It's hard to believe Trading Spaces ignited the "home makeover" TV revolution more than 17 years ago. The show, which took neighbors and had them redesign a room in each other's homes, was a guilty pleasure for fans who enjoyed before/after transformations, the funny banter amongst the designers, and the sometimes whacky makeovers ("hay room," anyone?). In fact, fans loved it so much, TLC decided to bring it back!
The new reboot, which premieres April 7, brings back the old designers and promises to be just like the show everyone remembers. Designer Genevieve Gorder — one of the originals from the show who's also making a return to the reboot, and who partnered with Fiber One and their new line of brownies, exclusively tells Closer Weekly that the timing couldn't be more perfect. "I think sentimentally, we're going back to a lot of things we loved in the early 2000s," she told us. "I also feel like it's just easy feel-good [television], and we all need a big dose of it right now."
Although Trading Spaces was full of light-hearted entertainment and fun transformations, one of its most iconic moments was full of controversy. When designer Hildi Santo-Tomas glued hay to the walls for a "barnyard"-style living room design, fans were not on board. "I remember that day very vividly," Genevieve laughed about the infamous room makeover. "How can you forget that day? I thought, 'Why on earth would you do this?' I didn't understand a lot of the design on that show, but that's what made it interesting. There was such a wide array of style and approaches that you were consistently like, 'Huh.'"
The dreaded hay walls.
She also added, "Sometimes it would make me mad when people would do crazy things like that cause I was always worried about the integrity [of the show], but I know now that there's always someone out there who likes it. My style isn't for everybody, and what Hildi does is definitely not for everybody, but there's absolutely somebody every time."
Although the over-the-top designs and dated decor now get a chuckle out of fans, Genevieve admits that even she looks back at some of her old Trading Spaces designs with scrutiny. "I look at them now like, 'I wouldn't do that,'" she said. "But I think we all look at ourselves 20 years ago and think, 'I wouldn't wear that, I wouldn't wear my hair like that.' I was 25 and now I'm 43, so it's a completely different set of experiences."
But probably the biggest influence of the show is how it boosted the D.I.Y movement. Now that house flipping and design shows are all the rage, they're fueling interesting trends in design. When speaking to Genevieve, she revealed that clients are often asking her to help them build "She Sheds," the female answer to the dreaded Man Cave. "I think the big mistake in the house is not designing that space for yourself," she said. "It's like oxygen on an airplane. You have to first get your mask on before you can help anyone else. This is especially true for females in that we give, give, give and care, care, care for the world and then forget, 'Oops, I forgot to eat,' or forget to take a moment of meditation or a moment with a friend. I think that sacred space is often forgotten in a home."
When it comes to designing your own personal haven, the mom-of-one recommends sticking with classic basics and then focusing on accessories to bring in some modern trends. "You don't want to get trendy with your couch. You want to get trendy with the ornaments on your coffee table," she advised. But probably the best reward of having your own space? Peace of mind and a home that any Trading Spaces fan would be proud of. "You really do feel a shift in mood," she said. "You behave better when we take care of ourselves better."