In the mid-1970s Bob was an apprentice to a German furniture designer and cabinetmaker. Soon afterward, he opened a business designing and building custom furniture and also bought his first house--a craftsman bungalow--to renovate. Since that time Bob has been involved in the restoration and rehabilitation of over 160 historic properties, many of them award winning.
In the 1980s Bob continued to restore homes and build furniture for clients from California to Chicago. His efforts in neighborhood revitalization of historic areas in the Midwest are renowned. Bob has been a historic property Realtor, owned a home inspection business and in 1991 was appointed the Housing Director for The Rock Island Economic Growth Corporation in Rock Island, Illinois. At Rock Island High School he started and taught a new voc-tech program to give students hands-on-experience in rehabbing historic homes. Bob, his wife Pat and their dogs George & Gracie live in Hannibal, Missouri. Their 1859 home is a brick Italianate located it the Central Park, National Historic District and is the headquarters for their school, The Belvedere School for Hands-On Preservation as well as The Belvedere Inn Bed & Breakfast.
Bob’s media career began in 1980s as an architectural feature writer and weekly columnist with the Des Moines Register as The House Doctor. He has written and co-written many woodworking and preservation articles in national magazines including; Meredith Publishing’s Wood Magazine and Renovation Style Magazine. Currently Bob writes and self-syndicates a monthly feature story on historic house restoration.
Soon after the Register column premiered he began a syndicated radio show also called The House Doctor. In 1996 Bob started production of the national, weekly PBS program, About Your House with Bob Yapp. Bob was executive producer, writer and host for this National Trust for Historic Preservation sponsored, 52 show series. Bob has a blog at his website, www.aboutyourhouse.org.
Since leaving PBS in 2001, Bob has dedicated himself to preservation education. In September 2002 Bob partnered with the Kentucky Heritage Council and the Pine Mountain Settlement School to found a hands-on training school to teach practical, cost effective restoration methodology. He has helped establish and taught at numerous preservation trades programs around the country in high schools and colleges. He is a regular instructor at the Campbell Center for Historic Preservation Studies. Bob also trains National Park Service preservation trades personnel, Methods and Materials for the Maintenance and Rehabilitation of Historic Structures. In addition to operating and teaching at The Belvedere School for Hands-On Preservation in Hannibal, he founded and taught The Historic Preservation Trades Program for at-risk students at Hannibal High School and the Samuel Plato Academy for Historic Preservation Trades in Louisville, Kentucky.
Bob is the president of Preservation Resources, Inc. (PRI). PRI is a multi-tiered historic preservation consulting firm specializing in: social policy; neighborhood revitalization; historic preservation commission training; hands-on field training for contractors and historic building owners; Main Street training; creation of how-to preservation materials for print and web based training; creation of historic preservation design guidelines and ordinances; development of specifications for historic preservation rehabilitation projects. In 2015 Bob restored all of the windows in the Cupola of George Washington's Mount Vernon Home in Virginia.
Bob travels America giving keynote speeches, conducting seminars and hands-on workshops on just about any subject having to do with historic preservation, housing and community. Bob is also a regular member of the Design Panel for the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington D.C. as well as a founding member of The National Window Preservation Standards Collaborative. Bob’s first book, About Your House, was published by Bay Books in December 1997 and he is a co-author and co-editor of The National Window Preservation Standards published in 2013.
Learn more about Bob Yapp at his website or watch his short video below.