Trading Spaces was one of the first TV home design shows on the cable network, TLC. The groundbreaking show ran from 2000 to 2008. The premise of Trading Spaces was simple: two sets of neighbors traded homes for 2 days and redesigned one room in each other’s house. They each had the help of a designer and they had the use of a carpenter. The catch? Each team only had a $1000 budget to work with. So there wouldn’t be a lot of furniture buying…
Trading Spaces was an instant hit on TLC, although a change to a host-less format several seasons in turned off some viewers. In any event, after their stint on Trading Spaces, some of the show’s hosts and designers went on to even bigger and better careers. Here’s an update on some of the biggest names from Trading Spaces.
Alex McLeod (2000-2001). Season 1 host Alex McLeod was the show’s hostess for the first 40 episodes. While McLeod initially tried her hand at acting (even appearing on 2 episodes of the sitcom Married With Children) she found her niche as a hostess. After a grueling first season on Trading Spaces (including lots of travel), McLeod decided to step down from the hit series to explore other career opportunities. Since then she has served as a hostess on reality shows like “Joe Millionaire” and “Best of Both Worlds” and he has done red carpet interviews for “Hollywood 411” and Starz Movie news. McLeod currently fields hosting gigs.
Paige Davis (2001-2004, 2008). Paige Davis was the perky replacement for Alex McLeod. Davis had a background in musical theater (including a national tour of the Broadway musical “Beauty and the Beast”) when she joined the Trading Spaces cast in 2001. Although fans loved her on Trading Spaces, in 2005 the show went to a host-less format. This change coincided with a slight scandal involving Davis- some racy photos of her were published and many viewers assumed she was fired from the show due to the scandal. But in 2008, she retuned to Trading Spaces for its final season. The bestselling author (“Paige by Paige”) recently appeared in the Broadway show Being-Boeing. Today, Davis works as a spokesperson for RC Wiley Home Furnishings, Kodak, and organizations like Operation Backpack.
Ty Pennington (2000-2007). One of the show’s original carpenters, Pennington has indeed made it big since his Trading Spaces gig ended. He’s published several books, has his own magazine, has his own design line with Sears (Ty Pennington Style), and is the host of the popular ABC show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. In addition to hosting Extreme Makeover: Home, Pennington recently inked a deal to be a spokesperson for dozens of events for remodeling and gardening shows. He recently appeared on the kids show “Wow Wow Wubzy” as Ty Ty the Tool Guy.
Amy Wynn Pastor- (2000-2007). Amy Wynn made carpentry cool for women. The Philadelphia native and Penn State graduate first made her mark on Trading Spaces. After that, Wynn co-authored a book about home improvement and worked on the DIY Network on the series Make a Move and Backyard Stadiums.
Carter Oosterhouse(2003-2007). Hunky carpenter Carter O. has become a home improvement show staple since leaving Trading Spaces. He appeared on the kiddie version of the show, Trading Spaces: Boys V.Girls as well as Trading Spaces: Family. He’s also been a recurring guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show, working along side Winfrey’s resident designer, Nate Berkus. Her currently hosts Carter Can on HGTV as well as The Inside Job on DIY. He also does a spot on the HGTV show Red, Hot & Green. Talk about a busy carpenter!
Frank Bielec (2000-2008). Designer Frank BIelec was known for his country charm- and design style- on Trading Spaces. This crafty designer has also appeared on Your Home Studio for TNN and also on the Trading Spaces spinoff, Trading Spaces: Family. Bielec, a new grandpa, currently runs a craft company with his wife, called Mosey ‘N Me.
Laurie Hickson-Smith (2000-2008). This graduate of Manhattan’s New York School of Interior Design was known for her southern belle charm and her eclectic design style on the show. She cut a deal with Hancock Fabrics to create product lines for their home décor stores and then later signed on as a spokesperson for Olympic Paints. She is the mother of two young children, Gibson and India.
Hildi Santo-Tomas (2000-2008). Hildi was known for her sometimes off-the-wall design ideas on the show (she once covered a homeowner’s walls with hay). Fans either loved her or hated her. An avid photographer, today HIldi’s limited edition photos can be purchased on her website .
Douglas Wilson (2000-2008). Here’s another designer who sometimes got under the skin of the homeowners on Trading Spaces. Wilson did his own thing on the show-even if it was against the wishes of the homeowners (most notoriously, he covered a family’s beloved brick fireplace with wood, prompting the wife to sob uncontrollably during the reveal). In addition to Trading Spaces, Wilson appeared on TLC design shows Moving Up and America’s Ugliest rooms. He’s also a consultant for LG Electronics. Wilson recently completed an acting gig on the movie My Guaranteed Student Loan.
Genevieve Gorder (2000-2003, 2005-2007). This funky designer liked to work in her bare feet. One of the most popular designers on the show, she moved on to other TV gigs including a stint on MTV and her current HGTV show, Dear Genevieve.
Vern Yip (2001-2003, 2007). This award winning designer is known for his simple designs and clean lines. After Trading Spaces ,he served as a judge on HGTV’s Design Star, appeared on Deserving Design and NBC’s Home Intervention. He also pops up frequently on talk shows like The Oprah Winfrey Show, Live With Regis and Kelly and The Today Show. Yip also designed a The Vern Yip Collection, a line of home interior accessories, including silk pillows, fames and lacquered bowls.