I’m of course best known for my work in television, as host of “This Old House” on PBS, host and producer of “Renovation Nation” on Discovery’s Planet Green, and host and producer of “Save Our History” on the History Channel.
But my roots are in building and renovation. My father used to buy, renovate and sell houses, both to make a little money and to shelter his growing brood of children, so I remember at a very
early age being down in the crawl space with him as he jacked up our then current house to replace the termite-infested sills. Although he wasn’t a pro, he did have “moxie” and I learned early
that with tools, knowledge, and the willingness to put your hands to the work you can build and transform houses.
The first project I did as host of This Old House was the timber frame barn put up by the TFG in Concord, Massachusetts. The alumni of that project reads straight out of the membership list of the TFG — Ben Brungraber, Jeff Arvin, Tedd Benson, John Libby, and many others — and it was during that shoot I saw the passion and commitment to craftsmanship the Guild embodies.
But I was also buying, renovating and selling historic homes in Salem, Massachusetts, at that time, working on one from the 1700s that ended up being our family home for 27 years. I remember with particular vividness stripping off the lath and plaster in the living room to reveal perfect timber frame joinery, executed and assembled with skill and respect, only to be covered with lath and plaster and out of human sight for some 250 years. Whoever put that frame together understood that craftsmanship, like integrity, means doing the right thing, even when no one is looking. But it’s more than doing the right thing; building with craft and integrity endows the craftsman with pride, strength, and a certain nobility.
I look forward to serving on the Guild board and helping grow the Guild in the coming years.