Remember When Hildi Glued Straw to the Walls?

by hookedonhouses on January 24, 2011

Hildi-Trading Spaces-Straw on walls 1

Who remembers when “Trading Spaces” had designers wrecking up innocent houses every week for laughs and entertainment? Sometimes the makeovers turned out okay. But there were others when designers like Hildi Santo-Tomás pulled some pretty crazy stunts.

There was the episode when she glued straw to the walls of an unsuspecting couple’s living room, for instance. (You can see a video of the straw incident and reveal here.)

Ugh. Those poor homeowners.

Hildi-Trading Spaces-Straw on walls 3

I read that it took them 17 hours to scrape it all off after the “Trading Spaces” crew left town (SFGate). It never occurred to me that anyone might see that episode and think, “That’s a great idea! I think I’ll try that myself!”

But apparently someone did. A reader recently spotted this in the real estate listings:hay on the ceiling-mlsYikes. Can you imagine the work it took to do this to the ceiling? And why would you want to? (Designer Kelly Wearstler went for a similar look on the bedroom walls of her beach house, but at least she didn’t use actual hay!)

hay on the ceiling-2This “chalet-style living room” is in a house for sale in Minnesota for $250,000. Here’s what the listing agent says about it: “If you’re tired of the same old houses, you’ve got to see this one!”

That’s the truth. Check out the listing for the rest of the photos, including a kitchen that doesn’t seem to belong to the rest of the house. (Thanks to Kallie for finding it!)

Were you a fan of “Trading Spaces” back in the day? What were some of your favorite home-makeover disasters? I’ll never forget the time Doug Wilson turned a bedroom into a jail cell, complete with a mural of prisoners!

One of the first posts I wrote when I started this blog was about “Trading Spaces.” Click here for a blast from the past!

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Loribeth January 24, 2011 at 10:17 pm

I remember that episode! I could not believe it when she used hay!!! The other episode that I couldn’t believe was when Genevieve made a wall of moss. Can you imagine how bad that smelled?????
.-= Loribeth´s last blog ..What do you think of these =-.

SamiJ February 1, 2011 at 3:11 pm

We used to call Hildi “Sheetrock” because almost every episode with her in it, she did a wall treatment that would require the homeowners to re-sheetrock to fix it. (Stapling flowers onto bathroom wall; gluing corregated cardboard onto guest room wall, gluing grass onto dining room wall; using wrapping paper as wallpaper, nailing records onto family room wall). Another bad one was when Genieve wallpapered a kitchen with wine labels, only to find that the homeowners didn’t drink.

linda @ Lime in the coconut January 24, 2011 at 10:19 pm

Ha! That really was a scary show at times! I remember someoone gluing on thousands of fake flowers to a wall…I mean really people?
.-= linda @ Lime in the coconut´s last blog ..Today… =-.

Amanda @ Serenity Now January 24, 2011 at 10:19 pm

I very clearly remember that episode and how cringe-worthy some of them were! Vern and Laurie usually did pretty well, and sometimes Frank did okay. My aunt met him in a Home Depot in Katy, TX, where they live. She said he is actually really nice in real life too. :)
.-= Amanda @ Serenity Now´s last blog ..Weekend Bloggy Reading- Highlighted Links! =-.

erika January 24, 2011 at 10:20 pm

yech! i was NEVER a fan of trading spaces- but i DID watch it from time to time. the one that left the biggest (and worst) impression on me was when they glue’ed old LPs to someone’s living room wall- they cut the LPs in half or just plain glued them on over bright blue walls. it was a disaster!

i also remember one where they said- “whatever you do, don’t destroy this chair…it was my grandma’s (0r something like that)…and i’m trusting you to work it in.” well, the designer spray painted it and basically destroyed it- i think it was leather and they spray painted it. soooo awful.

i am so glad that show is OFF the air!!!
.-= erika´s last blog ..Innocent Wonder =-.

hookedonhouses January 24, 2011 at 10:26 pm

Yes, whenever a homeowner stated something was special and “off-limits,” you just knew something bad was about to happen to it!

Jewel January 25, 2011 at 7:34 am

This is the one I was going to mention. Our next door neighbor has a valuable 78-45-331/3 collection and we knew if he had seen this he would have gone insane. Those albums can be wonderful to listen to with the right equipment and valuable and they just destroyed them as well as the room!

stuccohouse January 24, 2011 at 10:21 pm

Suddenly the hideous sponge painting on the walls & ceiling in my house when I bought it seems less hideous….
.-= stuccohouse´s last blog ..Miscellaneous =-.

Heather January 24, 2011 at 10:24 pm

ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE!

Danielle January 24, 2011 at 10:25 pm

I really liked the show in the beginning but then it got to outrageous. It seemed more about trying to shock or bring the homeowners to tears rather than inspiring design.

I don’t remember the hay episode but I recall one when she stuck a bunch of cardboard to someone’s wall using liquid nails. It was horrifying. Repairing those walls must have been a nightmare!

Kera January 25, 2011 at 9:48 pm

I remember the neighbor asked, “but what if they want to remove it?” and Hildi responded, “why would they want to remove the cardboard?”

She broke my heart….ruining those poor, unsuspecting homes.

Southgate January 24, 2011 at 10:36 pm

I remember when Hildi stapled cheap cemetary flowers base to crown all over a BATHROOM! How on Earth would you keep that clean even if you did think it looked good?? My friends and I used to joke that we would go on Trading Spaces but if we saw Hildi walking in, we would just set our houses on fire and collect the insurance.
.-= Southgate´s last blog ..On The Market-Bougemont =-.

