Before and After: HGTV’s “Rock the Block” Transforms These Identical Empty Spaces into Must-Have Suites

published Mar 22, 2022
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Credit: HGTV
Keith Bynum and Evan Thomas' bonus room before

The area over a two-story garage can be hard to decorate, and even harder to define. The purpose of the space is ambiguous and it’s often difficult to strike a balance between functional and aesthetically pleasing. That was the case for the four teams of “Rock the Block” designers, who began to renovate the upstairs of their identical houses in the latest episode of the HGTV competition series.

The “Finished Room Over Garage,” dubbed “F.R.O.G.” by host Ty Pennington, presented one of greatest obstacles for the teams because there were no clear rules for the space. “It’s all about enhancing these extra spaces, which could be challenging because they’re such a blank slate,” Pennington said. 

The original space was open and bare, with white walls and floors (and several white-trimmed windows). Judges Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent (“The Nate & Jeremiah Home Project”) were most impressed by two of the transformations: the work of Keith Bynum and Evan Thomas (“Bargain Block”) and that of Dave and Jenny Marrs (“Fixer to Fabulous”). 

Credit: HGTV
Keith Bynum and Evan Thomas' bonus room after

Bynum and Thomas turned the F.R.O.G. into a rental space to help up the appraisal value for their home, adding a small kitchen, bathroom, dining, and bed to the petite area. Homeowners could have the option of renting the detached area out and helping pay off their mortgage with some passive income. Keeping their $20,000 budget in mind, Byum and Thomas decided to reuse some of the excess lumber and cabinetry that had been removed from the house in previous weeks. They took the original white cabinets from the gutted main kitchen and moved them to the small kitchen area in the F.R.O.G. 

“I wanted that F.R.O.G. space to really stand out and be distinct, so we’re going very saturated, very bold,” Bynum said of the dark teal paint they chose for the main wall color (with purple walls and black tile in the bathroom). The couple brought in a complimentary light teal fridge to help pull the bold colors together, with a similarly colored accent chair. They also added in an emerald green tile backsplash. Despite all of the color, they opted to keep the simple white trim on the windows.

Credit: HGTV
Dave and Jenny Marrs' bonus room before

The Marrses opted to make the F.R.O.G. into a guest house of sorts, perfect for visiting family or a relaxation area for older children. The transformation included a bathroom and trundle-style daybed. To cut costs in their $16,000 budget, Dave built the custom bed from scratch. The couple also wanted the space to be able to function as a home office (since “90 percent of the year, you’re not going to have guests,” according to Jenny), making it as multipurpose as possible for prospective homebuyers. Dave took the idea and ran with it, crafting a built-in secretary desk that could fold out into a workspace.

Credit: HGTV
Dave and Jenny Marrs' bonus room after

Like Bynum and Thomas, the Marrses kept the white trim on their windows and painted the bed and bathroom door the same color. To balance out the dark, deep green on their walls, they used natural, light wood on the floors, table, and desk. The defining elements of their renovation were the hand-crafted additions, which both Berkus and Brent celebrated.

“I thought that it was absolutely genius how you took the historic concept of a drop-front secretary [desk],” Berkus said. “I think the hand-made trundle bed is genius.” 

“Rock the Block” airs new episodes on Mondays at 9/8 central on HGTV and Discovery+.