Home renovation shows that get into the nitty gritty
August 24, 2014 8:23 PM   Subscribe

My boyfriend would like some recommendations for good, detailed home renovation shows.

I've looked at previous questions and could only find one recommendation, Holmes on Homes, which we'll look up.

Boyfriend likes to learn about the details of construction processes. The DIY portions of the Australian show, Better Homes & Gardens, are an example of what he likes. I think there might be an American version of that show (?) which we'll also look into.

He doesn't mind if the show is in English, it can be about whole house renovations or just focus on particular rooms/projects. Can be contest-based or more documentary-style. The main point is he likes it when the presenter goes into depth about the steps involved in [thing].

For myself (and I will also be watching these), I prefer shows that aren't too flashy with limitless budgets where every room ends up ultra luxe, overstuffed and generally "more is more" themed. Boyfriend doesn't care so much about that, so it's not essential, just a nice-to-have.

Thank you for your suggestions!
posted by reshet to Media & Arts (13 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
PBS's This Old House
posted by Uncle at 8:25 PM on August 24, 2014 [6 favorites]

I love Rehab Addict on DIY. Like This Old House, it deals with (duh) old houses, which may or may not be your cup of tea.

You may also like Fixer Upper on HGTV.
posted by Madamina at 8:31 PM on August 24, 2014 [4 favorites]

Mike Holmes shows.
posted by bartonlong at 8:33 PM on August 24, 2014 [6 favorites]

If you can find Restorer Guy from many years ago, it's a good one. He was someone who restored houses with some sense. But mostly, This Old House is about as good as you'll get for this now.

(I also like Rehab Addict, what I've seen of it.)
posted by darksong at 8:50 PM on August 24, 2014

They're no longer making new episodes, but The New Yankee Workshop definitely fits the bill. That and This Old House were my (and my grandfather's) crack when I was growing up.
posted by karbonokapi at 9:55 PM on August 24, 2014

Grand Designs

Restoration Home
posted by Quilford at 2:26 AM on August 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

bartonlong suggest Mike Holmes, and that's about as good as it gets if you're looking for anything that's even remotely applicable to real-world renovation. But, even Mike tends to take a "gut it" attitude sometimes.

Shows like This Old House and Hometime long, long ago abandoned reality and focused exclusively on high-profile, money-is-no-object, gut-it-to-the-framing renovations. Most of the time, TOH's "renovations" seem to be little more than commercials for high-end bells and whistles.

I've often thought about writing the production company and dare them to take on renovating my modest mid-70's midwest ranch and keep it within a reasonable budget. There's easily a season full of real-world problems in this home they would have to address that I'm sure tons of viewers would identify with.

If you could scare-up TOH episodes from the first couple of years, you might pick-up ideas that translate to the real world. Those early Bob Villa-era shows were far less over-the-top expensive.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:50 AM on August 25, 2014

This Old House focuses on gut rehabs that end up high level, but Ask This Old House solves narrowly defined problems and goes though the solution step-by-step.
posted by Dashy at 6:17 AM on August 25, 2014

This Old House doesn't seem to have as much good hands-on info as in the past; I stopped watching it because it seemed to be more like infomercials for various new and shiny home improvement products than demonstration on how it's done.

The Mike Holmes shows tend to be quite good, I don't remember the name of it but there was one series that was about undoing badly-done renovations, and seeing the wrong way to do it is about as valuable as seeing how it got fixed.
posted by AzraelBrown at 6:48 AM on August 25, 2014

While these entertaining suggestions are good, if he really wants to learn, check out Fine Homebuilding and Tauton Press:

posted by humboldt32 at 9:19 AM on August 25, 2014

Hometime. You may have to hunt to find episodes, but this was a step-by-step, project based show.

They have linkable how-to articles.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:18 PM on August 25, 2014

They're a little less about renovation qua renovation, but some other PBS shows are in the same vein. You won't necessarily see renovation but you will see woodworking technique and theory that is applicable to many renovation tasks.

The Woodwright's Shop is geared toward woodworking with hand tools. It can be a bit preachy sometimes but if you get past that there is a lot of great information.

The American Woodshop is, in many ways, the opposite of the Woodwright's Shop. It's all tools you wish you had and the amazeballs things you can do with them. Even so, at the core you get to see some nifty projects. Oh, and the guy has some kind of fixation with pocket screws.

This Old House is pretty meh and high-end conceptual these days. Ask This Old House is still pretty good at showing a common problem and walking through a solution. Hometime is mehx1000 but they'll do some look back segments and you can get glimpses of how much better the show used to be. No matter how bad TOH and HT are, they're still miles better than any of the "do things in arbitrary time period rush rush" or "old, renovated home or new awesome home?" shows on the cable networks.

My PBS station runs these things as a block on Saturday mornings. My wife calls it the Wood Porn Hour and is kind enough to leave me alone while the shows are actually running.
posted by Fezboy! at 3:06 PM on August 25, 2014

Nthing Rehab Addict, which was instrumental in pushing me towards buying an old home in downtown Minneapolis instead of suburban new construction.

These are sort of in a different vein, but Rescue My Renovation (kind of a USian Holmes on Homes) and Renovation Realities are both good shows. Renovation Realities is heavy on the snark, but involves non-professionals making understandable rookie mistakes while DIYing. It's snarky, yes, but has some good points about not making assumptions and wearing proper safety gear.
posted by timetoevolve at 3:34 PM on August 25, 2014

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