PJ January 25, 2011 at 8:08 am

HA HA HA…Southgate just made my day with her comment of “set our houses on fire”…Happy Tuesday to me.
.-= PJ´s last blog ..A Bumpy Road =-.

Robin January 24, 2011 at 10:40 pm

I don’t remember the hay episode but like Linda @ Lime I do remember the time Hildy stapled a zillion brightly-colored silk flowers on the walls of a large master bath. All I could think at the time was 1) ugly and 2) that is going to get really, really dusty. The homeowner hated it too. Hildy thought it was grand! I’m glad that show is off the air, it gave a lot of people bad ideas.
.-= Robin´s last blog ..But watch your back- Seymour… =-.

Erica @ A Housewife's Guide To January 24, 2011 at 10:40 pm

I came across your website and choked on my tea when I saw your post regarding Hildi and the hay! I remember that episode as if it was yesterday!

Although I am a fan of bring the outdoors indoors, hay will never be one of things I would use in decorating unless it is used for green insulation.

Thank you for making me laugh!
.-= Erica @ A Housewife’s Guide To´s last blog ..Fab Finds- From Silver Pitcher to Kitchen Artwork =-.

Nouveau Stitch January 24, 2011 at 10:47 pm

Good Lord! I also remember Kitty Bartholomew gluing something equally as crazy to something. I think that’s when I stopped watching ….
.-= Nouveau Stitch´s last blog ..Makeover! Get the look! Before-After! Ideas! =-.

liz @ bon temps beignet January 24, 2011 at 10:50 pm

Oh Dear Lord, I do remember that epsiode. And the owners had a 2 year old. I can only imagine how horrible that must’ve been. And didn’t she paint a couch once and say it looked like leather. ugh SMH

How does Hildi sleep at night?
.-= liz @ bon temps beignet´s last blog ..My 100th Post! =-.

suzyhomemaker January 24, 2011 at 10:51 pm

the hay was TRAGIC! *shudder* – but i will never forget the look of horror on another homeowner’s face when she and her husband entered their newly redesigned kitchen “ala hildy” to find about a million tiny wine bottle labels glued to the walls. the worst part (other than the fact that those poor folks are probably STILL scraping sticky bits off their walls) is the fact mr. homeowner was a minister who did not drink alcohol. that poor couple couldn’t even speak. i felt so bad for them. i don’t know that i would have trusted any of them in my home.

Southgate January 24, 2011 at 10:56 pm

I remember that one too! Classic. Oh, poor Hildi sure tried to push the envelope.
.-= Southgate´s last blog ..On The Market-Bougemont =-.

Holley January 25, 2011 at 6:12 am

As I recall, I looked upon that episode with a bit of horror, and my dear hubby said, “That’s a great idea!” Whereupon, I promptly looked at him with horror.
.-= Holley´s last blog ..Good Heavens! =-.

Holly January 24, 2011 at 11:00 pm

Oh gosh, I missed the straw, but I do remember the silk flowers one that several have mentioned! I also remember one when they put vinyl stick tiles down on the kitchen floor, but the floor was uneven so they folded up magazines and put them underneath to even it out! I believe that was Genevieve! You can tell they were just supposed to be as wacko as possible on Trading Spaces.
.-= Holly´s last blog ..Mondays Tips and Tricks Party =-.

Nita January 24, 2011 at 11:05 pm

I remember this, and it was done at a time when French country was really popular, and it was a look then. Only Hildy didn’t do it right. First, she put too much on the wall, and the other thing is she didn’t paint over it like you are supposed to. Some people also just mix the straw into the paint and then paint.

Nita January 24, 2011 at 11:07 pm

Do you remember when Doug painted this couple’s living room all dark brown and they came in and the woman started crying and crying and crying. The only person I’d give my house over to is Candace Olsen.

Nita January 24, 2011 at 11:08 pm

The Best of Trading Spaces is on Oprah’s new network. Probably why it’s not doing so good. :)

Kate (Little Beach Bum) January 24, 2011 at 11:11 pm

Oh my gosh, WOW. I used to think that show was the coolest show on earth! When I first started watching it, I thought the rooms were kind of cool and out of the ordinary…then I realized they just looked tacky and cheap. And what was up with the crazy themes? It was like they never knew when to quit! And they always seemed to have elaborate plans for the exact style of design the homeowners said they didn’t like. I guess it made for good television!

(This kind of makes me want to go look up old episodes on Youtube…)
.-= Kate (Little Beach Bum)´s last blog ..Happy Monday! =-.

Holley January 25, 2011 at 6:21 am

I felt the same way about the rooms being cool and now now I think of them as tacky.

Maybe the change in attitude is based in my transition from student to home owner. Maybe it is the realization that good furniture is not made out of MDF then painted. There are still things I love, no matter how crazy, like the swing Frank installed in a little girls room. It seriously pleased the little girl in me because wouldn’t that be the best thing to have as a little girl (unless you have older brothers who could use it as a weapon)?

I loved Frank and Vern best. Some of Genevieve’s rooms were okay (Looking around my house I can her here commenting on “kid art”). Laurie was predictable–yellow, flower prints and harvest/autumn tones.

Do you remember the fast music they played while reassembling the room? My one year old at the time would hop up and start dancing every time she heard that music!
.-= Holley´s last blog ..Good Heavens! =-.

Amy Button January 24, 2011 at 11:31 pm

I remember that! Although I thought it was Genevieve and it was a bedroom but I definitely remembered the straw wall. Yikes! I loved Trading Spaces before I found HGTV but I haven’t watched in years.
.-= Amy Button´s last blog ..Is It Possible =-.

