|Born||Robert Joseph Vila
June 20, 1946
Miami, Florida, U.S.
|Education||University of Florida (Journalism, 1969)|
Vila, a Cuban American native of Miami, Florida, graduated from Miami Jackson High School (1962) and studied journalism at the University of Florida. After graduating, he served as a volunteer in the Peace Corps, working in Panama from 1971 to 1973.
Vila was hired as the host of This Old House in 1979 after receiving the "Heritage House of 1978" award by Better Homes and Gardens, for his restoration of a Victorian Italianate house in Newton, Massachusetts. On This Old House, Vila appeared with carpenter Norm Abram as they, and others, renovated houses. In 1989 he left the show following a disagreement arising from his involvement with outside commercial endorsements for New Jersey-based Rickel, and the subsequent retaliatory pulling of underwriting from Rickel's competitor Home Depot and lumber supplier Weyerhaeuser. He was replaced by Steve Thomas.
After leaving This Old House, Vila became a commercial spokesman for Sears, and beginning in 1990 he hosted Bob Vila's Home Again (known from 2005 on as Bob Vila), a weekly-syndicated home improvement program. The series ran for sixteen seasons in syndication before it was canceled by distributor CBS Television Distribution due to declining ratings; the series remains in reruns. Vila also appeared on various episodes of the situation comedy Home Improvement as himself, where main character and cable TV host Tim Taylor (played by Tim Allen) saw him as a rival and went to great lengths to try to beat Vila at things, which he never succeeded in doing. Vila also made a cameo in the 1993 comedy spoof Hot Shots! Part Deux.
Vila has written ten books, including a five-book series titled Bob Vila's Guide to Historic Homes of America. As of 2006, he still appears regularly on television. He can also be seen on the Home Shopping Network, selling a range of tools under his own brand.
Historic Homes of America
Guide to Historic Homes of America (1996) included two-hour segments on each of four major regions of the United States: the Northeast, including New England and the Mid-Atlantic States, the South, the Midwest and the West.
- The Northeast
- Morris-Jumel Mansion overlooking Yankee Stadium in Washington Heights, Manhattan
- Dyckman House on Broadway in Upper Manhattan
- Hancock Shaker Village in western Massachusetts.
- Strawbery Banke restoration in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
- Olana - "a palatial amalgam of Middle-Eastern and European influences."
- The Mid-Atlantic States
- Chesapeake Bay and Annapolis, Maryland - William Paca House and Hammond-Harwood House
- New Castle, Delaware - George Read II House, built by the son of George Read
- Baltimore, Maryland - Homewood House on the Johns Hopkins University Homewood campus
- Washington, D.C. - Decatur House on President's Park and Tudor Place in Georgetown
- The South
- Thomas Jefferson
- Natchez, Mississippi
- House on Endicott Hill - early trader's house
- Rosalie - Federal architecture mansion with John Henry Belter furniture and a panoramic view of Mississippi River.
- Stanton Hall - "perhaps the grandest Greek Revival house anywhere." Designed by Captain Thomas Rose.
- Longwood - begun in 1860 by Samuel Sloan. Never finished: construction halted in April 1861.
- Texarkana, Texas - the Ace of Clubs House.
- The Midwest and West
- Ellwood House - built by barbed wire entrepreneur Isaac L. Ellwood in DeKalb, Illinois.
- Frank Lloyd Wright
- Cooper-Molera Adobe - early Spanish Colonial owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in Monterey State Historic Park.
- Filoli - Woodside, California in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Designed by Willis Polk.
- Tor House - stone house and tower overlooking the Pacific Ocean at Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, built by Robinson Jeffers.
In Search of Palladio
In Search of Palladio (1996) is a three-part, six-hour study of the work and lasting influence of the 16th-century architect Andrea Palladio. Palladio designed various types of buildings, but the series concentrates on his domestic architecture. (See also: Palladian Villas of the Veneto).
- I. Villas of the Veneto
- Villa Giustinian, Roncade. - For Vila this building (not by Palladio) provides the context for Palladio's innovative thinking - gothic battlements, portcullis and stone walls concealing a Renaissance palace and farm buildings.
- Villa Pisani in Montagnana - a descendant of the original owners served as Vila's guide.
- Villa Cornaro - A suburban villa on a town street, a palatial residence which was also an on-site place of business for running a large farming enterprise.
- Villa Barbaro.
- Villa Emo - For Vila this is "perhaps the most dramatic farmhouse ever built".
- La Rocca Pisana - spectacular hilltop belvedere by Palladio's pupil Vincenzo Scamozzi.
- London: Chiswick House, Marble Hill House and Stourhead.
- Bath, Somerset: Queen Square, The Circus and the Royal Crescent.
- Republic of Ireland: Casino at Marino - "the architectural equivalent of a Fabergé egg".
- Northern Ireland: Castle Ward - overlooking Strangford Lough with both Palladian and Gothic facades and interiors.
- III. The Palladian Legacy in America
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Mount Pleasant.
- Marblehead and Waltham, Massachusetts: Jeremiah Lee Mansion and Gore Place
- Hudson Valley, New York: Boscobel House Museum - purchased in 1955 for thirty-five dollars. Meticulously restored, situated on a bluff on the east bank of the Hudson River opposite the United States Military Academy at West Point.
