Meet ''Trading Spaces''' hunky new handyman. Carter Oosterhouse says he doesn't have time to think about being a sex symbol

By Liane Bonin
Updated August 11, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT

Trading Spaces

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Handy Guy Ty, look out: Another hammer-wielding heartthrob is joining ”Trading Spaces.” Carpenter Carter Oosterhouse, who began appearing on ”Trading Spaces: Family” in July, will add the original series to his workload this Sept. talked to Oosterhouse, 26, about being the new cutie in town (yes, he’s single), surviving his gig as a production assistant on ”Project Greenlight,” and why he’ll never mind a designer meltdown.

How did you get cast on both ”Trading Spaces” series?
I actually went out for another show called ”Clean Sweep.” I got the job, but the network [TLC] had seen my tape and wanted to bump me over to ”Trading Spaces.” I thought, ”Great, this couldn’t be better!” But the catch was, I had to start the audition process with them from square one. It was frustrating. I kept thinking, God, I could have gotten at least one show, and now there’s a chance I may not get anything. But it worked out.

As the new kid on ”Trading Spaces,” did you get any good advice?
Frank [Bielec] told me, ”If you really love what you’re doing, you’ll never have to work another day in your life.” And I love carpentry, I love working with kids, and I love the fact that I’m on camera doing something I’ve always wanted to do.

Have you had to deal with any ”Spaces” meltdowns yet? Those designers can get pretty cranky.
I’m a laid back person, and I think that’s why I was cast — to bring another type of attitude to the show. I’ve only taped a handful of episodes so far, so I’m just having a blast. They can say, ”Carter, you’re going to be building this for 24 hours straight!” And I’ll say, ”Okay, I’ll do it, no problem.”

You got your first job as a carpenter at age 11. Is your hometown of Traverse City, MI, a lot looser on child labor laws or what?
It was little kid stuff for my neighbor. I was running around, picking up trash, getting him wood, maybe taking a measurement here or there. But being a carpenter looked so fun, getting to wear the tool belt and the hammer and pounding nails, I was just enthralled. It was a big step up from my first job, sorting bottles.

Since Ty’s become a sex symbol, are you ready to follow suit?
Honestly, I don’t think about it that much. I wish I could think about it more, but I don’t have time.

You worked as a production assistant on the first season of ”Project Greenlight.” What effect did that experience have on you?
Really, it fueled the fire for me wanting to be involved in TV. I learned so much. I read scripts, worked as a grip, and helped out in post production. Now when someone says, ”We’ve got to loop this,” I’m like, I totally know what you’re talking about! And it definitely made me understand that things may not come out the way you expect in the final product.

You seem to be working hard on the show. Is it really that much fun?

I love the traveling. I’m single, so I’m not upsetting anyone by not being home. Even though we have to get to work right away, we do get time to see the city we’re in when they’re shooting the intro for the episode. When we were in Louisville we were able to go to Churchill Downs and mess around with the horses and make a bat at the Louisville Slugger Museum. The only drawback is that since I’ve started the show, everybody has said, ”Hey Carter, can you build me that thing you made on the show last week?” There’s no shortage of people asking me to do something for them.

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Trading Spaces

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