Amy from China Shepherdess January 25, 2011 at 12:04 am

Ha! I was so addicted to this show back in the day. The straw wall was classic. I am embarrassed for my state that someone actually did this to their own home on purpose!
.-= Amy from China Shepherdess´s last blog ..Tickler File- My office and studio – I have a strategic plan Its called doing things =-.

Carmen @ Life with Sprinkles on Top January 25, 2011 at 12:24 am

I used to watch Trading Spaces all the time and I totally remember the hay gluing episode. So dumb! They did some really weird stuff on that show.
.-= Carmen @ Life with Sprinkles on Top´s last blog ..Simple and Sweet Valentines Mantel =-.

Bridget January 25, 2011 at 12:49 am

I loved Trading Spaces! But I loved(!) the British version “Changing Rooms” which was the original show so much better! I loved that the people didn’t hold back at all. One lady once got some very modern rock fireplace held with the wire mess… In her very castle. (Yes, castle.) She said this is total crop (not a type-o)! I never laughed so hard. It still makes me laugh when I think about it now. Poor thing had to move a lot of rock to remove it all.

I have to agree with another commenter above… Candace Olsen would be the only tv designer I’d allow in my house.

Mom in High Heels January 25, 2011 at 3:29 am

Haha! I was going to comment about Changing Rooms too! I LOVED that crazy show. Lawrence was my favorite designer because he was soooooo off the wall. If he did a bedroom, there was going to be a naked person on the wall and the rest of the room looked like a bordello. Fun!
I remember the rock/wire fireplace travesty too!
.-= Mom in High Heels´s last blog ..Meta Monday- Indys Room Take 2 =-.

hookedonhouses January 25, 2011 at 7:45 am

I loved “Changing Rooms,” too!

suzyhomemaker January 25, 2011 at 4:08 pm

changing rooms was BRILLIANT… but everything with an english accent usually is! i adored lawrence!

Lisa Antoniou January 25, 2011 at 2:04 am

I have resently moved to Australia form the US and am so VERY homesick!!! I found your Blog and have just loved reading it and others you have recommended.I am renting a small three bedroom 2 bath single story town house. I love interior decorating on the cheap.It is so difficult to find fun things for the home here at a good price.There are no Ross stores, Marshalls or TJ Max…. not to mention Pier 1 or World Market! Thank you for all or any DIY decorating tips. I just love looking at the interiors of the houses on your blog, as like you I am a house freak!It has meant so much to me to find you…it helps me to get my “fix’.If you would like any of the photos of what I’ve done in my new little place “Down Under” let me know. I have before and after shots of everyroom.
Thanks again,
Lisa

hookedonhouses January 25, 2011 at 7:24 am

Sure, Lisa, I’d love to see your before and after photos!

Mom in High Heels January 25, 2011 at 3:31 am

Oh, Trading Spaces. Where bad ideas run rampant. One of the designers tried making and “outdoor” room and put a grass cover thing over the bed (as a comforter kind of thing) and really, it just looked like a cemetery with a fresh grave. Ack.

That house…wow. None of the rooms have any kind of cohesion. Weird.

Holley January 25, 2011 at 6:53 pm

And as I recall, the designer just didn’t see “cemetary” when she looked at the room.

Everyone else did though–that was horrible.
.-= Holley´s last blog ..Good Heavens! =-.

Billy January 25, 2011 at 3:40 am

Some how I always thought that if the designers didn’t like their “client” they would just think “How would Eddie Monsoon do this room?”

etta January 25, 2011 at 4:13 am

I’m speachless… what can I say… How a human being can even imagin to do this to a poor wall!!!! I can’t imagine the owner first impression!!!

Tanya January 25, 2011 at 6:54 am

I definitely remember that one, especially because of the reports of how long it took to remove the mess. I always thought Hildi was less about good design and more about spectacle. It might be why some of the other designers have shows and Hildi does not (she doesn’t right?) I can’t believe other people did the same wall “treatment”. Wow. Super interesting.
~Tanya
dans-le-townhouse.blogspot.com
.-= Tanya´s last blog ..Lovin Orange =-.

melissa January 25, 2011 at 7:20 am

Oooohhhh LOL thanks for bringing back those crazy “trading spaces” memories! I love how you connected these 3 examples of “straw” walls. Too, too funny. Goodness gracious…yeeeee haaaw

Rachel January 25, 2011 at 7:22 am

I watched it ALL THE TIME! I remember when Hildi glued fake flowers all over a bathroom wall. I felt so bad for the home owners. I think they would be sick of it after a day!

Pamela January 25, 2011 at 7:32 am

How can anyone forget the episode where they hung the dining room furniture upside down from the ceiling? That was the worst! I remember watching it and my husband and I just looked at each other like “are they serious? Do they actually think that looks good or stylish by any stretch of the imagination?” I haven’t watched the show since. At that point it seemed like it was just a gimmick at that point to see how shocking they could be.
.-= Pamela´s last blog ..Delicious Seafood Crepes =-.

Jessie January 25, 2011 at 7:33 am

I was addicted to that show too and, remember that episode. One thing I learned from all those bad ideas was to be creative but, always think about how it will look down the road too. Thank s for posting I needed a good chuckle this morning.
.-= Jessie´s last blog ..Slow Photography =-.

Rosemary January 25, 2011 at 7:44 am

Yes, I loved the show when Paige was with them. But I have to say, if I saw Doug or Hilde show up to work on my place. I would NEVER have turned my keys over! How about those wine labels Hilde glued to the kitchen walls of the preacher’s house. The one that didn’t drink alcohol. I wonder how long it took to take those down?

