"This Old House" expert Mark McCollough

‘Ask This Old House’ Returns to Milwaukee for the First Time in 15 Years

Last week, two home experts starring on the hit PBS series ‘Ask This Old House’ visited Milwaukee-area homes to help their owners troubleshoot tricky construction projects.

For 15 years, “Ask This Old House” has been a fixture of PBS’s lineup. Last week, the show made two house calls in Milwaukee while filming how-to segments for its latest season, which airs this fall.

On Tuesday, June 13, plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey worked with local company Budiac Plumbing to help a family of five save money on utilities. Parents Mark and Anna Nagle and kids Isabelle (9), Leah (7) and James (4) live in a Bay View home built in 1905 and were in need of a more efficient water heater. Trethewey helped them replace their old heater with a new, on-demand unit that conserves energy and cuts down on hot water costs. “The crew was fabulous,” says Mark Nagle. “My family was lucky to have them come.” 

Trethewey, who has been featured in past how-to segments on the show, welcomed the opportunity to help the Nagles and looks forward to seeing the segment when it airs.

“We hope our audience likes watching and can learn something along the way.”

"This Old House" expert Richard Trethewey
‘This Old House’ expert Richard Trethewey; photo by Mike Last

And on Wednesday, June 14, mason Mark McCullough met local school teacher Summer Gallagher, who intends to spend her summer repointing some of the brick siding of her historic home. During his visit, McCullough demonstrated proper repointing technique and helped Gallagher determine which type of mortar to use.

“I want people to see that [masonry] can be fun, self-satisfying and safe. I’m proud to be working outside in the elements,” McCullough says. “I hope people can see that and want to join in on the fun.”

The show producers were also excited about their Cream City appearance. According to senior producer Heath Racela, the show filmed one of its first on-the-road segments in Milwaukee during its first season.

“We’ve received a number of great homeowner questions from Milwaukee and found some interesting energy efficiency and masonry stories that we think will resonate both locally and nationally.” 



Lindsey Anderson covers culture for Milwaukee Magazine. Before joining the MilMag team she worked as an editor at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and wrote freelance articles for ArtSlant and Eater.