Interview: Lyndsay and Leslie, Season 5 Winners of ‘Rock the Block,’ Tell All

HGTV’s Unsellable Houses hosts and high energy twins Lyndsay Lamb and Leslie Davis share what it’s like to win the “Super Bowl of HGTV."

Twin sisters Lyndsay Lamb and Leslie Davis (Unsellable Houses) were standing in a parking lot, dissapointed after losing the main suite competition during Season 5 of Rock the Block, when the show's host, Ty Pennington, approached and tried his best to pump her up. “I rolled my eyes and looked up to the sky and right at that moment, birds pooped all over me," Leslie remembers. "Ty, ever the optimist, said, ‘Well, they say that’s considered good luck’. And maybe he was right!”

Maybe, but we also like to believe the twins’ hard work and determination is what really led to their crowning in what Ty called “the hardest Rock the Block season yet”.

In a series first, veteran duos Bryan and Sarah Baeumler (Battle on the Beach), Keith Bynum and Evan Thomas (Bargain Block) and Page Turner and Mitch Glew (Fix My Flip), along with the twins, returned to the block to get a crack at redemption. Armed with a budget of $250,000, they were tasked with renovating four waterfront homes on Treasure Island in Florida. The teams had six weeks to add the most value to their beach houses. The prize? Bragging rights, a street sign and a donation in their names to No Kid Hungry.

The four teams were judged by Rock the Block Season 3 champs Egypt Sherrod and Mike Jackson (Married to Real Estate), Season 2 Rock the Block winners Brian and Mika Kleinschmidt (100 Day Dream Home); Kristina Crestin (Farmhouse Fixer); Veronica Valencia (Revealed); and reigning Rock the Block champion Michel Smith Boyd (Luxe for Less). The season finale featured Jonathan Scott (Property Brothers) touring each home before joining Ty to announce the winning team.

Ahead, HGTV catches up with Lyndsay and Leslie as they relish their “twin win!”

The Twins on Season 5 of Rock the Block

HGTV: You’ve said Rock the Block is like having a baby — at the moment, you say you’ll never do it again, but then you forget how hard it was.

Leslie: Yes! With your first baby, you’re in this naïve bliss where you think you’ll dress you and your baby up in matching outfits and go out to brunch with friends every weekend. Then reality hits and you realize this is not what you expected; it’s hard to even get off the couch! But eventually the pain goes away and you forget how difficult things were, and you’re pregnant again. That’s how we felt about Rock the Block this time around. It was like having a second baby, and we quickly remembered how hard it was the first time!

HGTV: This was an epic rematch. All four teams had already been on the block and nobody had ever won the competition. Did you know anyone before landing in Florida?

Leslie: We worked with Keith and Evan on Season 3 of Rock the Block and were excited to see them again. They’re super talented great guys who put their heart into everything they did. Every week, we were just as disappointed when they didn’t win because we wanted it so much for them. We met Mitch and Page and Sarah and Bryan briefly when we judged Season 4 of Rock the Block, but we really didn’t know any of them well.

HGTV: Did you feel the competition was stronger the second time around.

Lyndsay: Yes, it was so much stronger and intense because everyone knew what needed to be done and how to do it. Keith and Evan wanted that victory so bad and brought their A game. Sarah and Bryan, I mean this is their region — they know how to design on the water. And Page and Mitch were some of the most competitive people we’d ever met.

HGTV: Did you get to see your house prior to the competition?

Lyndsay: No! We knew nothing about the house. They wouldn’t even share the address. As soon as we were told the destination was Treasure Island, I went online and started sleuthing, looking for new construction areas. And then I went on Google maps and started zooming in on places. Once we thought we knew where the house was located, we did a drive by two days prior to the start of filming, but we didn’t get into the house.

HGTV: What did you do differently this time around?

Leslie: We came with a plan. We put in so many hours of work before we landed in Florida. We did a ton of early strategizing, asking ourselves, what can we do to this to add value? What can we do to that? We were determined and hyper-focused on earning that win.

HGTV: You called your house the Tropical Retreat. What made you choose this name?

