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Rock Star Renovator Rob Van Winkle, AKA Vanilla Ice, Talks Flipping Houses & Making Music

Rob Van Winkle, aka Vanilla Ice on The Couch. (credit: Katie Wiggin/WLNY)

Rob Van Winkle, aka Vanilla Ice on The Couch. (credit: Katie Wiggin/WLNY)

Best Of: NYC Art

NEW YORK (WLNY) – Forget rockin’ a mic like a vandal.

Rob Van Winkle, better known as Vanilla Ice, is getting his hands dirty these days. The iconic rapper has transformed himself into a master home renovator.

The Vanilla Ice Project on the DIY Network returns for season three on Sunday night.

But you can’t fake this stuff. So how did a pop culture icon learn to flip houses?

“I found a passion, man,” he said. “I just really love it. It started off with making money in real estate, because I bought a lot of houses around the country.”

Thinking he’d be living in Los Angeles, Van Winkle had a home there, along with another one in New York City. But after going on tour for three years, he realized he didn’t have the need for so many pads.

“Young and dumb, thought I blew the money,” he said. “Sold ‘em, and made millions.”

“Then, I got into the designer side of it,” Van Winkle said. “I had a house in Star Island. I had it decorated art deco style -it had acrylic stairs with fish swimming in ‘em.  It was really cool but it didn’t feel like a home, it felt like living in a nightclub.”

Instead of hiring a decorator, Van Winkle took on the project himself.

“I learned about earth tone colors and throw pillows and fireplaces,” he said. “I warmed it up, made it cozy, and it worked. At the end of it, I crossed my arms and went ‘Wow, I did that.’ That’s when I got the bug. That was 18 years ago.”

“I am going to make a record, but it’s not a light switch that you turn on and off, you gotta make it right, you gotta have the right vibe going and everything.”

And does he ever get tired of hearing Ice, Ice Baby?

“Never. It never gets old.”