I’ll confess. I’m addicted to TLC’s show Trading Spaces. I watch it
obsessively—even though I live in an apartment, and I can’t imagine what my landlord
would do if I attempted to cover the living room walls in, say, plastic flowers.
For those of you who don’t know the rules of the show, they’re simple.
Two teams of homeowners switch homes for two days. Each team gets a designer and a
thousand dollars (and a carpenter to share), which they use to renovate and redesign one
room in their friends’ home. After two days, the homeowners go back to their own home to
see their new room—which often brings them to tears (sometimes tears of joy, other times
tears of shock and horror).
But if I have to explain the show to you, the
book isn’t for you. Trading Spaces Behind the Scenes is a book for the hardcore
Trading Spaces fan—for the obsessed viewer who knows the designers on the show
like they know their best friends. People who know how to use the word “tchotchke” in a
sentence. People who often find themselves sitting up until all hours of the night,
waiting to see what that lady is going to do when she finds out that Doug painted her
living room brown.
Behind the Scenes is a coffee table book filled
with bright, glossy pictures of the stars of the show—host Paige Davis (whose real name,
incidentally, is Mindy Paige Davis Page), the designers, and the carpenters—and their
favorite rooms. It gives inside information about the things that viewers don’t see on
the show—the preparation and extra work that goes on behind the scenes—and it tells how
the designers ended up in front of the camera. It also includes a few decorating tips—to
make you feel like you’re reading it for the tips instead of for the gossip about your
favorite design superstars.
If you’re a fan of Trading Spaces,
Behind the Scenes will be a fascinating read. I sat down and read it from cover
to cover, excited to get the inside scoop on the show. But unless you’re a real die-hard
fan (one who would use the episode guide in the back of the book to keep track of your
reactions to each design from the first three seasons)—or unless you’d like to use the
pictures in the book to inspire your own room redo—it might just be a good book to pick
up from the library.