Santo-tomas trading spaces

(Mark Hill)

A tented, red-and-gold circus-striped room with wheelbarrows full of sand poured onto the floor. A den with furniture secured upside down on the ceiling. A wall painted blood red with a coffin-shaped spice rack cut into it. Wallpaper made of straw! If that’s what you remember from eight seasons of Trading Spaces, you’re not alone. The home renovation series was wild and crazy—and revolutionary. Unlike any other home show before, it had neighbors swap house keys, then gave them $1,000 and 48 hours to renovate one room in each other’s residence.

And now it’s back.

(Amanda Edwards/Getty Images for Discovery)

It’s been 10 years since the show last aired (it ran from 2000 to 2008), but on April 7 Trading Spaces will return to TLC for a long-awaited reunion—and season nine. Same bubbly host, Paige Davis, and often-shirtless “stud” carpenter, Ty Pennington. Same what-will-they-think-of-next designers, including Vern Yip, Laurie Smith, Doug Wilson, Genevieve Gorder and Hildi Santo-Tomas. Plus, the show is adding some new cast members to the mix—including designer Joanie Sprague, who picked up carpentry after being named first runner-up on America’s Next Top Model, and John Gidding, former host of HGTV’s Curb Appeal. And they’re doubling the design budget for each homeowner/participant to $2,000.

Why was the show so popular then—and will it still be now? “We were the first show to empower the DIY abilities of its audience. We put the tools in the hands of the homeowners,” says Pennington, 53, who lives the bachelor life in Florida and Venice, California, and hosted ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition after his stint on Trading Spaces.

“People literally saw doing the work and said, ‘Oh, my God, we can do this too—and in a weekend!’ ” says Pennington, who remembers trying to build five pieces of furniture for around $40. “There weren’t many shows out there that had the low budget we had!”

Low-Budget Smash

(Kevin Garrett/TLC)

That limited budget was key, says designer Yip, 49, who later hosted HGTV shows including Design Star and today runs his own design firm while living in Florida, Atlanta and New York with his husband, Craig Koch, and their two kids, daughter Vera, 7, and son Gavin, 8. “Design really was only something the top rung on the socioeconomic ladder could afford—those who could afford an interior designer,” he says. “We were dramatically redoing spaces for money that people could wrap their minds around.”

It was also a window into what you could do with what you had, says designer Smith, 46, who now lives in Memphis, raising her two kids, son Gibson, 15, and daughter India, 11. At the time, she says, décor wasn’t as available and affordable as it is now. “When we came on the scene, you couldn’t go buy a lamp at Target. We could take ribbon and put it around a lampshade, and America was like, ‘Wow!’ ”

But the real secret to Trading Spaces’ success was the entertainment factor, says host Davis, 48, who points to the nail-biting moment at the end of the show when the homeowners were shuffled into their rooms, hands over their eyes, for the big reveal. Davis, who later moved on to host home shows on the Hallmark Channel and OWN and jumped back into musical theater, is now living in New York with her husband of 16 years, Patrick Page, and her Maltese dog, Georgie. “The vast majority of our reveals were happy,” she says, but there were many couples who didn’t like their new rooms.

Of course, that mixed bag of reactions was all part of the fun. A YouTube search pulls up plenty of homeowners’ painful reactions—including a woman who had begged designer Doug Wilson not to touch the brick fireplace in their family room. When she sees it, completely covered with a contemporary white build-out, she asks with a warbling voice to leave the room, following by the mic pickup of her crying off-camera.

But Davis is quick to put those shocking makeovers in perspective. “Our more crazy, out-of-the-box designs were meant to expand your brain and inspire,” she says. Plus, “not one time did we have homeowners who were dissatisfied with their reveal who weren’t still thrilled that they’d had the experience.”

How Things Have Stayed the Same

In the new series, as in the original, designers have to rely on homeowners to get all their “homework” done overnight. Sometimes a couple will be asked to complete painting the walls or sewing curtains after the designer has left. Not only does it need to get done (because, says Davis, “like, the paint needs to dry!”) but it also needs to be done right—not, say, hanging the wallpaper upside down (which happened to Yip on another design show).

