History Channel's "Back to the Blueprint"

Category: Websites & Videos


A quality program where the research outclasses the typical home shows popular these days.

Our Review

This show on the History Channel has been running since late 2004, but we didn't notice it until Tivo caught the Chicago Bungalow episode rerun earlier this month.

The show stands out because of the work they do researching their subject matter. Lots of home improvement shows touch on the history of the house ("nice built-ins!") but don't go into any detail that would teach you something.

In contrast, J and I actually learned quite a bit from the episode we caught. The
episode put typical bungalow building techniques in the context of construction techniques and mechanical innovations at the time. Segments focused on evolutions in indoor plumbing, standardized lumber dimensions, and the use of clay tile roofing in reaction to the great Chicago fire.

Marty Dunham, the host, demonstrated some of the standard pitfalls of DIY hosts (too many snappy judgements for my taste) but I guess someone has to keep the show moving along.

Perusing their website, I'm pleased to find that the series has already addressed several more interesting subjects: Sears Kit Homes, the Brownstone, the Saltbox, and the Spanish Revival.

This one's definitely on the Tivo Watch List!

Looking for More?

House in Progress Search for more on 'Back to the Blueprint' on this site.
Houseblogs.net Search for 'Back to the Blueprint' on on other houseblogs like this one.
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sounds interesting- will have to check it out. Always nice to know the why!

I will check it out too...I've been disappointed with HGTV for awhile. It seems they have gone to all the schlocky "decorate with the cheapest materials (which will look terrible in 6 months) for under ten dollars" shows.

I miss the quality shows that they used to have that made one dream and strive toward excellence. If I want to watch mediocrity, I'll film myself :-)!

I like shows with good lighting, that go into depth of subject, that point out the fine details, that celebrates excellence (whether it be a restoration or new building)...Hard to find these shows now.

I'm bored with HGTV now, too. Even their shows that are aimed at old houses miss the mark.

Thanks for this... I've set up to auto-record this series if it ever makes it's way to our shores! It sounds really interesting.


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