Bob Vila circa 1980 via Apartment Therapy

How I Learned How to DIY

This one always sticks with me.  And it was an early episode, from Season 2 or 3 perhaps, and he came riding up on a horse.  He dismounted and quickly jumped into a convo with the foreman of a crew working on the exterior of a house.  A handful of guys were applying mud to wire mesh.

They were in New Mexico and it was adobe. And while obviously only lightly rehearsed, Bob just jumped right in. He slung the substance from the hawk in his hand, a big mound behind him, up onto the vertical surface in front of him . . . in one (awkward) motion.

And that bit, like that, really worked to sum up what I see as the value of the show. I mean – sure, he was an accomplished carpenter, but that segment proved, without a doubt, that Bob Vila was certainly no stuccoer. In fact, he looked kinda silly. But it was his eagerness to jump in and to try it, to try to learn. And it set the basis, the framework, for what I know of — How To DIY.

But You Never Stop Learning :: This Old House

And truth be told I didn’t catch this episode when it originally aired (probably right around 1982).  Rather I saw it on A&E, a re-run, and branded as Inside This Old HouseThis Old House (equal parts respect for Ask This House) the original (at least in my eyes) spawned a genre.  Bob Vila the first host, and one might suggest, the man who opened the door (eventually) to full cable television networks.

And Other Television

And yes, I’ll type it — I do like HGTV and the DIYNetwork and while I usually shy away from watching programs that air there . . . I respect them.  Frankly, though. I usually don’t watch; that is — I don’t love sledgehammering myself with feelings of inadequacy . . . of being outmatched – in skill, looks, in time or in budget. Sometimes I rather just. not. watch.

I mean — I’m more Family Guy than (and really never ever) the Simpsons, Curb (and Seinfeld too), 30 Rock and not so much the Office.  And I know there are probably other shows that I should be watching: Always Sunny . . . , Entourage. I do watch Project Runway and/or Shawshank (whoops, a film) anytime they are on.  Otherwise, it’s what’s been listed, and, well, the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon — still Spongebob with no remorse.


This Old House Logo

Building Moxie

I was asked: “What’s your favorite show on TV? What’s the show you’re hooked on but are kind of embarrassed by?” And my pick — as I said more geek than guilt and if I have to pick just one, it’s TOH. Maybe only for my respect of Bob , and, well, my man love crush on Tom Silva too. But I tell ya — you watch these guys enough, you begin to think in terms of building, and it’s almost scientific, best practice and not necessarily steps a, b, c and d.  And that’s why I like it. It is exactly, as a homeowner what I need.


I came across some fun posts when looking for images for this — check ’em:


Thanks for reading, stay tuned for a continuing blend of redos & essays. For more encounters from us with This Old House along the way, here’s an article – Creating a Cook Space that Works for You. ~jb and out!


One thought on “Building Moxie Archive: Everything I Needed to Know about How To DIY I Learned from a Carpenter Named Bob :: My Favorite TV Show (of All Time)

  1. meta comment @BobVila responded by saying: “It was season 5 of @ThisOldHouse & The horses name was Twopair. Thank U BMoxie Im glad I was able 2 inspire”

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