Karen January 25, 2011 at 8:01 am

I just looked over the listing for the house in MN since I live in the state where that one is located….for sure the kitchen seems to be in it’s own little world in that house! I would have to say that many of the rooms need some serious changes. Some can be very affordable but oh my……$250,000 is a lot for a house that needs to be brought into the new century.

Heidi Stefanc January 25, 2011 at 8:18 am

WOW… I think this poor home is confused. Every room is a different style.
I too remember this episode, the flowers in the bathroom and spray painting the furniture. Most of Hildi designs were “off the wall”. I never really liked any of her rooms but Vern’s I LOVED. His designs were do able for anyone out there to duplicate. He would listen and make it work for the home owner. It was not all about him as it was with Hildi.

Sally January 25, 2011 at 8:19 am

Trading Spaces was really all about the “shock value” in most cases, don’tcha think? I mean they couldn’t have been serious about some of those designs — like the hay (could they?) I never cared for Hildi. She always seemed to design out of spite – going so far contrary to what anyone had expressed as a “like.”
.-= Sally´s last blog ..Tuesday Randomness &amp a Sweet Shot =-.

maureen January 25, 2011 at 8:36 am

I always joked if I was on Trading Spaces and Hildy showed up at my door– I would lock it. Call it avant garde== I call it stupid– remember the wine labels on the wall of the non-drinking couple. Also, the silk flowers on the wall of a bathroom– all terribly dumb!

kim January 25, 2011 at 8:54 am

I so remember that episode!! It’s so funny you should have it here, my friend and I mentioned it just last week. Those poor people coming home to that….and let’s not forget Frank’s obsession with free-hand painting monkeys on the wall!

Becky @ Farmgirl Paints January 25, 2011 at 8:55 am

I remember that episode…I think I needed to take a breathing treatment. Made my lungs close right up. I yelled at the tv. Can’t believe a house in MN of all places did the same thing. Mercy me!

Kelly D January 25, 2011 at 9:02 am

I hated that show! I think they gave people some of the worst design ideas! And I always hated how the designers were so anti-ceiling fan. Even if the home owners begged them to leave it, the designer would take it down anyway. I do remember the hay episode though. One of the owners (or maybe their neighbor) said that the two year old would just pull the hay off the wall and Hildi was like “Then tell him to stop!” Yeah, right! Telling a two year old to stop works every time…gesh.

And the episode where the woman broke down crying over the fireplace being changed, even leaving the room to cry! I think afterward they had to fix the fireplace back. What a horrible show that was.
.-= Kelly D´s last blog ..Taking some time off…don’t worry not too much time! =-.

JoyceG January 25, 2011 at 12:43 pm

That episode with the fireplace was here in Washington State and it even made our local news. I felt so bad for the homeowner – she left the room just choking back sobs, but her microphone was still on. Paige looked like she wanted the floor to open up and just swallow her whole.
I was addicted to Trading Spaces like a lot of the other responders, but never quite understood why the designers did what they did to some of the homeowners. It was borderline cruel!

Jane January 25, 2011 at 9:07 am

I remember all of those episodes. What I could never understand (beside the bad design choices) was why they were always throwing out good furniture and making new stuff out of plywood that was poorly made like a high-school shop project? Remember Merge with Lisa Rinna? That was another tacky decorating show. But they were fun to watch!

Jane

Adrienne B January 25, 2011 at 9:29 am

Ok people, hay on the walls aside- click on the link for the photos of this house and look at the kitchen, specifically the kitchen island. Looks like someone has some blue balls….

Leslie January 25, 2011 at 9:43 am

I LOVED Trading Spaces! Talk about some drama! While I love a beautiful “before and after,” every show today seems very predictably perfect. Rooms are gorgeous, homeowners are thrilled. With Trading Spaces, you never really knew what the reaction was going to be! Good times!
.-= Leslie´s last blog ..New beginnings =-.

the 7msn ranch January 25, 2011 at 9:45 am

Could have been worse. At least she didn’t go for a literal popcorn ceiling.
.-= the 7msn ranch´s last blog ..Eat my dust =-.

Illinois Kathy January 25, 2011 at 9:48 am

What a great post! I totally remember the straw and flowers on the bathroom wall. (Cringe)Hildi was scary! I’ve noticed so many of these shows use MDF to build things. Not exactly the look I go for in my home. I agree with the other comment…the only person I’d let in my house is Candice Olesen. Genevieve’s new show is good and it looks like she’s matured as a designer, so possibly she could come over too! :)

Trish @TheOldPostRoad January 25, 2011 at 10:08 am

What a nightmare! My family would sneeze and sneeze and sniffle and sneeze some more.
-Trish
.-= Trish @TheOldPostRoad´s last blog ..A Couple of New Things =-.

Jared January 25, 2011 at 10:13 am

I miss trading spaces! I sat next to Paige Davis at a Broadway show once. If you’ve ever seen the British show Changing Rooms its the show Trading Spaces was based on. It was essentially the same, some nice rooms, some wacky rooms, but the homeowners never freaked out when the room was crazy, they just laughed it off. I always found that interesting.

Holley January 25, 2011 at 7:06 pm

You are right. Do you remember the episode on Changing Rooms where they suspended some shelving from the ceiling to display the homeowners collection of teapots?

They had just reassembled the room and left, when they heard a terrible crash. The wire holding the shelves broke and destroyed several of the teapots. The friends who decorated the room were completely devastated, but the homeowner handled the loss with a lot of grace. I think it was one of Lawrence’s rooms because I seem to remember he acted apologetic as well.

The other striking thing about Changing Rooms was that when the host became pregnant, she continued to host. I remember wondering if an American show would have allowed a pregnant host to continue.
.-= Holley´s last blog ..Good Heavens! =-.

