Episode 9: Curb Appeal — The final challenge of Rowhouse Showdown has the teams cleaning up the front yard. Will Team AC^2 finally score a win?
It’s the final challenge on Rowhouse Showdown: the front yard. Or as those in the biz like to call it: curb appeal. The teams have two days and an average of $8,000 each to transform the front of the house into something desirable. What tricks of the trade did we pick up this week?
When in doubt, mellow out
Alena and Anya have yet to win a challenge and have been declared “disappointing” twice in three challenges. This is pretty much their last chance of winning anything on the show, since their Miami Lumberjack Sexy Incomplete Kitchen Frankenstein’s Monster is probably not going to win the overall competition. Before embarking on the challenge, the women decide to do some research in the neighborhood, checking out yards and foyers1 of nearby houses. Part of this is because their Miami aesthetic would not blend in with the Cincinnati scene, but I think by taking a step back Team AC^2 were less frantic during the challenge and avoided drama for the most part.
Consider your surroundings
Josh and Geoff didn’t just consider their own house when they tackled their design. Unlike the other two teams, Team Clean Hands are actually part of a rowhouse, so their neighbors share a wall. The guys painted the house exterior a beautiful blue that complemented the peach-ish color of their neighbor’s half of the building. In the yard, the guys created a park-like setting with plants and fixtures that work year-round in the Cincinnati climate.
Katie and Dan are at a disadvantage this week, with $1,000 taken away by last week’s winners Geoff and Josh. Team Minnesota decides to focus their efforts on painting rather than landscaping, which is a hard sell in a curb appeal challenge. They pick a great color for the house, but decide to go with white deck paint for the trim and front steps. Unfortunately, no one told their carpenter Clint of the plan, and he powerwashed the house before painting could begin. This set the team back timewise, which meant there wasn’t enough time to clean the muddy footprints off the steps at the end of the challenge.
Minnesota: The budget shortfall was too much of an obstacle to overcome this week. Though Kathy Kuo and Jim Bronzie liked the new house color, the maintenance nightmare of white steps and rather blah landscaping resulted in another safe end product. Also, Josh tried to stir the pot by accusing the team of going over budget. Remember: Katie taught us the importance of keeping receipts, and the team is in the clear. Still, dealing with that extra aggravation doesn’t help.
Clean Hands: The judges loved the design of the outside and its year-round usability. However, the garden path the guys designed did not impress. Geoff and Josh originally ordered 24″ x 24″ pavers, but their stone guy only had 12″ x 12″ in stock and nothing available in terms of filler. Though visually appealing, the pathway was completely impractical. Inside, the light fixtures didn’t match the foyer design, but the guys did create a nice alcove under the stairs. Jim gives the guys his vote after deliberations.
AC^2: This team probably had the most difficult yard to transform and did a great job. The women brought in color—but not too much—and brightened up the neighborhood. They also used plants indigenous to the area, though they were placed in pots that won’t hold up in an Ohio winter. They did some fantastic wainscoting in the foyer, but there were a few too many accessories. Despite these drawbacks, Kathy voted for them.
In the end, Carter Oosterhouse broke the tie by giving the win to Alena and Anya. It should be noted this is somewhat inconsequential, as there are no more budget incentives. Next week the teams will get to do touch-ups in their spaces, but the neighborhood will come in for an open house. One of this teams will win the Rowhouse Showdown.
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- which is also part of the challenge ↵