The All American Handyman finale was certainly tense and exciting as the final four contestants battled for all the glory and the title of All American Handyman, not to mention the $10,000 Sears prize pack, and HGTV development deal . Sonne walked in, still looking like she went a round with Mike Tyson after last week’s battle with a piece of plywood (the plywood won, hitting Sonne in the cheek and causing the large, unsightly bruise underneath her eye during the build-it challenge.)
The Fix-It challenge this week addressed an issue common to many professional handymen (especially Mike). What happens when a homeowner attempts a project but gets in way over their head and can’t finish it? This week, the contestants needed to fix an entertainment room disaster. They were presented with half-finished rooms, with attempted stadium seating and an attempted wall mounted flat screen TV. The handymen were grouped in teams of two and needed to finish the stadium seating, install carpet, put up crown molding, fix a botched surround sound installation, and install a mounting bracket for a flat screen TV. Oh yeah, and they only had two hours to do it.
Team 1 – Scott H. and Sonne
Team 2 – Chris L. and Michael
Midway through the challenge, it was announced to the contestants by Anitra that the advantage for this fix-it challenge was like no other advantage the contestants had ever fought for. The advantage was to continue on to round 2, because the bottom two contestants for the fix-it challenge were up for elimination. With stakes so high, the handymen trudged on, fighting to have a finished product to present to the judges.
Almost right away, Michael realized that the step for the stadium seating was over 8 inches in height, making it against code. It was something that needed to be fixed before he could move on to the next step. Unfortunately, Michael took well over an hour to construct the platform. It was a costly mistake that would cause him and Chris L. to struggle to finish their room on time. Chris L., who was usually one of the top performers in the competition, was uncharacteristically flustered. As he installed the TV bracket, he realized that the stud placement in the wall was working against his plans. Chris L. also had problems putting up the crown molding. He couldn’t seem to get his mind wrapped around the angles to make the mitered edges, leaving his molding hanging haphazardly off the wall. By the end of the challenge, their finished product wasn’t very finished.
On the other team, Scott and Sonne seemed to be moving swiftly and efficiently. Mike was very impressed by their display of teamwork. Unlike Michael, Scott H. failed to realize that the step was too high, and did not fix it, leaving it over 8 inches and not to code. Other than that, though, by the end of the challenge, the room looked pretty complete. Mike did criticize Sonne’s installation of the carpet, being that she did not tuck it under the baseboard properly.
The remaining four contestants gathered together to face the judges for the last elimination of the competition. Each contestant gave their reason why they thought they should be the one to move on the final build-it challenge. Although Chris L. felt he had given 110 percent to every challenge he participated in, he was eliminated because essentially he had botched the fix-it challenge, causing his team to run out of time. Michael was also eliminated, leaving Sonne and Scott H. to move on to the final round.
The build-it challenge was the biggest, most elaborate challenge of the entire competition in which the final two contestants were to design and build their own version of the dream kitchen, complete with cabinets, countertops, a backsplash, and an array of Kenmore appliances. The judges would be looking for design and function. Because of the level of difficulty, the challenge would stretch over 2 days, and the contestants would be given four hours each day to work.
As the challenge began, Scott H. and Sonne began to plan out their kitchens. Mike observed Sonne measuring for an island to put the dishwasher under. He was impressed with her layout, and commented that she was doing quite well. As Mike made his rounds to Scott H.’s kitchen, he brandished his trusty carpenter’s square. He was quite disappointed that Scott H.’s cabinets were not square.
As day 1 ticked down, there was still so much for both contestants to do.
On day 2, Scott H. and Sonne entered the warehouse to a standing ovation from all of the previously eliminated contestants from the past 5 weeks. They weren’t just there to cheer on Scott H. and Sonne, though. As Anitra announced, it’s important for a handyman to be able to work with others, but also to supervise them. In this last leg of the final challenge, Scott H. and Sonne were to pick one of the eliminated contestants to work with them. As Scott clarified though, it was not about teamwork or a team build, but about the contestants’ ability to supervise.Scott H. chose Michael to work with him, and Sonne selected Rodney. Scott questioned Sonne’s choice, stating that “Rodney is super brilliant, but hard to manage.”
Scott H. put Michael to work right away, having him do the backsplash. The backsplash was interlocking glass tile, and was designed to be installed in one piece, however, Michael started customizing it, picking out tiles and swapping them out with others, which was a “big no-no” according to Scott, who also questioned Scott H.’s supervision of Michael. “I don’t feel like I have to micromanage [Michael] for the tasks,” he said.
Sonne on the other hand put Rodney to work cutting slate to tile the island, but the slate was falling apart in Rodney’s hands. Mike said they shouldn’t have worried about tiling the island, and should have used the tile for the backsplash.
As the 30 minute mark came around, both teams realized they were nowhere close to being done. As they fought to the finish, Scott H. lost focus and cut his hand on the range hood, leading Mike to call Scott a little “reckless.”
Both teams raced to the finish all the way down to the very last seconds. At this last judging, no one was being eliminated… someone was being crowned!
Mike and Scott examined the contestants' kitchens, looking at every detail to see which one of them had pulled out ahead of the other. The judges noted that Scott H. had picked the most conventional kitchen layout that would appeal to the most people, most of the time. Mike did not like the fact that Scott H. had not used a square or level, and his work was not perfectly square. They also noted that Scott H. had not been the best leader, leaving Michael to his own devises as opposed to supervising him. The stove and the dishwasher also bumped doors when they were opened. However, overall, he did a good job, and stuck to a very appealing, very simple conventional design. He played it safe, which allowed him to complete more of his kitchen than Sonne had.
Unlike Scott, Sonne chose more of an elaborate design with a functional island. However, she failed to finish the backsplash. There was also no end gable for the fridge, but as the judges pointed out, that was due her using the materials to make the island. Overall, Sonne’s kitchen was much more luxurious and ambitious, but she was unable to complete it in the allotted time.
As Scott H. and Sonne stood before the judges one last time, Mike stated that he was proud of both of the contestants, and that both had grown in the competition. When all was said and done, however, it was pointed out that Sonne didn’t finish her kitchen because she was paying attention to the details. She had an excellent layout that was less complete. When asked why she came to be the All American Handyman, she stated, “I wanna be like Mike…" a comment that took Mike aback, making his already red face a little bit redder. Although Sonne hadn’t finished her project, what she had was better. Her growth and attention to detail pushed her into the winner’s circle, and she was crowned the All American Handy(wo)man.
That’s the Holmes Spot All American Handyman Finale recap! I really enjoyed this show! I hope Mike finds the time to do a season 4!
ALL AMERICAN HANDYMAN CONTESTANTS - FINALE
ALL AMERICAN HANDYMAN CONTESTANTS - FINALE