WEEK 3: MASTER BEDROOMS, WALK-IN ROBES AND ONE VERY COMFORTABLE GARAGE

Written by Steph Sandhoff




HOUSE ONE // Ronnie and Georgia



Master Bedroom


I’m loving Ronnie and Georgia’s house so far and this week is no exception. With what looks like a promising floor plan (sans their master walk-in robe). They placed their master bedroom at the front of their home, across the hallway from their master bathroom. This allowed them to utilise the 6m ceiling heights to create a grand and dramatic master suite. Second to living and kitchen areas, which are often situated towards the back of a home, your master suite would arguably be where you spend most of your time. The high ceilings are also a great way to differentiate between your master and guest rooms, particularly when space isn’t at a premium.



Image Attribution: Nine



On entering the room, the judges thankfully came prepared with words other than wow, exclaiming, “this is enormous, vast, cathedral like”. Three guesses what they were referring to. Yes, the ceilings but also the entirety of the space. None of the judges discussed specific aspects or elements of the bedroom, preferring instead to admire the couple’s use of scale and extraordinary level of execution. I understand the impulse because this room is the “amalgamation of glory” Georgia promised earlier on in the series.



Image Attribution: Nine



You’ll often find me explaining to clients, that it’s not always about the individual pieces; it’s the effect they can have in combination with other elements. However, if you were to pull this room apart, every piece of furniture, every single choice, is stand-alone stunning. Whether it is a feature piece like the abstract art or the new Laminex cladding, a textural element such as the bedsides or the subtle pattern in the rug, every component plays a part and it’s these layers that saw Ronnie and Georgia labeled “masters of sophisticated subtlety”. Neale Whitaker went on to describe the room as the most beautiful master bedroom he’s seen in 11 years of judging the block.



Image Attribution: Nine



I can’t move on to the walk-in robe without mentioning how grateful I am for this colour palette. It’s almost like there are two connected palettes. There is the combination of sage and burnt orange on the bed and the complementary colours of purple and yellow in the abstract art. The unifying factor is the subtle tones of orange in the artwork and this allows the room look coordinated without being ‘matchy-matchy’. Pulling colours from a piece of art to style your room is a great place to start, don’t get me wrong, but to be successful (without being obvious) requires you to take that next step. Pick one ‘hidden’ colour from the art and work your palette around that, it allows the art to be celebrated as a coordinated feature rather than fading into the matching background.



Walk-In Robe


Image Attribution: Nine



Ok, I promised I would move on and I am. It wasn’t so much the walk-in robe that let these guys down this week, but more the amount of space they allocated to it. Darren Palmer explained how design is not just how you lay out a space but also how you lay out a house. This is one of the most important lessons for the contestants this year; something that people study for years. To be able to create a functional yet aesthetic layout is a skill but it can also be easily achieved with some common sense and a consistent spatial ratio.



Image Attribution: Nine



I can’t say the styling of the walk-in robe is up there with Georgia’s best (those woven, wheat-colour baskets look a little cheap) but overall they don’t define the space; with the expensive looking gold handles and shaker style cabinets more than making up for it. Their decision to have a combination of closed and open cabinetry also allows the small space to function correctly, unlike some of the other teams, although I don't believe doors in a walk-in robe are necessary. I do think they will need to rethink this space and consider finding an extra metre or so from a future room or in my opinion the master bedroom. It could easily be made smaller without losing any of it's current effect.



DARREN: 8 SHAYNNA:NEALE: 8 TOTAL: 23½ PLACE: 4th MY SCORE: 8



HOUSE TWO // Mitch and Mark



Coming off a winning bathroom last week, Mitch and Mark seem to be continuing on the right path. These guys placed their master bedroom and walk-in robe down the hallway from their previously completed guest room, locating their master wing at the rear of their house. With pared back elegance the goal and a consistent floor plan the reality, these guys are leading the domain ladder after coming in second this week.



