This Old House
Much like the show’s premise, “This Old House” has proven to synonymize age with quality. For decades, this Emmy-winning PBS home improvement and remodeling show has had viewers glued.
Now in its 40th anniversary season, tradesmen and contractor experts Tom Silva and Richard Trethewey have naturally coaxed homeowners to see the magic and value of renovating and uplifting classic homes to energy-efficient, aesthetically jaw-dropping beauties.
It was 1979 when Trethewey’s father and uncle, owners of a successful plumbing business were contacted by the local PBS station. The show’s creators, still at the drawing board, sought out the expertise of the Trethewey brothers to enhance their new home improvement show.
It was 1979 when Trethewey’s father and uncle, owners of a successful plumbing business were contacted by the local PBS station. The show’s creators, still at the drawing board, sought out the expertise of the Trethewey brothers to enhance their new home improvement show. The brothers dove in for little, if any, compensation.
“For some happy, inexplicable reason, my dad agreed,” said Richard Trethewey — now succeeding as the fourth generation of the family business. “The rest is history.”
The show has also been a large part of Silva’s professional life, having joined “This Old House” the late 1980s. In an impressive balance, Silva not only bolsters the show, but co-owns Silva Brothers Construction out of Lexington, Mass. — yet another long-standing family-run business.
Undeniably, home improvement shows are now trending as a dominating force on television; however, “This Old House” keeps up in ratings, and has arguably paved the way for the genre’s influx of similar shows and networks.
“’This Old House’ is the original. It was all new territory,” explained Trethewey. “We are real contractors sharing first-hand experience of our profession. We aren’t actors. There are no cue cards. We are lucky enough to be teachers with a bigger classroom than most.”
Teaching is exactly what Silva and Trethewey plan to do during their appearance at the Dispatch Spring Home & Garden Show this Saturday. Attendees can learn more about “This Old House” and ask the experts about renovation ideas, projects and concerns.
At last year’s Spring Home & Garden Show, Silva drew a standing-room-only crowd, sharing some of his years of experience and quizzing the audience on photos of some major mishaps he was charged with fixing over the years.
As for the future of “This Old House,” the show will focus this season on a “Net Zero House” — a house that has its electrical meter reading zero at the end of each year.
“By utilizing solar electrical power, super insulation, and an efficient heat recovery system, it can happen,” explained Trethewey.
Installing modern upgrades, similar to those in a “Net Zero House,” to an antique charmer continues to propel the show’s success forward and is also a theory highly supported by those involved on the show.
“Something about an old house always wins with me,” said Trethewey. “They have a story; they need a new steward, and they often have deeper character.”