WEEK 1: GUEST BEDROOM REVEALS


Written by Steph Sandhoff



Before we get to this week’s room reveals we should touch base on the week that was... boring as it was. I’m worried that the most interesting part of this week’s episodes were Georgia’s outfits (gingham pantsuit and Gucci belt anyone?) and her one liner’s, but hey that’s a step above most reality TV lately.


The one good thing Week 1 brought was our real block hero, “the man in the hat” and my all time favourite block personality, award-winning architect, Julian Brenchley. It doesn’t matter what he says, I will pretty much agree with him. Though I didn’t need any convincing when he referred to Josh and Luke as “a couple of belligerent 13 year olds” – my thoughts exactly, though slightly ruder if I’m being honest.


I digress, let’s go through the couples one by one.




HOUSE ONE // Ronnie and Georgia



The Faves were given no chance to win their choice of house this year, with fans deciding Ronnie and Georgia were to renovate House 1. Number 2 Bronte Court, Hampton, or what’s left of it, stands on a 579 sqm corner block, with a blonde brick façade. (See below).


Photo Attribution: realestateview.com.au



When asked what style the couple would be adhering to this season, Georgia was quick to describe classic, contemporary with touches of luxury, before continuing on to name 10 other conflicting design styles, summing up their vision as an “amalgamation of glory”. Totally understandable, the image is so clear. My attempt at translation: “it’s gonna be good”.


After talking to and recording Block architect, Julian Brenchley, the couple decided to ditch their plans for an upstairs master suite and instead opt for lofty ceilings and light voids. After all, if you have the money for one of these houses, you probably don’t have the knees. Told you, Julian knows everything. So smart.


Photo Attribution: Nine



DARREN: 8 SHAYNNA: 8 ½ NEALE: 8 TOTAL: 24 ½ PLACE: 1st MY SCORE: 8



Situated on the south side of the house, the room’s 5 or 6 metre ceiling (depending on who you ask) had the desired effect. Wowing all three judges immediately, Shaynna Blaze in particular was suitably impressed. Going on to admire how considered the room is, she loved the repetition of curves and arches, the massive amount of cabinetry and the beautiful styling.


None of the judges even mentioned the wallpaper, they probably thought Georgia did that enough for the three of them, earlier in the week. However, the soft pink abstract was the perfect backdrop to what I would have to say is one of the best-dressed beds I’ve seen. The layering of textures brought the room to life and allowed the neutral palette to sing. Neale Whitaker summed this up perfectly by describing the room as “neutral but interesting”.


The one big BUT for them this week involved the cabinetry. Nice as the finish was and the judges agreed, it wasn’t functional with doors unable to fully open and hinged on the wrong side. I did like the inset bench they included in the cabinetry design but thought a mirrored finish behind the shelves could have given the illusion of more space and a seat under the bench, rather than drawers, would have added function. Pushing the wall back a metre or so would also have been ideal. Nevertheless, the small room with big ceilings got the win from the judges and I would have to agree: overall, it was the best.




HOUSE TWO // Mitch and Mark



Next couple off the ranks are Faves, Mitch and Mark, who in a better love story than Love Island Australia can produce (sorry Josh), reunited with their much loved builder from The Block Oslo, Jason Charles.


They were given House 2, also known as number 4 Bronte Court, Hampton, which is a Queen Anne style gem sitting on 586 sqm. Only slightly larger than House 1, the Heritage façade was all that was left standing after being purchased by The Block.



Photo Attribution: realestateview.com.au



With years of renovation experience under their belt (also Gucci), Mitch and Mark had no trouble finishing their room this week, even going so far as to break the record for earliest room finish, previously held by Jimmy and Tam, from The Block Brighton.



Photo Attribution: Nine



DARREN: 8 SHAYNNA: 7 ½ NEALE: 7 TOTAL: 22 ½ PLACE: LAST MY SCORE: 7



This new record didn’t last long and was taken away from them with a less than perfect defect report from Keith and Dan. The self-proclaimed ‘A Team’ (now demoted to D Team after those scores) placed their guest room towards the back of the house. On entering the room, Neale immediately felt claustrophobic in the small room, with both he and Shaynna commenting on different elements of the room being squeezed into the corners.