(Eli Meir Kaplin/TLC)

“The designer comes up with the design,” says Smith, “but the execution of the room really is in your neighbors’ hands. Some of my most awful memories are walking in, and being just like, ‘Whaaaaa?’ ”

Sometimes the surprise comes right out of the gate, with the design requests from the homeowners. Yip remembers the makeover of a newly married couple’s tiny bedroom in Minnesota. They wanted a king-size bed and a very romantic design—and they also required two other things. “She said, ‘You have to incorporate my collection of snow globes and you have to incorporate his collection of bobbleheads.’ He had hundreds of them!” Yip’s solution? “A lot of storage,” he says. But he really appreciated how the couple wanted to make that room their own. “It’s OK that you like bobbleheads and snow globes—it’s you.”

How Times Have Changed

One change the cast has already noticed while filming the revival episodes: Homeowners seem more open than ever to the idea of making their spaces feel unique. “When we were first doing the show, you would get the same answers from homeowners over and over again,” says Yip. “They would say, ‘Oh, I love Pottery Barn.’ Ten years later, people now are comfortable with the idea that they’re not aiming to look like their neighbors, or look like they’re replicating a catalog or a store. They feel more secure in their voice for being able to say, ‘This is really who I am.’”

$360 billion: Estimated spending for home improvements and repairs in 2018

Of course, putting the formula into the hands of more modern-minded families also brings new challenges. “I find coming back a bit intimidating, because where we used to go in and educate, we now have an educated audience,” Smith says. “Ten years later, America has Pinterest, Etsy, Instagram.” One couple she worked with this season understood design principles and terminology so well, she says, “I was going, ‘Whoa! OK.’ They knew what was up.”

Also different a decade later: House plans have changed. Back then, “it was the era of the McMansion,” says Smith. Now homeowners aren’t as stuck on bigger-is-always-better, and are more likely to make the most of every space. Instead of formal living rooms and dining rooms, they’re seeing more families seeking customized, utilitarian rooms. Now, it’s “How do we take this dining room that we no longer use and convert it into something an office so that we can make money from home? Or a kids’ playroom?” says Pennington. “It’s about converting what you have and turning it into what you’ve always wanted.”

As viewers tune in to Trading Spaces this month for another season of surprising and potentially shocking reveals, the cast hopes audiences will also seek inspiration to update rooms in their own homes: “So everything in your home is meaningful and a reflection of you, and tells your story,” says Yip.

(Courtesy Everett Collection)

And to answer one final burning question about this new season: Should we expect to see a shirtless Pennington baring those abs again? “Abs-olutely,” he says with a grin.

Fave Things

(Mark Hill)

Ty Pennington: “A piece of artwork that I created out of piano keys. It came out of this piano when I was squatting in a warehouse in Atlanta a long time ago. It’s a reminder of just how far I’ve come.”

(Amanda Edwards/Getty Images for Discovery)

Laurie Smith: “A painting of olive orchards. It’s very abstract, breaking through snow, and it’s a struggle. It’s so incredibly gorgeous.”

(Mark Hill)

Vern Yip: “A portrait of my mother that sits in my front foyer. She wasn’t there to see the birth of my kids, but she was such a strong presence in my life, so she has a really prominent place in my home.”

(Mark Hill)

Paige Davis: “Georgie, my dog. And I love my Breville toaster oven. I don’t let anybody touch it!”

Good Riddance

Sponge painting. “In the ’80s it was everywhere. It took so much time, and I remember we once sponge-painted over mahogany, and I was like, ‘Oh, my God, we’re doing this, over mahogany?’” —Ty Pennington

Tuscan kitchens. “I vehemently despise that trend. I am so happy we’ve left it behind.” —Vern Yip

Ceiling fans. “Especially ones that had the frosted prong lights coming off them.” —Laurie Smith

The same navy, hunter green and maroon shower curtain. “Every home had one.” —Paige Davis

Always in Style

Ty Pennington —“A solid, comfortable bed with well-built, quality construction—not something that you put together with an Allen wrench.”

Vern Yip—White subway tile

Laurie Smith—Crown molding

Hildi Santos-Tomas Ruined Another Room During the Premiere of the “Trading Spaces” Reboot

The original run of “Trading Spaces” hit me right when I was old enough to know ugly from non-ugly and right when I was old enough to be moving out of my parents’ home and into my own space. Of course, I fell prey to a few design elements I had learned on “Trading Spaces”– slipcovers, tons of cheaply painted things and too many framed knick-knacks for one person to own. Luckily, I never tried to incorporate any of Hildi Santos-Tomas’ designs into my life, because as the classic “Mean Girls” quote goes, “she’s a life-ruiner. She ruins people’s lives,” or at least their living rooms.

