"We've definitely had an issue where we had to get the designer into the car quickly before they were murdered — before they had a hit put on 'em."
The TLC series, which is back for its 10th season airing on Saturdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT, has inspired a lot of joy in homeowners participating — but when it spawns ire, it can get quite ugly.
Host Paige Davis quipped that she embraces how "innocent" the show is and that they'd never knowingly give participants a room that they would hate, but admitted that they do like to push its participants outside of their comfort zone somewhat.
"We do try to push the envelope and a lot of our designers do that more than others," she said. "But we're not trying to force a negative reaction by any stretch of the imagination. This idea of not airing a negative reaction is not something I can compute."
Davis and Pennington then recalled the infamous March 2003 episode of "Trading Spaces" that placed notoriously brown-averse Jessie Stephens in a newly-painted brown room. Stephens was so furious that she ended up tackling her own neighbor while shrieking, "I hate brown!"
"I thought that maybe she was kidding, because there was this sort of like, grin on her face," Davis recalled. "But what I quickly realized was that was nervous laughter on her part. She was mad. She never spoke to her neighbor again."
"Everybody thinks there's some Machiavellian plan against these homeowners, [but] that fabric and paint color and everything was chosen long before [designer Laurie Smith] arrived in Las Vegas to do the room. It was after we got there that the homeowner started saying, 'I hate brown, I told you I hate brown.' So of course it's going to go into the edit of the show because … we're painting your room brown."
In another room gone wrong, designer Hildi Santo-Tomas designed a kitchen with wine labels — for a couple that, unbeknownst to the show producers and designers — didn't drink. Pennington says he spent almost half a day peeling the labels off of the homeowners' walls.
"We didn't know that! They were teetotalers," Davis said. Pennington recalled, "It was 3 a.m. and [I'm just] peeling them off … but here's the good news: We convinced them to start drinking after that."