Where’d He Go?
After nine years on the air, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition was canceled in 2012. The reason why you have not heard from Ty Pennington is going to surprise you. To fully understand what happened, we have to look at his childhood….
Ty Pennington’s childhood was a mess, especially when it came to school. “I was so out of control that I spent most of the time in the hallway or in detention,” Ty admitted. In a case of a funny coincidence, Ty’s mother was studying to be a child psychologist and was sent to observe the “worst kid” in the school. At first, the administration warned her, saying, “Mrs. Pennington, you really don’t want to know who that is.” She was shocked Ty was the troublemaker in question.
They Tried Everything
When Ty’s mother observed him in class, he had no idea he was being watched, so he acted like himself. “Within 30 minutes, I was wearing my desk. I swung to the blinds, I climbed out the windows, I ran around naked, I slapped Johnny in the back of the head,” Pennington divulged. The teachers had no idea what to do with him, so, “they put [him] on antihistamines to … make [him] drowsy. They tried everything.” A key piece of the puzzle emerged when he was in college.
A Helpful Diagnosis
When Ty got to college, he finally got a helpful diagnosis that explained his wild behavior: ADHD, which stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. “ADHD hurts your confidence. You feel like you really can’t succeed because you don’t make good grades, you’re always out in the hallway so you don’t really fit in as a member of the class,” Ty said, and “that really kind of affects you later in life, especially when you’re trying to get a job and your confidence level is low.”
Fears He’d Hurt Himself
It was a tough childhood, as back then in the mid-1970s, “they didn’t even know what to call [ADHD].” Modern therapies and drugs simply did not exist, so doctors prescribed him antihistamines, which are generally meant for allergies! They figured that the allergy drugs would, “make [him] drowsy.” Ty was so hyperactive and wild that people were, “afraid [he was] going to hurt yourself from just mowing the lawn.” In an ironic twist, Ty, “ended up working with power tools … and still [has] all [his] digits.”
One Saving Grace
Since Ty was a boy, despite his issues in school, he showed ability when it came to woodworking. In fact, at the ripe young age of 12, despite not having any tools in his house, he managed to build a three-story tree house. It all started when his mom said: “I’m really glad you’re creative, but … take it outside.” To get his hands on some tools, he “trad[ed] comics with all the kids in the neighborhood [for tools],” in a clever arrangement he called pulling a “Tom Sawyer.”
A Simple Carpenter
Eventually, Ty’s mother’s command to take his creative (and destructive) personality outside the house led him to become very interested in working with his hands. By doing various small projects, Ty learned the tools of the trade when it came to woodworking, and also in home improvement. His interest in home improvement grew enough that Ty eventually labeled himself a “jack of all trades.” He got good enough at carpentry to support himself through his college degree at the Art Institute of Atlanta.
An Uncertain Future
Ty had an issue that many have to face. Even with a college degree, he did not know how he was going to make enough money to support himself. His destiny was to work with his hands and three-dimensional structures; even as a kid he knew, “the only way [he] would calm down is when [he] was drawing or putting a jigsaw puzzle together.” It was “a challenge,” as Ty knew he was, “pretty creative at certain things, but how do you turn it into a vocation?”
During his last semester of college, Pennington’s life was changed drastically by someone who made him an offer he could not refuse. This mystery person was a modeling scout, who told Ty he could make money off his dashing looks. He appeared in TV commercials for huge brands like Levi’s, Diet Coke, and Macy’s. In magazines and newspapers, he represented Sprite, J.Crew, and Swatch. That was not all- he also got to reside in amazing places, due to the demands of the job, like Japan, Italy, and Germany.
Transition To Showbusiness
How did Ty Pennington, the carpenter-turned-model, become the host of a huge TV show? He first dabbled in show business behind the camera, as a set designer for the hit Nicholas Cage movie Leaving Las Vegas. In front of the camera, he starred in the independent film The Adventures of Ociee Nash, which got mixed reviews. Ty also was on the small screen, playing a guest role on the show Wild Card, a show that lasted just two seasons. His breakthrough role was as himself, though.
Ty Pennington’s first big break came when he was on the TLC show Trading Spaces. The idea was that neighbors could go into each others’ houses and re-design one room with help from the crew of the show. Ty was a perfect fit for the show, as he was exactly what was needed- a carpenter that knew what he was doing when it came to woodwork, but also could be eye candy for the viewers. Ty’s sense of humor and energy led to a spin-off of sorts.
