Steve Thomas

Steve ThomasEducation

B.A., The Evergreen State College, 1974

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Biographical Note

Known as a serial renovator, Steve Thomas helped catapult This Old House to the top of PBS’s list of most-watched ongoing series of all time. He was honored with a 1997-1998 Daytime Emmy Award, and a total of nine nominations for "Outstanding Service Show Host." He went on to highlight green renovation across America on Renovation Nation on Discovery’s Planet Green.

Steve currently serves as spokesman for Habitat For Humanity International, with a particular interest in the ReStore, a unique opportunity for recycling of building materials. His lively presentations to corporate groups are a compelling call for volunteer service to create housing for families in need, particularly through Habitat’s annual Women Build, Global Village, and Builders Blitz.

Steve has renovated his own homes for more than 35 years, starting with a rundown 1920′s craftsman cottage in Olympia, Washington, then two historic homes in Salem, MA, a cabin and barn on an island, and now a small shingle style cottage in midcoast Maine. In the process, he has emerged as a leading advocate of green and sustainable renovation.

In between early renovation projects, Steve’s yen for adventure, which he attributes to his late grandfather, a missionary in the Alaskan Arctic, inspired him to combine his love of fine woodworking with his passion for the sea and sailboats. In the early 1980′s, he journeyed to the remote Micronesian island of Satawal to learn the ancient technique of star path navigation under the late master navigator Mau Piailug. Steve’s research resulted in the critically acclaimed book The Last Navigator, and a documentary for the Adventure series on PBS. It was in 1989, in between research trips to the Alaskan Arctic for a second Adventure book and film, when Steve got a call from the Adventure series publicist, who also worked for This Old House. The show’s producers were conducting a nationwide search for a new host, and the rest is history.

Steve lives in midcoast Maine with his wife, Evy, and their two standard poodles, Emma and Marley. His son, Sam, is a videographer in Santa Fe, NM.

Publication Type

Non-Fiction

Latest Publication

The Last Navigator, International Marine/Ragged Mountain Press, October, 1997

Publication Information

I bought my first sailboat when I was 13. After college I crewed on a yacht racing out to Hawaii, sailed the boat back to Seattle, and was hooked – I wanted to be at sea. The next year I became the first mate of a 103-foot schooner in the Mediterranean, and by the end of the year I was working for a boat builder in Antibes, in the South of France. The following year I delivered a 43-foot sloop from England to San Francisco via the Canaries, the Caribbean, Panama, the Galapagos, the Marquesas, and Hawaii. I met my future wife on that voyage, and to her more than anyone, I owe the existence of this book.

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