Be careful what you wish for!
I’m sure you’ve all watched shows on HGTV or DIY and, like me, you’ve probably wondered if the hosts know anything about building, if they know anything about flipping a house quick and cheap. Now here I am about to have my own show; it’s my turn, and suddenly I understand the challenges of TV land.
A Note from the Publisher:
The very first time I met Brent Hull—and it was years ago, he had this crazy dream of creating a television program. In fact, one time we toured the Gamble House together, took along a camera crew, and recorded a video for a pilot! Brent was really excited—like Christmas morning. Deep in his heart, he has always felt that he could make a difference, that if people would just listen to him, he could help folks recognize where we’ve gone wrong, help them see the difference between shoddy design and classically inspired architecture, between poor workmanship and true craftsmanship. His faith has never wavered; he continues to rail against wasting money on bigness when comfort and proportion matter most. Brent’s wish has come true. He has a television program starting
First of all, I have to confess that I have some serious anxiety as my show—Lonestar Restoration—is set to premier TONIGHT (click here for a preview)! And it’s not stage fright or opening night jitters that worry me.
|I’m sure you’ve all watched shows on HGTV or DIY and, like me, you’ve probably wondered if the hosts know anything about building, if they know anything about flipping a house quick and cheap. Now here I am about to have my own show; it’s my turn, and suddenly I understand the challenges of TV land.|
I have seen behind the curtain. I’ve learned that there are a lot of competing messages and interests. The bottom line is I want to talk about craftsmanship and quality while the TV people want to make sure the show is entertaining. And you know what? I hate to admit it but they’re right. If folks aren’t entertained, then they won’t watch, they won’t listen, and they won’t learn.
I still don’t know what will be portrayed over the next 8 weeks. All the film has been shot, but the content of each program is really dependent on editing.
So as the drum roll starts—whether the show succeeds or not—I want to share with readers of TiC my four main goals for the show. At least you all will know what my intentions were.
First and most importantly, craftsmanship matters. Creating things with skill and expertise is becoming a lost art, and we have to save it. The way we built 100 years ago was much different than it is today. Simple hand skills, like the use of hand planes, knowing how to sharpen chisels and saws, how to frame a straight flat wall, etc. still have great value today. There is a movement in this country to get back to quality and artistry in our everyday lives. We see it in craft beers, coffee, clothing, and organic food. I am hoping that this show helps that spirit spill over into our industry; helps encourage a return to quality construction and fine craftsmanship.
Second, history matters. History and craftsmanship go hand in hand. History has taught me how to build. It has set the bar high. The craftsmanship and quality of historic homes encourages me to build better today. I hope that viewers are able to feel my genuine love for historic buildings. Old buildings have so much to teach us about the way we used to live. I want people to gain a new appreciation for the value of historic houses, especially compared to new McMansions.
Third, this is not a quick flip show. I want people to quit glamorizing shows that rip out all the good solid materials and replace it with stuff that won’t last, as if that is the best or only option. Demolition is not romanticized on our show. We feel that historic homes or buildings were built to be timeless and weave a tale of character, values, history and heart. This show is about restoration, about preservation, about building with care and respect.
Finally, what we build defines us; how we build matters. Using quality materials that are well-designed means that our houses will last longer. Craft and quality, I suspect, are part of the reason why Craig Flynn and Adrienne Kazarian, who operate WindsorOne, were so supportive in buying an historic house in Fort Worth, and that home is the project we restore on the show. Craig has done more than most manufacturers I know to support craftsmanship in America, and in that pursuit, he has never looked for profit. As a personal friend of mine, I know he is 110% genuine when it comes to caring about education in our industry. I bet he never sees a dime of profit from my show, but he understands the value of long-term relationships—whether with a customer, a friend, or an historic home.
I hope the folks at the History Channel succeed in making this show an entertaining success. I know I’ll be doing all I can to make that happen. Because if this show succeeds even in some small way, if we can help viewers appreciate quality instead of chasing price, if we’re able to convince future clients that the old ways were good ways, then maybe all of us will come out winners.
You’ll find more information about Lonestar Restoration, which premiers tonight on the History Channel website.
I’m with you on all 4 points. I’m excited to watch tonight. I’m a carpenter for 46 years, & hope to keep doing it for a few more. I am looking forward to all the episodes. Good Luck !