Too Many Tears
There was one major issue that Ty had when he was a carpenter on Trading Spaces. Although he enjoyed the fact that he could be his silly self, he found the show “interesting because sometimes people would cry.” However, he felt that the tears were “for the wrong reasons.” Families on the show would hate what their neighbors had done, and the network loved it because they, “got great shock value and a good reaction.” However, Ty, “wanted to do a show that was more … positive.”
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
ABC put together a show that was meant to only be a 13-part, one-time special, called Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Since they liked the spunky, zany, energy that Pennington gave off on Trading Spaces, they gave him the starring role in the life-altering show. The show is very emotional for a reality show, as deserving families in need have their lives totally transformed by houses that are built over just one week. The show was going well, and then Ty had an incident in 2007.
Under The Influence
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition was going well, but on May 5th, 2007, Ty was arrested by the Los Angeles County Sheriffs in the wee hours in the morning, and he was charged with drunk driving. Pennington posted $5000 bail, and released a statement saying, “We all make mistakes; however, this is about accountability. Under no circumstances should anyone consume alcohol while driving. I could have jeopardized the lives of others and I am grateful there was no accident or harm done to anyone. This was my wake-up call.”
Apologies To The Network
As the host of Extreme Makeover, Ty had to address his blunder to his fans, but also to the network that had so graciously put him on the air. “I also want to apologize to my fans, ABC Television and my design team for my lapse in judgment and the embarrassment I have caused.” Luckily, the show was able to continue for another six years after this incident. Ty had three months of alcohol education, three years of probation, and a fine to pay for his crime.
One thing about Ty that might have caused his “lapse in judgment” is the stress of working on endless projects. Ty is a self-described “control freak.” Ty admits: “I wish I could say I’ll have somebody else do it for me but I can’t. It’s great in theory but it’s always better when you do it yourself.” Pennington’s rationale makes sense: “I’m aware how lucky I am to have these opportunities so I don’t waste them by letting somebody else do it.”
How He Sees Himself
Although many see him as a carpenter, due to his childhood knack for woodworking, and for his role as a carpenter on Trading Spaces, Ty actually disagrees with that label. Pennington says that, “People don’t realize that [he is] more of a designer than a carpenter.” To fully describe what that means, Ty gives us a way to think about it. “I’m a cross between Martha Stewart and MacGyver,” Pennington explains. Jokingly, he says he will change his current moniker: “I’m going to change my name to Stewart MacGyver.”
Ty Pennington Style
Not only did the DUI arrest not affect his hosting, but Extreme Makeover: Home Edition sponsor Sears made a deal specifically with him. They now carry Ty Pennington Style indoor and outdoor furniture, bath accessories, and bedding. Besides lending his visage to Sears, he also has his own brand of furniture, Furniture Unlimited, which is based in his hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. Ty also works with Lumber Liquidators to sell hardwood flooring. This business savvy works to support his multiple hobbies.
Snap A Picture
While Ty is not in front of the camera hosting TV shows with his hyper energy, he is behind the camera. Something that comes as a surprise to many is that Pennington is an avid photographer. “People ask me what my favorite tool is, and I’m like, it’s not a hammer or a drill, it’s a camera,” Ty reveals. Not only does he like cameras, he is always snapping pictures. “I shoot everything, I document everything,” he admits, and believes that, “we’ve all become human selfie machines!”
Although Extreme Makeover: Home Edition does a lot to help worthy, yet needy families, Ty does not stop there. Pennington spends his time, in collaboration with Sears, working on their Building Community Together project. This is an initiative that helps re-build local landmarks to rejuvenate communities in need. Also, it creates jobs: “with Sears Home Services we’re employing over 1,000 people nationwide, which is great,” Ty beams. Nobody can deny Ty has spent his time making peoples’ lives better.
Perhaps the reason why Extreme Makeover was canceled was that there were some issues that happened after Ty and the crew packed up onto the bus. One issue was that neighbors of the newly remodeled house were peeved because the new owner, Butch Woolfolk, of the Houston Oilers, bought the house after the original owners sold it, and turned it into a substance rehabilitation center. This, the neighbors say, would hurt the property value of their houses, because they didn’t expect to live near this sort of business.
Ty always beamed at the idea of helping people who were in need fix up their homes, and thereby fixing up their lives. However, there have been many instances where this life-changing show was not always a positive change. Since the much bigger, nicer houses had more bathrooms and more electrical fixtures, the utility bills of these houses soared. Many families could not keep up with the costs, and the bank eventually foreclosed on their houses, leaving the once-lucky participants with no home at all.
