So far on Season 3’s “Rock the Block,” the four teams of designers have made over kitchens, living rooms, and much more in their Charleston, SC, homes. But in the latest episode, they move on up to tackle the second story, which includes a loft space as well as a FROG.
What’s a FROG, you might ask? It stands for “finished room above the garage.” The designers are excited about this unique challenge, because this room has its own staircase and independent access from the rest of the home. The possibilities are endless for how it can be used.
This week, host Ty Pennington welcomes Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent of “The Nate and Jeremiah Home Project” to decide which team’s upgrades add the most value. Berkus and Brent should know: They’re the only design team to win back-to-back challenges when they competed in “Rock the Block” Season 2.
In addition to bragging rights, the winners this week also get an elevated prize: $4,000 to use on their next challenge.
As the teams reach for the stairs, viewers get some great tips for what to do with an extra room. Watch and learn!
Design a room for many uses, even as a rental
“Buyers love possibilities, so we don’t want to lock into just one thing,” designer Egypt Sherrod of “Married to Real Estate” tells her husband, Mike Jackson. She envisions a room that could be used for three purposes: a home office, a guest room, and a rental space.
“Everybody loves the potential to make income,” Sherrod adds. “You could pay your mortgage by renting it out for two weekends out of the month.”
Sherrod and Jackson aren’t the only ones seeing rental dollar signs; the twin sisters on “Unsellable Houses” head down this route, too.
“If we can turn this space into a potential income source, that’s going to be huge for our appraisal,” Lyndsay Lamb tells her sister, Leslie Davis. “You need a bed, bath, and kitchen.”
They put a small but well-designed kitchen against one wall so it doesn’t look like an afterthought, then add a daybed to the main living area so that it can serve as a sofa or a bed. They also add a cafe table that could be used as a desk, then add a beautiful bath and closet. Voila! It’s ready for anything.
Make sure kid-friendly features can be easily removed
Meanwhile, Lamb and Davis turn their loft space into a children’s crafts/homework room, complete with small desks and an entire wall made of pegboard.
It’s a showstopper, and Berkus and Brent think their own kids would love it so much, they’re now thinking of incorporating a space like that in their own New York residence. But they concede that this may be a polarizing feature for homebuyers.
“My concern is that if people walk in and they say, ‘that’s cool, but I’m not sure that it’s my vibe,’ then it’s going to involve a bunch of demo and they’ll have to pull it out,” says Berkus.
It’s a good reminder that not all future homebuyers will need a space clearly geared for a young family. So if you do add a kid-friendly feature like this, make sure it’s easy to remove, no demolition required.
Upcycle castoffs like old lumber
Keith Bynum and Evan Thomas of “Bargain Block” are closely watching their renovation budget, since they haven’t won a design challenge yet or any of the cash prizes that go with them. Still, they find a unique idea that doesn’t cost anything at all.
“Nobody told me I can’t use trash,” points out Bynum. “There’s a lot of lumber lying around these job sites, so I feel like maybe if I steal some of that … I’ll just let our competitors pay for some of these design features with their trash, and turn it into something that will create value.”
They troll through castoffs in the neighborhood dumpster located right next to their house. They use the pieces they find to create a striking feature wall in the loft that they’ve made into a family room—and it’s virtually free!
In bonus spaces, go bold with color
“I wanted that FROG space to really stand out and be distinct,” explains Bynum. “So we’re going very saturated and very bold.”
They paint the walls a “classy dark teal” and add a small, aqua-colored refrigerator. Beyond that, they paint the bathroom walls purple and add black tile and brass fixtures. It really is a risk, but Berkus and Brent think it’s worth it.
“If somebody, like us, doesn’t love a lot of color to live with, it’s paint,” says Brent, suggesting it can easily be painted over. “It’s not like you’ve applied wall features, and the materials are very classic and simple and clean.”
Berkus suggests that arresting colors in an overall design scheme can contribute to a higher appraisal.
“Does design really add value?” he asks rhetorically. “We think that the emotional value that you get when the potential buyer walks in and sees the creativity does add value. You guys did a great job.”
Put a laundry room close to where laundry is made
Jenny and Dave Marrs from “Fixer to Fabulous” decide to use their loft space for something more functional: a laundry room.
“If you have a lot of kids, you spend a lot of time in the laundry room every day,” Jenny explains.
While other design teams left their laundry rooms downstairs, the Marrses know the value of an upstairs laundry room. Having it on the level where most of the beds and baths are located makes the most sense. After all, those are the rooms where the majority of the laundry (e.g., clothes, sheets, and towels) is generated.
Who wins this round of ‘Rock the Block’?
Berkus and Brent are impressed by everyone’s efforts, but the second level that stands out most to them is by the Marrses, with their space-saving furniture that Dave built, including a trundle bed that sleeps two guests rather than one, and a drop-down desk against the wall.
The Marrses, who won the first challenge, are thrilled and happily accept the $4,000 to use on their next challenge, when they’ll be working outside their homes, finalizing the exteriors and landscaping. Stay tuned next week for a porch and patio showdown!
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