Updated: Sep 13, 2021

Written by Steph Sandhoff

Photo Attribution: Nine

It’s HERE! The Block 2021: Fans Vs Faves… Our faves this year are Mitch and Mark from The Oslo and Ronnie and Georiga from Elsternwick. The latter, I do think have serious style and I'm keen to see what they come up with… especially with the addition of basements and a lack of architectural plans.

The first of the fan couples this year are twins, Josh and Luke, whose renovation experience seems limited to games of monopoly and a total of 3 assembled flat packs. I originally confused these two for ex-block contestants before going on to recognise the pair from Love Island Australia’s Season 2. It was at this point I realised I watch way too much reality TV… and this is why I am here talking to you, instead of yelling at my TV screen and annoying my family and friends with my design frustrations and (obviously bang on) opinions about this years ‘Block’ series.

Before we get to ripping apart their bedroom designs, we still have two more ‘fan’ teams to round out this season: “beige is boring”, Melbourne couple Tanya and Vito and local, country couple (well at least to me here in Newcastle, NSW) Kirsty and Jesse from Wangi Wangi, NSW. We locals only say one of the Wangi’s when referring to this area by the way; so save your breath for more important things, like discussing this years cul-de-sac vibe.

Now I do need someone to explain to me how this thing is going to work spatially. Apart from the fact that all five houses are not located right next to each other, leaving non-Block neighbours to enjoy all the noise, camera and action without any of the potential winnings or loosely related future side businesses; there is not enough space for more than one large vehicle in a cul-de-sac at a time. Trust me.

Anyone that lives in a cul-de-sac (like me) knows the early morning stress and reverse car dance necessary to get to work, when you try to leave at the same time the garbage truck is doing it’s rounds. You may as well go back inside, make that coffee you skipped earlier and try again in 20 minutes. Otherwise you’ll be subjected to a human sized puzzle that plays out like a bad game of Tetris.

Now even without bin day, the block will have trades, machinery, camera crew, etc plus the constant coming and going of delivery vans (especially as they are using Catch.com.au as a sponsor again this year… anyone else remember the random, massage chair, birthday present from last season?).

Ah well… not my problem. I’m sure it will come in handy for some drama. Especially when contestants get to that point of the season where everything and anything will set them off. I’m guessing Backyard Week - cue delivery of super heavy, unspecified, exterior product at the same time, ‘the previously argued use of’ crane is putting in a pool.

Normally we’d have to wait until the following night for the House Decider Challenge reveals but lucky us, there is no need – cue instant gratification.

Bedroom Reveal: Kirsty and Jesse

Photo Attribution: Nine

First off the ranks is country couple, Kirsty and Jesse, who won with their Hamptons, beach style room. A rough start with no door handle, this room gave the judges a country BNB vibe with a certain level of sophistication.

All three loved the wainscoting and paneling, personally I would have chosen one or the other but let’s move on to what Darren Palmer referred to as the elephant in the room; the horrible paint job. Rough as it was, it didn’t seem to stop the judges from appreciating the light blue wall colour, tonal colour palette and use of texture. Neale Whitaker described the room as "fresh and modern", stating he was impressed with the "on trend" use of window furnishings: floor length sheers over an inset roller blind.

Obviously there are things I would change, like swapping out the bedside lamps for pendant lights to break up the wide expanse of white behind the bed and a slightly larger chair for the corner.

Photo Attribution: Nine

The height of the wainscoting shrinks the chair, making it appear not to scale with the rest of the room but Shaynna Blaze summed it up by saying this room “sets the bar”, it’s a “strong start”. Looks like they will end up with their house of choice – potentially the double storey house #5.

Bedroom Reveal: Josh and Luke

Photo Attribution: Nine

In second place, with their eye on House #4, are twins Luke and Josh. After noting the inclusion of a door handle and routed hinges, the judges couldn’t look past the high set, north facing window. I do love how it frames the sky for a stunning view, although it does remind me of a commercial shop front. Anyone else? The judges seemed more worried about the lack of window furnishings however and rightly so. Who wants to wake up bathed in sunlight and sweat? Regardless, it was deemed a good investment, which I would have to disagree with as the remainder of the room looked like a cheap hotel.

The combination of LED strip lighting (too much time spent in the love island villa), basic furniture and tacky styling was not helped by one of the worst dressed beds I’ve ever seen on the block. Self declared ‘Block fans’ confusingly seemed surprised to find out their tradies couldn’t paint for them… their lack of cutting-in skills didn’t get a mention but I’m sure it won’t be long.

The one redeeming feature in the room is the black, linear, timber cladding behind the bed; a quality material with classy impact. Shaynna agreed, commenting on it’s ability to elongate the wall height before Neale went on to congratulate the boys on the bones of their room; explaining that it shows that they have what it takes. Worrying, because I think if my bones looked like that, I’d be booking an appointment with an orthopaedic surgeon.

Bedroom Reveal: Tanya and Vito

Photo Attribution: Nine

Last but not least (in my opinion anyway) is era mixing, Melbourne couple, Tanya and Vito. The self proclaimed ‘Gucci Gang’ have already been given a helping hand by Scotty, reminding them that a bedroom without a window is actually illegal. Oh and if you can’t afford it, go steal one from one of the other houses. They chose well though, picking a window with a traditional frame that brought character to their room.

The first thing the judges commented on was the colour palette of lavender, plum, salmon and peach; a sophisticated take on purple and orange. This room does remind me of a budget version of last year’s ‘Girls Guest Room’ by Daniel and Jade (see below). I’ll give credit where it’s due however, they did have only 48 hours and $5,000 to complete this room.

Photo Attribution: Nine Photo Attribution: The Block Shop

Neale was at odds with the other judges, describing the room as a bit of a "mismatch, proclaiming "where do I look first?" He could see their personality in the design but deemed the room "over styled" with a "lack of cohesion". The one element Neale did like was the terrazzo look flooring, which reminded me of commercial grade, vinyl, kitchen flooring. The light coloured flooring feels cold and sterile in combination with the stark white walls. Whereas the other two rooms specified a dark carpet and I think this would have made a huge difference; giving the light and bright room some much needed depth and contrast. Coming last may not matter for the Melbourne couple though, as they seem to be the only team after Mid-Century House #3.

All three fan couples are admittedly after different houses so the question is… why have the challenge? Surely a quick conversation would have saved both time and money, but hey that’s reality TV. All I can say is bring on the faves and let’s see more of the houses. Talk to you next week for Week 1 reveals!

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