I’m not usually a fan for reboots, but I was pretty excited when it was announced months ago that Trading Spaces was coming back. After watching all the reruns these last few weeks, I had some questions and concerns about the reboot. Like, would they update the cheesy Seinfeld-ian opening music? (Answer: yes, but the notes are the same. Thankfully, I got more answers in the season premiere, plus some pleasant surprises.
The neighbors: This episode features Simi Valley neighbors who are also sisters, Michele (and Ryan) and Melissa (and Keith). The neighborhood looks like it’s a newer development of ranch homes, and they start out with the couples lounging in one of their backyards. The yard and pool don’t look too shabby and are landscaped nicely so their rooms can’t be that bad, right? But then, Ryan is grilling chicken breast and has only seasoned them with salt and pepper, with BBQ sauce to come later, so there’s likely a bland room inside that’s desperately needs help.
The rooms: Aha! I was right. Michele and Ryan’s boring master bedroom is to be made over. As Paige says, “It’s two shades: gray and grayer.” Good choice. They want a retreat feel to their bedroom, something with more flair and romance.
Next door, Melissa and Keith’s guest bedroom will get a makeover. It’s so bad the sisters’ mother would rather stay on Melissa’s sofa when she comes to visit! I’m guessing that room was normally a hot mess, because a sofa would be my last resort.
The cast: Paige is back, which was smart. I can’t imagine Trading Spaces without her perky self. Naturally, the season premiere features the trolliest of designers, Hildi Santo-Tomás and Doug Wilson. Will they be up to their same shenanigans or will we see matured, sensible designers?
There’s a slight twist: there are two carpenters now, so we have both Carter Oosterhouse and Ty Pennington for this episode. Whomever thought of that was either thinking practically (no more one crazed carpenter meeting deadlines for two designers) or was thinking better for the viewers (double the eye candy). Maybe it’s a little of both. Either way, I’m happy.
Doug’s plan: Melissa and Keith are cautiously happy to see Doug is part of their team. I’m not convinced Melissa’s “oh my gosh yay” comment is entirely genuine, as the sight of Doug probably had her wondering if her sister would write her out of her will after this show. They go through the usual spiel of what they think their neighbor wants from the makeover, but there’s another twist. Doug explains that they truly do have a say in this. This must be a new change to the show, and I’m down for it. It is pretty hilarious hearing it from Doug, though.
Melissa and Keith want a calm, tropical vibe for their sister/bro-in-law, and Doug agrees–with “their approval”– to do a Hawaiian-inspired room, but something that’s not too obvious. I’m digging this idea… so far. Melissa and Keith imagine a stereotypical tropical design with blues, greens, and white, but Doug is on another level. He next asks what color the ceiling should be painted. Keith is aghast at the idea it will be painted–again, have these people never watched the show?!
Doug finally opens the can of paint to reveal a chocolatey brown for the ceiling. His interpretation of the room is more like a Hawaiian lanai, and it’s perfect. It’s clear Doug still thinks outside the box, which I always loved. I have a feeling this room will be one of his better designs. Melissa really isn’t digging it and complains as she paints the ceiling.
When Doug reveals that an olive-toned burlap will go on the walls, Melissa tries to veto it. Doug 2.0 calmly explains how the walls and dark ceiling will be lend a cozy feeling and will play well off each other. I couldn’t agree more and honestly, he is one of the few actual interior designers on this show. In this case, he does know what he’s talking about. This really is a new side to Doug, since we’re used to seeing Doug with an IDGAF attitude. I’m not sure yet if I entirely trust it… but I do like this evolution. Eventually, Melissa and Keith decide to trust him.
Carter is working with them and is asked to build a few bedside tables and a dresser. He feigns anger at the idea of building a dresser because it’s so time-consuming. Another bonus to having two carpenters now: more furniture! He also has to build a platform bed and headboard, which sound perfect for the design.
Paige presents another twist (and another answer for my list of questions) that I hope will be a regular part of the new season. The neighbors get to pick a decor item from the “Wayfair Gift Shop” that the designers cannot refuse. Their only condition is that they can’t pull a Doug 1.0 and pick something horrible just for the sake of it. I dig this and the green lamps Melissa and Keith choose. The bird knick-knacks, not so much.
Hildi’s plan: Michele and Ryan are surprised and hesitant to see their lead designer, Hildi. Michele explains that the room actually looks “okay,” to which Hildi responds with a stinkface. The cast may not have much room for shenanigans this time around, but they seem to be amping up the drama elsewhere. Michele and Ryan feel the bedroom should not only serve its primary purpose but be personalized to her sister. They then pull out some penguin knick-knacks that Melissa loves. Have they never seen Trading Spaces? Do they not realize Hildi could make this room into an iceberg or glue black and white feathers all over the walls?
