Rowhouse Showdown: Vampire Sex Den Mad Libs

Geoff and Josh (Team Clean Hands) design a beautiful guest bedroom with repurposed materials on Rowhouse Showdown.
Rowhouse Showdown (Photo: FYI)

Episode 8: “Be My Guest (Bedroom)” — In the final indoor challenge of the season, the Rowhouse Showdown teams have to design a guest bedroom with repurposed furnishings.This week’s Rowhouse Showdown has the teams designing guest bedrooms. However, there is an added challenge of incorporating repurposed materials in the designs. The teams have only two days and an average of $9,000 to work with—not much considering buying items to repurpose can get expensive. What tricks of the trade can we use to take on our own repurposing projects?

Make a Plan

I’m a little shocked that we are eight weeks into the competition and teams still think they can improvise. I’m not talking about rolling with the punches: I mean spending money without a clear sense of what the end goal will be. The biggest offender in this regard is team AC^2 (Anya and Alena), whose Miami Chic aesthetic does not incorporate repurposing at all.1 The women had a vague sense of what the room would look like in terms of furniture placement and styles, but colors and accessories would be left to the Fates of the Thrift Shop. They pop some tags on various pieces of wood and other items with a sense of “this looks neat,” which seems like the Mad Libs way of telling a design story.

Save Everything

Geoff and Josh were smart in their previous design, saving whole scraps for possible use later. Along with paneling from the Bonus Room challenge, the guys saved doors, which they were able to convert into a footboard and headboard for a bed. Super cute and perfectly in line with the Team Clean Hands aesthetic. However, the guys also fall into the “Make a Plan” trap with the concept of their dresser. While at the thrift shop, Josh found some vintage suitcases. He gets the idea of making a dresser using the suitcases as drawers. It’s a brilliant concept, but there isn’t an ample supply of cases at any one thrift store, so Team Clean Hands travels throughout the greater Cincinnati area trying to track some down. They eventually acquire six or eight of them (at a price tag of $2,000!) and get back to the house on day two. Jason, their carpenter, has had it officially.

Know the Difference Between a Marathon and a Sprint

Team Minnesota (Katie and Dan) are operating on their own frequency, which is exactly what they should be doing. Katie narrates that Josh is preoccupied with getting into Anya and Alena’s heads, so she goes shopping at a different thrift store to put together their concept. The team went in knowing they wanted to do a kids room, but their trip would determine if it would be targeted toward a boy or girl. The knick knacks had a dollhouse quality about them, so the duo went with a girl’s room. In the project they decided to do exposed brick and maintain their modern traditional aesthetic. The repurposing came across as a bit of an afterthought, but Team Minnesota wanted to make sure the room tied in with the rest of the house. You don’t need to win every challenge to win the grand prize.


AC^2: Host Carter Oosterhouse saying “whooooooooooooooa” as the judges entered the room was a bit of an understatement. Anya and Alena’s choice of paint did not dry quite the way they had hoped, causing the room to look like a bordello for the damned. Kathy Kuo referred to it as a vampire s&m sex den2, which isn’t too far off the mark. We know that wasn’t what the women were going for, but their disadvantage of entering the competition halfway through is getting challenged by discouragement. The final house tour is going to be naners.

Minnesota: Jim Bronzie loved the use of exposed brick in the space, noting this is the first time it has appeared in the competition and he has been waiting for it. The team gets dinged for half-assing the repurposing part of the challenge, as well as targeting the room towards children rather than guests.

Clean Hands: Despite their budget limitation (Minnesota stole $1,000 after winning last week), the guys did an impressive job thanks to their door bed and the suitcase dresser. The guys also had to deal with another fireplace, which looked great except for another incomplete tiling job. The guys didn’t have enough money to buy grout, but Bronzie doesn’t accept the excuse.

Geoff and Josh win the challenge, narrowly beating Katie and Dan. Rather than kick Anya and Alena when they are down, the guys take $1,000 from Katie and Dan since they are the main competition. Okay, so Josh did get in that one kick.

Next week on Rowhouse Showdown: Curb appeal! More budget woes! Possible disqualification!

  1. I feel bad that Team LSITATYG(R.I.P.) is no longer around because they would have devoured this challenge.  
  2. See, Mad Libs.  

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About Mike McComb 663 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:
  • Aaron Mucciolo

    That suitcases-as-dresser-drawers thing has popped up on a couple of design blogs and sites and the possibility that there just wouldn’t be enough suitcases available honestly never occurred to me.