Ty Pennington may live in Venice, Calif., but he maintains his hometown ties with Atlanta by running a shop with his high school buddies and playing music with his old band.

“I’m always going home to Atlanta to smell the air, to see the Kudzu,” the vibrant Extreme Makeover: Home Edition host tells me. “I’ve got family and friends there. Whenever you grow up in a place, it’s kind of always home no matter where you are. I miss the people. I love how they smile and give you a hug everyday. There’s a Southern hospitality you can’t get anywhere but in the South, and Atlanta definitely has it. It’ll always be home.”

When he gets home at the end of the day, Ty, 44, doesn’t sit still.

“I will start doing a tie-dye project whether it’s t-shirts or maybe doing these big tapestries just because it’s a different outlet and I don’t consider it work,” he says. “It’s my free creativity. I don’t always have time to do an art project for the fun of doing an art project. You’d be amazed at how relaxed I get doing that because it gives me a sense of creation and accomplishment. There’s a moment in all artists’ lives when they’re in the middle of that creative process, and it’s the happiest state you can be in. I love being in it, even if it’s momentarily.”

He continues, “A buddy of mine I used to work with said ‘oh my God, dude, you’ve been screaming and yelling in the phone, just going nuts all day about gotta get this done, gotta get that done, and the minute you get on the computer it’s like you’re calm and quiet. I can’t believe it, but it’s like a project actually calms you.’ That’s when I realized, oh my God, he’s right.”

He’s not all business, all the time though.

“Sometimes knowing that a project is going well is calming enough but I love taking a day where I just read, maybe play a little guitar, check out a sunset at the beach, maybe ride my bike, maybe go skateboarding and just feel like you’re living – not necessarily just working.”

Although Ty jetsets too much to have animals, he looks forward to a future filled with furry friends.

“I want a llama in a big way because I love the way they spit. I want to have a dog but I cannot do that to a dog. It’s the same reason I don’t have kids. You have to be able to be there for that animal. I’d love to one day get a ranch and have horses too.”

He doesn’t count little ones out of his future, though.

“I’ll have to have some time and some patience, but sure. Eventually I’d love to have children.”

This design guru calls Graceland his favorite celebrity home.

“That is very nice, if you’re into Memphis and kitsch. You’ve gotta love Elvis.”

Catch Ty Pennington on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, which airs Sundays at 8/7c.

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