Hildi whips out her inspiration for the room, a geometric Pucci print in black, white, neon yellow, and cobalt. She explains her concept is “deconstructed penguin,” much to the horror of Michele who seems to think deconstructed means mutilated. The fabric is quite stunning but I don’t think it’s the homeowners’ style; it’s far too modern for them. Just like her counterpart Doug, Hildi shows her true colors as a rule-breaker as she explains the pattern will be projected onto the ceiling and walls (instead of just one accent wall, like most designers would do).
Melissa and Keith don’t trust this will feel like an oasis like Hildi says and think it will feel more like a “nightmare.” I can’t blame them, because I’m of the camp that needs a bedroom to feel soothing and relaxing. They ask for a compromise: paint only one wall and then see if more needs to be done, but Hildi isn’t having it. When she leaves the room, Melissa and Keith conspire to paint slowly, thinking it will lead to no painting on the other wall or ceiling. Ooohh, the drama!
Ty and Hildi meet up to discuss his part in the makeover. Forget the fact there are two carpenters now, Ty is still stressing out! It’s no wonder though, he has to build a Murphy bed on a very small budget and in a small timeframe. Oh, and he has to create some bicycle tiremark art with her. I hope it won’t look as disastrous it almost was to create.
Hildi has some groovy chairs to slipcover in the same highlighter yellow from the patterned walls. They’ll fit perfectly with the room’s vibe, but Michele is not convinced. Still, she goes along with like a good neighbor.
Paige brings Melissa and Keith to the Wayfair stash and they smartly choose an arc floor lamp. They may not be on board with Hildi’s design, but they are staying true to its essence.
Homework: Melissa and Keith have to install a tropical-style ceiling fan and argue over who will do it. You’d think they know it’s not a one-man job. They also have to finish burlapping the walls. It’s not too much homework but they give up at 2AM after their burlap starts getting crooked.
Michele and Ryan have to finish the patterned walls and ceiling. Hildi assures them they shouldn’t kill themselves over it, yet expects such a large task (that surely required more than one coat of paint) to be done overnight. Little does she know, they’re still conspiring to work against her by painting slowly and only completed the 2 assigned walls. NOT the ceiling.
Day 2: Doug mellowly accepts that not all the burlap was done, and surmises they’ll just have to work harder on Day 2. Seriously, who is this guy?! Not much else is highlighted as the new furniture gets installed and the finishing touches in apple green are applied.
Hildi seems to accept that only 2 walls got painted in her room, but you can tell something is simmering under the surface. Her frustration comes out later while discussing the bed with Ty. While her design was a fantastic idea, it was way out of everyone’s league, as now Ty has to figure out how to install a damn Murphy bed into the wall while they’re up on scaffolding painting the ceiling. Oh, and a mirrored wall gets installed–it’s the one that didn’t get painted. I gotta admit, it looks sharp.
And because Hildi’s room just doesn’t have enough work, Michele and Ryan now have to blow out the insides of 5 dozen eggs, or 900 as Ryan states. This must be the infamous eggshell project I heard would be part of the new show, and surprise! It is pure Hildi. The eggshells are then used to create a garland in the room, which surprisingly is cool… if you have no fear of salmonella.
Michele and Ryan’s new master bedroom reveal: I’m pretty excited to see what they think. Doug really did a great job, even if the photo art above the headboard is awkward and generic. I also would’ve chosen flowy, sheer curtains instead of the blah tab-top ones Doug chose. I’m also not a fan of the pillows/fabric on the bed. It’s too matchy and the fabric is basic. Otherwise, I think Doug accomplished this Hawaii vibe that wasn’t cliche. It’s earthy and womb-like, perfect for sleeping and relaxing.
So what did Michele and Ryan think? They love it, even if it was way outside their realm of possibilities. You can sense the relief in their responses and I’m sure they were equally surprised at Doug’s design as I was.
Melissa and Keith’s new guest bedroom: I’m very interested in what they’ll think of their abstract penguin palace. It really looks great and chic, but the pattern is totally inappropriate for Melissa and Keith’s needs and style. It is truly a show-stopper, though.
So what did Melissa and Keith think? They were not feeling it yet were very diplomatic about it. Melissa’s first reply, “This is insane,” sums up their feelings pretty well, I think. They appreciated all the hard work and don’t hate it, but I’m sure they have since painted the room to a more relaxing color. I see a deep-gray blue working well with the upholstered Murphy bed.
What did you think of the season premiere? Do you like all the changes? How did you feel about Hildi’s room? How did you feel about Doug’s room?