That means a ton. I appreciate you watching. Keep up the good work as long as possible. We need guys like you around teaching the young guns.
Best of luck Brent from across the pond. We probably will not get to see this – too many fake reality programs I am afraid.
Best of luck and show them that Classical Design rocks.
Thanks for the note. I’m telling my friends in other countries that the show is available for streaming on the History Channel website or History app after it airs. I hope that helps.
Working on the Classical design part, may take a season 2. :)
Brett, this looks fantastic! Wishing you the best with this program. Appreciate you taking the time to explain your motivations. Looking forward to hearing and seeing the rest of the carpentry story, that made craftsmen a true American label meaning well made vs low price. Thanks for sharing your dream.
Thanks for commenting. As I said, I haven’t seen that much of the show yet, but please know that is the message I’m hoping to share.
Brett- Best of luck with the show! I have enjoyed your publications, your website and your commitment to the design and craft for years. When I started in this work 45 years ago, I thought I was the only one. While there are still not many, it is always the best to find out there are others that see the connection between design, craft and personal reward.
Thanks for all your efforts.
Thanks for your encouraging note. You are not the only one and I’m hoping this show can help revive the lost art of building. Thanks for your 45 years of hard work.
HOORAH for you Brent!!!!!! It’s about time that excellence in craft is set to prevail…….
Thanks for the cheers! I’m very hopeful that craftsmanship shines.
Brett Good luck with the show. Having been in the business for over 40 years, there are very few of these programs that show craftsmanship and interesting restorations and defining quality materials from the run of the mill. Wish you the best.
I’m going to do my best to make you proud to watch. Remember it’s TV land so they want entertaining as well. Hopeful the right balance as been struck.
Thanks for watching,
Excellent article, Brent. I especially like the way you connect restoration carpentry skills with other crafts people are rediscovering. I’ve seen enough quick flippers here in Richmond destroy vintage houses to last me three lifetimes. It’s good to see someone represent quality.
Thanks for the note. I couldn’t agree more about destroying vintage houses. Hope you enjoy the show.
Good luck with the show.
We have used Windsor One material since its inception. It is manufactured in a way that lets carpenters put each and every piece together in a way that everything matches- the machining does not vary.
Windsor is great stuff. It’s nice that the people behind it are honest and care about craftsmanship and quality.
Brett, I look forward to your show. I can’t stand the shows today where the first order of business is to take a sledge hammer to everything.
It’s my pet peeve as well. Please watch and let me know how you think we do.
Sadly, I checked our local listings and it isn’t airing in Canada- at least not on the West coast. I did check out the preview. Best of luck with the show!
I REALLY hope your show is successful!!! I agree with you, I am so tired of guys ripping out perfectly good stuff (maybe not the most attractive but good enough for places like Home for Humanity Store). I’m hoping to watch craftsman doing their thing: craft. I know you will be successful and the show will be successful. It may take a few takes, but it will be successful. Good luck. Break a leg!!!
I’ll keep pushing, the buzz from last night has been really good. So hopefully it can build and audience in the coming weeks.
Brent – best of luck with the show!
Just a heads up TIC readers, History Channel has it scheduled for 10:30pm EST
I don’t usually watch home repair shows, cause I have been
doing this work for 41 years, but I like the sound of what you are doing. There are still people out there who want quality work and
are happy to pay for it, if they get the quality they are looking for.
Thanks for steering them in the right direction. I will be watching.
Best of luck with the show!
Hope you enjoyed episode one. Hopefully over the next 7 weeks we can get the word out about quality and craft.
Good job on tonights episode. Looking forward to next week.
Nice to see these comments from real craftsmen.
Appreciate your feedback and your watching.
Aloha from Maui, My husband and I watched last night and LOVED the show. The authenticity was incredible. Our only disappointment is, that it won’t be back on until next Monday. Hope it all goes well for you. Cay and Kent Hutton
Thanks for watching. I’m glad you liked it. Please keep watching.
