The renovation competition of a lifetime has begun for Leanne Ford, Mina Stasiak, Alison Victoria and Jasmine Roth. Each Rock The Block contestant has been given $175,000 and four weeks to renovate identical homes in a California neighbourhood. Each home presently has a value of $750,000. The contestant who adds the most value to their house through their design and renovation efforts, wins. The reputation each woman has built up over years of blood, sweat and tears is on the line. The competition is tough. Take a look through our before and after gallery to see how each woman is bringing her A-game to this renovation challenge.
Rock the Block airs Sundays at 9PM e/t, with a weekly bonus episode, This Week’s Winner, at 11PM e/t featuring the winner of that week’s challenge.
Old World Charm
Windy City Rehab host Alison Victoria is true to form in this redesign of the master bedroom suite. The new flooring and a custom built wood paneled accent wall bring an old world charm to this space in the heart of a California suburb. The use of the dark accent wall certainly grabbed the attention of guest host Tarek El Mooussa (co-host of HGTV’s Flip or Flop), but will it win her this week’s competiton?
How Far They’ve Come
Check out these three shades of bland! After seeing the amazing work the Rock The Block women have done on the master bedrooms you will be shocked to know that this is what the master bedroom looked like before our superstar designers got their hands on it.
Alison’s Master Bath
Alsion Victoria carries her theme of old world charm into the master en suite bathroom. Nothing says old world and high-end more than marble floors. Also heightening the luxe feeling of the bathroom are new vanities, vintage mirrors and a custom shower and freestanding bath tub. What guest judge Tarek El Moussa wasn’t entirely impressed with was the transition from the bedroom flooring to the marble. Perhaps, too hard of a turn.
Jasmine Roth’s Master Bedroom
Jasmine Roth, host of Hidden Potential, should be in her element considering her show is all about taking cookie-cutter homes and making them super fabulous. In this bedroom she used fresh paint, a light wallpaper and new flooring. Her light California design style seems to fit in perfectly with the surrounding neighbourhood … but will it help with the resale price?
Jasmine’s Closet Connection
Who doesn’t love a closet? This is where Jasmine Roth put her resources. Sure, it’s a little on the cozy side and not that glamourous but it’s packed with practicality. When buyers are evaluating houses, the final decision can come down to to which one has the best closet space.
Jasmine’s Master Bath
Step into the master bath where Jasmine Roth has used new wood and tile for flooring, marble countertops, a custom built shower and vintage freestanding bathtub to transform this bathroom into a stunning space. Guest judge Tarek El Moussa loved the vintage black-on-white claw foot tub, but he wasn’t a huge fan of the tile and wood mix for the flooring.
Mina’s Master Bedroom
Mina Starsiak, co-host of HGTV’s Good Bones, demonstrates her fresh Midwest style in this master bedroom design. The floors are a wide wood plank with accent lighting provided by a chandelier to give the room a bit of flair. The misty-coloured paint, macrame wall art and pictures all join to provide a very soothing environment.
Mina Starsiak’s About-Face
Mina Starsiak has gone from wide planks in the master bedroom to a herringbone pattern in the bathroom. Some may say it’s unorthodox, but when you are in the (reno) fight of your life, you take chances. A freestanding tub and custom shower help complete the transformation from cookie-cutter bathroom to spa-like retreat. Where guest judge Tarek El Moussa thinks Mina took a wrong turn was with the floral patterned wallpaper. It might work for some, but when you are trying to get a buyer, you want to avoid going too far overboard. Someone send Mina a lifejacket!
White, White, White
Do we even need to say who designed this room? There is white, on white, with some more white. Yes, Leanne Ford, the queen of white. Her distinctive and winning classic style is on full display here. The minimalist and airy feel of the room is punctuated by the concrete floor. Wait until you see what she did in the master bath.
Looking Like a Million
This $750,000 house is now looking more like a $3-million house. Leanne Ford clearly sprinted at the beginning of this Rock The Block competition. Leanne (with help from brother Steve) completely recreated this space. She tore up the original and came up with this masterpiece bathroom that carries on the airy feel from the master bedroom. But did it win her this week’s challenge? Take a look at the next slide to find out.
Related: Check out the transformation of the bathrooms in this Home To Win: For The Holidays Victorian Gem.
And the Master Suite Makeover Winner is…
Yes, HGTV Canada fans, Leanne Ford has won this week’s design challenge! This minimalist bathroom design was what likely tipped the scales in her favour. Guest judge Tarek El Moussa was effusive with his praise. The question remains, can Leanne Ford keep up the pace for the three remaining 3 weeks of this challenge. And, did she blow her budget? All that to come in the pages that will follow.
