Ty Pennington has been entertaining homeowners for decades. From shouting “Move that bus” on “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” to his more recent series “Ty Breaker,” America’s favorite carpenter has lots of experience under his tool belt.
So it makes sense that these days, he’s taking a mentorship role on the hit HGTV show “Battle on the Beach,” which airs on Sundays.
This is his second season mentoring up-and-coming renovators, up against teams led by fellow reality TV hosts Alison Victoria and Taniya Nayak as they fix up identical beach homes in Surfside Beach, TX.
We checked in with Pennington to hear some behind-the-scenes dirt from this latest round of “Battle on the Beach.” We also learn which upgrades he’s been adding to his own home—which just might inspire you to follow in his footsteps.
The first season of ‘Battle on the Beach’ was a hit. What can we expect from the second season?
Things go horribly wrong. No, I’m kidding! I would say even from the get-go, we’re going bigger. The competition is fierce, the teams are really competitive. The battle is just really real this year.
I think what’s fun in design is you have so many surprises, sometimes good, sometimes bad, sometimes hideously ugly. But in the end, these houses turned out so amazing, really! I think everybody stepped it up and went to a whole new level. We shared a lot of tears, and the rooms definitely speak for themselves. I think every episode is going to be a shocker.
Once again, you’re mentoring an up-and-coming team. What’s that like, rather than doing the work yourself?
Being a mentor is really hard because I can’t just tell people what I want. I have to suggest what to do. But people [in the past] gave me a chance to show my creativity. So as a mentor, I wanted to do the same—taking the reins off and letting them run a little bit and seeing how we do, at the same time doing my best to keep the ship going in the right direction.
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Are there any rookie mistakes that renovators should look out for, especially when doing a beach home?
You’ve got to remember the elements, especially if you’re doing anything on the exterior. Just know that the wind, the salt, and the water are going to corrode everything. Whatever you add on is going to look really different in a year.
So you’ve got to think about that because wear and tear is really big. That being said, with a beach home, sometimes it’s the little things that mean the most to me, you know, like a bucket of water to stick your feet in before you walk in the house to get all the sand off. It’s the little accent pieces that just make your home that special place.
Last season you were planning a red swimsuit ‘Baywatch’ moment with Taniya and Alison, and they left you hanging.
Yeah, Season 1, I found myself running down the beach by myself. And then this year they tell me, “OK, this year we’re making it happen.” I’m like, “Making what happen?” And they’re like, “We brought our red Speedos! Do you have yours?” I’m like, “Always!”
You’re doing projects of your own in Savannah and Atlanta. Do you have a favorite feature so far in either of the properties?
I would say with my house in Savannah, I love how we’ve turned it into sort of a villa, whether it’s a French or a Spanish or Italian sort of villa. It’s just so lovely. I think it’s important to sort of make your home a place that feels like you’re on vacation no matter if it’s one room or it’s the whole space.
I also am very excited about this project I’m doing in Atlanta. It’s in an old warehouse district, and we started rebuilding an old building. There’s really incredible old reclaimed floors that were part of an old furniture factory. So it’s interesting because it has all the modern feel of a luxury loft but using the materials and brick and really reclaimed flooring and arched windows. I just wanted to really get in that historic feel as well.
Do you have any tips for people who are renovating their own home and maybe don’t know where to start?
There are so many tips I could tell people—not to do this, spend your money on that, blah, blah, blah. But I would just say, if you’re going to renovate your home, make sure you spend your money on something that’s going to give you instant gratification, whether you make it feel like you’re in some European town or if it’s a new deck that brings you to the outdoors or it’s a new kitchen or a new bathroom.
Make sure it’s a place that’s really going to put a smile on your face and it’s something more than just a new roof or a new driveway. Make sure it’s something that really makes your home sort of a destination that you can’t wait to be in. I think that’s the one thing the last couple of years have taught us, is that our home should be a sanctuary. Turn your own place into that, and make it as special as you can.