Christine January 25, 2011 at 10:15 am

Holy cow! After reading the SFGate article, I can see why the show isn’t running anymore!
.-= Christine´s last blog ..Days Twenty Three &amp Twenty Four – Project 365 =-.

Mike January 25, 2011 at 10:17 am

I was a fan of that show for a while, until it seemed like they were trying to make people unhappy at the reveal. As if it was a badge of honor how avant-garde their design was and it was too bad the poor plebian homeowner couldn’t understand it. And I second Jane’s comment about the crappy MDF furniture they made on that show. Seriously? Go to Ikea! Or Walmart for pete’s sake!

It’s interesting to notice that the only designers from that show who have continued on HGTV are Vern Yip and Genvieve Gorder, the two whose designs were most livable.

Mike January 25, 2011 at 10:18 am

Oh, and that listing? They are clearly very proud of that horrible kitchen. It i SO out of place there.

Pat January 25, 2011 at 10:29 am

Ah, those were the good old days, I loved trading spaces!
Yesterday, I turned on Oprahs’ new network, OWN and she has “The Best Of Trading Spaces”. It shows the original program then goes back to that house they featured and see’s what it looks like 6 years later and gets the homeowners lowdown on how they felt. I like it better then the original show!
As for your featured house today..Oh my goodness! So much potential wasted, but where there’s property, there’s hope!!
.-= Pat´s last blog ..Using &amp Decorating My Kindle =-.

Cheryl Stoy January 25, 2011 at 10:48 am

Trading spaces was the bomb…but that house in Minnesota looks like a bomb went off in there and blew creativity and cohesiveness all to hell. The really bad part is the fact they have 43 pictures to show and each picture is progressively worse than the one before it. Looks like a house after a 4 day bachelor party…confused, wore out and begging for mercy.

Ricki Jill Treleaven January 25, 2011 at 10:58 am

I remember when Hildi did that. I felt so sorry for the homeowners! That listing is certainly unique. The kitchen is straight out of the Jetson’s. I was expecting to see Rosie the robotic maid brewing coffee or something….WTH??????

This is a fun post, Julia!

PS Do you remember when Genevieve painting the giant foot on the living room wall, and the homeowner had a foot phobia???? LOL…. I still like Changing Rooms on BBC America better than Trading Spaces…..
.-= Ricki Jill Treleaven´s last blog ..Shelleys Bedroom Re-do =-.

April January 25, 2011 at 10:59 am

I think we all shuddered when the straw was put on the walls on Trading Spaces. It was awful.
.-= April´s last blog ..Black Swan =-.

Dawn January 25, 2011 at 11:03 am

I remember the hay episode as well as the flowers, records and wine labels. Horrifying. I think hands down the worst idea was when they wanted to bring in a load of sand as “flooring” in a basement room that had a walk out to the backyard. I don’t remember if they actually went thru with that one though. I also remember them tossing out fairly decent sofas and replacing them with twin mattresses set on a plywood frame. Not only tacky but uncomfortable!

Steve January 25, 2011 at 11:06 am

Does anyone remember how the designers on that show HATED ceiling fans?? They always yanked them out. And the WORST episode I recall was when they did two guys’ room entirely in black, and the neighbors’ entirely in white. Totally insane, and the poor gents who were stuck with the depressing black room were mortified.

Marie January 25, 2011 at 11:11 am

After watching only a few shows many years ago, I can safely say I would never let the Trading Spaces crew into my house. I may have bad remodling ideas, but I’m sure not going to let my goofy neighbors and a crazy decorator I don’t even know ruin my house and profit from it on national TV.

Anne January 25, 2011 at 11:25 am

I had forgotten about that! What about when she covered that wall with fake flowers? My mom and I used to love watching that show – the crazier the room, the better! I loved seeing the reactions. :)

Ann January 25, 2011 at 11:37 am

Regarding the house in MN the straw on the walls* and the “fluid” blue island aren’t the worst of it in my opinion. It’s all the dark wood and chopped up nature of the floor plan. This is a prime example of “it’s fine to build whatever house you want, just don’t consider it an investment.”
*Were they trying to look like plaster/straw that is found in some very old, maybe European houses (or am I imagining such a thing?)

deb January 25, 2011 at 12:09 pm

I remember the awful episode when I think it was Hilda stapled (!) thousands of fake flowers to a bathroom. Awful. Absolutely awful.

Nichole January 25, 2011 at 12:29 pm

Julia,
It’s so funny that you brought up Trading Spaces today, since your post about Highclere Castle made me think about it yesterday. I could swear that one of the cottages at Highclere was on the original show in Britain. And possibly a room in the actual castle or somewhere else on the grounds. But I can’t find any evidence of my delusion! :)
.-= Nichole´s last blog ..Fat Tuesday Volume IV- Fashion Edition =-.

Cori @WhereYouHangYourHeart.com January 25, 2011 at 12:40 pm

Oh my! That brings back memories!! Doug and Hilde were definitely the craziest designers! I can’t imagine anyone wanting to have their homes destroyed on national television! And why, oh why would anyone copy the straw “technique,” and put it on their ceiling of all places…. That’s just craziness.
.-= Cori @WhereYouHangYourHeart.com´s last blog ..An Exploration of the Color of the Year =-.

Amy January 25, 2011 at 1:01 pm

I remember all of these episodes. Awful!! But what about when Hilde nailed empty paint cans on the entire ceiling? There was another female designer who was even worse. All of her designs looked like bad 80’s decor. And Frank? Every time I saw him start a craft I went screaming from the room. I actually liked Laurie Smith. She always used stylish and tasteful fabrics and seemed to actually care about delivering a quality project.