During the original run of “the mother of all design shows,” Hildi was the designer responsible for gluing hay/straw onto walls, stapling 6,000 flowers onto the walls of one bathroom and covering one basement floor in sand. Hildi takes a theme to a place even “Rain Forest Cafe” would never dare to go.

Because Hildi is so one-dimensional to her multi-dimensional designs, I was surprised that she was chosen as one of the designers for the premiere of the “Trading Spaces” reboot. I was not surprised to see that she took a piece of fabric, called it a deconstructed penguin and then asked the participants to become professional painters in a short period of time and throw together a room that looked like someone with “an eye for design” designed, but maybe they actually have blurry vision. The design was extreme at best and functional as a paint-by-numbers disaster at worst.

At one point, to make a piece of art for the room, Hildi got on a bike with Ty Carpenter and rode the bikes through paint and over a bed sheet. Then, Hildi fell off the bike. She was wearing heels.


The homeowners weren’t that into Hildi’s design, though the Murphy bed does make the room much more functional for everyday use. At some point, whoever sleeps in this room is going to realize every line is crooked and go insane. And I hope they show that during a season recap.

The infamous Hildi of ‘Trading Spaces’ did a State Fair bedroom for a Raleigh couple. Uh-oh … | Raleigh News & Observer


If you’ve watched house-swapping design show “Trading Spaces,” maybe you’ve imagined what it would be like to be on the show.

If you’ve watched a lot of “Trading Spaces,” you’ve probably also imagined what it would feel like to walk into your home at the end of the show and discover that the infamous Hildi Santo-Tomas has had her way with it.

Ashley and David Brown of Raleigh know what that feels like. And their friends and neighbors Angie and Ryan Tucker know what it feels like to be accomplices to Hildi’s avant-garde vision.

The two couples turned their northwest Raleigh homes over to the TLC show for two days back in October, with Angie and Ryan helping Hildi implement her N.C. State Fair-inspired design in their friends’ master bedroom.

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The episode airs Saturday at 8 p.m.

Riding ‘the Hildi Train’

While Ashley and David were helping designer Laurie Smith with her own subdued version of an N.C. State Fair-inspired master bedroom for Angie and Ryan, Angie and Ryan were nervous about what Hildi was cooking up. (Hildi, a Raleigh native and UNC Chapel Hill graduate, is famous for some of the show’s most outrageous designs, including rooms in which she has attached furniture to the ceiling and glued straw to walls.)

Ryan confessed that when he and Angie learned they were working with Hildi, they felt relieved because, “we know she’s not in our room.”

Angie, who is the mastermind behind the couples’ being on the show to start with (her audition video included footage of her riding a tractor at her father’s home in Kinston), said she wanted to “pass out” when she first saw Hildi.

“I started watching ‘Trading Spaces’ in college and Hildi is a ‘Trading Spaces’ icon,” Angie said. “She is so striking and such a beautiful lady. And I know what her rooms turn out to be, and I was like, oh my God, here we go. It was all the feelings.”

Hildi Santo-Tomas, a designer on the show “Trading Spaces” on TLC, is a native of Raleigh and a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill. File photo

The verdict?

Well, neither couple is allowed to give away too much, but there was a lot of laughing and a lot of “we’ll just have to wait and see” in response to questions about how things turned out.

But disagreements over crazy paint colors and off-the-wall design choices aside, Angie and Ryan have nothing but love for Hildi.

They said she talked a lot about being from North Carolina, and they thought she really enjoyed her brief visit to the State Fair. Ryan called her “super sweet,” and Angie, co-owner of Southern Sugar Bakery, said, “I think she was comfortable because she felt like she was back home.”

“A lot of people think of Hildi as a villain, but I enjoyed working with her,” Ryan said. “She’s very nice, very kind. She’s like an artist. I don’t think she ever goes into it trying to mess up a room for somebody, but she sees it like her canvas and she’s trying to come up with something creative and fun.

