Vanilla Ice, “towering figure of hip-hop crossover and identity crisis,” is a 44-year-old man possessing quite the colorful CV: Grammy-nominated rapper, breakdancer, actor, amateur wrestler, motocrosser, Juggalo, vegan, jet-skier, tattoo enthusiast, recovered heroin addict, loving father, perpetually enraged “Surreal Life” housemate, one-time love interest of both Debbie Gibson (!) and Madonna, and former member of a grunge band called Pickin Scabz. And, as you may have heard but not completely digested, Vanilla Ice, born in Dallas as Robert Van Winkle, is also quite the prolific home renovator and flipper.

As detailed in a recent New York Times article with an all-too-predicable headline, Vanilla Ice’s wildly popular home renovation show on the DIY Network is about to enter its second season. Called “The Vanilla Ice Project,” the program may have initially been considered a novelty by many, because, let’s face it, it's hosted by an individual known for his often abrasive, volatile demeanor and various legal battles stemming from said demeanor. I guess you could say Vanilla Ice is pretty much the anti Bob Vila. But Vanilla Ice, as it turns out, is no home improvement neophyte. When it comes to renovation and real estate investing, Vanilla Ice is skilled, savvy, focused, and relentless. As the NYT puts it, he’s “a man in command of his kingdom” having built or flipped more than 100 homes, mostly in Florida, over the past 15 years.

I’ve never seen Vanilla Ice in full house-flipping action aside from few clips of the show but, from what I understand, he’s not exactly in the habit of renovating and flipping small or sustainable homes. The season two house blinged-out mansion in Palm Beach County has a helicopter landing pad, pneumatic elevator, electronically controlled Murphy beds, walk-in humidor, and a swimming pool with a tiki island boasting an iPod-controlled grill and television. He tells the NYT: "We’ve lost a lot of hope in America. Let me get some encouragement in these people. It’s not about the resale value. It’s about enjoying living.” And from what I've seen, Vanilla Ice, like Ty Pennington, proves to be an enthusiastic, high-energy host but far, far less grating.

Any "Vanilla Ice Project" fans out there care to share what makes the show such good watching? Did you pick up any specific home improvement or real estate flipping tips and tidbits from the first season? And get this: following the premiere of the second season of the Vanilla Ice Project (Sat. Jan 21 at 10 p.m.), the DIY Network will run a sneak peak of, drum roll please, "The Bronson Pinchot Project."

Welcome back, Balki Bartokomous. I've missed you.

Video Screenshot: DIY Network/YouTube

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

'Vanilla Ice Project' returns to the DIY Network
With a song in his heart and a tool belt on his heavily tattooed hip, unlikely home renovation expert Robert Van Winkle kicks off a second season of 'The Vanill