Alycia January 25, 2011 at 1:13 pm

Hildi was the most annoying. She thought she was the bee’s knee’s, but psssh. She destroyed so many homes. You know damn well she wouldn’t be doing that to her own home and that’s how any designer should think. Would you pay $15,000 for a sofa? No? Then your client probably won’t, either. Would you paste Care Bears to a wall? No? Then your client probably won’t, either.

I know it was TV and most of those stunts were to bring in the the ratings, but that stuff wasn’t right. I wouldn’t do it to my clients.
.-= Alycia´s last blog ..Learn Exactly How to Develop a Design Project Budget =-.

Ms. Childfree Chic January 25, 2011 at 1:15 pm

I have a feeling that hay was used to try to disguise/improve some popcorn ceilings. Alas, I think it only made it worse. :-( The only true remedy for that stuff is good old-fashioned elbow grease; scrape it off! I had popcorn ceilings and hated them, too, and was always trying to think of ways to disguise it: tin ceilings or beadboard. However, hay spackle never entered my mind, and I finally resorted to scraping and smoothing them.

I wonder if those homeowners really were inspired by Trading Spaces and Hildi?!
.-= Ms. Childfree Chic´s last blog ..Shopping- Discount Stuff =-.

Brooke January 25, 2011 at 1:19 pm

When I bought my house almost 5 years ago I was shocked to see what the previous owner had done to the walls along the stairs to the basement…she glued hay to them, but not quite to the extent of the above mentioned people. I thought it was ugly. My dad thought it was kind of cool. Ummm…okay dad. Anyway I haven’t removed it yet as I’ve been busy tackling other house remodeling/decorating projects and I must say that hay has saved me from severe injury at least 4 times. Sometimes I get in a big rush as I head to the basement to grab something and my feet get ahead of me and I start to fall. Instinct is to reach out to the wall to stop myself from falling and…get this…the hay has saved me by giving me something to kind of create traction with (otherwise my hand would just slide and down I would go). Whew! Falling down cement stairs is not my idea of fun. Maybe I just need to slow down. :)
.-= Brooke´s last blog ..Best-Ever Carrot Cake =-.

Christy January 25, 2011 at 1:36 pm

WOW! Thats pretty bad… the entire place is pretty..um unique (?) Funnier- Its right down the road from me haha
.-= Christy´s last blog ..Goodreads 2011 Reading Challenge =-.

Nicole M. January 25, 2011 at 2:27 pm

And I thought the glitter that I found under thirteen layers of paint (not kidding) was bad.

Mopsy January 25, 2011 at 3:08 pm

The episode where the two female neighbors got into a hair-pulling fistfight stands out to me: the one had said, “No matter what else, do NOT paint anything BROWN”, and the entire living room was a deep, dark chocolate brown! That episode and the “grave”bed in the attic were memorable! That’s when I decided my time was more valuable than watching that stuff.

the cape on the corner January 25, 2011 at 3:27 pm

oh my goodness, why? why do the realtors think this a selling point makes, with their promo of “if you’re tired of the same old houses…” i’ll stick with same old if this is the alternative!
.-= the cape on the corner´s last blog ..Sundays Partying Down =-.

Bre January 25, 2011 at 4:16 pm

Oh my! I DO remember that episode! It’s funny how truly horrendous things get seared into your memory forever. I can’t believe a homeowner saw that episode and went for it full force. Wow. Turns out hay isn’t for horses after all! :-P
.-= Bre´s last blog ..Double Time =-.

Hailey Erickson January 25, 2011 at 4:27 pm

Do you remember Doug’s ‘Train’ themed room?! That was in my opinion the worst TLC Trading Spaces room ever! If you find a picture or a video you should definitely post that one too!
.-= Hailey Erickson´s last blog ..And Now…The Muffins =-.

cbean January 25, 2011 at 4:40 pm

My nephew was on Trading Spaces. They took his lovely family room and removed the totally pleasing mantle off the fireplace and replaced it with a boxy new built-in. It was clunky and unatractive.
Then they attached a cheap burlap material to the walls. It was hideous.

The designers were so unpleasant and egotistical. I don’t miss the show at all.

p.s. you’ve probably guessed my nephew and his wife have long since re-done the room

Kim January 25, 2011 at 5:00 pm

I totally forgot about Trading Spaces. The designers always did such a bad job, that they made me laugh.

One episode of trading spaces I remember, was when they painted a family or livingroom all black. It was so bad it looked like a rock artist lived there. At least the paint was easy to paint over.

I have never been a fan of design shows because alot them, (especially on HGTV) don’t do that great of designs jobs sometimes. That’s why I wouldn’t want any of them to come to my house except for Candice Olson. She’s an actual interior designer that knows what she’s doing and her spaces look nice.

Good luck with the homeowners for selling their house.

angela | the painted house January 25, 2011 at 5:20 pm

Ahh, Trading Spaces. I loved watching that show…like watching a train wreck. To this day hubby and I still quote one of the hillbilly homeowners on his reveal, “totally dope!” We rewound it over and over…totally dope, totally dope, totally dope! :)
.-= angela | the painted house´s last blog ..Imma Be Stenciling =-.

Hannah @ MiniMe Paperdolls January 25, 2011 at 5:43 pm

I’m sure someone has already mentioned this but I didn’t have time to read the other comments so I didn’t want to take the chance of it not being mentioned but I remember when Hildi made a “beach” out of a living room…complete with sand all over the floors…HORRID! I felt so sorry for the home owners. She was my least favorite.
.-= Hannah @ MiniMe Paperdolls´s last blog ..CD with PDF Files – 250 =-.

