Keith And Evan Explain How Rock The Block Is Totally Different From Bargain Block - Exclusive

You may know Keith Bynum and Evan Thomas from their home renovation show, HGTV's "Bargain Block," which features the couple renovating run-down or abandoned homes in Detroit. Though they remodel the homes to be comfortable and stylish, they put an emphasis on keeping the properties affordable for first-time homebuyers.

Clearly, they have a good thing going in Detroit, but they recently put their home renovation skills to the test in South Carolina for a completely different show. If you've caught any of "Rock The Block" Season 3, you've seen that Keith and Evan are one of the teams on HGTV's hit competition series. 

For this season, there were four teams of two, with Leslie Davis and Lyndsay Lamb of "Unsellable Houses," Dave and Jenny Marrs of "Fixer to Fabulous," and Egypt Sherrod and Mike Jackson of "Married to Real Estate" all competing against the "Bargain Block" team to create the best home as chosen by judges.

Keith and Evan sat down for an exclusive interview with The List to discuss what it was really like to be on "Rock The Block." Although they have plenty of experience running their business and filming their own show, they agreed that this show was entirely different from anything they'd done before.

Keith Bynum and Evan Thomas didn't know what to expect from Rock The Block

Before filming "Rock The Block," Keith Bynum explained that he and his partner, Evan Thomas, were used to the day-to-day rhythm of their business and show. 

"You have pretty much the set day, and it's very nice and regimented and you know what's going to happen when you wake up. And, then, HGTV calls," Keith said. They were obviously excited by the opportunity to go on "Rock The Block," but that didn't mean they knew what they were getting into.

Keith added that, because "Bargain Block" was their only experience with television, they assumed that "Rock The Block" would be somewhat similar. However, as Evan put it, "There's not a single thing that was the same about our show. Every aspect of it was different." 

Agreeing with Evan, Keith described arriving in South Carolina and being shocked by just how different everything was. 

"The reality of it is you're super far from home, you're trying to run a business now from a thousand miles away, and we were in the middle of filming our season [for 'Bargain Block']," he said. "We were running, at that time, [more than six houses, and now we're in] Charleston, in a place we've never been, running a project we've never seen in real life with people we've never met and contractors we don't know. It was a wild experience."

What it was like remodeling such a large home

One of the most notable differences between their work on "Bargain Block" and "Rock The Block" was the size of the house Keith Bynum and Evan Thomas were remodeling. 

Because they aim to keep houses affordable, they typically buy and remodel relatively small starter homes. But, the home they were working on for "Rock The Block" was an entirely new experience. 

"That square footage difference was insane," Keith said. "It felt like, square footage wise, the main suite is about the same square footage as some of our houses. In fact, it's a bigger first floor than most of our bungalows." He explained that their competitors had worked on larger houses previously, but it was all new for them.

The large scale also meant that the production crew was much larger than they were used to. "It was like a little 'Rock The Block' town where there were tons of people," Evan said. "It's a totally different production than our show. There's way more crew members, way more construction people, way more everything."

Evan and Keith's Rock The Block budget was a 'dream come true'

To make a profit on the affordable homes they sell, Keith Bynum and Evan Thomas have to keep to a pretty tight budget on "Bargain Block." But, on "Rock The Block," just like the house's square footage, their budget was also a lot more generous.

"That was a dream come true to have a budget, to be able to express some of the fun ideas that we've had when you're standing around, and you're like, 'Oh, if I had $10,000, this is what I would do,'" Keith said. "Well, you do," Evan quipped.

Working with the "Rock The Block" budget allowed them to try ideas they'd wanted to execute for a long time but couldn't afford. "All sorts of features that we had never put in houses before we got to do, like outdoor kitchens, and beams in living rooms, and huge fireplace features," Evan said. 

But, in some ways, all those options introduced new challenges. Keith explained how designing with that huge budget made decision-making harder. 

"​​Suddenly, the whole world opened up in terms of design possibilities, [and] it was hard for me to pick because I love doing so many different things that it was really a challenge for me to find something and make it cohesive for that much square footage and those big impacts," he said.

"Rock The Block" Season 3 airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HGTV and streams on Discovery+.