Lyndsay: We kept envisioning a house you’d pause on when scrolling online looking for a cool place to stay with your family or girlfriends. Sure, it had to have a relaxing vibe, but it also needed to be fun with lots going on. We wanted it to feel lived in but also have that feeling you get with those really trendy Airbnbs that are all the rage.

HGTV: At 3,600 square feet, the rooms were massive. Was the size intimidating from a design standpoint?

Leslie: The space on the first floor was completely wide open. We’re used to working with a builder’s plan or walking into a home where the owners have already established where everything will be. Walking into a completely blank floor with all open square footage and having to build from there ... wow! We had to think about spatial planning and the flow of the home and ask ourselves what’s the best way to lay things out so the plumbing and electric, for example, would be most efficient. There was so much more to it than coming in and having the spaces already identified and just making sure everything looked pretty.

HGTV: Viewers saw you drilling and wallpapering. How hands-on were you with this project?

Lyndsay: On this show, you’re involved with everything. Admittedly, I’m not a huge fan of using power tools, but I handled a lot of them on the block and learned so much.

HGTV: Because the homes were connected, you had to collaborate with Sarah and Bryan on the exterior to create a unified look. How did that go?

Leslie: Well Lyndsay and Sarah dominated the designing of the exterior so much, so Bryan and I joked we were going to take off and get a beer and let them battle it out.

Lyndsay: (Laughing) It actually went pretty well. It was easy because Sarah and I had the same ideas and concepts, and we compromised when necessary. She wanted a simple and modern design, and neither of us wanted the house to stick out like a sore thumb in an already established neighborhood.

HGTV: You really drove home your tropical feel with the second primary suite. Did you feel this space best reflected your theme?

Leslie: We were very intentional here. It’s where our tropical showed the most, with the Tiger King hallway, banana leaf wallpaper, pink sink, snake plants and Golden Girl vibe. We knew this space would be the riskiest when it came to judging because it was not going to be everybody’s cup of tea. But we wanted guests to have a memorable Instagrammable moment when staying over.

HGTV: You went big on the main suite, even including a plunge pool. Judge Kristina said she felt transported to Bali, yet you still lost that competition to Page and Mitch.

Leslie: That was the week we were sure we had a win in the bag. We checked so many boxes and thought there’s no way anyone else had more amenities. From the cold plunge pool, to the rain shower, to the tub and sauna — everything gave the space a spa-like feel. We were shocked we didn’t win that competition. We were so disappointed.

Lyndsay: And don’t forget the amazing closet with its motion sensor lighting, moveable hanging bars and shoe spinner! I’m still bummed we didn’t win that one!

HGTV: Another first for this show: The teams were asked to design a pool and boat dock. You won that competition with judges Mika and Bryan saying your space had a great tropical vibe and spoke to them the most.

Lyndsay: It was such a huge moment for us. I think winning that was more magical than winning the whole season because Page and Mitch and Sarah and Bryan live on the water and know that space.

Leslie: It’s crazy because we'd barely sold a house with a pool, let alone designed one ourselves! But we wanted to make the outdoor area playful, fun and colorful — which we did by putting a curve in our pool design and including a palapa and an outdoor shower with a palm tree ceiling, along with a wellness spot on our dock.

HGTV: You even put effort into creating spots for dogs in your house.

Leslie: Yes, we wanted dogs to feel like they were on vacation, too. In the final space competition, we included a dog washing shower in the laundry room-office area, and at the end of the kitchen island we had an auto fill water station with a hiding spot for dog food.

HGTV: You invested a large part of your budget into solar panels, because Florida is prone to hurricanes and panels allow a homeowner to keep the lights, air conditioning and refrigerator on in the case of a power outage. Yet judges Veronica and Michel didn’t choose you as winners. Would you invest in solar panels again in a redo?

Leslie: Sometimes the value is in the things you can’t see, and the solar panels were the best move we could have ever made. An elevator or an extra bedroom — sure all of those things in our competitors’ homes added value — but Florida allows you to sell solar energy back to the state. We knew this would play big with the appraisers. Giving buyers an income source on their home was untouchable to anything anyone else put into their homes. It was our power move from the beginning.

HGTV: Nearing the end of the competition, you were tasked with creating a “surprise suite” in 48 hours. You looked shocked after Ty shared the news.

