Frank Bielec, a quirky interior designer who was a key part of the reality TV show Trading Spaces, has died at age 72. His death was confirmed by his wife, who said he passed on Friday at a Houston, Texas hospital.
Bielec was part of Trading Spaces between 2000 and 2008. The show involved swapping houses between two homeowners, who then would work with a team of designers to revamp a room on a $1,000 budget. Bielic’s funny, warm style was an instant hit with viewers.
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He began his career as an elementary school teacher, teaching art and social studies. But he obtained a Master’s degree in art and design, then left teaching to become a florist for 20 years. He then went into the cross-stitch business with his wife, Judy.
His big break into television came when he was standing in for a demonstrator at a convention. There, he was approached by an HGTV producer, who noticed his personable style.
Bielic began with a few guest appearances on HGTV before Trading Spaces. On the show, he joined Ty Pennington, Hildi Santo-Tomas, Vern Yip, Laurie Smith, Genevieve Gorder, Amy Wynn Pastor, and Doug Wilson to make decorating magic. He also appeared in the 2018 remake.
His colleagues remembered him fondly on social media:
A sad day for the TLC family as we learn of the passing of beloved Trading Spaces designer Frank Bielec. We will miss and remember him fondly, his quirky style and wonderful sense of humor. We share our love and condolences with the entire Bielec family at this difficult time. pic.twitter.com/D9cozQeDM2
— TLC Network (@TLC) May 16, 2020
Lovely Frank Bielec passed away today from complications following a heart attack. Funny, wise, nice, and talented, he always lent perspective and levity to every situation. Thanks you for always being kind to me. I will miss you dearly friend. #FrankBielec #RIP #TradingSpaces pic.twitter.com/tPWAxNqRYW
— Vern Yip (@VernYipDesigns) May 16, 2020
— Ty Pennington (@typennington) May 16, 2020
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