Dragged Into Court
There are many issues with the renovated homes that Ty and ABC do not publicize. In one case, Ty and the crew built an amazing nine-bedroom mansion for a family that adopted five orphaned kids. Once the crew of Extreme Makeover left, a fight broke out between the parents and the adopted kids. The family allegedly started “an orchestrated campaign” to remove the kids from the mansion. The kids then sued ABC, as they “were promised a new home,” yet they were back at square one.
Take A Break
After Extreme Makeover was canceled, Ty probably took a nice, long vacation, including getting together with his family during the holiday season. To Ty, the best thing about those times is, “the funny things that happen, whether it’s a disaster in the kitchen or it’s the personalities. I have a very funny family with a really strong sense of humor, so to spend time with them is a lot of fun.” This vacation does not explain though, where Pennington has been, as the holidays have come and passed.
When thinking about what Ty Pennington might do next after the cancellation of Extreme Makeover, we have to look at his thoughts on his life goals. “I want to try swimming with whale sharks, coaching a Little League soccer team, and maybe taking one of the kids on the team to see a World Cup game. I’d like to go white water rafting down the Snake River through the Grand Canyon and build a tree house that’s beyond any other tree houses you’ve ever seen,” Ty said.
The Revolution Will Be Mediocre
In January 2012, a new show called The Revolution that was meant to have five coaches change someones like in all aspects: health-wise, physically, style-wise, home-design wise, and mental health-wise debuted on ABC. One of these coaches was none other than Ty Pennington. However, after six short months, the show was canceled due to mediocre ratings. Ty was distraught by the cancellation, at least compared to Tim Gunn, the style coach, who was, “doing the happy dance around the studio,” when he heard the news.
On The Menu
When Pennington was growing up, his mother was busy studying for her psychology degree. Ty was left to fend for himself when it came to cooking, and he claims that he is a “decent cook,” at least compared to his busy mom, who he said was the “the worst cook ever.” Thinking he was a bona fide foodie, Ty agreed to be part of a show with Emeril Lagasse (the guy who says “Bam!”) called On The Menu. Unfortunately, the show was axed after just ten episodes.
Tips In A Rut
After two failed TV shows after Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Ty must have been thinking that he should take it easy and try and to see life in a different perspective. Perhaps he took his own advice to try and stop and smell the roses. “If you’re always racing to accomplish something, you can never really realize what you’re missing. I want to learn to appreciate not going full speed all the time,” Pennington said. Perhaps being like the “energizer bunny,” and rushing into shows caused their failure.
Help Yourself By Helping Others
One thing that Ty has always been good at is helping others. When Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey, Ty headed down there to speak to the victims and hear the “heart-wrenching stories of people who lost everything. It was rough.” Pennington pulled some strings through his Sears connections to K-Mart, and they “loaded up a truck full of water and blankets and batteries and supplies.” The impact was big, with Ty reporting that “it was great to be able to … [donate] what was really needed.”
The Real MVP
Pennington probably has a lot of heroes, and people he looks up to, surely including those who raised him. However, he revealed that when he thinks of real heroes, they are the “moms and dads who, when the odds are stacked against them, figure out a way to rally.” Ty respects their selflessness: “they do it for more than just themselves; they do it because their kids are relying on them. Those are the superheroes — they’re the everyday people who live on your street.”
Building With The Stars
Looking back on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, there were some huge stars who graced the screen. Amongst those who joined Ty in his quest to help needy families were athletes Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, and Derek Jeter. Also, he had singers like Mariah Carey, Keith Urban, and Carrie Underwood pick up a hammer and help out with the building. Amazingly, First Lady Michelle Obama also made an appearance on the show. Perhaps like Ty learned, these celebrities learned that helping others is a great way to feel good.
On Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Ty always opted to supersize houses, making them into veritable mansions. However, in an interview with the Huffington Post, it seems that Ty may have changed his philosophy on having a massive crib, due to a new building trend. Ty and other designers are “definitely seeing a lot smaller homes because they’re more affordable to maintain.” Taking a minimalist approach, Pennington declared, “it’s all about taking what you have, maximizing the space and adding on.”
Taking Care Of Mom
Although Ty started off as a hunky model, and still maintains his good looks, he has a good heart inside, and it shows when he puts together his designs. “It’s not just about, ‘What color should I paint my walls,'” but also about making, “the cleanest environment.” Ty took special care when he was building a house for his mother, who has “has health issues and asthma.” Pennington made sure his mom had “a really green home,” so she could literally breathe easy.