Teri January 25, 2011 at 6:23 pm

I can’t believe no one mentioned the bedroom in which Hilde hot glued feathers to every wall! Can you imagine the dust?!! I was shrieking. It was so tacky!

Handy Man, Crafty Woman January 25, 2011 at 6:36 pm

OH my gosh, I had forgotten about that show! YES I remember the hay, and yes I remember the “jail cell” looking room. YUCK!

I agree with one of the previous commenters; it’s like the show used to be fun and creative at first; but then it turned into “How much can we shock the homeowners?”
.-= Handy Man, Crafty Woman´s last blog ..Boy Card for a Baby Shower =-.

Tami January 25, 2011 at 7:37 pm

If you click on the “Rooms” tab, you can view pictures of some of her designs:

http://www.hildi.com/main.html

Melissa January 26, 2011 at 1:30 pm

I looked at some of those pics and I think she is actually PROUD of them!! Unbelievable! She lives in a fantasy world.

Me January 25, 2011 at 7:59 pm

OMG! Hildi has pics of some of those heinous rooms on her website! http://www.hildi.com. Whoa.

Jenny January 25, 2011 at 9:21 pm

LOL, I so remember that episode. I used to love watching the show, but I would get so mad, because there is no way those people could call themselves designers! Real designers design for the person in the house, not themselves!

I can’t imagine how annoying it would have been to put straw on the ceiling!
.-= Jenny´s last blog ..Homeschool Weekly Review =-.

Jenny January 25, 2011 at 9:24 pm

What the? I just looked at the pics and you were right…that kitchen doesn’t even belong in the same zip code as that house! LOL
.-= Jenny´s last blog ..Homeschool Weekly Review =-.

Date Girl January 25, 2011 at 9:51 pm

hahaha, oh Hildi was by far the worst designer. I can’t remember which episode it was, but there is one where the homeowner starts crying and then says, “You will change this back NOW.” I laughed so hard! Trading Spaces never did a good job. It was like what not to do in home design. The only good part of that show was Ty when he’d take his shirt off. Yum.
.-= Date Girl´s last blog ..Post It Note Tuesday-Is it Friday Yet =-.

Tara @ Tara Being Tara January 25, 2011 at 11:34 pm

Remember when she made a beach inspired room – WITH ACTUAL SAND ON THE GROUND?!?!? I bet that homeowner was way more pissed than the straw walls people!
.-= Tara @ Tara Being Tara´s last blog ..Wedding Accessories =-.

Emily January 26, 2011 at 12:15 am

Oh yes…the lovely hay episode. I was shocked, which was probably her purpose! I remember the paint cans, the sand on the floor, flowers in the bathroom and jail cell and I remember thinking “I’m glad I’m not the homeowner!”

My favorite designers were Laurie, Vern and Gen (more so now than then!)

As for this house…it has an identity problem. Countryesque living room and an ultra modern kitchen…I’m no expert but it just doesn’t go well together!
.-= Emily´s last blog ..When all else fails =-.

Destiny January 26, 2011 at 12:40 am

I could never, never have been on Trading Spaces, but I also never, never missed an episode. I’m not quite sure what that says about me…

Remember the episode where Genevieve made art for a kitchen out of meat? Or … the episode where Hildi put wine labels all over the the kitchen of a pastor.

Bad taste + good ratings = Trading Spaces.

Destiny January 26, 2011 at 12:45 am

P.S. Last week I saw that they are re-airing episodes of TS on OWN — with a new twist. Paige Davis was revisiting homes and doing before (how TS left the room) and afters (how it looks today.) Paige looks great and as much as I enjoyed watching (like a train wreck) TS back in the day, I found it just plain painful now.

Katherine @ Grass Stains January 26, 2011 at 1:06 am

Julia, I was one of Trading Spaces’ (and Paige’s) biggest fans, and I even read all the books about the show (as well as Paige’s book). I remember probably every single episode! I was just devastated when they let Paige go, and then more devastated when they brought her back and ratings were terrible. Not her fault, in my opinion.

I couldn’t stand Hildi, and my favorite designer was always Laurie Hickson-Smith. Oh girrrrrrrl, I could just go on and on, so I’d better stop now. Trading Spaces FTW! ;)
.-= Katherine @ Grass Stains´s last blog ..In which you decide I must have one foot in the grave =-.

Josanne January 26, 2011 at 1:48 am

I’ve never seen trading places-did they destroy people’s rooms on purpose? Who would agree to that? =(
As far as your Montana home for sale link, it’s funny that several things in that home resemble my own home! Hope that doesn’t make my house sound tacky! I get lots of compliments on my light sage green walls in the dining room, my bright red couch set in the family room, and my livingroom furniture, that is the same style as theirs-kinda. Plus my daughter has a bright blue room. =)
.-= Josanne´s last blog ..New Challenges For January 25-30 =-.

Maaike Quinn @ Life with FlyLady January 26, 2011 at 5:30 am

This is insane. We do have a Dutch version of that TV show by the way. Funny to watch, although I sometimes hated what they did to some of the houses. I could only think about how much work it would be to undo the damage. And most of the time it wasn’t even that funny. I remember one episode where they turned a living room into a horse stable. They put in a horse! A real one! Insane. Don’t know what else to say.
.-= Maaike Quinn @ Life with FlyLady´s last blog ..HomeRoutines- My favorite to do list app for my iPhone =-.

