Saturday, September 6, 2008

Whatever Happened To...?

Do you ever do that? Wonder whatever happened to someone you haven't heard of in a long time? I'm talking about people like Christopher Lowell or Lynette Jennings. Both of them had shows on the Discovery Channel before there was such a thing as HGTV.

I always seemed to learn a lot from Lynette. Like how to use a tennis ball as a curtain rod finial. It sounds stupid, but it was actually kind of cool for its time. Her show was also where I first heard of using brown paper bags and tissue paper in wall treatments. Okay, maybe those were not so great ideas. Still, I wonder where she is and what she's doing now.

Christopher was over the top. In fact, his background was in designing theater sets as opposed to strictly interior design. He could faux marble like nobody's business. In fact, fauxing almost anything seemed to be one of his strengths. He could faux PVC pipe to look like bamboo and cardboard to look like stone. I liked how he cheered us on with his "You can do it" mantra -- kind of like Richard Simmons for amateur decorators.

If you go way back, you may remember Susan Crenshaw.
She also had a decorating show on the Discovery Channel. After that show, she went on to host "This Small Space," one of the better shows on HGTV. Gosh, that show's probably been off the air since the end of the 20th century. I think she was originally from Texas, though the small space show was produced in Canada. Now I'm not only wondering whatever happened to her but how a girl from Texas ended up Canada.

Susan Powell, the former Miss America, also hosted a decorating and home show on the Discovery Channel.
I still remember when she won Miss America. I liked her because she was from Elk City, OK. Forget New York. If a girl from Elk City could make it to Miss America, she could definitely make it anywhere. If you've ever been to Elk City, you'd know what I mean.

Chris McWatt was kind of a supporting host during the latter years of Susan's show. He seemed to get the "on the road" gigs where he'd visit different cities and try different food. He probably did more than that, but I mostly remember that he would eat. A lot. He went on to host "Weekend Warriors" on HGTV. That show's been gone quite a few years, so now we can wonder whatever happened to him.

So who do you wonder about? If there are lots of responses that have to do with just decorating, maybe we can do a little series and eventually include actors and singers. I'm lame and wonder where a lot of those folks are these days.

59 comments:

Lisa said...

Well, you covered all the old tv decorators that come to *my* mind. But I do wonder what Alexandra Stoddard is doing these days. I guess I could google and see what I could find.

Lisa said...

Oh, well how about that. She has a website now. http://www.alexandrastoddard.com/

More into philosophy these days than interior design.

Amber said...

I LOVED Susan Crenshaw's This Small Space! THAT was when I first heard of Steven Sabados. (insert drooling icon here). He had a little segment on the show, in the early years. Then he went on to have his own show, also produced by Canadian TV.

What about Kitty Bartholomew? What the heck is she doing these days?

Amber said...

Oh my...Kitty B is knitting and selling Arbonne! www.kittybartholomew.com

Steven Sabados is aging like the rest of us, but still cute. He now hosts a CBC talk show w/ Chris Hyndman and the two recently announced that they have been a long-term couple off screen as well as on Designer Guys and the new show. I always knew Steven had to be gay, so no surprise, but this makes sense. Chris was always just a little "too familiar" with Steven and his mom on Designer Guys...I wondered back then if they were a couple or just good friends. Good for them.

sandra/tx said...

In searching for Lynette's pic, I did find out what she's doing now. She's become an artist and lives with her partner out in New Mexico, near Santa Fe. Her partner is also an artist and works in a Japanese form of pottery. They have an art therapy retreat of sorts out in Western Colorado, near the Utah border.

Even though she hasn't been gone all that long, don't you wonder about "Decorating Cents" and Joan Steffend? I've caught Sasha, the guy who replaced Robb Whitleff for the "Trash to Treasure" segment, is now hosting "Curb Appeal." Which makes me wonder whatever happened to the other guys who hosted that show. Oh my. This could go on forever.

Nola @ AlamoNorth said...

I miss the entire "first generation" of HGTV and Food Channel hosts! What happened to the "G" in hGtv, anyway? There's very little gardening at all! I've almost quit watching because now they have all these hosts who do really *tacky* redos. They just border on being silly, and the hosts are almost obnoxious!
Ditto for Food Channel, with few exceptions (I still love Emeril)!

SASSY said...

What a fun post! I loved watching Kitty Bartholomew and the Designer Guys' show, too!

Linda at Lime in the Coconut! said...

Oh yes...I remember Lynette...I remember watching her in Colorado, when I had three little babies. It was such a nice respite out of the day! i loved how she would tour some beautiful homes.

Then I didn't watch much TV for many years...then HGTV. I remember curb appeal...oh and remember the Rachel Ashwell show?

Great post!