There was plenty to love however, (not sure what) but Darren Palmer seemed to like the bed, carpet and wallpaper. Shaynna loved their lighting plan, highlighting the success of the pelmet lighting before going to war with a candle. Neale was Switzerland in the candle war, much to Shaynna’s dismay, but he did go to bat for the wardrobes. Deemed bland and generic, the room lacked texture and interest in my opinion. The only way I can describe it is a lackluster version of Ronnie and Georgia’s room. Mitch “disrespectfully disagrees”.




HOUSE THREE // Tanya and Vito



Tanya and Vito came last in the House Decider Challenge last week but still managed to lock up their first choice of House 3 - arguably the most controversial house this season. Previously owned and recently renovated by Buyer Advocate, Nicole Jacobs; 8 Bronte Court, Hampton is a mid-century build on a 593 sqm block.


The house was originally designed by well-known Melbourne architect Neil Clerehan for ‘The Small Homes Service”. The structure has unsuccessfully been nominated for heritage protection, with neighbours worried what will become of the iconic building and it’s historic features.



Original Residence // Photo Attribution: domain.com.au



Renovated Residence // Photo Attribution: TV Tonight



Don’t get me wrong, I love a reno as much as the next person (more probably) but surely demolishing what is estimated to have been a $750,000 renovation is a bit of a waste. Of time? Yes. Definitely. But also a waste: literally. That’s almost an entire house worth of building materials including the inevitable manufacturing emissions wasted. Surely one of the other neighbours would have been keen to sell their shitty house for a solid 2-3 mil.


Anyway, it’s not Tanya and Vito’s fault. They’re trying to make up for it by reusing a challenge room… sans insulation.



Photo Attribution: Nine



DARREN: 7 ½ SHAYNNA: 8 NEALE: 7 ½ TOTAL: 23 PLACE: 3rd MY SCORE: 7 ½



A lack of insulation was the least of their worries, with a door that didn’t close, bowing walls and ceilings and some of the worst placed skylights I have ever seen. My OCD tendencies are screaming. I can barely look. Lucky for Tanya and Vito, things improved as we got closer to the ground. All three judges loved the colour palette, the retro styling touches and the abundant personality missing in Mitch and Mark’s room. Awkward but true.


In my opinion, it isn’t a particularly sophisticated room, with what I can only describe as a brothel curtain. Initially I was hesitant about the colour, but decided it gives the room and all those brighter colours on the bed some depth. Shaynna read my mind when she described the curtain as cheap. Being track mounted, so low on the wall, sees the curtain resemble a dirty sheet stapled over a window for lack of a better option; slightly embarrassing for someone who works in window fittings.


Darren liked the flow of the room, a “more thoughtful” space than the previous two, whilst Neale declared they were “back in the game”. They’ve got the style just right and need to follow it through. Hopefully with a new builder.




HOUSE FOUR // Josh and Luke



Now, where to start with Josh and Luke, the smartest 13 year olds I know. I mean, who knew they studied architecture while they were in the villa? No wonder they were so unlucky in love, they were too busy condensing a five-year degree and multiple years of award winning experience into 8 weeks, on an island in Fiji with no technology. Impressive.


These boys were also given their house of choice, blank canvas, house 4 or better known as number 10 Bronte Court, Hampton. Before being sold and soon after demolished, the blank slate residence was, similarly to House 3, designed for “The Small Homes Service” and sits on a 654sqm block.


Photo Attribution: Google Maps



Very quickly for you, so you don’t get bored and switch back to checking the gram; “The Small Homes Service” was a post war program, aiming to raise the standard of home design. They provided architecturally correct plans and specifications to be economically built…. so kind of like McDonald Jones Homes but cheaper; way, way cheaper. Think 5 pounds back in the day. Yeah, yeah, I know, it’s all relative but still. Wow.


Anyway, moving on.



