Roger Cook, born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1955, is probably best known as a landscaper who rose to popularity through his work on the popular television show “This Old House”. For over four decades he’s been the go-to expert for people looking to create beautiful outdoor spaces. His longstanding career on TV has made Roger Cook a household name, synonymous with landscaping and home improvement. Over the years, he’s brought joy and knowledge of landscaping to countless fans all around the world, and which have helped countless homeowners transform their outdoor spaces, inspiring a new generation of DIY enthusiasts along the way. However, in recent years Roger has been struggling with health issues, which has caused great concern to numerous fans, and ultimately forced Cook to leave the popular show in 2020.
Early life and career
Roger spent the entirety of his childhood in Massachusetts growing up with the love and support of his parents. His mother was a housewife who was very passionate about gardening, and would spend a lot of time in the garden, so from an early age, Roger expressed an interest in gardening, and nature in general, probably taking after his mother as he spent most of his time with her.
After high-school, Cook attended the University of Maine ,where he studied Wildlife Management and Conservation Law, graduating in 1977 as a Bachelor of Science. Not long afterwards, Cook joined the Massachusetts Arborist Association, remaining an active member for decades to come. He’s also been involved with numerous other organizations dedicated to promoting sustainable landscaping practices, such as Association of Landscape Contractors of Massachusetts, and New England Grows, which he served as board of directors’ president.
Several years later in 1982, Cook started his own company called “K and R Tree and Landscaping” with his late wife Kathleen, built with a focus on plants and hardscaping, and belief in the legacy that high-quality landscapes bring to a home. Their highly experienced teams focus mainly on small residential projects on which they can dedicate their time to making every detail perfect. Over the years “K and R” has grown to be a very successful and respected company in the landscaping business.
Cook’s first appearance on “This Old House”
Roger Cook’s involvement with the show “This Old House” began in 1982, when he contributed to the show’s projects such as “Bigelow Ranch” and “Woburn House” as a landscaping expert. In the following six years, Cook continued to appear periodically in the show before he was finally made a full member of the cast in 1988. As such, his first project was the Lexington Bed & Breakfast renovation, the focus of season 10 of the show.
From left to right: plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey, master carpenter Norm Abram, host Kevin O'Connor, general contractor Tom Silva, landscape contractor Roger Cook
Posted by This Old House on Tuesday, March 17, 2009
The Lexington project was a hefty one, and involved a complete overhaul of the 1920s-era Dutch-Colonial’s outdoor areas. Cook’s work on the project included creating a terraced garden, designing a bluestone patio, installing a water feature, and planting a mix of perennials and evergreens. The outdoor space was designed to complement the classic architecture of the home, and provide a beautiful and functional retreat for the owners. The project was a major success, and helped solidify Cook’s place as a key member of the “This Old House” team.
From guest expert to fan favorite
Ever since Cook first made his appearance in “This Old House”, his down-to-earth approach and passion for the craft have endeared him to viewers across the country. Cook approached every project with a steadfast commitment to excellence, a deep understanding of his craft, and a boundless enthusiasm for the work. Whether he was creating a stunning garden or designing an outdoor living space, Cook brought his years of experience and expertise to every project, always striving to create a result that was not only beautiful, but also functional and enduring.
Roger shares some pointers on how to maintain a snow blower:https://t.co/gxqB4XqbCY
— Ask This Old House (@AskTOH) January 29, 2022
It didn’t take long for Cook’s approach to work to earn him the respect and love of numerous fans. Over the years he’s been involved in countless projects, each one showcasing his remarkable skill and dedication. Apart from Cook’s expertise and dedication to the craft, fans also fell in love with his easygoing nature, sense of humor, and willingness to help others, which made him a relatable figure on the show.
Some of the fan favorite projects from the show include “The Arlington House”, “The Newton House”, and “The Cambridge House”. Fans are often mesmerized by the stunning landscape Cook is able to create, which has inspired many to follow his advice and renovate their own homes.
Personal life, wife and kids
Roger Cook started dating his future wife Kathleen, when he was still studying at the University of Maine. The couple married sometime in the 1980s and have had two children together, Jason and Molly. Roger and Kathleen’s marriage lasted until Kathleen sadly lost her battle with cancer in 2010; she passed away at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston on 1st December 2010, at the age of 56.
