Bob Vila: Home improvement hero


You may know him from the popular TV show This Old House, or as Tim Taylor’s rival on Home Improvement. Perhaps you’ve picked up one of his twelve books, or bought his exclusive line of tools from HSN. With a career spanning more than three decades, Bob Vila is the most well known and trusted authorities in home improvement, and has spent his career helping people improve their homes and their lives. Here, he talks about his first job, inspirations and lessons learned. Plus, find out how he preps for winter, his favorite home hack and the tool he can’t live without.

In one sentence, I am…

Crazy about my granddaughters, but still in love with my career.

When I’m not working, I love to…

Travel, garden and be on or in the ocean.

My biggest vice is…

French Cabernet wine.

When I was a kid, I loved…

The beach and dessert.

My first job was…

At a book bindery.

And before my career in broadcasting, I spent time building houses in Panama as a Peace Corps volunteer.

The reason I started doing what I do is…

It’s in the blood—my dad built houses, his mom did too and so does my son!

The biggest lesson I’ve learned (so far)…

Don’t stop, but look back every once in a while.

My motto is…

You can’t always get what you want, but if you try, you’ll find you get what you need.

Five things I’ll do to prepare for winter…

1-2. Go through an energy saving checklist from thermostats and furnace filters to insulation. Then book flights south.

3. Fill the new Victory Garden composter and make plans for next year’s gardens.

4. Spray foam any cellar cracks, and check weatherstripping and caulk to prevent chilly mice from coming in.

5. Find rotted wood house parts and fix them or get them fixed for you.

Two easy home upgrades that take five minutes…

Change your switchplate cover.

Add a wall decal.

My favorite home improvement hacks are…

Vinegar can be used to clean just about anything, plus it’s affordable and non-toxic.

Use a Post-It note to make drilling into a wall cleaner.

A recent home improvement project I did was…

Turning the outgrown kids’ playhouse into a garden shed.

The tools I could never live without…

16-ounce claw hammer and 25-foot tape.

The one thing that will be definitely be in my 2014 Holiday Gift Guide…

New cordless tools.


For more home improvement how-to and room-by-room DIY projects, see Pin Picks from Bob, HGTV and DIY Network.

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