The second week of Rock The Block started off with an interesting turn-of-events when Nicole Curtis, host of Rehab Addict pulled up driving a big rig with an old barn on the back of the trailer. This week’s challenge for the Rock The Block women was finding a way of incorporating the wood from this barn in their design. The room they will be transforming? The kitchen. Strap yourselves in.
Alison Victoria Means Business
After nine season of Kitchen Crashers and over 140 kitchen redesigns under her belt, Alison Victoria sees herself as the one to beat. The Windy City Rehab host is full of that Chicago swagger and has no apologies about it. She went all out with luxury appliances and quartz counter tops and matching quartz backsplash. Guest judge Mike Holmes was duly impressed. But Alison’s choice of a porcelain sink was not a winner for Holmes. After years in the business he’s pretty confident that he knows what works and what doesn’t in a kitchen.
A Blank Slate
When whoever came up with the term “cookie- cutter” they must have been thinking of this kitchen! Here is a photo of what the kitchen looked like before Alison and the other women got their hands on it. It’s hardly the most inspiring space to cook a gourmet dinner, or even make toast.
Alison’s dining area lays bare another aspect of her design that guest judge and – Holmes and Holmes host – Mike Holmes sees as a problem. He’s no fan of the vinyl floor choice and, adding insult to injury, he noticed that it was laid sees that it was laid without enough staggering, there were too many pieces that were side-by-side. Welcome to the big leagues where every detail matters.
, host of Hidden Potential, built an enormous island out of Dolomite marble and Northern California Dark Walnut (it seats eight!). Fans of Mike Holmes know what he thinks of marble- too porous, even if its been treated with a UV protectant. Just to side of the island is a wall of all-glass cabinetry that did get high marks from Holmes.
Marble and Wood
Here is a look at Jasmine’s dining area, well laid out and accented with gorgeous pendant lighting. But, it also exposes one of the biggest weaknesses of her design. From an aesthetic point of view, marble and wood seem made for each other- the leather and lace of kitchen design. But from a functional perspective, this was an epic fail. After taking the clamps off the wood addition, it popped higher than the marble. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to keep flush because the materials react so differently to conditions. Mr. Holmes but this in his “cons” column.
Leanne Ford was worried going into this kitchen challenge. She’s not intimidated by kitchens but she felt that guest judge Mike Holmes might find her design to “froo froo” (a note to our HGTV Canada readers: nothing is ever too froo froo fo us). The stone wall was meant to give the kitchen character and depth. Leanne also tried a new technique but covering the stone work with a white grout was save the space from feeling like it was created five minutes ago. Guest judge Mike Holmes called it “different”. His assessment of no cupboards was less glowing. It seems like Mike Holmes and Leanne Ford have a bit of an oil and water chemistry when it comes to design.
For the barn board challenge, Leanne chose to put a wide trim around the kitchen window. With no floor boards to match the trim, Mike Holmes felt that the room was a bit out of synch. Then there’s the concrete floors which the guest judge pointed out would easily stain- just one glass of spilled red wine away from disaster. There is little doubt that this is one of the most unique kitchen on the block… but did it win over guest Judge Mike Homes? Read on to find out.
Cupboards, Cupboards and More Cupboards
Mina Starsiak of Good Bones was the designer of this gorgeous kitchen. This quartz counter top seems to go for miles and the cupboard space is enough for any family that might call this house its home. Also of note to guest judge Mike Holmes, that pot filler top over the sink. Mina’s from the Midwest where practicality seems to be a priority. On the down side, Mr. Holmes was less than impressed with the concrete sink- it’s too porus for his liking. A tip for designers, when it comes to mike Holmes, keep the concrete on the driveway.
Did Mina Pull off an Upset Win?
Things seem to be going well for Mina on the kitchen challenge. Guest judge Mike Holmes also like the bulky custom-made legs that Mina added to the quartz lip of the island. The herring bone EVP (Engineered Vinyl Plank) flooring was also a winner with the guest judge. He seemed to reserve judgement on how Mina used towel racks for fridge door handles. Could Mina Starsiak pull off the upset of the design world and win the kitchen challenge? Click through to the next page to find out.
Alison Rocks The Kitchen Challenge!
Sorry Mina! The winner of the Rock The Block kitchen reno challenge is Alison Victoria. Her choice of high end appliances dripping in five-star ratings and added features like a built-in espresso machine seemed to have won the day. But not to worry, this ain’t over.
Find out more about the Rock the Block women in HGTV’s exclusive digital series, Rock The Roundtable.