Four points is spot on! At Restorations by Persha I have been been working with older homes/buildings and their owners for the past 38 years. I feel fortunate to have been mentored by carpenters and builders who grew up in the great depression through present time. Integrity and honor were always the precurser to what was being taught. I have in my continuing career carried forward the knowlege I have gained while at the same time remaining a student of learning. Three things to note here: One: Respect every mans attempt in the learning process…..everyone learns differently. Two: Humor! The day must have humor….it brings goodness to the job as well as the soul. Third: We learn more by teaching others, what have learned…..I look forward to viewing your shows….Carry on Brent
Thanks for the words of wisdom. I agree with #2 the most; Humor is good for the soul. I hope you have fun watching the show. I look forward to your feedback.
Good luck with your new show.
I’m from Maine, and I’ve been in the business for coming up on 47 years. I just saw your first October 3 show via the History app on my iPad. Awesome!
I’ve never had any use for the typical home building/remodeling/flipping shows. They generally not only trash perfectly good buildings, but they also create extremely unrealistic expectations on the part of homeowners. They end up thinking that their projects will be done yesterday, with oversized equipment, hundreds of volunteers, and with the “best” “highest quality” new products to replace their old out of date ones. And then the new owners go bankrupt trying to support outlandish homes they can’t afford.
How refreshing to see a much more realistic portrayal of our craft, and of actual craft, instead of just materials replacers! And it is even more refreshing to see you show the value of restoration, versus destroying beautiful masterpieces from an age when craft meant something. Thank you for your show, and more than that for your spirit and desire to preserve rather than dispose of and replace everything! I wish you all success in your show! We all need what you portray!
Thanks for your comments. I agree and hope the show catches on so that we can continue to share this message.
Love the new show. Happened to catch your show on the History Channel. All I can say is AWESOME stuff. I am hooked.
Keep up the good work. I will be watching.
Thanks for watching and please keep watching. I’ll do my best. I hope this story and message can continue to be heard.
Great article & great show. It’s nice to watch a show when you know the people in it are passionate & knowledgeable about what they’re doing. That shows through loud & clear
I really appreciate you watching and your feedback.
Thank you SO much for your show. I’ve enjoyed every episode thus far. When I first went to university some 30+ years ago, I started pursing a career in architectural engineering. Even though that dream was not fulfilled, I’ve never lost my passion for the great craftsmanship of the past.
To finally have a show where I can watch someone who has the same appreciation as I do for a time gone by, and the opportunity to learn so much is a wonderful experience. Thank you very much for creating such a worthwhile program.
All the best to you in your future endeavors, mate!
Thanks so much for watching and for your feedback. I really appreciate it. I’m also glad that the ideas of craftsmanship and quality are coming through.
Please continue watching and spreading the word. Working on season 2 and the network wants to make sure we are building an audience. Having guys like you watching every week is huge.
A season two?!! Hallelujah! I am hooked on your show and was hoping there would be more. All the best to you and your brilliant staff.
My wife and I have watched every episode. We find the show both educational and entertaining.
Our history is important and needs to be preserved. Your passion for maintaining our history is well displayed.
Thank you for the show and we hope to enjoy many more.
Thanks for commenting and for watching. I’m glad you like the show. As I mentioned in the article, it is sometimes tough to get a clear message on TV so I’m glad the preservation message is being heard.
I found out about the show from oldhouseguy’s site, and then stumbled upon this article here when I was searching for resources about period ceiling heights. I wanted to add my thanks and congratulations as well.
Of the two shows I watched so far, I’m glad they’re being made. Even if only a handful of people who see it reconsider trashing something well made in the name of “updates”, you’ve done a good thing.
Just yesterday, spouse and I just had a bid accepted on an 1850 home here in Massachusetts. It’s been though quite a few updates of the times changes, and needs some rescuing from some of them. From what I’ve been able to discern of the details I can see, we may have a Carpenter Gothic on our hands if the sale goes smoothly.
I mention this because I hope in the long run, we do justice to the home as we slowly work to unmuddle it. Shows like yours and sites like this teach me a lot, which helps me feel more confident as we long term plan how to help the home shine.
Keep up the good work.
Dear Mrs. Hope,
I hope you are able to purchase that home as it sounds so amazing. And like Brent stated, I, too, would love to see some before and after photos. Best of luck to you and yours with that endeavor.
Thanks for watching and I’m so glad to hear that you are finding it educational and informative.
Congratulations on your purchase. I love the Carpenter Gothic style, though we don’t have many here in Texas. Good luck and please send pictures. If you get the house you should document your work and progress. sounds like there are a lot of good lessons that could come from that job.