Roger grew up with a passion for music, nature, and animals. He loves listening to both rock, and classical music such as Beethoven.
His passion for nature often takes him to national parks where he enjoys the stunning views of lakes, forests, and mountains.
As a person fond of animals, Roger has had many pets over his life, mainly dogs, cats, and parrots.
Roger Cook’s net worth has been estimated at over $11 million, as of early 2023 – mostly as a result of his success in “This Old House”.
“This Old House”
“This Old House” is a long-running home improvement and renovation television series that premiered in 1979. The show has since become a beloved classic among homeowners and DIY enthusiasts, and continues to air to this day.
The premise of the show is simple: each season, the hosts and crew take on a different home renovation project, showcasing the entire process from start to finish. This includes everything from initial planning and design, to construction and finishing touches. The homes featured on the show are often historic or unique in some way, and the renovations can range from minor updates to complete overhauls.
Throughout the course of the season, viewers are given a behind-the-scenes look at the entire renovation process, including in-depth explanations of the techniques and materials used. The show also features a team of experts who offer their advice and expertise on various aspects of the project, such as electrical work, plumbing, and landscaping.
One of the most notable features of “This Old House” is its emphasis on quality craftsmanship and attention to detail. The show’s hosts and crew are known for their meticulous approach to renovation, often taking the time to restore and preserve historic features of the home, while also incorporating modern updates and conveniences.
Over the years, “This Old House” has become more than just a television show – a cultural phenomenon. The series has inspired countless homeowners to take on their own DIY projects and has even spawned spin-off shows and online communities dedicated to home improvement and renovation. The most popular spin-off is probably “Ask This Old House”, which features the same host and crew as the original series, but is focused on answering viewer questions about home improvement and repair and renovation. The show includes demonstrations, how-to guides and features guest experts in various trades.
“This Old House” has been on air for 44 seasons and has a grand total of over 1000 episodes, during which the show has won 17 Emmy awards, and received 82 nominations, which stand as testament to the show’s quality. The show has also gained a respectable score of 7.8 stars on IMDb.
Roger Cook’s health
Concerns about Roger Cook’s health began when the fans noticed him limping on the show. Due to unclarified health issues, Roger wasnt involved in most of the show’s 40th season. His limping led to rumors of him having Parkinson’s disease, a long-term degenerative disorder of the nervous system that affects motor functions, which can cause imbalance when walking and even tremors.
Roger finally updated his fans in July 2018, stating that he wasn’t doing well, struggling with a number of health issues. However, he wanted to keep his health conditions private and didn’t identify exactly what he was struggling with. These health issues prevented him from making regular appearances in the show.
It didn’t take long for fans to come up with numerous speculations about his health – some speculated that Roger suffered a heart attack, and there were unverified reports of him collapsing on the set of the reality TV show. Others turned their suspicions towards cancer, as his long period of absence would match the time needed for cancer treatment. Still, neither of these speculations were confirmed, but fans continue to keep an eye out for any updates, and send their support.
Roger Cook steps away from “This Old House”
On 13th January 2020, the CEO of “This Old House”, Dan Suratt, made a public statement announcing that Roger Cook would be stepping away from his role in “This Old House”. Dan highlighted Cook’s contributions to the series over the past 35 years, providing expert landscaping and gardening advice while displaying warmth and humor. Despite stepping back from the show in recent seasons, he’s maintained a good-natured attitude, and welcomed Jenn Nawada as the next This Old House Landscape Contractor. Dan also thanked Roger for his dedication and contributions, stating that This Old House would not be what it is without him, and that he will always remain a part of the “This Old House” family.
Roger also made a statement on his departure, saying that he will focus on his family and things he loves. Cook expressed gratitude for his time on the program and the opportunity to work with the show’s team, noting that he will continue to spend time with the show’s cast and crew, but will no longer participate in the program. Cook congratulated Jenn Nawada, a fellow pro and friend, for being named as the new Landscape Contractor for the show. He rounded off his statement by expressing his pride in what they created, and the impact they made on fans, and thanked everyone for their support.
Recent updates on Roger Cook
Since Roger Cook ‘retired’, there haven’t been major updates on his activities, as he’s kept a very low profile. While Cook’s health remains a mystery to the public, it’s speculated that he still battles with undisclosed health problems. Still, whatever Cook may suffer from, he will always enjoy the full love and support of his fans all around the world.