Q&A: Tommy Silva, Ask This Old House

PBS home-reno star Tommy Silva and his production crew visited Cincinnati in September to film a segment for <i>Ask This Old House</i> (making dining-room wainscoting at Steve and Lucy Crowley’s Mariemont home). We asked Silva and Senior Producer/Director Heath Racela a few questions in between takes:
General Contractor Tom Silva with homeowners Lucy and Steve Crowley

Photograph by Ricky Rhodes

You guys are finishing up a 50-state tour to celebrate the show’s 15 years. How did Cincinnati end up in the bottom?
Racela [laughing]: Some of it might be my Cleveland bias. I grew up in northeast Ohio. (But) this year we came and I’m so glad. Mariemont is beautiful. Cincinnati’s been awesome—lots of beautiful architecture and a lot of revival, too.

The Crowleys submitted their project to the show via online form. Why’d you pick this house?
Racela: Lucy and Steve sent us a list of probably ten or twelve projects. This dining room was something Tommy had been trying to find a way to do for a while.

Silva: Yeah, the dining room is fine the way it is but they wanna upgrade it a little bit, give it a new look. This is a simple way: fast, clean, and inexpensive.

So Tommy’s doing all the work himself?
Racela: No stunt doubles here. When the cameras are rolling, Tommy’s doing the work. When the camera’s not rolling, Tommy’s doing the work.

Did you guys get recognized when you went into Home Depot (for supplies) yesterday?
Silva: Oh, yeah. About five guys in different spots said something. I took a picture with three of ‘em. One guy—big guy—I said: “I’m gonna have to stand on a Home Depot bucket to be even with you!”

The This Old House Hour premieres Oct 1; this segment will run in early 2017. Check local listings.


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