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- A Conversation with Amy Matthews
A Conversation with Amy Matthews
Amy Matthews, the current host of DIY Network's "Sweat Equity" and "This New House", chats with Bob about family, favorite projects, sustainability, and more.
- Photo: DIY Networks
[Editor's Note: Bob Vila's interview with Amy Matthews took place the day before she was expecting to deliver her baby. We knew the pair would have plenty to talk about—both having a common love of home remodeling and renovation, extensive hands-on experience in the home improvement category, and highly respected television careers. And so begins. . . a conversation with DIY Network's Amy Matthews, host of "Sweat Equity" and "This New House."]
Bob Vila: The first thing that I want to ask you is about becoming a licensed contractor. How did that happen? What kind of training did you have to go through?
Amy Matthews: Well, like most people, I started out on the job learning everything from the people I worked with. It was a watch game. But my dad was also an incredible DIYer. Actually he just refinished a buffet in my house (because I'm pregnant) and I was reminded where I get my meticulous nature from—it's genetically inherited. So I grew up watching him tackle every project that he didn't have to hire someone else to do and it was a great inspiration growing up. Of course, I didn't think I'd be doing it for my livelihood.
And then I auditioned for one of the new shows on DIY Network, which at the time was Bathroom Renovations. When it started, I didn't have my license yet. I was working and obviously very well versed in home improvement, but I really found that I wanted to be at the top of my game and decided to get a contractor's license in my home state of Minnesota. It's kind of like taking your SATs here—there's a lot of studying and a lot of bookwork that goes into it. But as you know, most of what you do is practical application that you learn on the job. So to me, it was a combination of the book studies, going through the testing process and getting the license.
Bob Vila: And you did this in the last five years?
Amy Matthews: I think it was 2005, so either five or six years ago. And with shows like Sweat Equity where I get to delve into every part of home improvement, and This New House where we explore new home innovations and technologies, I feel like I never stop learning. Getting my license was kind of a good platform but every day is something new—that's what I love most about what I do.
Bob Vila: The entire length and breadth of my career on television, whether it was This Old House or producing and hosting the Home Again series for all those years, I always said it was like being paid to go to graduate school. Every show involved learning experiences as well as the benefit of research from your production staff. And then there's all the other things that we used to do, like touring factories and learning how various components and products actually get manufactured. So it can be a lot of fun.
Amy Matthews: Totally.
Bob Vila: And I do share the same kind of builder background as you. My father was just the same. And actually, I had a grandmother who was not a contractor, but she loved houses and built three of them in her lifetime.
Amy Matthews: I love it.
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