HGTV’s “Rock the Block” has returned for Season 3—this time in Charleston, SC, where four teams of famous designers renovate brand-new, identical homes, to see whose makeover is best.
Each of these houses has a starting value of $500,000, and each team is given a reno budget of $225,000. The goal is to see which team’s home has the highest appraised value at the end.
The winners won’t just get major bragging rights. The street these houses are on will be named after them!
The teams consist of Mike and Egypt Jackson of “Married to Real Estate,” Jenny and Dave Marrs from “Fixer to Fabulous,” Lyndsey Lamb and Leslie Davis of “Unsellable Houses,” and Keith Bynum and Evan Thomas of “Bargain Block.”
In the Season 3 premiere, appropriately called “Kitchen Showdown,” the teams dive right into renovating the cooking and dining areas, with Ty Pennington serving as the show’s host and Jonathan and Jordan Knight of “Farmhouse Fixer” (also from the boy band New Kids on the Block) weighing in as judges.
As most folks know by now, beautiful kitchens do more to sell a house than any other room, so the teams are pulling out the stops to make a big impression.
Check out how these teams transform these cookie-cutter kitchens into unique, sleek cooking spaces, with all the trimmings. In the end, you’ll learn which kitchen upgrades take the cake—and which ones you might consider putting into your own home as well.
Upgrade from a plain old stove to a statement range
The Marrs spend a good portion of their kitchen budget on an Italian stove that Jenny calls the “Mack Daddy” of all ranges. Meanwhile, the Jacksons build an entire elaborate hood vent to go around their double-oven beauty, which costs “the price of a certified pre-owned car,” says Eden.
Seem like an excessive waste of limited cash? It’s all for good reason: In areas like South Carolina, where entertaining is everything, statement ranges are all the rage. They’re widely considered one of the most desirable kitchen features.
Selling soon? Stick to neutral colors
The “Unsellable Houses’ duo decide to paint their kitchen navy. It’s a bold choice. While it seems to look great, the shade clearly isn’t for everyone.
Judge Jonathan Knight disapproves, explaining, “You might have someone walk in here and see this dark-blue color and maybe not like it.”
Granted, a navy kitchen would be fine if the home already had owners who loved the color and planned to live there a while. But the goal here is to sell this property soon, so neutrals are likely to have a better chance of appealing to more homebuyers and fetching top dollar.
Sometimes, unique touches can be a selling point
Meanwhile, the “Bargain Block” designers take their own risk, with a unique pot-filler faucet coming out of a fascinating stone mask, which they found in a salvage yard. This turns out to be a favorite among the judges, who applaud this unusual and eye-catching feature.
“They say that you should try to be generic when you sell a house, but that is not generic, and that will sell a house,” says Jordan Knight.
It’s just a reminder that sometimes, in home renovation, embracing the weird can pay dividends.
Add as much counter and storage space as possible
The different teams take a variety of divergent approaches to their kitchen renovations. But they share one primary tactic: making room for more counter and storage space.
Every single design duo decides to remove a strangely extraneous pantry in the corner of their kitchen and extend the counters and cabinets into this space.
Several teams also decided to expand the size of the island, adding counter or dining space on top, and storage underneath. In the end, that odd pantry is never missed.
Bring in as much natural light as possible
Jordan Knight points out that while a kitchen doesn’t need as much privacy as some rooms in the house, it does need a lot of light.
To this end, the Marrses add a bank of windows across the back wall, and the other teams all replace the kitchen’s French doors with bigger, brighter sliders or accordion doors.
A simple white kitchen is still king
Unlike the many other contestants, who strive to make their kitchens stand out, the Marrses stick to simple white cabinets and counters. While it might seem a bit plain, in the end, this classic design wins the day.
The judges dub the Marrses the winner of this round, tossing an extra $1,000 into their reno budget to use in the next round.
Now that the designers have a better idea of what the judges are looking for, the competition will no doubt heat up. Stay tuned!