Ty Pennington At Home
These days, Ty is doing a couple of things, one of which is broadcast. However, he also released a periodical: a magazine called Ty Pennington at Home. A new issue comes out four times a year, and has not only information about Ty, but also about his designed furniture. There is also a question and answer column where Ty opens up to readers. They also have a build this, not that sort of column where instruction is given about how to build expensive looking designs for a cheap price.
Why Has Ty Not Married?
When asked his opinion on starting a family, Ty deflected a bit, joking that he’d looked them up on the internet and they look good. Ty has been in a long relationship with Andrea “Drea” Bock, but the details of their status are murky. She is his longtime girlfriend, but also his manager. When asked if they will tie the knot, Ty said the pair was “a team.” What does Drea think about all this? Perhaps unexpectedly, she is relaxed. “We don’t need to get married,” she said.
Does Ty Listen To Her?
In some relationships, communication can be an issue. Ty admits that his ADHD diagnosis has “affect[ed] the way [he] communicate[s].” Perhaps it annoys his girlfriend, who may think he is distant or not listening to her. Ty is aware of the problem: “if you can’t pay attention to someone who’s trying to tell you something and then you forget that they even said it, they think that you may not even care.” Maybe this is why he has not married yet.
To pick a husband, it is important to separate the boys from the men. Pennington’s zany personality has left him with a childlike exuberance, even at age 53. Ty openly admits he is immature in a sense: “I’ve been blessed to act and feel like I’m a child my entire life.” This is great for his career, as he feels he “still [has] got a lot left to do.” However, this is a possible turn-off when it comes to getting serious about relationships and marriage.
Ty’s Dream Girl
What exactly is Ty looking for in a life partner? Does his girlfriend fit the bill? Pennington says he is on the lookout for someone with “a sense of humor and a natural honesty.” Ty’s ideal girl would “[love] to laugh and [would be] comfortable in her own skin.” He further specified that he likes “women who are self-sufficient. A woman who actually has the drive to do stuff around the house- that’s awesome.” Ty admits, though: “I’m not even sure I’ve found myself yet.”
Six Pack At Fifty
Although Pennington is almost in his mid-fifties, he still is in great shape, and he could definitely be a very eligible bachelor if he so chose. To keep in shape, he opens each day with a run to the beach, yoga (that he whimsically called “Groan-gah” from all the groaning sounds he makes stretching) and then spends the afternoon riding his bike. Diet-wise, he always has “fresh squeezed tangerine juice, coconut water, arugula … salsa and guac,” on hand to eat and drink.
When people wonder where Ty Pennington has disappeared to, they are potentially simply looking at the wrong TV channel. Ty has a new Food Network show that started in 2015 called American Diner Revival, where he and co-host and chef Amanda Freitag travel to diners and renovate them. Freitag renovates the menu, while Pennington focuses on his forte, renovating the interior design. Ty says reviving diners is like “redoing a ’57 Chevy in a way,” as he wants to,”make sure that it’s authentic.”
Another Shocking Revival
Good news- they are bringing back Trading Spaces! Not only that, but Ty will be returning to the show along with many of the other original cast members. Ty is pumped, and in reference to the Blues Brothers, yelled, “We’re getting the band back together!” Pennington could not be happier to participate in this revival, saying, “I’m so excited to see some of their faces. I mean, I haven’t seen some of these people literally in decades!” It looks like very soon Ty Pennington will be back in the spotlight!
We see Ty most of the time in everyone else’s house, but what is Pennington’s home like? We know that he has a “man cave,” where he goes to unwind. In this garage is all his musical instruments, including drums, keyboards, and guitars. That’s right- along with all his other talents, Pennington is an avid musician- specifically for analog machines, rather than digital. ” I love playing with toys,” Pennington says, “I have a percussion machine, something you can’t download off the Internet. Just these random pings some machine makes.”
Extreme Makeover Cancelled
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition had become a successful show, and Pennington considered the cast and crew his “family.” Still, in 2012, ABC canceled the show, which has just hit 200 episodes. Ty reflected that he will, “always be proud of,” the show, and that, “what Extreme taught [him] is that as an artist, what you create with your hands has a lasting difference and actually makes someone’s life better.” The upside was that Ty now had time to, “reconnect with [his] own family.”
Deeper Than Just Paint
Ty is passionate about design, as it is, according to him, tied to how you feel about yourself. “A home is more than just where you live; it reflects who you are. And when your life gets cluttered, your home” shows it, Pennington says. Luckily, there is a quick fix for relatively cheap: “when you bring in a little change like a new wall color, it also brings in new life,” Pennington instructs.” Ty believes that “design can change how you look at yourself.”