Rowhouse Showdown: More Bathroom Tricks of the Trade

Carter Oosterhouse delivers challenge details to the Rowhouse Showdown contestants.
Rowhouse Showdown (Photo: FYI)

Rowhouse Showdown Episode 4: Flushed — The teams get a second chance at refurbishing bathrooms. Did the contestants learn from their mistakes last time?

On this week’s Rowhouse Showdown, the teams return to their own houses and tackle another bathroom with three days and an average budget of $7,000. The designated guest bathrooms are rather tiny, and each team approaches the space issue in a different way. Team Minnesota1 goes with custom built space-saving features and light colors in their “moditional”2 style. Team Lumberjack Sexy is Totally a Thing You Guys3 plays with neutral/bright colors and vertical lines to create the illusion of space, though their bathroom is a normal size. Team Clean Hands4 take advantage of their $1,000 bonus from last week’s win to move the bathroom to a different room in the house, giving them a ton of space to work with.

Since this is the second bathroom reno the teams have done, let’s see if there are any new tricks of the trade to pick up—and if teams learned their lessons from last time.

Make a budget.

The teams have finally accepted that the money provided, even with a bonus $1,000, is just enough to complete their projects, so any way to cut costs needs to be attempted. Team Minnesota, who is at a $1,000 disadvantage this week, had no choice but to do all the work themselves. This isn’t a problem for Dan, who is a plumber and claims “I do some of my best work in the bathroom.” Hehe. Team Clean Hands treat their extra money as a contingency fund rather than cash to burn, which is good because the drywallers they hired tore down a wall they were supposed to just cover up. Oops.

Team LSITATYG has heard the budgeting message but still needs some work internalizing it. Krystal spends a good deal of time making a budget spreadsheet and calling around to find grasscloth for their design. She’s like an ineffective project manager from Celebrity Apprentice who wants to look busy but isn’t actually doing anything. When she finally finds a vendor, the quote for materials forces Krystal to throw her budget out the window. Ted is not amused.

Make Nice with the Neighbors

A neighbor couple, David and Jonathan, pay a visit to Ted and Krystal’s house. Krystal pinky-swears them to secrecy before taking them on a tour of the house. The neighbors get along famously with Team LSITATYG and has some nice things to say about what they have seen. We then see the neighbors head over to Team Clean Hands’ house (which makes me think this is a production ploy rather than a genuine visit). Josh invites the guys in, then immediately tries to pump them for information about Krystal and Ted. The neighbors are pushed off by this and the tension is such that I fear a dance-off may break out. We don’t see the neighbors at Team Minnesota’s house, but I’m guessing that’s because the interaction was super boring.

Tiling, Part II: Still the Worst

All three teams were smart this time around, restricting tiling to just the bathing area of their bathrooms. Katie took on tiling for Team Minnesota, which was new territory for her. At the adbreaks throughout the first half of the show, we see Katie working with a tile saw and hear her gasp. When it finally gets to the point in the episode where she’s using the saw, I’m filled with dread. The bad news: the tile saw did try to eat Katie alive. The good news: she pulled her hand away before anything bad happened. That was a well-executed fakeout, show. Don’t ever do that again.

Geoff and Josh, who had it the roughest with tiling last time, have hired someone to take care of the grouting once they do their initial design. They are arguing about what pattern to make when host Carter Oosterhouse comes by for a visit. His concern isn’t with the pattern, but with whether the team will fail to finish for the fourth week in a row. Team Clean Hands heeds the advice and goes with a simple black and white stripe design, which looks fantastic.

Ted, who has been doing 90% of the actual work in the bathroom, does not have time to finish grouting the tile. Which is a shame since it looks like he did such a good job with the tiling.


Kathy Kuo and Jim Bronzie start with Team LSITATYG’s bathroom. The grasscloth walls are complemented with sea foam green wainscoting and a beige trim. Although the space is soothing, no one5 can articulate how this room fits with the lumberjack sexy aesthetic. The judges are also annoyed that the tiling was unfinished. “If you don’t finish, I can’t judge it,” Kathy says. Y’all have been warned.

Team Clean Hands’ bathroom is stunning in every way. The expanded space allowed for a fuller realization of the coastal elegance vibe the guys are going for and this is the first time I’ve been convinced their aesthetic could work in Cincinnati. There is a private toilet room within the bathroom, but the focal point is the fabulous tile job in the bath/shower. There isn’t any storage space in the bathroom, but that could be remedied with some baskets or swapping out the small seat by the window with a piece with drawers.

Team Minnesota’s use of built-ins and a custom vanity maximized the space of their tiny, tiny bathroom. They used wallpaper similar to the damask they used in the bedroom, though this is coral rather than gold. It’s garish and I HATE it. Dan and Katie also installed a chandelier as the light fixture, which I think is a dumb choice. Do you really want something dangling over your head when you are already confined? It doesn’t help that the fixture is hanging too low and is too big for the space.

Krystal and Ted are named the losers of the challenge because they didn’t finish their tiling. Carter says the decision was close (it was?), but the winners this week are Josh and Geoff. The guys decide to take $1,000 from Team LSITATYG because they haven’t been disadvantaged yet. Also Josh hates their guts, but he doesn’t mention that part. The teams are learning!

Next week on Rowhouse Showdown: Kitchens!

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  1. Dan and Katie  
  2. Modern+Traditional. Thanks Kathy Kuo!  
  3. Krystal and Ted  
  4. Geoff and Josh  
  5. not even Ted  

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About Mike McComb 669 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: