Home renovation shows are now a popular staple in the world of entertainment. They capture the attention of millions of viewers by showcasing stunning before and after transformations, inspiring DIY tips, and highlighting the dramatic art of house flipping. But have you ever wondered where it all began?

In this blog post, we will take a walk down memory lane and explore the origins of home renovation TV shows. We’ll uncover the first series that made audiences fall in love with the concept of turning fixer-uppers into dream homes, and dive deep into the role it played in shaping the future of home design television.

Stay tuned as we unravel the history of this captivating genre and reminisce the humble beginnings of your favorite home renovation shows.

The 1970s: The roots of home renovation television

what was the first home renovation show

The 1970s marked the beginning of a new era in television as networks started to explore the world of home renovation and DIY projects. It all started with a show called “This Old House” which first aired in 1978. Hosted by Bob Vila, the show followed the renovation of a single house from start to finish, giving viewers an inside look at the entire remodeling process.

This groundbreaking series not only provided homeowners with practical advice and inspiration for their own home improvement projects, but also paved the way for countless other home renovation shows to hit the airwaves in the years that followed. Among these early pioneers were “Home Time” (1986) and “The Victory Garden” (1975), both of which focused on specific aspects of home improvement such as woodworking and gardening.

The popularity of these shows confirmed that there was a huge demand for home renovation-themed television, ultimately leading to the creation of entire networks dedicated to this genre like HGTV in the 1990s. In short, the roots of home renovation TV can be traced back to the 1970s, setting the stage for today’s vast array of shows catering to every possible style and home improvement project.

This Old House: The first home renovation show in 1979

what was the first home renovation show

In 1979, a groundbreaking television show hit the airwaves and forever changed the way we look at home renovations. This Old House, produced by WGBH-TV in Boston, first aired on February 20, 1979, and is regarded as the pioneer of the home improvement genre.

The series, focused on teaching homeowners how to perform common renovations and repairs, was hosted by master carpenter Bob Vila for its first ten years. Each season, the crew selected a historic home in need of some major TLC as the project. Enlisting local contractors and craftspeople, they tackled every aspect of restoration work, from landscaping to plumbing.

By breaking down complex renovation concepts into manageable tasks, This Old House inspired countless viewers to roll up their sleeves and tackle home projects themselves. The show’s success paved the way for an entire industry of home improvement television programming and has left a lasting legacy in the world of DIY.

The premise: Bob Vila and the team work on restoring older homes

what was the first home renovation show

It all began in the late ’70s when America met a young, ambitious carpenter by the name of Bob Vila. Teaming up with producer Russell Morash, together they introduced audiences to “This Old House” in 1979. The show’s premise was simple: Bob and his team of skilled craftsmen would take on the task of restoring older, often neglected homes, breathing new life into them.

Throughout each episode, viewers had the chance to learn valuable tips and tricks of the trade, witnessing firsthand the immense labor and artistry that goes into a successful renovation. No detail was too small, no challenge too great, as Bob and his team delved into the rich history and architectural integrity of each home they tackled.

The show quickly gained traction, solidifying the importance of preserving the unique stories and timeless craftsmanship found in these “old houses.” And so, with that, a new era of home renovation television was born, capturing the hearts and imaginations of millions across the nation.

The impact: How This Old House influenced future home renovation shows

what was the first home renovation show

It’s hard to underestimate the impact of This Old House on the home renovation show landscape. With its debut in 1979, the series introduced a new and innovative concept – taking the audience along for the ride as a team of skilled professionals transformed properties in dire need of repair into beautiful, functional spaces.

The show’s revolutionary format quickly captured the attention and imagination of viewers, setting the stage for an entire genre of home improvement television programs. It created a compelling mix of entertainment and education, which has since inspired countless hit shows like Fixer Upper, Property Brothers, and Flip or Flop.

This Old House not only helped spark a cultural obsession with home renovations but also opened the doors for numerous television personalities and contractors who would go on to become household names. Ultimately, its trailblazing success paved the way for the thriving renovation show industry that millions of viewers continue to enjoy today.

Spin-offs and successors: How the show’s concept evolved and expanded

what was the first home renovation show

The first home renovation show, ‘This Old House,’ premiered in 1979 and ignited a television revolution. With its success, the concept evolved and expanded, giving rise to numerous spin-offs and successors that tailored the format to different tastes and audiences.

One notable spin-off is ‘Ask This Old House,’ a more tutorial-focused show featuring experts who visit homeowners to tackle various projects and answer questions. Another direct successor, ‘The New Yankee Workshop,’ showcases woodworking projects, highlighting the craftsmanship aspect of home renovations.

The first home renovation show also inspired an entire industry of home improvement television, with shows like ‘Trading Spaces,’ ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,’ and ‘Property Brothers.’ These series emphasize different aspects of the renovation process, from DIY transformations to high-stakes real estate investments.

Overall, the lasting impact of the first home renovation show has led to a plethora of diverse and engaging programs that captivate audiences and inspire generations of homeowners to revamp and reinvent their living spaces.

DIY Network and HGTV: The rise of specialized channels for home improvement content

what was the first home renovation show

The rise of specialized channels for home improvement content began with the launch of DIY Network and HGTV. DIY Network, which stands for “Do It Yourself,” became a go-to resource for all things home renovation when it debuted in 1999. As people increasingly became interested in home improvement projects, the network offered a wide range of programs catering to these enthusiasts.

Around the same time, HGTV (Home and Garden Television) was quickly gaining a dedicated following for its focus on landscaping and interior design ideas. Launched in 1994, it now reaches millions of households globally, showcasing innovative and creative ways to transform living spaces.

Both channels contributed heavily to the popularity of home renovation shows, and the audience’s appetite for content only continued to grow. These networks’ lineups expanded to include more and more series, providing a diverse selection of programs that could inspire and educate amateur home improvers on various aspects of home renovation and design.

The global reach: This Old House and its international adaptations

what was the first home renovation show

The global reach of home renovation shows can be traced back to the pioneering series, This Old House. First airing in 1979 on television networks in the United States, this renovation show documented the restoration of older, neglected houses. Over time, This Old House became a beloved and iconic series, inspiring homeowners and DIY enthusiasts around the world.

In response to this ever-growing popularity, various international adaptations of This Old House cropped up, showcasing a wide array of interesting and educational home renovation projects. These adaptations’ success added fuel to the growing home renovation show trend, inspiring viewers to tackle their own renovation challenges across borders.

The global impact of This Old House is undeniable and has firmly established the home renovation show as a popular and enduring television format. Today, we see a plethora of similar programs gracing our screens in various countries, all thanks, in part, to the original success and appeal of This Old House.

The online shift: The current state of home renovation shows in the digital era

what was the first home renovation show

The online shift in the world of home renovation shows has been nothing short of a revelation. In today’s digital era, home renovation content creators have found a safe haven on various streaming platforms and social media outlets. They no longer rely solely on traditional TV shows to broadcast their talents and reach a massive audience.

Platforms like YouTube and Instagram have become hubs for renovation enthusiasts who love to share their tips, projects, and journeys with a worldwide fan base. With the help of hashtags and tailored algorithms, viewers can now find content that fits their specific interests or projects, making it easier to stay up-to-date on the latest trends in home renovation.

Moreover, the digital era has provided a playground for collaboration between different creators, experts, influencers, and brands – expanding the scope of content and knowledge available for all home renovation enthusiasts. The new age of home renovation shows is here, and it is only set to grow in the coming years.