Image Attribution: Nine



Master Bedroom


Entering the boy’s room, it was hard not to notice the difference in size coming from Ronnie and Georgia’s soaring ceilings and towering architectural window. Neale agreed and thought it felt on the ‘tight size’ for a master bedroom. However, it didn’t take the judges long to move on and forget all about it. With beautiful style and “a lot to like”, Darren said he wouldn’t have guessed this was the boy’s room. Surely the ‘Mitch and Mark’ branded candle would have been a dead giveaway?


Image Attribution: Nine



Anyway, after drooling over the architectural details (shock twist, more skylights), Darren went on to say he loves it all; “everything that I see”. Overall, I will admit, I do like this room. I think it’s a step up from their week 1 bedroom in many ways. The furniture choices were more interesting, with the textural rattan inlay in the bedsides and depth of blue in the classic bedhead. The bedding itself is stunning, perfect layers of tonal blue linen. But my favourite element would have to be the artwork. It’s pop of colour so random but so good and referenced well with the pink styling touches.



Image Attribution: Nine



Ok, talking styling. This would have to be the boy’s weak link. The tacky gold ducks last week have been upstaged by some of the worst bedside styling I have ever seen. Can someone please tell me who is in those photo frames? I don’t know what’s worse; if it’s family snap of Mitch and Mark or stock photos used to sell the frame. We then have the obvious choice of a basic Yves Saint Laurent book, that has absolutely no meaning or connection to the room past the pink bow on the cover... and finally we have, not one, not two, but three vases of flowers. The sage vase with the pink ‘pom pom’ flowers would have been sufficient. Trust me. Also why is the book awkwardly sitting there by itself, ever heard of stacking?



Walk-In Robe



Image Attribution: Nine



When it comes the walk-in robe, I think it is a good size but it’s not particularly exciting. Shaynna Blaze described the robe perfectly, when she said, “this is ample”. The finishes are nice, open shelving and shaker cabinets similar to Ronnie and Georgia’s but with additional space. I love the mirror at the end of the robe but I think it should have been ceiling height, or alternatively, they could have chosen a feature mirror to sit on a lean as to draw the eye. The chair, while it is a functional element looks like an afterthought and I personally would have preferred something more considered, such as a built in bench seat or ottoman.




DARREN: 9 SHAYNNA: 9 NEALE:TOTAL: 26½ PLACE: 2nd MY SCORE: 9




HOUSE THREE // Tanya and Vito



This week, like most of the other teams, Tanya and Vito have placed their Master Bedroom and Walk-in Robe at the front of their house. Although they had structural bones to work with, they found issues with both their floor and exterior walls; giving the impression the mid century gem was a wacky old build. I find it hard to believe Nicole Jacobs paid upwards of $750,000 on a renovation that resulted in exterior walls being 40mm out of plum. So, my question is… did Nicole hire a dodgy builder? Or, during the demolition of the newly renovated house, did the structure get so damaged that Tanya and Vito would need to prop up the roof structure in order to begin a whole new build?



Master Bedroom



Anyway, I’ve held my tongue for a couple of weeks now, judging this couple as objectively as possible. Now to be fair, Tanya and Vito’s style is not my style but I can see how many people would love their rooms. Their last two spaces surprisingly appealed to me but this week, I don’t even know where to start. It’s a mess and I’m confused.



Image Attribution: Nine



First of all, that bed head; it looks like a character from the latest ‘Monsters Inc’ movie and now I’ve seen what looks like eyeballs on either side of the bedhead I can’t un-see it. I don’t actually mind the art deco style bedhead, or the wallpaper, or the fifty shades of brown ('tobacco' if we’re being fancy) but they don’t belong together. There are too many elements competing for my attention and there is nowhere for my gaze to rest. Negative space is just as, if not more important than feature elements in a bedroom because it allows for respite. A bedroom is meant to be a restful space and this room has me reaching for an eye mask to block it all out.



