MPDP does the opening from a South Carolina cul-de-sac, aided by about three dozen Trading Spaces groupies who all wave signs and cheer. Laurie and Frank amble up to the new carpenter -- yep, that's right, new carpenter -- whose name is Carter Oosterhouse (first two syllables rhyme with toaster, if MPDP can be trusted). He's sitting next to a statue of some guy. The new guy is just insanely pretty: tall, dark, lanky, great smile. Frink and I agree that he looks like Evan "Joe Millionaire" Marriott, but about fifty times better and way less Neanderthal. Boy, Ty must be pissed. He's going to look like an old boot next to this guy. Laurie drags Frank off kicking and screaming, for no apparent reason. She's wearing a Missoni-style blouse, unflattering brown pants, and the python mules. Enough with the python mules already. The homeowners are Julie and Steve, and Tracee and Brian, who want their family rooms done. Steve and Julie's family has cream-coloured walls and beige carpet. They have a whole suite of big furniture upholstered in a yellow, white, and green print that I am 99% sure is a Croscill sheet pattern. If not, it's very nearly identical. Not good. It's not even a great look for sheets, and it's just dreadful on furniture. This furniture is piped in black. They've arranged the furniture quite oddly; they've got one of those chair-and-a-half chairs right in front of the fireplace. I suppose they never use the fireplace, but that just looks bad. The windows have white blinds on them and the ubiquitous valance: these ones are the puffy, ruffly, big-saggy-diaper look in solid yellow. Bleah. There's a Papasan chair and stool tucked into the corner near the window. Julie and Steve have an open-front entertainment centre in a warm orangey wood tone, and lots of toys in the room. Steve and Julie say that they spend 85% of their time there. They say they've seen the pattern on their furniture everywhere now, and they want something unique. Steve isn't sure they'd be crazy about bold, primary colours. Julie wants to walk in and think she's somewhere else. Steve wants not to recognize the place.
Brian and Tracee have what appears to be much the same family room, though at least they haven't placed a chair in front of their fireplace. The room is open to the kitchen/eating area. They have white walls, beige carpet, and upholstered furniture in neutral shades of taupey-beige and soft green, in addition to a large ottoman upholstered in some flowery fabric. There's a large armoire next to the fireplace and a huger-than-usual assortment of toys. Their curtains -- which appear a mossy green here -- seem to clash with the green chair in front of them. They also spend all their free time in their family room. They are overwhelmed with toys. The fireplaces in this house is ridiculous. The top of it is angled with the ceiling, which I think looks weird enough in a simple, very modern room, but it's all done up with angled molding, and it's just silly. Tracee knows the room is pretty bland right now. She likes earth tones and autumn colours. I figure she's gotta get Laurie. Brian and Tracee want a warm and comfortable room. Tracee would like it if the room could be designed so that toys could be left out during the day, but quickly put away during the evening to transform it into a more adult space.