Photo Attribution: Nine



DARREN: 8 ½ SHAYNNA: 8 NEALE: 7 ½ TOTAL: 24 PLACE: 2nd MY SCORE: 7



The boys managed to snag second place this week after spending big, nearly doubling what the other teams spent. Like most of the other residences, the room was placed at the back of their house so their bi-fold doors will eventually open onto their outdoor area. An interesting perk to give guests or children. The judges didn’t seem to mind, with Darren praising the boys for their architectural decision-making. Darren actually liked everything about the room; the colour palette, vertical feature wall, touches of brass and glass front cabinetry.


After winning the fight with Mitch and Mark’s candle, Shaynna decided to take on Darren and Neale next, telling them just how much she hates the cupboards. Almost as bad as glass front kitchen cabinets in my opinion. They look messy, tacky and always, always need cleaning. Shaynna thought it would be an odd view from the bed creating a bachelor pad vibe. To be honest my clothes collection is a lot more impressive than most of the guys I’ve met lately but that’s not the point.


This week’s room was definitely a step up from their challenge decider, which I thought looked like a cheap hotel. This room looks like a slighter more expensive hotel, say three star. I wish the padded feature wall had been extended to include both bedside tables, rather than stopping short to include an offset mirror, that reflects a heating unit and the door. The judges described the room as confident and dynamic before wondering which twin has an eye for colour. My guess? Neither.




HOUSE FIVE // Kirsty and Jesse


Finally, we check in with country couple, Kirsty and Jesse. By the way, when I say country, I mean country music not country living. Wangi is definitely regional but I live way too close to be okay with Wangi being referred to as the country. Gotta protect Newcastle’s reputation.


These guys won first choice of house, choosing the only two-storey residence on The Block, House 5. Number 1 Bronte Court, Hampton sits on the biggest block this season at 900+ sqm.


Photo Attribution: domain.com.au



These guys seem to be travelling well, taking advice from block architect, Julian and DIYing windows to save money. Unlike Tanya and Vito, they didn’t need lessons in how to paint. Surely that’s a skill you’d practice before coming on the show, like knowing how to start a fire before going on Survivor. Just saying.


Architect, Julian is worried about House 5’s lack of floor plan, particularly in regards to the staircase and circulation, however they do seem have a good team behind them and plenty of experience in building chook sheds (a step up from monopoly games and flat packs). Kirsty in particular, was taken with builder/draftsman Michael; …describing him as good looking (and smelling) with a nice deep voice. I have to agree with Kristy, “he can draft me any time”. With lockdown in Newcastle having just been extended, Melbourne is looking (and smelling) better and better.



Photo Attribution: Nine



DARREN: 8 ½ SHAYNNA: 7 NEALE: 7 ½ TOTAL: 23 PLACE: 3rd MY SCORE: 7



Kirsty and Jessie continued their winning coastal chic style for this room, receiving an ooh-la-la from Shaynna on entry. The room was the biggest on the block this week even without taking into consideration the generous walk-in robe. Immediately drawn in by the soft blue paneling and white shutters, the judges admired the beautiful details, such as the print art and faded palm tree wallpaper. My favourite detail and one I hope they continue throughout the residence is the curved doorway leading to the walk-in robe.


Although the room boasted a very high level of execution, the judges seemed to think it was missing a sense of impact. To me, the room seems to be orientated the wrong way. I potentially would have rotated the bed clockwise 90 degrees to create a grander look. At the moment, the bed (without a bedhead) and the ugliest bedside tables I have ever seen (worse than Mitch and Mark’s? It’s a tie) seem overpowered by the interior door.


Overall, the room had a certain “beauty and softness” but felt unfinished. This is potentially due to the high window and empty stretch of wall below. Neale thought the window should be extended lower, with sheers layered for privacy. For such a large room, there seems to be nowhere near enough furniture; an occasional chair in the corner, an ottoman at the bottom of the bed or even a side table against the empty wall would have provided a more completed feeling room.


See you next week for Week 2: Bathroom Reveals!

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