Brett Tutor is on top of the world ahead of the Trading Spaces reboot this spring, but the Texas-born carpenter has traveled a long and often rocky road to home makeover TV stardom.
Not long before landing the gig on the new season of TLC’s original renovation phenom, returning April 7 after 10 years off the air, Tutor nearly tapped out on his show business aspirations. He’d appeared in a handful of commercials and chased a music career after spending time in the Air Force and doing humanitarian work in Kenya, but had hit a dry spell that was compounded by serious personal struggles.
“When things weren’t working out with entertainment, I thought screw it — maybe I can just do it this way on my own,” he tells Austin Fit Magazine in the February issue. Around the same time, he ended a serious romantic relationship and learned his mother had cancer. “It was a lot. I wanted to make some changes,” Tutor explains.
WATCH THIS: Trading Spaces Is Bringing Back All the Original Designers You Were Hoping for — and Some Intriguing New Faces
One last far-fetched reality TV offer landed in front of him for a Discovery Channel series called Treasure Quest: Snake Island.
“It called for me to be in Argentina,” he tells the magazine. “My agent didn’t want me to do it, but I was at a rock-bottom point. I needed to get away.” He took the job, appearing as the “survival skills guy” on the treasure hunting show, and didn’t come home for a long time, even after filming wrapped.
“If you’re going through a hard time in life, go travel. One year is worth 10 years,” Tutor says of the life-lesson he took away from his lowest point. “I have always had an adventure itch that I need to scratch sometimes.”
When he did come home to Austin, Trading Spaces came knocking almost immediately. “It’s really cool to see how excited people are about the show,” says Tutor. “I didn’t realize how nuts people are about it. And now I get it. The budget is low, the time frame so quick and the designers so talented.”
As for his personal life, that’s still to be determined. Asked if he’d like to get married and have a family of his own, the rising star replies, “I don’t think it’s the chapter for that right now. I don’t think it’s the chapter after this chapter. But someday, definitely.”