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Has Ty Pennington's Career Set Him Up to Design a Room on 'Trading Spaces?'

After a ten year hiatus, TLC’s Trading Spaces returned on April 7 to record ratings. The unique home design show drew in 2.8 million total viewers, putting it in the number one spot for the evening. With ratings like that, it doesn’t seem that the show needs to start pulling gimmicks, but for its second episode, the designers are stepping aside and letting carpenters Ty Pennington and Carter Oosterhouse take the reigns.

Typically relegated to bringing the designer’s creations to life, Pennington and Oosterhouse have yet to take over the interior planning when it comes to paint color, overall aesthetic, and room theme. As the preview shows, the homeowners don’t seem to have too much faith in Pennington’s design skills, and based on his history, their hesitation may be warranted.


At a young age, Pennington took an interest in woodworking and carpentry, eventually teaching himself the latter. His first real carpentry job came during his attendance at Kennesaw State University, though he was more focused on his Graphic Design degree than working with his hands. As he approached his graduation, Pennington took up modeling and appeared in ads for Diet Coke, Macy’s, and other well-known brands. Though he had been away from carpentry and focusing more on his looks, he returned to construction after obtaining his degree. One of his first notable accomplishments was as set designer for Leaving Las Vegas, but after that, he was offered a spot on Trading Spaces, where he remained until the series went off the air.

Since taking on carpentry work for TLC, Pennington has headlined Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, where he served as host and builder. Following the success of Extreme Makeover and the show’s eventual cancellation in 2012, Pennington kept the momentum rolling with several more spots on television, with some, like On the Menu, straying from his roots in home construction and design. As an interior designer, it appears the returning Trading Spaces carpenter has minimal, if no, experience.

Trading Spaces has always been about the outlandish designs created by the team of creators. When the carpenters take over during the second episode, it’s very likely that viewers will be treated to the same level of eccentric design, despite a lack of interior design experience.