“But there was definitely some conflict,” Ryan continued. “How about we leave it at that.”

“It was a ride,” Angie offered.

“We called it The Hildi Train,” Ryan said. “The train was going, and you better hang on for the ride!”

Ashley and David Brown (in red) and Angie and Ryan Tucker (in blue) grab each others keys from “Trading Spaces” host Paige Davis during the key swap at the N.C. State Fair in Raleigh. TLC

Concern, but no regrets

Two doors down on the usually quiet cul de sac (both couples said the neighbors had a blast watching the production), Ashley and David were having their own love-fest with Laurie.

“We loved Laurie,” David said. “She’s just the sweetest lady. She’s kind of fun, and she’s a great designer.”

“Very genuine,” Ashley added. “She seemed to care about what Angie and Ryan really wanted in the room.”

The two didn’t have to wait until the reveal to find out that Hildi was in charge of their re-design. Host Paige Davis clued them in early on, perhaps to see them sweat.

“Paige said, ‘what would you think if Hildi was in your room?’” Ashley said. “And I was like ‘Oh, no’ and she said ‘yes.’”

“We were concerned,” David said. “We had seen ‘Trading Spaces’ in the past and seen her designs, so there was a level of concern.”

Ashley and David can’t say ahead of time if they love or hate the room and they can’t give up any details about the design, but they do say their love for the State Fair isn’t quite as strong as Angie and Ryan’s, so that perhaps doesn’t bode well for Hildi going full carnival in their boudoir.

“Angie and Ryan love the fair,” Ashley said. “Us, not so much.”

“We like the idea of the fair,” David said laughing.

But even if they ended up with cotton candy on the ceiling and a rabbit barn at the foot of their bed (who knows!), they seem to have taken it all in stride.

“Everyone asked us if we were upset and we said absolutely not,” Angie said. “The whole experience together was fun.”

We’ll just have to wait and see — Saturday night at 8.

John Gidding is a designer on TLC’s “Trading Spaces.” Courtesy of Marketplace Events

More North Carolina episodes

There are a couple more North Carolina episodes of “Trading Spaces” coming up soon, and one features designer John Gidding working on a home in Charlotte. (This story has been updated with new information from “Trading Spaces” about the location of Gidding’s episode. A future episode of the show will take place in Chapel Hill.)

We don’t have much information on that episode, but we do know that airs next Saturday (April 6) — the same weekend John will be in Raleigh for the Southern Ideal Home Show.

John, formerly of HGTV’s “Curb Appeal,” will appear at 4 p.m. Friday (April 5) and 2 and 4 p.m. Saturday (April 6).

Show hours are 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. Ticket prices are $10 for adults and free for children under 12. Advance tickets — and more information on the show — are $8 at

Watch ‘Trading Spaces’

“Trading Spaces” airs at 8 p.m. Saturday on TLC.

Brooke Cain is a North Carolina native who has worked at The News & Observer for more than 20 years. She writes about TV and local media for the Happiness is a Warm TV blog, and answers CuriousNC questions for readers.

Easy Living

Okay, relax. The holiday rush is past us, and guests and wrapping paper have gone their own ways. Time to turn your attention indoors. Are you ready for a less fuss approach to decorating? This is your window of opportunity to refresh and renew your home and experience the feel-good results.

With that mission in mind, we searched for ideas that would bring more comfort, ease, and simplicity into personal surroundings.

Hilda “Hildi” Santo-Tomas, an interior designer known for her work on the popular TLC cable television show Trading Spaces, shares a clear-cut strategy that she incorporates in decorating decisions to achieve more relaxed living spaces.

“Architectural and design styles do differ because they reflect personal preferences,” Hildi says, “but there is an art to the process of simplifying your home.”

She led us to the residence of friend Bob Fehskens, an Atlanta residential developer whose urban loft home is filled with natural light and open views to the outdoors.

“Being in town, I was interested in finding something new yet reasonably priced,” Bob explains. “Most important to me was the functionality of the space–whether or not it would work well with my lifestyle and personality. I wanted something unique that would put me at ease but something different from most traditional homes.” Clean, distinct lines; richly textured neutrals; and an open floor plan characterize this 2,000-square-foot residence.