Leslie: I was whispering and repeating under my breath, “Lyndsay please, Lyndsay please, just hold it together,” and Lyndsay was literally rubbing my back saying, “Don’t make a scene, we’ll be fine.” We knew that extra room existed, but it was filled with boxes and the producers kept telling us it was being used for storage space. But after hearing the news, we came back to the house and all the boxes were gone and the painters had primed the walls. We were like, “You’ve got to be kidding!” As Ty explained the rules, I thought I was going to vomit.

HGTV: During this surprise suite challenge, the teams were the judges, a Rock the Block first. Did seeing the other teams’ spaces give you a new appreciation for the competition?

Lyndsay: Yes, getting to tour the surprise suites and see the creativity and what everyone was able to do in such a short period of time — it was mind blowing.

HGTV: How confident were you entering the finale?

Leslie: We were fairly confident because of our solar panels. It’s where we did our research and put a lot of our money. We knew the amenity would be recognized by an appraiser. We felt confident, but that didn’t mean we didn’t have our doubts.

HGTV: Your win was announced with your name in fireworks. You looked shocked! How did it feel when Jonathan crowned you, “The Queens of Treasure Island”?

Leslie: It felt fake, almost surreal, like we were in a dream. Being on the block is such a hard process and when we found out we won, we just released all this built-up emotion.

HGTV: You called your mom crying after your win and she was screaming, “My babies won. Love you so much girls!”

Leslie: We would phone our mom during the competition and say, “Mom, we’re so tired!” and she would encourage us saying, “You guys are doing so well, you’ve got this.” Meanwhile, she’s back home helping with our kids who needed to go to school and to sports practice and doctors’ appointments.

Lyndsay: Even though we’re 42-year-old women, we’re still mommy's girls.

HGTV: You’ve talked a lot about how exhausting this season was. Was there anything you did to power through it?

Lyndsay: You work 15-hour days, six days in a row. Week one is fun. Week two you’re like, I can do anything. Week three you’re thinking, why did I sign up for this? Week four you’re questioning everything. The weeks of exhaustion build up, and before you know it you can barely think straight.

Leslie: The exhaustion does take over. We had a nightly routine we called the “shower cereal” where we would eat cereal in the shower because were simply too tired to make food, but too hungry not to eat. We’d stand there under the water and then move to the shower’s edge to eat a spoonful of cereal. We did that on repeat and then crashed in bed.

HGTV: Any secrets to surviving this competition?

Leslie: We had each other’s backs. There’s not another human being in this world I could have done this with besides my sister. We’ve had 42 years together and we know what buttons we can push and which ones to avoid. Lyndsay and I have a unique relationship on the block because we’re not significant others. A spouse wants to talk out a problem — we don’t lose time doing that — we process disagreements quickly and move on.

Lyndsay: We’re really good at balancing each other out. When one of us gets discouraged, the other one just naturally knows it’s not her day to be down and vice versa. Throughout the entire competition we kept reminding each other we were there for the win.

HGTV: In the end, did you stick to your budget?

Lyndsay: Our budget was $250,000 and we stuck to that number. We were allowed to get materials at cost or have things donated, but we had to do the outreach. Leslie and I hustled our butts off — our goal was to double if not triple our budget by getting things contributed or sold at cost. The wine cellar, for example, was worth $70,000 but we got it wholesale for $15,000. We put in months of work prior to the competition, sometimes not knowing at the time how or where we were going to use some of the items we got in.

HGTV: Would you consider rocking the block again?

Lyndsay: I love the people, the process, the crew and the competition, but for 60 days, we never went home. It’s the element of being away from our families that was truly the hardest part.

Leslie: If we filmed on our coast and we could go home and see our babies or they could visit us, that would be a game changer. Even though we’d be exhausted, seeing them would refill our energy tanks. With that element in place, I think we would consider doing it again.

HGTV: The house was worth $1.7 million dollars prior to renovating. Now it’s worth $2.3 million, an increase of $600,000 in six weeks. Do you know what your house eventually sold for?

Leslie: The houses won’t list until after the show’s finale. We’re still in contact with the builder, and he told us he’s highly considering keeping our house because he and his family love it so much.

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