Rose Bowl Flea Market
This week, the Rock The Block women had a special visitor, Tiffany Brooks. And this HGTV Star didn’t come empty handed. Tiffany gave out $1,000 to each Rock the Block competitor to spend at the world-renown Rose Bowl Flea market. Dubbed the “Greatest Flea Market on Earth” (held the second Sunday of every month in Pasadena, California) it promises to deliver some incredible finds. The women searched high-and-low for fixtures, art and design elements to give them an advantage against their competition. Watch their pro negotiating tips in this video from the Rose Bowl Flea Market.
This week’s challenge for the Rock The Block women was transforming the Great Room and Outdoor Space in their respective houses. Alison Victoria, fresh from her Kitchen challenge win, brought in a big chunk of Chicago in hopes of making it two wins in a row. Alison sourced an antique fireplace mantel from the Windy City and some other accent pieces to give the space some big-city attitude. Guest judges Brian and Mika Kleinschmidt (hosts of HGTV’s 90 Day Dream Home) were certainly impressed by the WOW Factor! The issue they were wrestling with was if it would make it more valuable in the California market.
Bland, bland and more bland! Believe it or not, this is the space that Alison and the other superstar competitors on Rock The Block started with. The lack of character is shocking. Continue clicking through to see how the women rocked this space!
Transforming the cookie-cutter outdoor spaces posed a bit of a challenge to Alison (the newly decorated “Kitchen Queen”. Alison kept the funky urban style in the great room and added an outdoor fireplace for atmosphere. The fireplace has the added function of ensure privacy from nosey neighbours. A faux living wall gives the space an more organic feel (minus the upkeep). The rope light was a cool accent that Alison picked up for 40$ at the Rose Bowl Flea market.
Jasmine’s Great Space
Jasmine Roth, pulled out all the stops in this episode’s design challenge. Upon entering Jasmine’s great room space you are drawn immediately to the chandelier at the centre of the room. It didn’t come cheap- about $1,000! Drawing the eye upwards also highlights the wood paneled ceiling which keeps that California vibe she has created throughout the house. The guest judges, Brian and Mika Kleinschmidt loved the room but they were less impressed that the glass doors which only slide to the side instead of folding in accordion-style giving the opening a more grand presence. Will this cost her this week’s challenge?
Cozy and Stylish
Mina Starsiak is hoping to get her first Rock The Block win with this stylish but cozy living room. The judges loved her herring bone flooring, built in cabinets and faux judges’ paneling above the fireplace – accented with reclaimed barn wood. What the judges felt was missing was a signature chandelier or other fixture that could have brought the room together. Did Mina play it too safe? We will soon know.
Mina’s blew out the back wall of the house to install a massive folding glass wall which made a perfect transition from the living room to the patio. This along with the cozy outdoor fireplace won over the judges. Above the fireplace is a definite conversation starter –
an enormous dough bowl that Mina picked up at the Rose Bowl flea market. The outdoor turf Mina installed caught Brian Kleinschmidt’s eye. The turf means no cutting or watering lawn for the home owners(and she got it at a discount!).
Why create another family home when it can be a vacation home? Leanne Ford used this episode’s challenge to hammer home the distinctive character she was creating with her design. Its light, airy, open style is more in keeping with a vacation home design – a retreat from everyday life. The white-washed rafters add to this effect while complimenting the stone accent wall in the kitchen. Guest hosts Brian and Mika were impressed but the lack of mouldings, hardwood floors and other finishings left them a little flat. While a buyer may love this style, will they be willing to buy it?
Leanne Ford’s minimalist style flows out to the outdoor space. The big-bell shaped outdoor lights were salvaged at the Rose Bowl Flea Market. The flooring surrounding the outdoor fireplace aren’t tiles but stencils painted on concrete! We love it. The pea gravel and planting of a few olive trees gives the space a simple but elegant touch. Leanne sees this space as having a little bit of Mexico, Greece and France. But will the judges think it has enough California for prospective buyers?
Jasmine Wins It!
This week’s winner was Jasmine Roth! She spent $50,000 on her great room and outdoor space but it gave her the first win of the competition. What a perfect way to celebrate- a jump in the pool! Hopefully Leanne Ford won’t mind that her brother Steve joined in on the festivities despite the highly competitive nature of these challenges. With one episode remaining, the pressure is on Mina Starsiak to get at least win. Will Mina get shut out? Will Leanne’s unique styling win over the judges? And will Alison’s Windy City style rock the judges enough to give her the big win she’s been fighting fo?
What Was and Should Never Be
This is what the exterior of Allison Victoria’s home looked at before she got to work. It’s a similar look that all the Rock The Block women were working with. Click on to see how each woman added to her home’s curb appeal. First impressions can mean everything when people are comparing houses.
Quick test: Who reno’d the whitest house on the block? Yes, Leanne Ford. Her signature minimalist monochromatic style is now front-and-centre. Both inside and out, Leanne has made a statement. But will the judges think it would sell for the most in this market?