Vanilla Ice: From MTV to DIY

Rapper Vanilla Ice talked to Live! Starring ... You! about balancing both of his creative passions — music and home renovations. He does the latter in his transforms homes in his DIY Network show "The Vanilla Ice Project."(Photo courtesy of DIY Network)

Rapper Vanilla Ice talked to Live! Starring … You! about balancing both of his creative passions — music and home renovations. He does the latter in his transforms homes in his DIY Network show “The Vanilla Ice Project.”
(Photo courtesy of DIY Network)

When you listen to a song or read a poem, it’s usually easy to see what the writer was thinking. The words they choose and the music they use reveal their feelings.

But, how common is it to walk into a house and think, The person who designed this place must have had a tropical vibe going on? Or, The person who created this house must have been missing their own home?

Not very common at all…

Or is it?

Entertainer Rob Van Winkle – more commonly known as the rapper Vanilla Ice – is proof that a home designer can do just that. On his DIY (Do It Yourself) Network show “The Vanilla Ice Project,” Rob uses the same creative streak that helped him write his smash hit “Ice Ice Baby” at age 16 to envision cool renovations for other people’s homes. On season three of his show, which airs Sunday nights on DIY, Rob and his crew are renovating a 7,000-square-foot Palm Beach mansion, room by room.

“You don’t just put paint and a carpet and sell it; it’s not about that with me,” he told Live! Starring … You! “I create a lifestyle there, I leave my signature. And it’s definitely a creative thing that I tap into.”

Rob gave the scoop on why he got started in real estate and how he today balances both his passions – music and home renovation: Made world-famous in his 20s by “Ice Ice Baby,” Rob quickly used his new fortune to buy up many lavish properties. A few years later, however, he realized that he would never use all the houses he had purchased.

“I was worried that I made a bad investment,” he said.

But Rob was wrong. When he sold the homes, he made millions of dollars and realized real estate can be a good investment.

Rob’s music career also helped him realize that a house needs to be personalized. He had a place in the exclusive Star Island area of Miami, but after touring the world and living out of hotels, that house didn’t feel like a home. It had bright red and green walls and even a clear acrylic staircase full of live fish.

“It felt like I was living in a nightclub,” said Rob, who decided to change things up a bit and make the place more livable.

But instead of calling an interior designer or contractor, he decided to fix the home up himself.

Vanilla Ice got started in home renovations when he decided to convert his lavish, nightclub-like South Florida mansion into something more livable.(Photo courtesy of DIY Network)

Vanilla Ice got started in home renovations when he decided to convert his lavish, nightclub-like South Florida mansion into something more livable.
(Photo courtesy of DIY Network)

“I redecorated, knocked down the walls,” he said. “I started looking at design magazines and going online and finding out about earth tones and throw pillows and fireplaces.”

And just like that, Vanilla Ice went from MTV to DIY. On his show, he transforms the feel of each space by pulling in inspirations from the outside. Example: He cleaned up a rotted-out, snake-and-frog-infested pool and added tiki huts to create a backyard paradise. And in another room, he sliced a surfboard in half and built it into the wall to create a cool kid’s desk.

Rob talks about these things with the same excitement that he has for the music that made him famous.

“I caught the bug,” he said with a laugh. “I think people are starting to understand that you can find a new passion out there. I stumbled upon it, and I love it. I really, really love it.”

Rob is quick to add that he still loves music and performs around the world; he would never leave one of his passions behind for the other. For him, they’re both creative outlets.

“When I write a song, its personal, it’s like my diary,” he says. “With my houses, I love to create a lifestyle.”

— Maddy Eberhardt, LSY! teen reporter, Mount St. Mary Academy; with Tim O’Shei, LSY! founder

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