Host Paige Davis talks nuts and bolts of ‘Trading Spaces’ reboot
Paige Davis is sporting a new hairstyle, but the “Trading Spaces” formula hasn’t changed.
Davis is back to host TLC’s reboot of the breakout design reality TV show, which originally aired from 2000 to 2008.
On the series, neighbors swap houses, stay overnight and spend two days toiling over a one-room makeover. At the end, the excited Davis presents the “big reveal,” with cameras documenting homeowners’ unpredictable reactions.
Many of the original “Spaces” crew members are also back — Ty Pennington, Vern Yip, Hildi Santo-Tomas and Genevieve Gorder, a Minneapolis South High graduate.
The only element that’s been updated is the budget, which has doubled to $2,000 for each room redo.
Designers will still compose “what were they thinking?” crazy rooms, which helped boost the show’s popularity.
“We didn’t always go for pretty,” said Davis, who will appear two days at the Home Garden Show at the Minneapolis Convention Center. “It was design out of the box.”
The new “Trading Spaces” premieres 8 p.m. April 7 on TLC. To get fans pumped, episodes from the original run are scheduled during the weeks before the premiere.
We chatted by phone with the bubbly Davis about why the timing is right for a reboot, memorable mistakes from the show’s past and her pet peeves when it comes to today’s home design.
Q: Why is it a good time to bring back “Trading Spaces” after 10 years?
A: Our country is divided, and people are longing for comfort-food TV. They’re nostalgic for the old shows, and some are coming back, like “Roseanne” and “The Match Game.”
We call “Spaces” the mother of all design shows because it birthed the DIY genre on TV and was the first show to put tools in homeowners’ hands. It was entertainment as well as how-to.
Shows like “Property Brothers” and “Extreme Home Makeover” are beautiful fantasy remodels and redos. With the limited time and budget, our show is attainable — and hopefully inspirational.
Q: Today with social media and endless other TV decorating shows, like “Fixer-Upper,” will the new “Spaces” be different?
A: It’s the same formula — it’s Coke Classic. The original designers and carpenters are back and have the same chemistry and camaraderie. There are minor tweaks, and it will reflect today’s editing style. And we’ve doubled the budget to $2,000 for inflation.
Q: What are you most excited about in hosting the reboot?
A: I love meeting the homeowners — they’re wackadoo in the best way. Two sets of homeowners are up for adventure and doing fun things — and have personalities that shine.
Q: Will the new “Spaces” come to the Twin Cities?
A: This eight-episode season is in Los Angeles, Atlanta and Baltimore. We’ll see how it goes after that.
Q: Designer Hildi Santo-Tomas surprised homeowners when she glued straw to a living room wall and suspended furniture from the ceiling in the old series. Will the new “Spaces” crew come up with off-the-wall wild creations?
A: We’ll definitely have everything from “A to Z” again. Hildi was just trying to push the boundaries and shake things up — unfortunately, it didn’t turn out.
That’s the incredible thing about “Trading Spaces.” I’ve revealed almost 500 rooms, and I can’t guess if they will love it or hate it. There’s no guarantee you’ll like the room in the end. It’s meant to be a lighthearted, fun and campy show. You’re not going to get a brand-new West Elm living room.
Q: Is this true reality TV?
A: The “reveal” really is secret, and the homeowners spend the night in each other’s houses. Susie Smith down the block is holding a power drill, and homeowners do a great amount of the work. We really do it in two days, and only spend $2,000 on each room.
Q: What can fans expect at the Home Garden Show?
A: It will be a big QA session about the reboot.
Q: What trends do you see in home interiors?
A: Homeowners are more design-savvy, and there’s been an explosion of DIY home improvement and interior design across America.
We go into homes today that are lovely, comfortable and well appointed — but all the same. Over half are gray and white, displaying heartfelt sayings like “Family Is Love.” Owners aren’t taking risks. We try to expose them to something different to ignite their imaginations.
Q: What are some smart decorating guidelines?
A: Take your time. There’s nothing more stale than a room that’s matchy-matchy.
Buy the essentials, and let the rest of it find you. Walk Main Street shops in a different town or go to flea markets. Buy incredible art that means something to you. Let your rooms and your home reflect your story.
Today, interior design isn’t considered an elite opportunity just for the rich. “Trading Spaces” has shown that you can make your home special and exciting with less money.
Q: What’s a quick, easy way to transform a room?
A: Painting gives you the biggest bang for your buck. Don’t be afraid of color or getting tired of it. Cover the walls with robin’s egg blue or salmon.
Q: What are some of your design pet peeves?
A: Everyone hangs artwork too high. The center of artwork should be at eye level to the average-height person.
Don’t move furniture against the wall — float the furniture and create a conversational arrangement.
Lynn Underwood • 612-673-7619