” This program has also spawned the “Ask This Old House” show where viewers send in questions. There is a companion web site at
http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh, as well as a magazine.
In the same vein is Renovation Nation, which airs on Planet Green. The host is This Old House alumnus, Steve Thomas, doing building remodels using earth-friendly methods and sustainable materials. Again, the viewer gets information on new products and cutting edge technologies used to complete very livable spaces from all over the country. The green building movement is growing in popularity. Check out the show’s website at
http://planetgreen.discovery.com/tv/renovation-nation/ for show schedules and other useful green home improvement information.
Another longtime PBS home improvement show is Hometime. It also airs on Saturdays. According to their website at http://www.pbs.org/hometime/index.html the show started in 1984 as a set of videos that evolved into a tv show in 1986. The original idea was to show a typical couple doing home improvement projects. Some are simple, such as fences, decks, closet systems, etc. Some are total house builds from the ground up. The male host, Dean Johnson, has been with the show for the entire series. His co-host “wives” are numbered at around 5. Of course he is not really married to any of them, but they try to portray some of the realities of do-it-yourself projects for average folks. This is a landmark shows in that it was one of the first shows in the home improvement genre to show a woman working with power tools and doing physical tasks on real home remodel projects.
Speaking of women with power tools doing physical labor, DIY Network’s Amy Matthews is the current queen of home improvement tv shows. Not only can she keep up with the men, she’s easy on the eyes. She’s featured on Bathroom Renovations, Sweat Equity, 10 Things You Must Know and Blog Cabin. The second of these, Sweat Equity, shows families that have multiple possible remodeling projects and must choose the one that will work in their budget and get them the best return on their investment. There is usually a realtor to give the before and
after assessment. Again, these are generally married couples that do as much of their own work as possible to save money, balanced against when to call in a professional to get the desired result. The show’s schedule is available at http://www.diynetwork.com/sweat-equity/show/index.html.
One last favorite remodeling tv show is Wasted Spaces, hosted by another home improvement hottie, Karl Champley. Here we find out how to do projects small and large that gain usable storage space throughout our homes. Some of the ideas seem a little extreme, but the home-owner learns basic cabinetry and carpentry skills from a master craftsman who is both patient and playful. This show is not currently in production, but the rebroadcast schedule and details of past projects can be found at http://www.diynetwork.com/wasted-spaces/show/index.html .
There are other home improvement tv shows, of course, but these are among the very best.