Architectural Airiness
“Less is more in this house,” he states emphatically. No truer example can be seen than in the architectural design of the home, created by residential designer Franz Schneider, where a dramatic, floor-to-ceiling storefront window is the center of attention. This unifying element replaces a host of frills, which would have conveyed a complicated feel.

In the open-air loft design, everything has a function. There are no tray ceilings, chair rails, or trim. Franz ensured that only simple features prevailed. “He designs with a modern style of architecture,” Bob says of his business partner. “The elements I like are a commonsense approach–open, light, and conducive to entertaining.”

In an area with few room dividers, the spacious-looking kitchen is an extension of the living space. Franz connected the living area to the kitchen with small rectangular windows along the side walls. “The kitchen and dining area is one dynamic social center,” Bob says. Even-Tempered Hues

With Hildi’s design expertise, the furnishings in Bob’s home were chosen with comfort in mind. They comprise the things he loves–a long and roomy sofa, volumes of subtly textured upholstery, a balance of diverse materials such as smooth sheet metal and limestone, and a sound system for acoustic ambience.

A crisp blend of sage and brown and cool shades of gray calm the senses and marry well with a free-flowing white backdrop and dark-wood accent pieces. With neutral colors as the foundation, it is much easier to accessorize by bringing in other hues.

“You focus on the elements of color here because they stand out against the organic yet sharp background,” Hildi says.

“When the canvas is one like Bob’s home, it works well with bold colors from a wool rug, glass pieces, an oil painting, or a simple orchid,” she continues. “It is dark yet light; rich yet simple; minimal yet elegant; bright yet soothing. And it’s all very comfortable–by design.”

About Clutter
When asked about where we should put all the things we accumulate for our homes, Hildi suggests a type of give-and-take approach.

“People tend to collect clutter, and they think they need to display all their belongings. Over the years, Bob has tried to collect and showcase only special pieces. These make a strong but simple statement.

On the Simpler Side
Take everything out of the room, and only put back those special items that mean something to you. Even if items were passed on to you, if you don’t like them–don’t use them.

  • Find a global vision by incorporating objects from your travels into your home. It’s a way to personalize your space and bring back fond memories.
  • Try the same pieces in new settings for a totally different perspective or angle. An item that’s out of place in one room could be perfect for another.
  • Use calming colors from nature. These blend together in any room, and nothing stands out. Such hues make a great backdrop that’s easy to enhance.

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    • Hildi Santo-Thomas is a noted home designer-turned-television-celebrity best known for her appearance on a television program, ‘Trading Spaces’. Hildi Santo-Thomas, the Atlanta-based interior decorator, isn’t afraid to make a statement through her renovation, bringing classic creativity and creating original designs.

      Quick Info

      • Birthday: April 4, 1961 (age 57)
      • Ethnicity: N/A
      • Nationality: American
      • Profession: Interior designer and TV personality

      Hildi Santo-Tomas Husband- Etienne Fougeron and Kids

      Interior decorator Hildi Santo-Thomas and her husband, Etienne Fougeron has remained happily married together for over a decade. They married back in 2002 and have been inseparable ever since.

      Like many celebrity couples, Hildi and her better half, Etienne maintains considerable privacy when it comes to their relationship. Having dated for many years, their relationship culminated with a wedding on a private ceremony in 2002.

      Hildi is known for decorating houses and wall over her impressive career, whereas the profession of her husband remains unknown. It’s also undisclosed whether the pair has any child together.

      The couple currently has houses in Miami, Atlanta but Etienne’s hometown of Paris, France as their primary residence.

      Quick Info

      • Parents: N/A
      • Husband: Etienne Fougeron (2002-present)
      • Children: N/A
      • Marital Status: Married

      Originally from Raleigh, N.C, she had her higher education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The daughter of Cuba-origin couples, future decorating queen Hildi became fascinated by design since she was a little child.

      Despite this piece of information, basic details like the identity of her parents, siblings’ details or early life trivia remains unknown to date.

      Hildi Santo-Tomas Age- Height and Body Measurements


      Hildi Santo-Thomas is still every inch the stunner, despite now being 57 years old. With her towering height, dark lustrous hair, bright eyes, and fitted physique, she’s still a ‘hot mess’.

      Television celebrity Hildi looks good and still owns that perfect curves and a sexy body. The sensual lady of Cuban descent claims slim yet curvaceous figure and is known for her radiant glow.

