Nine years after the groundbreaking reality show Trading Spaces stopped production, TLC has announced a return of the series in 2018, with many of the same cast of characters from the 2000-2008 seasons: Paige Davis, Carter Oosterhouse, Genevieve Gorder, Laurie Smith, and our own Brookwood Hills resident Vern Yip. The premise is the same: two families—armed with a designer and building team—each hand over the keys to their house for a redo that takes place over 48 hours. The “reveals” to each homeowner might bring tears of happiness—or the other kind of tears—which adds a surprise element not seen as much on home makeover shows these days. “Our new season will go back to the ‘golden era’ of the show,” he says,“when we taught people to work within accessible budgets and empowered them to be able to do things in their own homes.”
Vern, who has lived in Atlanta for decades, predicts there will be a different level of design in this version, since homeowners and viewers are more savvy. “Everyone is keeping up with what’s happening in interior design, and has more confidence in what they like versus just what the trends are,” he says. Fifteen years ago, almost every homeowner wanted a “Tuscan” kitchen, Vern recalls, whereas he expects a broader range of kitchen styles these days. Vern’s own style—a clean-lined approach to design with plenty of warmth—will continue this time around, he says. Since the designer left the show in the fourth season, he’s been involved with a wide range of product lines with his name attached to them, several HGTV and digital home shows, and a busy interior design business. His personal life changed as well—and now includes husband Craig and children, Vera and Gavin—and that may affect his projects the most. “Being a Dad has opened my eyes up to how parents need space to contend with family life,” he says.
Not a day goes by without a fan coming up to Vern to talk about the old Trading Spaces, he says. His favorite stories involve people making the show the highlight of their Friday nights, or recording it to watch later with friends as a social event. “It was a show everybody can watch. It’s both wholesome and educational,” he says. “People are looking for things these days that are comforting, and this seems to be comfort food that’s also good for you.”
Related reading: In his own Brookwood Hills home, Vern Yip practices what he preaches