Rapper-Turned-Home-Renovator Goes Amish for New Show

Photo: DIY Network.

Television’s most unlikely home renovation guru appears to be taking a break from his specialty — flipping ridiculously tricked-out Florida manses — to slow down and embrace a simpler life; a life that involves working the land, traveling by buggy, and raising a few barns here and there.

Yep, noted vegetarian and former frontman of Pickin’ Scabz, Vanilla Ice, has gone full Amish.

Well, not quite as Ice isn’t trying his hand at hair farming, forgoing zippers, or changing his birth name to Robert Van Stoltzfus. However, the early 1990s chart-topping rap sensation-turned-amateur wrestler-turned reality TV handyman is lending his home improvement expertise to “the largest Amish community in America” (Holmes County, Ohio) for a cheaply titled spinoff of the wildly popular “Vanilla Ice Project” called “Vanilla Ice Goes Amish.” A classic fish-out-of-water reality series/home improvement show, it premiered on the DIY Network earlier this month.

Bestowing the “silly, contrived excuse for a show” with a C+ rating, the A.V. Club hits the nail on the head when it comes to Ice’s eclectic professional oeuvre, noting that he seems to have found a match with home improvement and real estate: “The great thing about being Vanilla Ice is that you take chances and try different things without worrying about embarrassing yourself and becoming a punch line, because that ship has sailed.” It's also worth noting that at 45, Ice has mellowed out considerably and is, well, rather likeable when compared to some of his previous stints in reality television (i.e. VH1's "The Surreal Life") in which he came off as an insufferable brat with a chip on his shoulder. It would seem that Vanilla Ice has found peace — and prosperity — in home improvement.

Here’s a brief synopsis of "Vanilla Ice Goes Amish," which, in its kickoff episode features a tattoo-knuckled former heroin addict who once dated Madonna shoveling manure, line-drying clothing, and remodeling an Amish granny’s kitchen:

He [Vanilla Ice or "Rob" as the locals call him] is on a quest to learn the lost art of hand-craftsmanship and will embed with an Amish family to arrive at his goal. Along the way he will meet a group of young Amish men and women who teach him the traditions, practices and trades that have made the Amish one of the most mysterious — and misunderstood — groups in the world.

Future episodes will find Ice working alongside Amish contractors to complete a patio, injecting a bit of “modern zen” into a Mennonite family’s basement, horrifying the locals by blinging out a buggy, and, naturally, raising a barn. And just like with the “Vanilla Ice Project" and other DIY Network shows, you can read more about the building products/materials ranging from fireplace inserts to cabinet pulls used by Vanilla Ice at the show's homepage.
Is Bob Vila more your speed? DIY Network always seems to be re-airing classic episodes of “This Old House,” and for your Amish fix, there seems to be more than a couple of Pennsylvania Dutch-themed reality shows out there.