The good guys always win in the end, and Monday's Season 2 finale of HGTV competition "Rock the Block" was no exception. While Brian and Mika Kleinschmidt were still letting the big win wash over them, we grabbed the "100 Day Dream Home" stars for a review of their journey from underdogs to champions.
"We had a game plan from the beginning. We stuck to the game plan," builder Brian Kleinschmidt told TheWrap. "I think our best move was spreading our budget out throughout the house evenly rather than blow it in one space."
"From the beginning, Brian and I said we're not going to out-design our competitors," designer and real estate agent Mika Kleinschmidt added. "I think we actually figured out our design style while we were doing the show."
Along the way, they created a beautiful and functional home, one that did not win a single individual competition but certainly won over the appraisers. Brian and Mika's craftsman farmhouse was appraised at $625,000.
While the Kleinschmidts' "Rock the Block" build was family-friendly from a practical standpoint, it also had the fun factor that moms and dads are looking for -- especially these days. The obvious wow factor for families was the bowling alley they squeezed into the basement. Judges agreed it was a cool touch, but worried they would not get an adequate return on the large chunk of their HGTV-provided $225,000 renovation budget.
We asked the husband-and-wife team, who are parents, if they would do the bowling alley again.
"Yeah," Mika said. "Listen, that was a real quick answer because I feel like there is nothing we would not do again in the house, number one, if it had worked, right? Because we won. But I think, we can't talk about this on air, but to know that we were filming the show during COVID, where people were stuck at home and where you had to make your home function for more than just living your day to day, we tried to figure something out that would bring families together that would appeal to all ages."
"So yeah, I think everybody agreed our house was the most fun. And that was important," she continued. "The home gym was also a big factor of that, right? Like, if you're not leaving to go work out in a fitness center, how are you going to stay healthy? Mental health, you know. All of that, and what we were going through in our personal lives, really did affect the decisions we made on the house."
Just like on TV, Brian backed Mika up.
"The bowling alley, it brought a smile to everyone's face who saw it," he chimed in. "And that was also a win. To see all the other teams, to see the construction crew, to see the production crew, all having fun in that bowling alley after really a tough, six grueling weeks, was really cool. That our house was kind of the hangout spot."
That wasn't the only wild idea Brian and Mika had to "put the 'fun' in 'functional." (OK, so this next secret project, which almost happened, is totally nonfunctional. But still.)
"We were going to put a zip-lining course in the back. A ropes course," Mika told us. "The producers are looking at us like, 'You guys, you can't jam anything else into this. There's no time, there's no money. You're done.'"
"Let me just say this, if we had another two days and another about two grand, we were totally going to do it. And we had it all planned out," Brian added. "It was going to come off that upper deck and it was going to be a zip-line course going from tree to tree. How cool would that have been?"
The answer: pretty darn cool.
"Hey, you know what, it's probably better we didn't because I could see that being like a trampoline in your backyard where they go, 'Oh, now we can't give you homeowner's insurance,'" Mika said.
If you needed more evidence that Brian and Mika Kleinschmidt created the most sellable house of the four, the couple told us that their house sold first and is "closing soon."
So yes, they won "Rock the Block" Season 2 in a few ways -- including by just being invited to the party.
"First of all, 'Rock the Block' was just a huge honor to be part of. I mean, honestly... when [Mika] and I got to set the very first day, we were kind of looking around and we were like, 'Oh my God. These are HGTV stars and designers that we've looked up to for so many years,'" Brian said. "To win the whole thing was just a dream come true. Because now it means that we're in the same conversation as these people that we've looked up to for all these years, which is just incredible. Even though we knew we won, reliving it last night -- we're still pinching ourselves that we actually won this thing."