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

Oh, I did a post awhile back about one of Lynette's books & I loved her shows that used to be on. Too bad some of those are gone. Christopher Lowell has a new show on Fine Living Network called Work that Room & it's really pretty good. He comes up with some nice designs to totally change the rooms. Check it out if you get the chance.

Pat@Back Porch Musings said...

I loved Kitty B. I also loved Homes Across America, with Joe R. (can't spell it, but you know who he is). Wish that was back, too!

mary said...

Well, that's what happens when you don't have cable anymore - people are mysteriously gone, and you don't even know it! When we do decide to add HGTV again, I won't have a clue about what to watch. Kind of sad :(

dec0r8or said...

Kitty Bartholomew is KNITTING and selling ARBONNE?! LOL! WTF? Great post, Sandra. And I'm glad Rhoda said something about CL's new show. I'll have to check it out. I always loved him!

Hooked on Houses said...

I didn't know Christopher Lowell had a new show on the Fine Living Network! Thanks, Rhoda. I had been wondering about him just the other day when I saw his books at the library. -Julia

Willow Decor: said...

What fun! I also wondered what they were all doing now! Keep us updated!

J Beeman said...

Lynette Jennings has been living in Abiquiu, New Mexico (known as Georgia O'Keeffe Country between Santa Fe and Taos) Artist Georgia O'Keeffe lived in Abiquiu (abba-cue) for over 40 years. Lynette and her husband have living in Abiquiu for the past 5 years. Her home is now for sale - Here is the listing, mentioning her name on the listing. http://santafeproperties.com/homes/201103719-1221_County_Road_142-Abiquiu-NM-87510

Anonymous said...

I miss the old design shows like Room by Room, with Sherry and Matt.
Wish HGTV and TLC would do a special to remember those folks who got me drawn into design shows.

Debi said...

I have some old VHS tapes and thought I'd pop one in and see what was on it and wa-la there was Christoper Lowell, Lynette Jennings, Kitty, Matt and Sherry, Decorating Cents and Small Spaces. I wonder why they took all these shows off the air??!! I don't have any favorite decoating shows I watch anymore and haven't watched HGTV in years...too many house hunting shows. There use to be so many good shows with such good ideas; what happened? In today's economy, we need to bring those shows back! I loved those shows!

Anonymous said...

Where is Lynette moving to?

Estelle said...

I wonder too what happened to Lynette Jennings and all the earlier decorating shows mentioned above. Bring them back, especially, Lynette. I did see Matt and Shari somewhere on TV in the last year, probably on CREATE TV but I'm not sure of that. Too many house-hunting shows on HGTV for me.
The earlier shows were the best!!

Anonymous said...

I love this conversation. All those familiar names!! Yes, what happened to HGTV? House Hunters nearly every night?? How about good decorating ideas for those of us who cannot sell our homes these days. I remember when HGTV first launched - and have painted my family room 6 times since. What fun!

Anonymous said...

OMG, I loved all those shows, too. I agree with the posters who aren't watching HGTV or The Discovery Channel anymore because the programming has changed so much.

Anyway, you can follow Christopher Lowell on F/B & Twitter. He has simplified his life and now lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. (LOL I wonder if he bumps into Lynette Jennings occasionally?) In addition, he posts "Design on Demand" segments on his website, which you may view at www.ChristopherLowell.com

"We love that!" LOL

LoriG said...

Wow... what a trip down memory lane reading all these postings! I stopped watching HGTV... no more G like someone said...Paul James show was great.

ljan said...

Wow! Know someone already said it but what a great trip down memory lane!
yup, HGTV not the same. Still watch it but... not the same.

No one mentioned surprise by design! another great one! NOT on that long but I loved it...

I'm glad to see i'm not the only one who was so wrapped up. I was a new stay at home mom then with a new house.. i learned everything from those shows! h ha ha....

ljan said...

Wow! Know someone already said it but what a great trip down memory lane!
yup, HGTV not the same. Still watch it but... not the same.

No one mentioned surprise by design! another great one! NOT on that long but I loved it...

I'm glad to see i'm not the only one who was so wrapped up. I was a new stay at home mom then with a new house.. i learned everything from those shows! h ha ha....

Marti said...

I've been going through some old vcr tapes my mom made, and came across one with Lynette Jennings, and then just had to see if I could find out what happened to her, and that's how I found your blog post. I loved her show, and I've wondered what happened to Debbie Travis too. I liked her show too.

livyloo said...

I thought of Lynette this morning and jotted her name down tp look up and -wow!- y'all cover about all the old hosts! I must confess when I had cable I spend way too much time watching these shows everyday.I even have notebooks filled with crafts and ideas I saw over the the years. It's so fun going back over those -some I can't even figure out -lol.And my very favorite was the Carol Duvall show. From tacky to beautiful, she had it all. When I quit cable I about went into withdrawals missing her! LOL! Thanks for all the info!