Image Attribution: Nine



The judges seemed to like it though. Shaynna in particular raved about the bedhead and eye balls (sorry I mean wall lights), which is a terrible opinion to have but it’s ok, they can’t be right every time, all the time. They are getting older… and are maybe due a trip to spec savers, lockdown does have us putting off those yearly appointments, I totally understand. Putting my hand up right now to take over for Darren. I call myself an Interior Design Extraordinaire all the time too, so no one will even notice the swap.



Image Attribution: Nine



Before we move on to the Gucci Gang’s walk-in robe we need to take a look at the other side of the room. Neale thought the floorboards brought down the overall impact of the space and would have used a darker board for some contrast with the cabinetry. I have bigger issues than the floor (as bland and sandy as they are). Why do we have inbuilt wardrobes in a Master Bedroom with a walk-in robe!? What a waste of space. If you think the room deserved more storage, this needed to be addressed at the floor plan stage.



Image Attribution: Nine



Vito also seemed worried about the cabinetry lining up with the skylight but I’m more disturbed with the curtain recess and cabinetry bulk head not meeting up; an easy detail to get right if you plan correctly. Personally I would have gotten rid of the extra cupboards, brought the wall in 600mm and used the space for a linen cupboard on the other side of the wall. I would then have installed a slighter lower window and built in a window seat below it with storage drawers; somewhere to sit, an architectural feature not offered in any other houses, additional storage and a better use of space. Just my opinion but I’m good, I know.



Walk-In Robe


Image Attribution: Nine



I only have two words for Tanya and Vito’s walk-in robe. Insane asylum. If I wanted to spend time in the cabinet version of a padded cell, I wouldn’t buy a 4 million dollar house to do so. I could definitely think of cheaper (and more enjoyable) ways to get there.



DARREN: 9 SHAYNNA: 8 NEALE: 7 TOTAL: 24 PLACE: 3rd MY SCORE: 6



HOUSE FOUR // Josh and Luke



Here we go, House 4 and my favourite team I love to hate. Strap yourselves in, this is going to be good… or really, really bad, which is more their style. I do say consistency is key. This week, the boys got off to great start, with a 'not to code' ceiling height (under 2400mm or 2.4m for my non industry readers). Not to worry, Luke redeemed his completed ‘buy 5, get 1 free’ loyalty card at the Bayside City Council and got a new roofline approved. I don’t even want to imagine what he had to do to get council to give him the time of day and grant approvals so quickly. It makes me wonder… what really happened that night the boys failed to return to the Block and “stayed at a local hotel”? Anyone else listen to the ‘So Dramatic’ Podcast? They have the tea: the alcoholic tea, actually… Let’s just say food poisoning seems an unlikely cause of the twin’s hospital trip. Sorry, I’m getting distracted; I’ll move on but seriously, go have a listen. I’m not the only one getting frustrated with these two.



Master Bedroom


Image Attribution: Nine



This week the twins placed their Master Bedroom and Walk-in robe in their double garage. Just kidding. They placed it in what used to be their double garage. They have since opted for a single garage on the south side of the residence, which meant changing the block’s access point, moving the driveway, removing a tree and changing the roofline on the old garage. All this was done to create a fourth bedroom and master suite on the northern side, at the front of the house. I’ll be interested to see what they do with the interior access to the master suite as it was originally designed to be garage access. Sounds attractive, doesn’t it?



Image Attribution: Nine



The judges seem to be fans of the garage and master suite swap, noting the good size of the room, beautiful proportions, gorgeous view and northern aspect. I will admit, I like the bones of the room and agree with Darren on their architectural thinking and the privacy aspect of the suite. Neale, who described their bathroom last week as dated thinks the twins are back in the game with a fresh and well-planned room. I have to disagree, with many of their furniture choices daggy and basic. Even the art looks like it belongs in a cheap display home from about 20 years ago (sorry if it’s yours). The best part of their room this week was the improvement in their soft furnishing selections, great job Fiancé Olivia. She walked through that Freedom store like a pro… or maybe a staff member. Point is, she knew what she was doing and so did the twins. Seems like they're no strangers to cheating, as we are about to find out tonight.



