'Trading Spaces' brings the old gang back together again

Posted Tuesday, April 3, 2018 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Last October, the Boscarellos were painting a big bedroom space with Atlanta designer Vern Yip and host Paige Davis. It's not their house, part of the charm of TLC's "Trading Spaces," which has been resurrected after a decade and returns Saturday at 8 p.m.

But when Yip heard this was Mike Boscarello's parents' home, he looked concerned. "That adds a whole other risk factor," Yip said.

"You're going to give Vern nightmares!" Davis warned.

But Vern remained calm, like the gray color he chose for the room. "Neutrals are tricky," he noted, paint brush in hand. "You have to have the right neutrals. Gray can be very cool and difficult if it's not warm enough. It can change other elements in the space."

The "Trading Spaces" formula in 2018 remains the same. Two households in the same neighborhood are given free rein with the designers to remake a room in the other house. Now the budget has been upped to $2,000 but they still only have 48 hours. Usually during the reveal, the parties are thrilled with the results. Sometimes - not so much.

"I was never entirely sure the show would come back," said Yip during a break in shooting. "But it never completely disappeared from the horizon. People still come up to me to talk about the show. It's so implanted in peoples' brains."

To him, it seems Americans are seeking "comfort food" with familiar shows. (See other shows such as "Roseanne," "Queer Eye" and "Will & Grace.")

While TLC has brought in a few new cast members, the original six designers are all participating: Yip, Doug Wilson, Genevieve Gorder, Hildi Santo-Tomas, Frank Bielec and Laurie Smith. Plus, Carter Oosterhouse and former Grant Park resident Ty Pennington ("Extreme Makeover Home Edition") will be back as carpenters.

"The fact everyone came back is a testament to how much everyone loved this show," Davis said. "We all hold this show near and dear to our hearts. The show catapulted our careers. We were bonded by the experience and they remain some of my closest friends."

Yip, who was once a fixture on HGTV, is a busy man and only had time to shoot this single episode. (Air date TBA.) Three total episodes were shot in Atlanta. Other cities featured will be Baltimore and Los Angeles

"It's great to be back on a show that was so important in my life and to be able to do it in the local community and showcase this part of the world," said Yip, who is now selling home decor fabric, window treatments and wallpaper. He is also following up his 2016 best-selling book "Design Wise" with a second book about making your regular home feel like a vacation home.

Yip's perspective has shifted courtesy of life experiences: "When I started, I didn't have a family or a spouse or kids like I do now. Being a dad has made me appreciate all the different things parents contend with in their homes and the need to make sure the house is not just great looking but is also easy to maintain."

Vern Yip painting during the taping of a "Trading Spaces" episode. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

This new season is a relatively short test run: just eight episodes. TLC is obviously gauging its audience's appetite for a show that spawned dozens of other rebuild/remodel shows.

"I think people who loved the show are going to be happy to see their old friend," Davis said. "And I think people who are new to the program will be surprised at how innocent and campy and how pure any conflict might be."

Newnan's Laura Boscarello saw that "Trading Spaces" was back via Facebook and signed up to take part. She was floored when they actually said yes.  "It was hard work but to be honest, hard work and fun work," Laura said. "Although it was two long days, it went by so quickly. It felt like a blur by the time it was over."

"I loved how everybody on the show worked so well together," added her mother in law Janis. "Just to be a part of this was surreal."

TV PREVIEW

"Trading Spaces," 8 p.m. Saturdays, TLC, starting April 7

About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
I cover local radio and TV for both the print and online editions. I write a blog on the same topics.Rodney Ho's Radio & TV Talk blog (new) | Recent archiveSports...
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