The original run of “Trading Spaces” hit me right when I was old enough to know ugly from non-ugly and right when I was old enough to be moving out of my parents’ home and into my own space. Of course, I fell prey to a few design elements I had learned on “Trading Spaces”– slipcovers, tons of cheaply painted things and too many framed knick-knacks for one person to own. Luckily, I never tried to incorporate any of Hildi Santos-Tomas’ designs into my life, because as the classic “Mean Girls” quote goes, “she’s a life-ruiner. She ruins people’s lives,” or at least their living rooms.
During the original run of “the mother of all design shows,” Hildi was the designer responsible for gluing hay/straw onto walls, stapling 6,000 flowers onto the walls of one bathroom and covering one basement floor in sand. Hildi takes a theme to a place even “Rain Forest Cafe” would never dare to go.
Because Hildi is so one-dimensional to her multi-dimensional designs, I was surprised that she was chosen as one of the designers for the premiere of the “Trading Spaces” reboot. I was not surprised to see that she took a piece of fabric, called it a deconstructed penguin and then asked the participants to become professional painters in a short period of time and throw together a room that looked like someone with “an eye for design” designed, but maybe they actually have blurry vision. The design was extreme at best and functional as a paint-by-numbers disaster at worst.
At one point, to make a piece of art for the room, Hildi got on a bike with Ty Carpenter and rode the bikes through paint and over a bed sheet. Then, Hildi fell off the bike. She was wearing heels.
The homeowners weren’t that into Hildi’s design, though the Murphy bed does make the room much more functional for everyday use. At some point, whoever sleeps in this room is going to realize every line is crooked and go insane. And I hope they show that during a season recap.