Image Attribution: Nine



Walk-In Robe



Image Attribution: Nine



These guys did have the best walk-in robe this week. The size and spacious layout of the room won this week by default in my opinion, when no other houses could compete size wise. I also liked the dressing table aspect and open shelving as I don’t believe a walk-in robe needs doors but the chosen cabinetry finish seems a little mundane and cheap. The mid tone, timber grain doesn’t sit well against the nondescript beige carpet and could have looked much smarter and luxurious with a different finish.



DARREN: 9 SHAYNNA: 9 NEALE: 9 TOTAL: 27 PLACE: 1st MY SCORE:



HOUSE FIVE // Kirsty and Jesse



Master Bedroom


For the first time this season, Kirsty and Jesse are headed downstairs to complete their Master Bedroom and Walk-in Robe. This proved to be more of a challenge than the previous weeks as they located the rooms in the downstairs extension part of the house, which had zero structure; no floor, no walls and no ceiling. They have gone with a large (no surprise here), north-facing bedroom with wall length bi-fold doors leading out to a small terrace. At least Kirsty seems to understand she’ll need more than just a bed to adequately fill the space this week, which is a major improvement.



Image Attribution: Nine



Interestingly, Kirsty doesn’t actually like the 'matchy', blue and white aspect of the Hamptons style that she’s used for the past two weeks of the competition and decided it was time to hire a professional. Yes, a professional colour consultant, from Accent Paints. Seems like this would be against the rules, but apparently if you sponsor the show, you can do what you like. Regardless, I’m not sure how much help said professional was, as she suggested another blue tone (albeit darker) before trying to convince Kirsty to go with a grey-based green; a fancy ass name for a very generic looking ‘aqua’ (with the exact same depth of colour as the blue used previously). Take note of the winning rooms, the colours they are using on the walls are subtle and sophisticated. If you’re not sure, use my rule. If you can buy the colour in a children’s paint tube at Big W, try again. You’ve probably got it wrong.



Image Attribution: Nine



Although reminiscent of a hospital corridor, the judges loved the final colour choice of 'minty' green this week and overall thought the room was inviting, comfortable, relaxed and established. Although I love the interesting roof-line and northern light filtering through the bi-fold doors, the art and corresponding colour palette are a little lack lustre and too obvious a choice for my liking.


Image Attribution: Nine



Neale got it so right when he said that the room was “greater than the sum of it’s parts”. The overall feeling of the room is improved from the couple’s last bedroom, with more layering of elements, less obviously coastal touches and more actual furniture. However, the individual components aren’t quite right. The art itself is generic and there only needs to be one piece, while the levels of the bedhead and paneling are at odds with each other; the bedhead should sit higher than the paneling so it doesn’t get lost behind the bed. The paneling itself, nice as it is (the reverse profile of Ronnie and Georgia's Laminex feature wall) is completely different to the panelling already installed in their guest room. Paneling or wainscotting isn't something to randomly use as a feature in one room. It's a design decision you make to use throughout an entire house. Historically, it was used to protect walls from damage, provide insulation and hide rising damp or mould. Now, it is used as an architectural element to celebrate the history or style of a specific build. At this point, house 5 will need to be bought as museum depicting different era's of wall mouldings in every room.



Walk-In Robe


Image Attribution: Nine



Last but not least, we have Kirsty and Jesse’s walk-in robe or 'suck it in robe' as I like to call it. It’s not a space you’d want to enter after a big feed is what I'm saying. Anyway I love the continuation of the arched door and entry-ways but both are way too narrow. I would actually be surprised if either of these openings are to code but the defect report didn’t seem to mention it so who knows? What I do know is that walk-in robe doesn’t function as is and will most definitely be a re-do room.



Image Attribution: Nine



As much as I like this couple, and they are definitely improving every week; they have a long way to go to end up with a winning house.



DARREN: 8 SHAYNNA:NEALE:TOTAL: 23 PLACE: LAST MY SCORE: 6



See you all next week for two and a half basements!

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