Top Renovation Shows About Old House Restoration

Get ready to binge-watch some old house magic.

Vintage television in an old house

In the world of television, there’s no shortage of renovation shows. But how many capture the magic of transforming old, neglected houses into beautiful homes? The following shows not only provide viewers with a satisfying before-and-after reveal, but they also explore history and architecture. Let’s take a closer look at some of the top streaming shows that focus on old house renovation, preservation, and appreciation.

1
Restored

Restored is a captivating show hosted by preservationist Brett Waterman, who brings historic homes back to their original glory. Each episode focuses on a different home, from 1912 Transitional Victorians to 1954 Modern California Ranches. The show stands out for its commitment to preserving the unique character of each home, with Waterman uncovering the fascinating stories and untapped potential hidden beneath years of neglect and poor renovations.

2
Cheap Old Houses

cheap old houses show on HGTV
  • First aired: 2021
  • Streaming: HGTV
  • Seasons: 1

Cheap Old Houses (which I reviewed in more detail) is a delightful show that turns the popular Instagram account into a full-fledged TV series. The show follows Ethan and Elizabeth Finkelstein as they hunt for affordable historic properties to feature on their social media site. Along the way, they explore houses that historic home devotees have lovingly restored. The Finkelsteins’ passion for historic properties is infectious, and their discoveries often come with fascinating stories and potential for beautiful restorations.

3
Diary of an Old Home

  • First aired: 2022
  • Streaming: Discovery+
  • Seasons: 2

Diary of an Old Home is a reality TV series that offers an intimate look at the original features and modern renovations that make old homes unique. As a viewer, I was drawn to the personal stories of homeowners who cherish the charm and character of their old homes. (What can I say? I do love Heirloom Stories.) The show does a fantastic job of highlighting the delicate balance between preserving original features and making necessary modern updates.

4
Houses With History

  • First aired: 2021
  • Streaming: HGTV
  • Seasons: 2

Hold off on the sledgehammers for a second. Houses with History is a fun series that follows three passionate preservationists—Mike Lemieux, Rich Soares, and Jen MacDonald—as they restore historic homes around Plymouth, Massachusetts. In each episode, the team uncovers gems that are worthy of being saved. Their restorations are not just about modernizing the homes but also about honoring their history and bringing their character back to life.

Fun Fact

Renovation and restoration are two terms often used interchangeably, but they have distinct meanings.

A renovation involves updating and modernizing a space, which can include changing its layout, design, or function. It’s about making the old new again, often with contemporary materials and designs.

On the other hand, a restoration is about bringing a property back to its original condition, preserving and repairing existing structures, and using materials and designs that are true to the home’s original era. The goal of restoration is to maintain the historical integrity of a property, celebrating its unique features and heritage.

5
Restoration Road

  • First aired: 2021
  • Streaming: Discovery+
  • Seasons: 3

Restoration Road is a unique journey into America’s architectural past, led by the charismatic woodworker Clint Harp. In each episode, Clint travels across the country, exploring some of the oldest and most stunning structures that have withstood the test of time. What sets Restoration Road apart is its focus on the craftsmanship behind these historic structures. Clint’s passion for woodworking and his appreciation for the skill and dedication of the craftsmen who built and restored these structures is palpable.

6
This Old House

  • First aired: 1979
  • Streaming: Various platforms, including the official website
  • Seasons: 44 and counting

This Old House is a long-standing and beloved series that has been educating and inspiring viewers about home improvement and renovation since 1979. The show features expert advice, step-by-step instructions, and practical tips for homeowners. Each season, the crew tackles a new renovation project, transforming a house from outdated or dilapidated to beautiful and functional. While the focus isn’t always on preservation, there are some important lessons to be learned (like how not to cut corners).

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