      Quick Info

      • Height: N/A
      • Body Measurements: N/A
      • Plastic Surgery: N/A
      • Weight: N/A

      Blessed with sharp features, from oval-shaped face to her nicely done brows, she keeps conquering every television appearance with her clothing choices and subtle makeup.

      Capitalizing the older age game with body-hugging dresses and on-going enthusiasm, this eccentric designer has been showing the world that mature woman can be gorgeous, talented and off-course- super sexy.

      Living a high-end lifestyle with her husband, she is a painting enthusiast and regularly involves outdoor activities, regardless of her age. Her love for decoration, designs and renovating aren’t hidden from her social media followers. Her Instagram paints her to be a very hardworking and determined woman, who loves her work the most.

      Hildi Santo-Tomas Net Worth and Salary

      Hildi Santo-Thomas Net Worth: Hildi Santo-Thomas is an American designer and television star who hasn’t let the stats of her net worth or salary surfaced the internet.

      With designing and television career going strong since over a decade, Hildi has successfully managed to amass a whopping amount of fortune. Hildi, who made her television debut through the show ‘Trading Spaces’ in 2002, has created numerous room and offices makeovers for happy customers.

      Quick Info

      • Net Worth: N/A
      • Salary: N/A
      • Where is TV designer Hildi Santo-Tomas now? All about her disastrous designs and her married life with her husband

        Nobody thinks Hildi Santo- Tomas could still be designing after all the bizarre, horridly superficial makeover’s she was responsible for during her time with Trading Spaces. She was openly the most hated designer of all in the show.

        At times, home owners were left, not just unsatisfied with her, but some of them were disgusted by her imaginative notions.

        She was the most unwanted of designers on the show’s long running history. She was known to have a strong vision for space and was not afraid to execute her over ambitious vision.

        Heidi’s five most obstructing designs were one where she created a Mural mosaic of herself across a living room wall of a client. Just when we were under the impression that she was done with herself obsession she decorated a whole bathroom with over 7000 silk flowers stapled to the wall of the room.

        Heidi, still feeling her imaginative prowess, took on a beach themed room which she went on to fill with sand and that was about it. She did paint the beach themed room in a circus theme, which completed the hideous project.

        Hildi wanting to try some futuristic design with her designer skills created a room where she glued the furniture on the ceiling. She justified this attempt by calling it “Dancing on the Ceiling”.

        After all of her canny designs, when we all were under the impression that Hildi was done for, she decided to decorate a living room by gluing hay over the walls of the room.

        The home owners on seeing this were extremely dissatisfied and asked it to be removed immediately, which took about 17 man hours to do and all the reconstruction had to be paid by the production company themselves.

        After all of her absurdities, now coming to her personnel life, Heidi married a French artist Etienne Fougeron who runs an art gallery in Paris, France. Her husband is known in the art world for his bohemian take on artistic visions.

        The couple has been married for over twelve years. Hildi currently lives in Paris with her husband and has given up her profession as an interior decorator and moved on to where her passion always was: Flowers!! She is a florist and is prominent in France in many of the country’s Flower shows.

        Hildi doesn’t have any children and she has mentioned she doesn’t have the time for them either. In her busy schedule, she actually never thought about it anytime. Hildi has never been featured in any movies on her long career as an interior decorator for TLC.

        Hildi does use social networking sites, but isn’t active either on Twitter or on Instagram. She is of Cuban descent and her parent migrated from Cuba to USA before the 1950’s. Her estimated net worth is just under $1 Million.

        When we think of home makeovers, we picture the successful ones by HGTV – where shabby homes are transformed into state-of-the-art residences and the lucky recipients of the makeovers are jumping with joy while overwhelming tears of gratitude are streaming down their faces.

        Well, unfortunately, not every family who undergoes a major home makeover receives a happy ending. Here are some of the worst home makeovers in history that have aired on reality TV, and we kid you not: none of these scenes were staged.

        On BBC’s Your Home in Their Hands, people put the fate of their home in the hands of amateur interior designers, which is never a good idea. Check out these cringe-worthy episodes:

        1. Pattern nightmare

        Video credit: BBC

        When this British couple stepped into their “new” home, they were shocked at the conflicting patterns and colours. They even asked for the designer to be “locked in a cupboard.”

