Fans of HGTV’s Showhouse Showdown got another chance to dish with host Bob Guiney and the show’s designers Friday during a special re-airing of the Cranberry episode.
In August, HGTV and Stone & Co. Entertainment partnered with Pittsburgh’s Heartland Homes to film an episode at the Mystic Ridge development in Cranberry Township. The show also filmed in September in the Edgewater at Oakmont neighborhood.
On Friday, designers Alisha Gwen, of Shadyside, and the Philadelphia-based Joe Berkowitz reteamed with former Bachelor Bob Guiney at the Mystic Ridge model home to talk with fans. The show featured the designers adding their touches to two newly-built homes with mirror-image floor plans.
Area residents then toured the home and cast their votes for the winning design.
If you haven’t seen the show yet (spoiler alert!), Berkowitz was crowned the winner. Residents loved his elegant bedroom featuring walls with surprisingly cozy black paint as well as a large marble fireplace in the living room.
“I think the percentage of people buying black paint went up 30 percent the next day,” he joked.
Since the show aired, the design veteran’s phone has been ringing off the hook with friends and family congratulating him on his win—and with potential new clients.
“I spent four hours the day after just answering calls, emails and texts from all over the country,” he said.
To keep the finale a surprise for viewers, both Gwen and Berkowitz were announced as winners during the show’s filming. However, Berkowitz said he knew the same day that he was the winner.
The hard part was keeping it a secret.
Berkowitz, who hopes one day to have his own design show, admits he told his closest family members and his friends about his win, but refrained from telling the world at large.
He was forced to stay quiet longer than originally anticipated after Showhouse Showdown postponed the show’s original airing date due to competition from the Monday night lineup of television shows.
About five episodes of Showhouse Showdown already have aired on TV. The Cranberry episode was the eighth to be filmed and was supposed to premiere in October. Instead, a reformatted version of the show kicked off last Saturday with the episode featuring Berkowitz and Gwen.
“That was frustrating,” Berkowitz said. “You’re excited to see it and have everyone else see it. At that point we had already told everyone it was going to be on.”
Gwen agreed it was a relief to have the episode on the air. Since the show’s premiere, the West Virginia native—who works at Davin Interiors in Upper St. Clair— said she has received plenty of positive feedback about her fun, whimsical designs.
“This whole thing has been really surreal,” she said. “I feel really lucky to have had the opportunity.”
Despite not being named the winner, Gwen had no regrets about her look, which she said stayed true to her design aesthetic. In particular, her cheerful kitchen featuring a double island wowed residents.
“I love what I did and I stand behind it,” she said. “I wasn’t going to go on national television and put my name on something that was safe and wasn’t who I am as a designer.”
Guiney also chatted up residents at Friday’s re-broadcast. The former Bachelor—who still gets handed roses by the show’s fans—said he is enjoying being back in the ‘Burgh.
He added the Heartland Homes crew has been treating him to area restaurants, including Seviche and Sonoma Grille in Pittsburgh. Last time he was here, he tried the famous sandwiches at Primanti Brothers.
“That was awesome,” he said. “I loved it.”
Guiney also gave his approval to the show’s new 30-minute format. Showhouse Showdown originally was intended to run as an hour-long program.
“I think it moves so much better now,” he said. “It definitely keeps people’s interest. I think starting off with Joe and Alisha’s designs with Heartland Homes was the best move because it is a great episode with really strong designers and great homes. We had a huge community turnout for everything.”
Besides being offered food and drink, attendees at the HGTV viewing party also were entered for a chance to win $25,000. Another Pittsburgh-area show is yet to air. The Oakmont episode of Showhouse Showdown premieres on March 31.