Foot fetishist fans and controversial fireplace reveals: 'Trading Spaces' stars swap behind-the-scenes stories

Mandi Bierly
Deputy Editor, Yahoo Entertainment

It’s been 10 years since we last saw TLC’s hit home makeover show Trading Spaces, but the series that launched an entire TV genre is back Saturday night and better than ever. The format remains the same: Neighbors redecorate a room in each other’s homes with the help of the show’s team of designers and carpenters. Should you not remember just how popular the show was back in the 2000s, all you have to do is hear returning designer Genevieve Gorder — who’s known for taking off her shoes when she’s redecorating so she doesn’t ruin her kicks — recount her old fan mail from foot fetishists.

“[I’ve had] a file, a manila folder, in my house from 2000 on that said, ‘If I die, it’s one of these guys,'” she told us during a Build Series NYC interview. “There were a lot of foot fetish people writing — mind you, because there wasn’t social media — like, single-spaced letters that would be 10 pages, and I’m like, ‘How much time did that take and what were you doing while you did that?’ It would be the Barefoot Association of America — there is one. There’s something called, like, Toe Ringers. And they show up at my events barefoot like I should know them, too, like, ‘G!’, you know, in the back, and I’m, like, obviously wearing shoes. Bizarre underworld I had no idea [about]. But I have soccer feet; my second toe is longer — there is nothing beautiful about my feet. However, they have their own websites all over the place.”

Fellow returning designer Doug Wilson — who appears in the April 7 premiere along with the always polarizing designer Hildi Santo Tomás, cheery host Paige Davis, and carpenters Ty Pennington and Carter Oosterhouse — is looking forward to the show airing in the age of Twitter. While he used to have to rely on his fans to defend his more divisive designs in chat rooms, he’ll now be able to explain them himself.

He says one of his designs in the new season can’t even win over the open-minded Davis, but she did have his back when we brought up the original series’ most infamous reveal — “Crying Pam.”

Homeowner Pam had asked her neighbors, who were redoing her family room with Wilson, to keep him from touching the brick around her fireplace. And he didn’t; he just covered it with a facade. Viewing the redone room for the first time, Pam asked to leave the room — but because she had her mic on, viewers could still hear her crying.

Davis says homeowners are allowed to tell the show if there are certain things in their rooms they want to preserve. “She wanted to protect that brick, so when she opened her eyes and saw that, to her eyes, that brick was gone — [it was] completely safe underneath — she was so angry that she actually thought we had broken the contract. That’s why she says, ‘You guys are gonna be fixin’ that in a little bit.’ But we didn’t. We actually didn’t break the contract. … And we didn’t fix it. And she was taking it down while we were still packing up cameras,” Davis says. “And if she had just slept on it. … I always wish she would have just slept on it.”

According to Wilson, there are situations like this in the new season, but with happier endings. “They don’t like it when we see the reveal, then all the sudden the next day when all the camera crews are out and all the lights are gone, they can see this room takes on a new new experience,” he says.

So that leaves the big question: Have homeowners ever stopped being friends with their neighbors after doing the show together? Davis only knows of that happening once. Watch the full interview below for that story and more.

TLC will air a 24-hour marathon of classic Trading Spaces episodes starting Friday at 6 p.m., leading into a two-hour reunion special Saturday at 6 p.m., followed by the season premiere at 8 p.m.

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