        2. Sketchy childish bedroom

        Video credit: BBC

        This was another disastrous masterpiece from an amateur designer. Not only did the parents’ bedroom look disturbingly morbid… their teenage daughter’s room was also ruined with childish sketches that were probably intended to be French-chic. Not the outcome she was expecting.

        3. This home looks like something out of Little Shop of Horrors.

        Oh no, did you see how the woman teared up at the end? She was choking back tears of regret while her husband tried to comfort her on camera, but everyone could tell how deeply grieved they were. On another episode of Your Home in Their Hands, the Baileys’ cosy home was deduced to a weird balance between a tropical rainforest and a Barbie play home nightmare.

        Don’t want your home to turn out like this? Consult our professionals on Kaodim!

        4. Too much colour

        Video credit: BBC

        The Geoghegans wanted colour… and was that too much to ask? Apparently not. The designers on Your Home in Their Hands injected way too much colour here. Their bedroom became a whimsical, dizzying whirl of florals, prints, and tacky plastic chandeliers! It looked like a scene out of Alice and Wonderland, and that’s not a compliment.

        5. Disappointed dreams

        Although the Mrs. Ahmed announced that she liked the kitchen, the suppressed emotions on her husband’s and parents’ faces were not very convincing. Anyway, when they moved into the dining room, the Ahmeds could no longer retain their disappointment. This was another failed job by the amateur designers.

        Speaking of amateurs, Hildi Santo-Tomas was an interior designer on the TLC home renovation series, Trading Spaces. She’s best known for her eclectic taste in design, which made us think that she might be better off designing paintings instead of homes. How she landed a role on TV still baffles us, because her designs clearly belong in a wacko art museum. Take a look:

        6. The flowery bathroom

        As you can see, Hildi’s overpoweringly adoration of flowers drove her to staple 7,000 silk flowers in the bathroom of the unlucky recipients of this makeover.

        Photo credit: buzzfeed

        7. Beach nightmare

        The homeowners wanted a relaxing, beachy atmosphere. What a real professional would’ve done was install nautical-themed aesthetics and gentle colour palettes like sea blue and baby green. But not Hildi – she actually emptied barrels of sand in the room and dressed the walls with cheap, yellow and red stripes that resembled a circus tent. Oh, if she thought the faux coconut tree could help the mood, she was awfully wrong.

        8. Oh, hay there and everywhere!

        Photo credit: Hooked On Houses

        Yikes, yikes, yikes. What on earth was Hildi thinking?! The homeowners wanted this room to be a fun playroom for their kids, but Hildi thought it’d be a great idea to glue hay on the walls.

        9. A shameless portrait

        Photo credit: Hooked On Houses

        As though it wasn’t bad enough to have Hildi design homes, she had to leave a staunch reminder of herself on the wall. It was supposed to be a feature wall, and Hildi was clearly thinking about featuring herself.

        10. Leave Alice in Wonderland out of our homes!

        Photo credit: House Beautiful

        First, painting the living room black just made the entire space look dark, cramped and foreboding. Then the designers bought extra furniture by mistake and had no choice but to use it as decor and hang it upside down from the ceiling – there is no other logical reason as to why they did it. Unless they were living in an alternate universe where nothing makes sense, you know, like Wonderland.

        11. The room that looked like a CSI murder scene

        Photo credit: House Beautiful

        This. is. not. okay.

        Every ounce of the homeowers’ dream just died the moment they entered this room.

        For more disastrous makeovers on Trading Spaces, watch this compilation.

        Having a professional interior designer who shares your vision is extremely important. Your home is our concern. So save yourself the misery and get in touch with our talented interior designers on Kaodim today and receive free quotes after submitting your request!

        written by Carissa Gan

        13 Worst ‘Trading Spaces’ Designs, From the Sob-Inducing Fireplace to Straw-Covered Walls (Photos)

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        In honor of the triumphant return of TLC’s “Trading Spaces,” TheWrap looks back at some of the worst designs from the show’s original run, from hay glued to the wall to furniture nailed to the ceiling.