Anonymous said...

I wonder who holds the rights to the "Lynette Jennings Design" show. Wish they would release on DVD or on Netflix. That would be fantastic. Oh the fond memories of Discovery Daytime.

ruthiebelle said...

So wonderful to hear others who miss Lynette and all the old, good design shows. I really miss "Designing for the Sexes" - That was my favorite - and Lisa La Porta was the design assistant to the (can't think of his name) wonderful designer. Great rooms! Also loved Chris. Lloyd (such fun). The designs on the new shows, as rare as they are now, are usually ugly and tacky, esp. "Color Splash"! UGH! Like Sandra Rinomato on "Property Virgins" and wish I'd ever had a real estate agent who was so knowledgeable and helped her clients negotiate. Thanks, everyone.

Dreama said...

I miss all those old shows. I used to be able to sit and watch HGTV for hours, but now it's just not really worth it. Lynette Jennings, and Matt and Sherry were what inspired me into interior design (which I had to actually change to get a degree in Web Design because I wasn't able to drive an hour and a half one way for four years daily with small children). Their designs were so great and so many of the ideas I still utilize. I just don't like "modern" or "contemporary" design.

Elizabeth Winchenbach said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Does anyone remember the show Dream House where they followed the construction of a home from beginning to completion? There are 2 that stand out in my mind, the modern home build in Colorado and the crafted home build by this couple and she left him just before the finish.

liz said...

I wish hgtv would create some shows on how to do it like the old days. Odd that diy is so popular now and they don't have any diy shows at all that I know o

Anonymous said...

Amazing and nice to know I'm not the only one missing those old shows. I learned so many easy but great decorating tips I still use today. Loved Lynette and Susan Powell's especially because their ideas were able to be done by novices such as me and still tiurn out right. So sorry we have nothing like that any more. Also loved the old cooking shows much better because those to provided great tips for the everyday cook.

Anonymous said...

Good comments! Miss all the shows that aren't on anymore. Help around the house and Joe Washington landscaping show I miss those too.

screendoorgirl3 said...

Wow! I was thinking of Lynette, googled her and came to you.I love how she used to show the outside of a house,tell us about it, then walk in the front door and tour the inside.She was so down to earth. I loved Christopher Lowell, too. Decorating has come a long way, baby.Thanks for the memories1

Kirsten said...

This just kinda made my day. Somehow Lynette popped into my head, I googled her and ended up here! Love these memories....and do miss some of those shows. Sarah Richardson is our new favorite.

Anonymous said...

I agree with all of you. HGTV is all house hunting and renovation.
Some of us only need to redecorate.
Wish all the old shows where back.

Anonymous said...

I also miss the fun shows like "While you were out" and "Trading Spaces". Really miss Lynette Jennings and Chris Lowell.

Anonymous said...

I also miss the fun shows like "While you were out" and "Trading Spaces". Really miss Lynette Jennings and Chris Lowell.

Anonymous said...

I also miss the fun shows like "While you were out" and "Trading Spaces". Really miss Lynette Jennings and Chris Lowell.

Anonymous said...

I too remember all these fun shows. It reminds me of how I created my own "pinterest" files with cut out magazine pictures and notes from all these great desigers and their shows.

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Anonymous said...

I wish HGTV or the DIY channel would have a retro hour or something where some of these great shows (even jusct clips)
could be shown. another great show from the BBC was House Invaders
where they'd work with what you had in your shed and totally transform your room.
Also anyone remember "Awesome Interiors" with Jennifer Convy??
I'm glad someone thought to bring back "Find & Design think it is on A&E

Megan said...

Susan Crenshaw is back in Texas and working on preproduction of her new show ReLoved. I believe the concept will be decorating with what you already have. Amen! That is my kind of show. It will be on HGTV but not sure when it starts airing.

Mizfurball said...

I still have the tapes from all the old Christopher Lowell shows -- it started as a half-hour show. I think I have 5 seasons. I plan to put them on DVDs one day.

Vykarius Smith said...

Joining in with others here; I was homebound for quite some time years back and Lynette Jennings and Christopher Lowell's shows helped me through the tough times. Wish I could watch those shows again.
Thanks for having this website, too.

Marcie said...

Hi Guys! So great to hear about all the old shows! I'm with you - no good DIY shows on any more. I've got a question: does any one remember the little segment that Lynette did where she talked about the trick for making down-filled cushions work? She said ti use foam, but, I can't remember what you did with it? If anyone recalls the episode, I'd love to hear from you. Thanks!