- Hartford, Connecticut: Austin House - built for Wadsworth Atheneum director Arthur Everett Austin, Jr.
- South Bend, Indiana. In Indiana Vila looks at University of Notre Dame architectural school "where Palladio and classical architecture are taken seriously indeed", Vitruvian House designed by Thomas Gordon Smith and Villa Indiana designed by Duncan G. Stroik.
Restore America consists of fifty one-hour segments which explore historic preservation and building restoration in each of the fifty U.S. states. Anticipating the turn of the 3rd millennium, it was first broadcast on HGTV between July 4, 1999 and July 4, 2000.
Bob Vila has written two dozen or more books, which include:
- 1980: This Old House: Restoring, Rehabilitating, and Renovating an Older House. Boston: Little, Brown. ISBN 0-316-17704-0.
- 1990: Bob Vila's Guide to Buying Your Dream House. Boston: Little, Brown. ISBN 0-316-90291-8.
- 1993-1994: Bob Vila's Guides to Historic Homes of America. New York: Quill (HarperCollins imprint).
- Bob Vila settles into ARCOM chairman’s role | www.palmbeachdailynews.com
- Bob Vila : Trusted Home Renovation & Repair Expert
- http://www.parade.com/news/slideshows/editors-pick/famous-peace-corps-volunteers.html 9 Famous Peace Corps Volunteers, Parade magazine, accessed August 22, 2011
- Bob Vila: CBS Cancels Home-Improvement Series | TV Series Finale
- Some Cracks Show Up on the Facade of Tv's This Old House : People.com
- The Modesto Bee - Google News Archive Search
- "A Very Special Goodbye: TV Exits," Washington Post, April 25, 2007
- "Bob Vila's Guide to Historic Homes of America". A&E Network. 1996.
- "Bob Vila's Guide to Historic Homes of the Mid-Atlantic". A&E Network. "…some of the most magnificent architectural treasures in the original colonies of Maryland, Delaware, and Washington D.C."
- Tylers' Travels (photograph). "Rosalie, Natchez, Mississippi". "The white picket fence is of unusual construction, in that no nails exist in its entire structure. Rosalie is now the State Shrine of the Mississippi Daughters of the American Revolution."
- Old And Sold Antiques Auction and Marketplace. "John Henry Belter and His Rosewood Furniture".
- Natchez City Cemetery. "Builders of antebellum mansions". "From England came Captain Thomas Rose who gained Natchez experience to design and build Stanton Hall in 1857."
- StantonHall.com. "Stanton Hall & Longwood". "Built for Frederick Stanton, wealthy cotton commission broker, Stanton Hall was completed in 1857 to the designs of Natchez architect Thomas Rose. Longwood, the largest octagonal house remaining in America, is a superb example of the mid-19th century “villa in the oriental style.”"
- Texarkana Museums. "Ace of Clubs House". "According to local legend, money to build the Ace of Clubs House came from the winnings of a poker game won with the draw of the ace of clubs."
- Robinson Jeffers Tor House Foundation. "Tor House: The Story Behind Granite Walls".
- Centro Internazionale di Studi di Architettura Andrea Palladio. "Villa Pisani - Montagnana". "Francesco Pisani, powerful and influential Venetian patrician, was the patron and friend of artists and letterati, from Paolo Veronese to Giambattista Maganza, from Alessandro Vittoria to Palladio himself … a villa on two floors: the upper floor for the seigniorial apartments; the lower for everyday life, where business is conducted [with] the tenant farmers (both city palace and country villa)."
- "Queen Square". The Bath Net. "Queen Square was the first of John Wood's urban set-pieces, laid out following his return to his native city in 1727 and the first significant expansion beyond the medieval walls. Pevsner declared the north terrace to be one of the finest Palladian compositions in England before 1730."
- Charles T. Lyle. "A Brief History of Boscobel: A House Museum of the Federal Period". boscobel.org.
- Thomas Gordon Smith. "Vitruvian House".
- Duncan G. Stroik. "Villa Indiana". "In his innovative designs Palladio created a new type by combining the summer house or castello with vernacular farm buildings and by wedding them architecturally to the agricultural landscape."
- "Restore America With Bob Vila". HGTV (includes detailed descriptions of one-hour segments for each of the fifty U.S. states). July 4, 1999 through July 4, 2000. "In celebration of the 3rd millennium, Bob Vila led viewers on an enlightening, year long, 50-state tour of hundreds of historic homes, public buildings, gardens and neighborhoods across America. Vila explored the nation's flourishing restoration boom, celebrating the people working to preserve the best of this country's rich culture, heritage and history as host of HGTV's "Restore America." HGTV periodically rebroadcasts this programming."
- Bob Vila's Official Website
- Bob Vila Video Channel on BobVila.com
- Bob Vila Biography at bobvila.com
- Bob Vila TV Show at bobvila.com
- Bob Vila's Home Again at bobvila.com
- Bob Vila Contractor Referral Website
- Bob Vila's Profile on LegendaryLife.com
- Bob Vila at the Internet Movie Database
- Bob Vila interview video at the Archive of American Television