        Straw walls

        Hildi Santo-Tomas was always “Trading Spaces’” biggest provocateur. Eventually even the homeowners knew to steel themselves if she showed up as their designer. Never content to simply paint the walls, Santo-Tomas aimed to think outside the box — way, way outside. And perhaps the epitome of that was when she had the bright idea to glue straw to paint the ceiling pink and glue straw to the walls as some kind of avant-garde wall treatment. The homeowners, predictably, hated it.

        Red and white

        The only designer who ever came close to matching Santo-Tomas’s ambition was Doug Wilson, who once saw fit to put a loud red-and-white pattern and enormous lounge seating into an already too-small room, making it seem about as big as a cardboard box.

        The fireplace

        One of the most infamous reveals in “Trading Spaces” history was the episode featuring the woman who would come to be known as “Crying Pam.” In the episode, Wilson chose to cover the homeowners’ brick fireplace with a modern white facade. When it came time for reveal, Pam broke down in tears, quietly telling host Paige Davis that she’d have to leave the room. Unfortunately Crying Pam forgot to remove her mic, and was recorded sobbing as her husband and Davis tried to survive the crippling awkwardness.

        Mosaic Hildi

        As if there was ever any risk of the homeowners forgetting that Santo-Tomas was the one to inject her, shall we say, unique sense of taste into their home, the designer once put up an accent wall in a dining room featuring a floor-to-ceiling mosaic rendering of her own face.

        A horror show

        A horror-inspired theme for a kitchen is bad enough, but as is her wont, Santo-Tomas took the whole concept to the next level. She had the room painted a truly off-putting shade of red, commissioned shelving made to look like a coffin, and the pièce de résistance, a blood-stained tarp stapled to the wall as “an art project.” Appetizing.

        Flower bathroom

        In one homeowner’s bathroom, Santo-Tomas stapled hundreds of fake flowers to the walls and painted all the trim gold. All things considered, it could’ve been worse.

        The upside-down

        “Stranger Things” has nothing on Hildi. Turning the entire concept of interior design on its head, Santo-Tomas turned one couple’s living room literally upside-down, hanging all the furniture from the ceiling. Because why not? Oh, because people actually have to live in this house, that’s why.

        Sand everywhere

        A beach-themed room could be nice. A beach inside your room, complete with outdoor furniture, a tree and an open-flame torch, is not. The worst part is, if the homeowners wanted to undo the room entirely — which they presumably did, because they seemed to have sense — the sand-covered floors ensured that process would be a true nightmare.

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        Safari bedroom

        Sometimes the “Trading Spaces” designers seemed to commit themselves to a theme in a way that made the show more interesting to watch than if they were trying for something tasteful, but often resulted in a truly hideous living space. That seemed to be the case when Wilson went for a jungle safari vibe in one couple’s bedroom, with zebra print walls and bamboo on the ceiling and furniture.

        Pebble fireplace

        Sometimes the theme for the room was inspired by the homeowners’ own interests, and after two days they would come home to find something they had a passing interest in blown up to an unreasonable proportion and glued to the walls, or something. For example, one homeowner’s collection of glass beads was sewn into her pillows, hung from curtain rods and used as a gaudy new facade for her fireplace, all accompanied by a warm, inviting concrete floor.


        Santo-Tomas lived every seven-year-old boy’s dream in the episode where she chose to paint the walls with paintball guns. Problem was, paintballs are more oil than actual paint, and the bright pink splatters quickly became a greasy, drippy mess (she blamed it on the heat). To make matters worse, the force of the gun damaged the drywall and the oil was impossible to clean, so painting over it? Not an option.


        Santo-Tomas and Wilson even teamed up once for an episode that worked better as a conceptual design challenge than in its execution. Two couples asked for bright colors to reflect their personality, and in response, the two designers delivered completely monochromatic rooms, one all black and the other all white. Santo-Tomas’s room wowed her homeowners with an intricate ribbon wall treatment and all black furniture. Wilson, however, didn’t get quite the same response.

        … and White

        The couple who received Wilson’s white room specifically asked that their newly refurbished wood floors not be touched. But if the color doesn’t match the palette, then request be damned, right? Wilson painted the floors (and everything else in the room) a blinding white, resulting in something straight out of a Kubrick film. Hope they don’t have kids or pets.

        Read original story 13 Worst ‘Trading Spaces’ Designs, From the Sob-Inducing Fireplace to Straw-Covered Walls (Photos) At TheWrap