Did Chicago’s embattled “Windy City Rehab” host Alison Victoria clinch her second consecutive win on tonight’s finale of the HGTV series “Rock the Block?”
We’ll reveal all in a bit, but here’s a look at what happened this season and on tonight’s finale hosted by Ty Pennington.
The four teams — consisting of Alison Victoria and her teammate, Ontario-based general contractor Mike Holmes (“Holmes on Homes”), Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent (“Nate and Jeremiah: Save My House”), David Bromstad (“My Lottery Dream Home”) and Tiffany Brooks (“50K Three Ways”) and Brian and Mika Kleinschmidt (“100 Day Dream Home) — had six weeks to add the most value to each of four identical homes on a $225,000 budget. The winners receive the chance to name the block and brag about it until next season.
Victoria and Holmes won two of this season’s five challenges, knocking it out of the park when it came to kitchen/dining rooms. In week two, the first floor living spaces were on the line and Bromstad and Brooks emerged victorious. In week three, the competition focused on upstairs main bedroom and bathroom, and Victoria and Holmes won again. Berkus and Brent won the basement challenge in week four, turning the space into a separate dwelling/in-laws suite complete with kitchen, bathroom, main bedroom and bathroom. In week five, Berkus and Brent were the champs once again (the judges loved the three-season porch and the close attention to detail of the designers’ work).
Tonight, three judges arrived to give each home their professional once-over. It also marked the first time the teams got to tour their competitions’ homes. In addition, each team got to use up whatever remaining funds they had in their budgets to give the homes any added oomph they could to sway the judges’ votes.
Three judges were on tap for the finale: former “Rock the Block” champ and host of “Help! I Wrecked My House” Jasmine Roth; realtors Ken and Anita Corsini of “Flip or Flop: Atlanta,” who are also the builders of the homes and will be selling them when the show is over.
Warning: Spoilers ahead!
Brian and Mika Kleinschmidt decided to spend their remaining $10,000 on a home fitness center, with a glass garage door and artificial turf. They extended the backyard deck to the indoor gym to make a seamless transition. “No matter what, as far as I’m concerned, it’s our street,” Brian declared.
Berkus and Brent took their $5,000 bonus from last week to create a home theater room in the basement. (And, for some levity, Berkus showed up sporting an identical set of sweats and jacket to those of Bromstad.) “This has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” Berkus muses.
Victoria and Holmes had $8,300 left in their budget. The opted for a backup generator for “peace of mind” and “to make the home the healthiest and safest on the block,” Holmes said. Energy recover and replenishing air filtration system in the attic. “What [these items] add in value is so important,” Victoria said. “I love our house. I would live in our house,” Victoria said at one point.
Bromstad and Brooks opted for adding an additional bathroom, but ran into a huge obstacle when they removed wallpaper and stripped away the wall behind it, realizing they had no color paint left and no money left for labor to help them. They jumped right in to prime and paint. And they were happy with the results. They also zhooshed up the family room.
— House Berkus/Brent: The judges were wowed by the front porch; loved the kitchen island (“exquisite” countertops) and pass-through with its wood countertops with inset leather); loved the brickwork on all four sides of the exteriors; did not like the curtain wall in the main bedroom; loved the home theater; and they were amazed by the full in-law suite in the basement.
— House Victoria/Holmes: judges were chomping at the bit to see the “Alison-designed kitchen” — and they were blown away; admired the flow of the kitchen, dining room and living room and loved the brick feature in the kitchen; the wood wall and ceiling in the main bedroom impressed, as did the massive closet; loved the tile and attention to detail (“two words: ombre tile!”), but wondered if all the work was going to translate to value; lamented the missing outdoor staircase connecting the deck to the patio; putting green limited the use of the backyard.
–House Bromstad/Brooks: judges were wowed from the entryway (“they went bold!”); loved the first-floor bedroom and on-suite; the kitchen was called “a statement” and loved the view of the lake from the sink; loved the mudroom and reading nook; did not think there was enough closet space; main bath seemed “cramped”; did not like their lack of use of outdoor space.
— House Kleinschmidt: judges liked the open and traditional look of the entryway andthe first floor home office/bedroom option, though the lack of a first-floor full bath puzzled them; the kitchen floored all three judges, especially the two dishwashers; the electric fireplace was a plus; they were amazed by the deck pergola that operated by voice command; the main upstairs bedroom and on-suite blew them away as did the adjacent laundry room; the bowling alley/game room though a huge wow factor, proved to be a huge con in terms of return on the dollars spent; the fitness room was a “smart use of space.”
In the end, the Kleinschmidt’s slow-and-steady, family-friendly design won over the judges and the whole competition, even thought the team did not win a single individual challenge over the course of the series. Roth and the Corsinis felt the two used their money well to make upgrades that truly added value — not just great design or materials. By connecting the deck, patio and home gym, the duo made the home more functional. Even though the bowling alley was tough to appraise, it didn’t take away from the value added elsewhere. The home’s appraised value: $625,000.
Welcome to the newly named Kleinschmidt Way!
“I swear, I’m saying it right here,” Victoria said, laughing. “I’m never doing this show again.”