| Jack Jenkins Homes
‘Rock the Block’ Season 4 Stars Reveal the Home Trends That Are In and Out—and the New Room We All Need
HGTV’s hit home renovation competition “Rock the Block” is back for Season 4, with four new groups of all-star designers going head to head remodeling homes in Berthoud, CO. This time, no expense will be spared, as they’re using the biggest budgets on the biggest houses in the show’s history!
Each team gets $250,000 and six weeks to renovate one of four identical 5,000-square-foot homes; the property that fetches the highest appraised value at the end wins.
No doubt, it will be a tight race between Bryan and Sarah Baeumler from “Renovation Island,” Michel Smith Boyd and Anthony Elle from “Luxe for Less,” Jonathan Knight and Kristina Crestin from “Farmhouse Fixer,” and Page Turner and Mitch Glew from “Fix My Flip.” Meanwhile, Ty Pennington has returned as emcee/referee.
We had a chat with the “Rock the Block” host and competitors to hear what the competition was like behind the scenes. Here’s what they had to say about their experiences, as well as which design trends are all the rage today (and a few that are on the chopping block). Bonus: Pennington introduces a new type of room he thinks every house should have, particularly when you’re renovating.
Renovations are stressful no matter the circumstances. What’s the best advice for keeping your cool through construction?
Bryan Baeumler: Don’t work with your spouse!
Kristina Crestin: Just keep smiling. That’s it, just keep smiling.
Jonathan Knight: Spiked coffee.
Michel Smith Boyd: I’d say do it with your best friend. That helps.
Anthony Elle: Be OK with pivoting. You know how people say adversity builds character? It really reveals character, because you have to show up in those moments.
Ty Pennington: If you’re really smart, you’ll put in your plan a little room, maybe it’s underneath your staircase, but it’s a place to cry [and] scream. It’s called the “pivot room,” where you pivot emotionally, and you let out every single bit of energy you have. Then you come back and you’re like, “I’m ready.”
With such tough competition, what did you try to get an edge and make your house stand out?
Boyd: We were designing from a bachelor, sexy, escape kind of point of view. [With] Anthony’s fashion background and my design background, we thought we might have an edge with that POV.
Elle: On “Luxe for Less,” I contribute in the DIY space and that’s something we did a lot of—although it doesn’t look like it!
Page Turner: For us on “Fix My Flip,” we help struggling flippers save their flips, so we had that same superpower: Let’s go in, and we are going to save this house and give it the most added value. If we can save everybody else on our show, we can definitely save ourselves for the win.
Mitch Glew: Working in high-end real estate and construction, we know what people want, so that was a bit of an upper hand coming into the competition.
Sarah Baeumler: Colorado is all about the landscape, and I think that has been what we focused on: how important it is to enjoy the outdoors and bring that inside to have a comfortable environment indoors and out.
And on the hospitality side, we like to create spaces that feel calming and welcoming. We think our home is not just how it looks, but how it smells, how it feels—all of the different senses coming together.
Crestin: I’d say level of organization and preparedness is pretty huge for us. I don’t know how I shifted current clients around, but we hit it so hard that the weeks before leaving, there wasn’t anything else to decide or do because we actually got all of our ducks in a row, every last thing. I got there being like, “Oh we’re good!”
Knight: Obviously, we had to pick a lot of things upfront and have them ready to go. I think organization was big [and] pre-planning.
What approach did you use to add value to your properties?
Glew: We lived by functionality. Everything we did had to be functional, had to be family-friendly. We took more of a sensible approach to it.
Boyd: It was like forensic files. Obviously, all things have to be functional, but we always land on something beautiful. It was how are we adding value in this room? How is this getting us closer to that win? It’s a different approach to design. We’re all different designers for having had this experience.
Sarah: Who is going to be that future homeowner, and what would they find a value add in that space? We all had to wear that hat. We don’t live in Colorado, but we had to go into each project and really dig into what that person would want in their own home. I think that would go for anyone, wherever you’re doing a project, to really know the environment and the neighborhood that you’re building in.
Bryan: When you’re building and developing for sale, you can’t build your dream home. You have to try and have [the] perspective of the potential buyer, and some emotional design elements as well that you put in there.
Pennington: That’s the real challenge of “Rock the Block.” You’ve got to add something that any Realtor® or any buyer can look at and be like, “That’s really going to add value. That’s going to be more expensive than a house across the street.” But it’s also a design show, which means you’ve got to be really clever and come up with something unique that none of the other houses have.
Crestin: It was an interesting point of getting through the design before we got there, where we were so focused [on] what do we need to do for value? And at a certain point, we were like, we just want to do good design. We’re going to do the best we can with box-checking. But whether we win or not, I still want to present a unified, beautiful project and let go a little bit about the real estate part. At that point, it became more fun.
Turner: I’ve been a broker for 20 years, so I did a deep dive with comps in the area as soon as we found out where we were going. I almost wanted to fly there! We did a deep dive on that buyer.
Let’s talk about some home trends. Some design forecasts say buyers no longer prefer open floor plans. What’s your opinion?
Turner: All those dining rooms you guys are trying to put back, they’re going to take the wall down anyway, so I’m still open concept.
White marble countertops were a point of contention in Season 3. Where do you all stand on them?
Pennington: It’s a little basic.
Sarah: Marble is safe.
Knight: It has to be classic, not boring white.
What’s your take on traditional subway tiles?
Bryan: Get rid of them. We’re over it! They’re done.
How about stainless-steel appliances?
Boyd: Ready to move on.
Turner: Black, white, pink!
“Rock the Block” airs Monday nights on HGTV and streams on discovery+.
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