Rowhouse Showdown: Suite and Sour

Ted and Krystal's winning design in the master suite challenge on Rowhouse Showdown.
Rowhouse Showdown (Photo: FYI)

Rowhouse Showdown Episode 2: How Suite It Is — The teams are tasked with refurbishing their houses’ master suites, which means bedroom and bathroom. What tricks of the trade did we learn this week?The Challenge: Design and execute a master suite with a baseline budget of $15,000. Katie and Dan (Team Minnesota) won last week, so they got to steal $1,000 from Geoff and Josh (Team Clean Hands). Ted and Krystal (Team Lumberjack Sexy is Totally a Thing You Guys) smile politely.

The Obstacles: All three teams are dealing with what is technically a clean slate, in that even basic features like sinks and tubs have been removed. However, the spaces are hovels with helpful graffiti, such as “Green” on a green wall, and a compass rose on the accent wall.1

If you are embarking on a similar project, what lessons can we take from this episode of Rowhouse Showdown?

Tiling is the worst.

Team Minnesota and Team Clean Hands were neck-and-neck in who had the greater tiling woes. For Team CH, they ran out of money (thanks to their $1,000 deficit) and had to do the tiling themselves. Unfortunately, they were not able to get to grouting until the wee hours of the morning. The guys took a risk and left the grout to dry overnight. Protip: DO NOT LEAVE GROUT TO DRY OVERNIGHT. When they returned, the tile looked like a matted mess which will have to be retiled at some point. They also failed to do any sort of transition between the hardwood of their otherwise gorgeous bedroom to the tile of the bathroom.

Minnesota had allegedly professional tilers, but they started in opposite corners and worked in opposite directions, making the tiles look disorganized. Oh, and they didn’t come back to finish the job. Dan had to finish the job himself and did a decent job, though the white grout on white tile was dinged for being next to impossible for future homeowners to keep clean.

Keep your receipts.

The shopping expeditions are one of the few times the teams interact, so it is the only place to see any team drama. Not to get too inside baseball, but it appears the teams are only allowed to buy what is on the showroom floor, so once an item is sold it should be tagged and off limits. Katie purchased some silver decorative pieces which also caught Krystal’s eye. Krystal decided to snatch it, even though it looked like it was tagged. Katie produced her receipt showing she had purchased it. Even with that proof, Krystal remained on the fence about whether she wanted to give up the pieces. What?!

Be bold or be bored.

The biggest risks of the week came from Team LSITATYG. First, they decided to go with hardwood floors throughout the suite rather than wood in the bedroom and tile in the bathroom. To be clear, this is hardwood laminate, which is recommended on Income Property all the time for ease of install, affordability, and environmentalness (if you get the right kind). The fear of the risk was assuaged when host Carter Oosterhouse did one of his walkthroughs, praising Krystal and Ted for the stylish choice.

The other risk: peacock blue paint in the bedroom. As you can see in the photo, the color has strength but doesn’t darken the room drastically. Paired with Hollywood chic decor, the combination created a stunning room. Contrast that with the damask wallpaper used by Team Minnesota, which was okay, but didn’t create a warm lair in which one can rest and relax.

Game mechanics.

Team LSITATYG won the challenge, though their bathroom was a bit of a dud compared to the other two (except for the floors, which we have discussed). During the evaluation, Josh got super cocky, saying his worst was usually better than everyone else in the room. Considering his team has been less than stellar in this competition, that is an hilariously unfounded statement. Josh is really into the trash-talking aspect of the game, but this is not a social game. No one is getting voted out. I’m not sure what his endgame is with that strategy, other than continually working with a $1,000 deficit, which will happen next week because Krystal didn’t like his comment and chose Team Clean Hands for punishment.

Next week on Rowhouse Showdown: The teams visit the neighbors and re-design their dining rooms. I was wondering how this show was going to get stretched to ten episodes. I’m eager to see these teams in a client relationship.

  1. Production may have painted those as notes, but I’d like to think Cincinnati graffiti is all about stating the obvious.  

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About Mike McComb 1072 Articles
Mike has been writing about TV online since 2008, when he started the blog WTF Little House on the Prairie? The blog was a project to practice writing about television analytically prior to getting an MA in Television-Radio-Film from Syracuse University, or as he likes to call it "TV Camp." After a lengthy stint at TVLatest, Mike wanted to launch a site that brought in classic TV, diamonds in the rough, and the shows everybody watches. E-mail:
  • Designer Lover

    Totally into this show! Love the new FYI channel. Old Bio was BORING. My favorite team personally is Josh and Geoff – hands down. Josh doesn’t seem to give a shit about what the judges or other cast thinks of him – but that makes great TV. I’m excited to see what they do next. As a designer myself I can appreciate how they are really going big on the designs. The other teams just don’t have the sophisticated design esthetic they do.

    • Kendal

      I like the design attempt by Team Clean Hands however I can see how the $1,000 was crippling for them. I do have to give them credit — they are the only team that did the majority of the work themselves. They had the same amount of time as everyone else in addition to having a room that was in need of a complete overhaul. I do agree with MIKE MCCOMB that everyone had to create a space from pretty much nothing, however I couldn’t help but notice that Team Clean Hands room was in the worst condition. It looks like LSITATYG had little to no Drywall work required where as Team Clean Hands needed sheetrock the entire space (Bedroom & Bathroom). Team Minnesota on the other hand did some reconfiguring by taking a wall down, but again, they had much less prep work required for the space. I personally don’t understand the thought process here as these are three completely different houses in three complete different stages of disrepair. I’m curious to see how each of the teams compete. I certainly hope Team Minnesota pushes themselves a bit because their design was on the boring side. LSITATYG needs to figure out what LS really means as I don’t think Krystal really knows. Team Clean Hands needs to focus on delivering a finished room and I think they will have a fighting chance to win as they seem to have a keen eye for design.

  • Dode Peterson

    Whst happened to the fourth team????????

    • You may be thinking of HGTV’s Flipping the Block, which has four teams and a similar format.