''Trading Spaces''' Ty hammers down some new gigs
Sure he’s good with a hammer, but the man People magazine declared one of the Top 50 bachelors of 2002 is in demand for more than his carpentry skills. The 37-year-old self-described single-guy has been with the Learning Channel’s home renovation program ”Trading Spaces” (Sat. 9 p.m.) since its start in 2000. With an average of 15 million viewers tuning in every week, it wasn’t long before Hollywood came calling for the former Abercrombie & Fitch model.
Starting early next year, Pennington will host a new game show on Fox, ”Exhausted,” and he’s also working on a how-to book. (Don’t worry, ladies: He’s not leaving ”Trading Spaces.”) EW.com chatted up the charming carpenter, who told us about the show, the furnishings in his house, and how you can have a piece of Ty (from his furniture company, that is).
Tell us about ”Exhausted.”
We’re putting people in these situations where they’re completely sleep-deprived and we’re making them take on driving courses, battle each other with fire hoses, and walk across catwalks in pajamas… blindfolded. They start with eight contestants and the last one standing at the end of however many hours it takes will win $1,000 an hour. It’s pretty hilarious what people will do to stay awake: This one guy was dancing all night. Let me tell you, people get a little cranky when they’ve been up for that long.
You’re also working on a how-to book. What’s the first rule? Always go shirtless when operating a table saw?
[Laughs] You can do a lot of things yourself and not have to spend as much money as you would’ve thought. I’ve done things like make lights in my kitchen out of plungers. I built a coin pond fountain. And I used these huge slate shingles that some people in a nicer neighborhood were throwing out. I loaded them up in my van and took them home. And half the book will be for if you have to hire someone like an electrician — things to ask him. As for a title, it’s probably going to end up being something like ”How to Build a Champagne House on a Beer Budget,” because that’s basically what I’m all about. Or, maybe, ”Don’t Screw Yourself” — that’s kind of nice. It’ll have a lot of sexual undertones. I have to go with the sexual undertones.
I imagine your website has people e-mailing you for reasons other than home furnishings.
Let’s just say I get a lot of e-mails. I get some that are, like, ”Hey Ty, take a look at THIS tool.” And those are from men, but let’s not go there. I also get some really sweet ones from young girls that are, like, ”Ty, I think you’re hot.” I sell a lot of my furniture on my website as well. The show [has a] $1,000 [limit], and people don’t realize a custom-built entertainment center is gonna be around $3,500-5,000, and that’s cheap, actually. So I build a lot of smaller things like incense burners and candleholders for people who can’t afford a big piece of furniture.