Ty Pennington Says Quitting 'Trading Spaces' Was a 'Ballsy Move' but Had to be Done: 'I Was Worth More'

In an exclusive interview with PEOPLE, the carpenter and HGTV host opened up about his first television job on the hit design competition series

Ty Pennington
Photo: Dia Dipasupil/Getty

Ty Pennington is opening up about why he had to leave the show that launched his career.

The carpenter and tv host, 58, was one of the original builders on the hit TLC renovation show Trading Spaces when it premiered in 2000, back when "the designers had $45 to build four pieces of furniture," he tells PEOPLE.

While the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition alum acknowledges how lucky he was to get the opportunity, he also knew his talent deserved more recognition.

"I had to quit that job because I knew I was worth more than I was being paid," he says. "I took a real ballsy move, and I quit the best job I'd ever been given because I was sort of insulted."

Ty Pennington
Ty Pennington/instagram

He reveals that although the career move was risky for him at the time, he's always believed fate was on his side.

"The thing about luck to me is sometimes something bad can happen that actually leads to something even bigger and better," explains Pennington, who just launched his second campaign with free-to-play social casino game Caesar Slots. "You think that it's the end of the world, but it's actually just a whole new page that's being turned into a chapter."

Ty Pennington Modeling Career
Ty Pennington/Instagram (2)

This optimistic outlook on life is how he got through a near-fatal car accident when he was just 27 years old, which ended his short-lived modeling career at the time.

He recalls the scary incident to PEOPLE: "My modeling career was about to take off, but all of a sudden I had stitches in my head and all kinds of stuff, and scar tissue that had to grow back."

Though traumatic, he said it was a clear sign to get back into carpentry, especially when his portfolio — the only proof that he had of being a model — was stolen shortly after the accident.

After all that, Pennington says these "crazy doors of opportunity" led him to where he is now — the host of HGTV's hit competition series Rock the Block. Season 4 of the show, which takes place in Colorado, is set to premiere on March 6 at 8 p.m. on HGTV.

"It's just big. There's just so much good talent on the show," Pennington says. "But I mean, let's face it, everything is really bigger this season. Not only the location, but the houses are incredible. The views are insane. The competition is just like... I love it."

He adds: "This season is so epic. It is the biggest show I've ever seen on HGTV."

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