Jess January 26, 2011 at 9:41 am

In its heyday, I used to be a “Trading Spaces” junkie and would be appalled by what the designers (especially Hildi) sometimes did to people’s homes. But the more I watched the show, the more I appreciated the designers.

Almost every house featured on the show was new, big and beautiful (although sometimes boring) to start with. The homeowners probably could have afforded to HIRE a professional designer to redecorate their homes, and they would have had input into design decisions. But they didn’t. Instead, they opted to sign up for a TV show and have professional designers have their way with the homes at no cost. I say it was fair game.

Jess January 26, 2011 at 9:45 am

Haha. No pun intended with the “hey”day. :)

Rhonda January 27, 2011 at 3:09 pm

Does anyone remember when one designer filled a trundle bed in a child’s room with sand? An indoor sandbox! I think the child was young too (3?). What a nightmare.

Jennifer January 29, 2011 at 1:37 am

Everyone’s mentioned some of the classics — the best of Trading Spaces. But… I can’t believe no one had mentioned Crying Pam! Doug covered her brick fireplace with a faux surround of wood. Naturally the fireplace was the one item that she begged them not to touch!

Juju at Tales of Whimsy January 29, 2011 at 3:02 pm

Eeeek! I remember that crazy chica. I remember when she did a wall of records. It was pretty but the damage was extreme.

sandy January 31, 2011 at 4:25 pm

I remember her so well, and I remember this episode. I swear she (along with Doug and Genevieve) had an evil streak a mile wide, although it was high entertainment. I watch Design Star and Genevieve’s critiques sometimes make me chuckle, considering some of the hot messes I’d seen her come up with on TS.

Tanya February 4, 2011 at 2:24 pm

I found this sight through Less Than Perfect Life of Bliss and this post cracked me up. I used to watch with my sister when she teleworked from home! The one where Hildi put the cardboard on the walls was here in metro Atlanta. The fire chief made Trading Spaces remove it as it was a fire hazard.

Claudia February 12, 2011 at 11:49 pm

I remember 1 Trading Spaces episode when Doug turned a very nice family’s living room into a movie watching space complete with stadium seating. As I recall all the walls were hung with ugly cheap brown fabric. At the reveal you could tell the homeowners could hardly wait for the cameras to leave so they could start tearing that crap out.

Denise McCarther February 18, 2011 at 11:11 pm

Ok, the house in Minnesota…I went to the listing site, the backyard reminds me of where the guy put the bodies in the wood chipper in the movie “Fargo”. I am speechless.

Ana April 2, 2011 at 4:12 am

I loved watching Trading Spaces with my mom, we would laugh at the outrageous things they did. Althgou, I felt sad for the homeowners who had to come home to an ugly room and Doug made me want to throw something through the television! I can’t believe he lasted for so long on that show. I liked the kitchen in the Minnesota house. It was the only one that looked clean!

Ana April 2, 2011 at 4:13 am

ugh…*Although

colleen May 15, 2011 at 9:36 am

My “jump the shark” moment for TS came when they brought in that designer with the SHORT hair (I don’t recall her name) and she put a wallpaper border up in EVERY room she designed!!! OMG, she missed the boat by about 2 decades. Could. not. watch. if she was the designer that night!

Jada June 5, 2011 at 12:44 pm

I just found your site and I LOVE it!
I can’t remember if it was Trading Spaces or not but I seem to remember an episode of an HGTV show long ago where a designer glued pennies to the walls. I felt so terrible for the owners.

Lisa June 8, 2011 at 1:13 am

Yikes! The house in Minnesota sold in March….maybe one of your readers was won over by the “lovely” pictures?? lol

Kris September 6, 2011 at 6:51 pm

When my husband was in Anchorage Alaska looking for a house for our family, our real estate agent took him to an upscale neighborhood (out of our price range) ‘just to show him’ and the house they walked into had a whole family room with hay on the walls. Both he (who often watched trading spaces with me and saw the Hildi episode) and the real estate agent both yelled out “HILDI!” and promptly left the property. Makes me laugh even thinking about it!
K.

Jan Duello September 13, 2011 at 7:18 am

The worst “Trading Spaces” that I remember was when Hildi (I believe) glued artificial flowers to every square inch of the walls in a master bathroom! I couldn’t imagine what the combination of humidity and dust would do to that in no time!

Barbara Boucher January 2, 2012 at 7:07 pm

I remember an episode where they glued feathers to the wall! What were they thinking? NOT!

madonnaearth January 17, 2012 at 12:07 pm

I think even worse looking than the straw episode was when Genevieve Gorder glued moss to one couple’s walls, against the vociferous objections of the people who she was supposed to be helping. That was just wrong. Doug was crazy that way too.

In third was Heidi (again) when she glued wine labels as wallpaper on a house where I think the people who lived there were Christians against drinking.

Sometimes they got it right though.

Nica May 19, 2012 at 8:32 am

I remember thinking that if I was ever on that show I would just die if I had Heidi! There was also a designer—I forget her name, which is bad because she’s from my home town—who painted the kitchen appliances black! Not a nice glossy black either. I loved that show and felt bad for the owners who got really bad designs. But I guess that was the risk. My husband and I were on a green renovation show a few years ago. I have to say that it was a great experience. The host really knew his stuff and did a lot of work himself.

Alison May 21, 2012 at 11:59 am

This blog and the comments are so funny! I remember so many of these episodes. I’m surprised nobody has mentioned Doug’s living room redo into a movie theater. The entire room was a cheap movie theater. The room had actual movie seats and stairs to get to the different rows. I always thought that was the cruelest and most impractical redo of all. I remember my husband saying “Well that’s convenient. I want to have a conversation with my family and friends. Should we sit in the first row or the last?”

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