*You were introduced to him as an Ohio State football phenom. You’ve seen him win the Heisman Trophy and continue on as a prolific running back in the NFL. You’ve seen him transition into a successful career in sports commentating, and even pop up in a couple of reality shows with his wife Taj of SWV.
And yes, some theatergoers have even seen him tackle the role of Shakespeare’s Othello.
But few knew that Eddie George also has an accomplished career as a landscape architect. In 2003, he co-founded the firm EDGE that handles projects ranging from retail and office spaces to college campuses to entire communities throughout the Midwest and the South. The firm helped to renovate one of the largest neighborhoods destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.
Audiences can now watch him flex his architectural design muscle every Sunday on NBC’s new reality series “American Dream Builders.” Hosted by Oprah Winfrey’s former go-to guy Nate Berkus, the show features 12 experienced contestants who are divided each week into two teams that compete on a new project. They must redesign and renovate a space in a specific style (from Spanish to Tudor to midcentury modern) in a matter of days.
George is a judge on the show alongside Berkus and interior design expert Monica Pedersen of HGTV’s “Designed to Sell” and “Bang for Your Buck” fame.
“I go into a space and really gauge it off how it makes me feel,” George told us of his judging standards. “Is it warm? Is it inviting? Am I wowed by it? Is it subdued? Is it kind of jarring when I walk in? Is it like you heard a scratch on a record? Does it break the harmony? I look for continuity throughout a project.”
Although George has been immersed in landscape architecture since majoring in the subject at Ohio State, he admits still having lots to learn from his accomplished co-stars.
“It’s been a learning experience for me to work with Monica and Nate because these two are masters of their craft, and Nate has this innate ability to walk in a room and instantaneously know if he likes it or not,” said George. “He’ll look at the smallest, minute detail in the corner. If he doesn’t like something in the corner, like the crown molding is off by an inch, I mean, these two are truly masters.”
Below, Eddie, Nate and Monica remember Nate’s discerning eye when George tried to show him a picture of his bulldog, and all Nate could focus on was a vase in the background that held decorative sticks – a design choice Eddie blamed on his wife Taj.
“American Dream Builders” airs Sundays at 8 p.m.
Berkus, George and Pedersen will review the finished work each week and determine which team achieved the best results. After facing the panel of judges, the losing team must send one member home.
In the finale episode, the last two designers will take on renovations for two impressive Southern California homes, bringing their unique vision to life.
Watch a preview of the March 30 episode below.