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.
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' 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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.