EXCLUSIVE: Genevieve Gorder Admits 'There Were a Lot of Tears' Reuniting With 'Trading Spaces' Designers
By Jennifer Drysdale
Genevieve Gorder, beloved for both her innovative design as well as her quirky personality (and habit of working barefoot), became a hero to families across America as she redesigned their homes with TLC's Trading Spaces in the early 2000s. Fans couldn't have been happier when it was announced that Gorder would be returning to the series in 2018 after its 10-year hiatus, but a lot has changed for the designer since she's been on the show.
"[My reaction] was mixed when I first heard the news," Gorder told ET over the phone last week, explaining that Trading Spaces' original run "felt so perfect and compartmentalized in my mind."
"It was the first transformation design show in our country. I was scared that any kind of reinterpretation, if it wasn't completely authentic, could tarnish the guilt on that perfect thing in my memory," she said. "But when I heard that they were going to bring back everyone else, all of us, and hosts included, and that they wanted to do it in an authentic way, I felt like, it's time."
"It's back and in a very poignant time," she added. "I think we could all use a little Trading Spaces."
Trading Spaces made stars out of designers and carpenters like Gorder, Verne Yip, Ty Pennington, Carter Oosterhouse and more, and though Gorder (who has since starred on four HGTV series) has worked with many of them over the years, she said their first reunion as a team was an emotional experience.
"There was a lot of tears. We were all sobbing and we were together pretty much the whole time. We didn't want to leave each other, because everyone has made families and careers off of what we did together," she recalled. "It was like a tremendous event in all of our lives that only we can relate to. We're like a big band of dysfunctional misfits."
In addition to the returning cast, Trading Spaces will also bring on new designers, like Gorder's best friend, John Gidding -- who also happened to redesign ET's New York office.
"I'm a huge advocate of his. We've worked together both onscreen and off-screen, and he's absolutely a family member," she gushed. "We're practically married, but not, because we both like boys -- and we laugh at that statement every time! He's so above and beyond smart, good looking and talented, you almost want to hate him, but he's too nice, you know?"
Besides Gidding, Gorder will be introducing the TLC series to her daughter, Bebelle, who at nine years old, missed her mom's appearance on the show by three years.
"She hasn't seen a lick of that, and it's about time. I probably picked the most timely part of her life to start watching," she shared. "Eight and nine [year olds] is the group of kids that first watched the show and made it the sensation that it was, so I'm happy to educate a brand new generation."
The 43-year-old designer is also helping to educate the next generation in another way, by partnering with Box Tops for Education for the first-ever National Box Tops for Education Week, which kicked off on Sunday and helps raise money for schools across America.
"I'm already involved with this program on a family level in that I've been doing it with my daughter since kindergarten," Gorder told ET. "This is kind of like a treasure hunt I do with my daughter, we look at every package for a second before we throw it away just to make sure there isn't a box top, then we clip them and bring them into school."
"All of the funding that comes from these box tops goes directly into sports equipment, to art supplies, library books, texts, et cetera, and I don't know one school that can say, 'Oh, you know what, I'm good. I have enough of that,'" she explained. "No, every school needs more supplies, and this is just one way to bridge that gap. It makes a huge difference and makes your kid a hero at school."