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Bob Vila

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Bob Vila
Born (1946-06-20) June 20, 1946 (age 78)[1]
Miami, Florida, U.S.
EducationUniversity of Florida (Journalism,[2] 1969)
Occupation(s)Television host
(m. 1975)

Robert Joseph Vila (born June 20, 1946)[1] is an American home improvement television show host known for This Old House (1979–1989), Bob Vila's Home Again (1990–2005), and Bob Vila (2005–2007).

Early life and education[edit]

Vila, a Cuban-American, is a native of Miami, Florida. When Vila was a child, his father built the family home by hand.[1] Vila graduated from Miami Jackson High School[3] and studied journalism at the University of Florida.[4] After graduating, he served as a volunteer in the Peace Corps, working in Panama in the late 1960s. He then went to Europe for two years to study and travel, before returning to the US and enrolling at the Boston Architectural Center. [5]


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 Home Centers,[6] and the subsequent retaliatory pulling of underwriting by Rickel's competitor, Home Depot, and lumber supplier Weyerhaeuser.[7] He was replaced by Steve Thomas.

After leaving This Old House, Vila began hosting Bob Vila's Home Again (renamed to simply Bob Vila in 2005), a weekly syndicated home-improvement program. His series ran for 16 seasons in syndication before it was canceled by distributor CBS Television Distribution due to declining ratings; the series remains in reruns and on streaming service PlutoTV.[8] His relationship with Rickel was also short lived, as he was signed to an endorsement deal with Sears in 1990 to pitch their line of Craftsman tools; the relationship ended acrimoniously in 2006 following a lawsuit settlement.[9]

Vila also appeared on three episodes of the situation comedy Home Improvement during 1992 and 1993 as himself on Tool Time, the fictional show within the sitcom, where main character and cable TV host Tim Taylor (played by Tim Allen) saw him as a rival, and made futile attempts to outdo Vila. Contrary to Home Improvement, when Allen was interviewed by Nintendo Power and asked if he could make a video game, Allen proposed one about aspects of carpentry, and the end scene would be the player being featured on Bob Vila's Home Again.

Vila made a cameo in the 1993 comedy spoof Hot Shots! Part Deux.

Vila has written 10 books, including a five-book series titled Bob Vila's Guide to Historic Homes of America.

Vila has appeared on the Home Shopping Network selling a range of tools under his own name brand that he founded in 2016.[10]

Other productions[edit]

Bob Vila's less widely known productions include: Guide to Historic Homes of America (1996), In Search of Palladio (1996) for A&E, and Restore America for HGTV.

Guide to Historic Homes of America[edit]

The Guide to Historic Homes of America (1996)[11] included two-hour segments on each of four major regions of the United States: the Northeast (including New England and the Mid-Atlantic States),[12] the South, the Midwest, and the West.

The Northeast[edit]

The Mid-Atlantic States[edit]

The South[edit]

The Midwest and West[edit]

In Search of Palladio[edit]

In Search of Palladio (1996) was 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[edit]

II. The Palladians in England and Ireland
III. The Palladian Legacy in America

Restore America[edit]

Restore America consisted of 50 one-hour segments which explored 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.[24]


Bob Vila has written over two dozen 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 City: Quill (HarperCollins imprint).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Bob Vila – Television Host, entrepreneur". Biography Channel. Archived from the original on June 22, 2018. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
  2. ^ "Bob Vila settles into ARCOM chairman's role | www.palmbeachdailynews.com". Archived from the original on May 30, 2016. Retrieved August 3, 2014.
  3. ^ Farrell, Jodi Mailander (September 11, 2005). "Home expert strengthens house hit by Charley". The Miami Herald. p. 4H.
  4. ^ "About Bob Vila". Bob Vila. Archived from the original on March 15, 2015.
  5. ^ Bob Vila, The Washington Post. Retrieved August 10, 2023
  6. ^ Some Cracks Show Up on the Facade of Tv's This Old House : People.com
  7. ^ Google News Archive Search The Modesto Bee [dead link]
  8. ^ "A Very Special Goodbye: TV Exits Archived September 8, 2008, at the Wayback Machine," Washington Post, April 25, 2007
  9. ^ "Vila shows Sears' harder ride". Chicago Tribune. March 2, 2006. Archived from the original on October 22, 2021.
  10. ^ "Check Out What's in the Works for Bob Vila Products". bobvila.com. April 28, 2016. Archived from the original on July 15, 2018. Retrieved September 3, 2017.
  11. ^ a b c d "Bob Vila's Guide to Historic Homes of America". A&E Network. 1996.
  12. ^ "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.
  13. ^ Tylers' Travels. "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.
  14. ^ Old And Sold Antiques Auction and Marketplace. "John Henry Belter and His Rosewood Furniture".
  15. ^ Natchez City Cemetery. "Builders of antebellum mansions". Archived from the original on January 25, 2005. From England came Captain Thomas Rose who gained Natchez experience to design and build Stanton Hall in 1857.
  16. ^ 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."
  17. ^ Texarkana Museums. "Ace of Clubs House". Archived from the original on July 21, 2007. 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.
  18. ^ Robinson Jeffers Tor House Foundation. "Tor House: The Story Behind Granite Walls". Archived from the original on July 27, 2007.
  19. ^ Centro Internazionale di Studi di Architettura Andrea Palladio. "Villa Pisani – Montagnana". Archived from the original on June 29, 2009. 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).
  20. ^ "Queen Square". The Bath Net. Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. 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.
  21. ^ "Boscobel House and Gardens, History, Hudson Valley, New York". boscobel.org.
  22. ^ Thomas Gordon Smith. "Vitruvian House".
  23. ^ 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.
  24. ^ "Restore America With Bob Vila". HGTV (includes detailed descriptions of one-hour segments for each of the fifty U.S. states). 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.

External links[edit]