Vila was hired as the host of This Old House in 1979 after receiving the "Heritage House of 1978" award by Better Homes and Gardens, for his restoration of a VictorianItalianate house in Newton, Massachusetts. On This Old House, Vila appeared with carpenterNorm Abram as they, and others, renovated houses. In 1989 he left the show under controversial circumstances. Some cite the reason as being a series of conflicts with This Old House executive producer Russell Morash arising from his involvement with outside commercial endorsements, while others cite a specific instance- Vila's commercial work for New Jersey-based Rickel and the subsequent retaliatory pulling of underwriting from Rickel's competitor Home Depot and lumber supplier Weyerhaeuser- as the reason behind his departure. He was replaced by Steve Thomas.
After leaving This Old House, Vila became a commercial spokesman for Sears, and beginning in 1990 he hosted Bob Vila's Home Again (known from 2005 on as Bob Vila), a weekly-syndicated home improvement program. The series ran for sixteen seasons in syndication before it was canceled by distributor CBS Television Distribution due to declining ratings. Vila also appeared on various episodes of the situation comedy Home Improvement as himself, where main character and cable TV host Tim Taylor (played by Tim Allen) saw him as a rival and went to great lengths to try to beat Vila at things, which he never succeeded in doing. Vila also made a cameo in the 1993 comedy spoof Hot Shots! Part Deux.
Vila has written ten books, including a five-book series titled Bob Vila's Guide to Historic Homes of America. As of 2006, he still appears regularly on television. He can also be seen on the Home Shopping Network, selling a range of tools under his own brand.
Bob Vila's less widely known productions include Guide to Historic Homes of America (1996), In Search of Palladio, (1996) for A&E, and Restore America for HGTV.
In Search of Palladio (1996) is a three-part, six-hour study of the work and lasting influence of the 16th-century architect Andrea Palladio. Palladio designed various types of buildings, but the series concentrates on his domestic architecture. (See also: Palladian Villas of the Veneto).
^Natchez City Cemetery. "Builders of antebellum mansions". "From England came Captain Thomas Rose who gained Natchez experience to design and build Stanton Hall in 1857."
^StantonHall.com. "Stanton Hall & Longwood". "Built for Frederick Stanton, wealthy cotton commission broker, Stanton Hall was completed in 1857 to the designs of Natchez architect Thomas Rose. Longwood, the largest octagonal house remaining in America, is a superb example of the mid-19th century “villa in the oriental style.”"
^Texarkana Museums. "Ace of Clubs House". "According to local legend, money to build the Ace of Clubs House came from the winnings of a poker game won with the draw of the ace of clubs."
^"Queen Square". The Bath Net. "Queen Square was the first of John Wood's urban set-pieces, laid out following his return to his native city in 1727 and the first significant expansion beyond the medievalwalls. Pevsner declared the north terrace to be one of the finest Palladian compositions in England before 1730."
^Duncan G. Stroik. "Villa Indiana". "In his innovative designs Palladio created a new type by combining the summer house or castello with vernacular farm buildings and by wedding them architecturally to the agricultural landscape."
^"Restore America With Bob Vila". HGTV (includes detailed descriptions of one-hour segments for each of the fifty U.S. states). July 4, 1999 through July 4, 2000. "In celebration of the 3rd millennium, Bob Vila led viewers on an enlightening, year long, 50-state tour of hundreds of historic homes, public buildings, gardens and neighborhoods across America. Vila explored the nation's flourishing restoration boom, celebrating the people working to preserve the best of this country's rich culture, heritage and history as host of HGTV's "Restore America." HGTV periodically rebroadcasts this programming."Check date values in: |date= (help)