HGTV's 'Battle on the Block' - One-Up Thy Neighbor

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You might enjoy HGTV's "Battle on the Block" if you're into DIY TV -- or if you yearn to one-up your neighbors and would get a kick out of seeing other people do it. On the show we see three sets of neighbors compete for 10 grand -- and neighborhood bragging rights. Here's our take on Episode 1.

The premise: three neighboring families get three days to remodel some part of their home. The families are given a cash budget, a limited amount of contractor help, plus access to necessary tools. It's up to them to plan their project, then budget their time, money and resources to get everything they need in order to finish in three days. As they work, designer Genevieve Gorder wanders in and out of the three construction sites dispensing advice, encouragement and words of caution as needed. After three days, the projects are judged on creativity, functionality and the overall transformation they've accomplished.

Episode 1on April 10 featured three neighbors in a Jacksonville, Florida suburb: the Zorns, the Fiscors and the Holzendorfs. The assignment was a kitchen remodel. As this is a reality show, it's easy to spot the couple you don't want to win: the Zorns. Laura comes across as a bossy, everything-in-its-place controlling type who shoots down every suggestion her husband makes. They plan a massive renovation of their kitchen that includes moving plumbing; it's difficult to see how it could be accomplished in three days, even with the Zorns pulling all-nighters.

In contrast, the easygoing Fiscors seem like neighbors anyone would like. Melissa is the un-Laura, declaring that "a home is not a museum," while husband Steve is the handiest guy on the block, someone you might call on in a DIY emergency. Their kitchen project is also ambitious, but with Steve able to do much of the work, their renovation seems doable.

The Holzendorfs, an attractive couple given to making lists, have a limited renovation in mind. What they really, really want is a beautiful wine room. Their project seems like the one most likely to finish on time.
Once the demolitions gets started, the couples start pulling all-nighters as the magnitude of their various projects begin to seem overwhelming. Will they finish? Won't they finish? What happens when the Zorns' granite countertops are late? When the Fiscors get the wrong doors? Is the Holzendorfs' proposed wine room taking up too much time? Will the Fiscors' new floor get put down properly? Melissa Fiscor predicts that no one will finish--and that she and Steve will have the best incomplete kitchen.

She is wrong.
The Zorns win; their remodeled kitchen is a knockout (pictured above) and you have no doubt whatsoever that Laura Zorn will be more irritating than ever. But then the other couples also ended up with nice kitchen remodels as well.
Practical stuff we learned:
1.If you're planning a DIY renovation, keep the project manageable and don't bite off too much.
2.Don't paint laminate. It's nonporous.
3.If you rip up your floor and lay down a new subfloor, it will need time to cure and dry before you can lay down a new floor.

See more home tv coverage or find homes for sale at AOL Real Estate.
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