Well Blockheads we are at the very end of the competition. Let’s just say it’s been an eye-opening experience into the world of renovation reality TV.  But man am I happy it’s nearly over! I think I’ve had enough drama and eyelashes to last a lifetime.

Weeks 10 and 11 - The Challenge Apartment

 


Source: The Block Official YouTube

 

Like any competition, The Block has been full of surprises. At the end Terrace Week, Scotty showed the teams “The Plan” – the apartment one lucky The Block Monopoly Golden Ticket holder will win. Instead of working apart, all teams will work together to create the apartment. However, during the next two weeks the team’s room will still be judged by Shaynna, Neil and Darren. The highest scoring rooms will win $20k, $15k and $10k off of their reserve, respectively. Keep stirring the pot Scotty! I’m pretty sure any whinging or dramas we haven’t witnessed yet we’re bound to have bubble up in the next two weeks. Instead of doing a recap of each room reno, this week I thought I would do something different. Instead, here’s what I learned while watching the challenge apartment come to life on The Block.


Source: The Block Official YouTube

 

Teamwork is the lifeblood of any building project

The challenge apartment wasn’t even half finished before dramas ensued. Hayden is nominated as treasurer and then a leadership spill happens by his team mate. Whoa….that sounds really familiar. I wonder where else that happened? While everyone else is ready and willing to help haul materials up to the apartment, Hayden is on the phone or doing what he seems to do best, stand around and watch someone else do the heavy lifting and work. Teamwork is incredibly crucial now, more than ever. Not only are you building on top of each other, but you need the entire apartment to flow style wise and if one team falls behind, everyone will feel it one way or another.

And Hayden and Sara learned this the very hard way, when at the end of the second week, everyone was helping each other, except for helping Hayden and Sara out. Insert further complaints right about….here. They’ve isolated themselves by simply not working the team.

On the flip side, the other four teams have all helped each other out. But there’s one person in particular that went above and beyond and helped a few teams heaps during the last two weeks. The One Family award goes to Kerrie and Spence. They let Hayden and Sara borrow their trades when they fell very far behind, Spence helped Hans learn a thing or two in carpentry plus helped Norm hang doors and finish up the master bedroom. No matter if you’re in a competition or working on site, you’ve got to work with and look after your mates and work as one team, one family.

 


Source: The Block Official YouTube

 

Budget, but budget smart

If teamwork is the lifeblood of a project, the budget is the heart of it. No budget, no project. It’s that simple. Norm and Jess had incredible difficulty getting through the first week of the challenge apartment as they were working with a meagre $17,000. Yup. $17,000. To put it into perspective, that master bedroom with the walk in wardrobe is probably the same size as my tiny two bedroom apartment in Sydney, about 100m2. Most of your budget will always go into trades. So if you have to knock down a couple walls, possibly build a wall or two, plaster, render, level, install carpeting, power, and any smart home components, you’re going to have to find a tradie to do one or all these things. And with the quality that one would expect of a Block apartment, your $17k is going to dwindle very fast. I put in a false ceiling into my entire place a few years back, essentially the exact same as on The Block, with a nice shadow line. That alone was about $5k. So to me it was no surprise that Norm and Jess really struggled with that budget, even if they had vouchers and sponsorships.

But you just have to play with the cards you’re dealt with, and Norm and Jess pulled it off by not having many trades, using as many vouchers as they could, and with a little help from the other teams.

 

Source: The Block Official YouTube

 

Go with your gut

When it comes to styling, you quickly learn what you like and don’t like. Styling your home is where you can let loose and really show you personality. Styling to sell or to win a room is a totally different matter. In those scenarios you have to create a room that a target market would be attracted to, but you can still show your taste and personality shine.

Kerrie and Spence really learned that the hard way in the first week. With a wall graphic that was so colourful and so incredibly loud, the judges absolutely hated it. The room was relatively small, and putting a graphic so huge on one wall completely dwarfed the room. This is completely the opposite to what Kerrie and Spence would usually do, and it didn’t pay off. Although I well and truly believe the South Australian couple were simply doing what they thought the judges would want, instead of going with their gut and bringing St Kilda into the room in a much more subtle way.


Source: The Block Official YouTube

 

Be on your toes

I probably have said this before, but I’ll say it now anyway (and again). No renovation project will ever go exactly according to plan. Ever. But if you’re like Bianca and Carla, you keep calm and start making calls, just like they did when Fore-Dan tells them their shower screen may not be thick enough to be deemed up to code. They ploughed through and managed to get the job done and get the glass replaced.


Source: The Block Official YouTube


Hans and Courtney showed this skill pretty well, and good thing they work in the airline industry! With the quirky wallpaper they wanted for the bedroom being out of stock locally, Hans got on the phone and went straight to the manufacturer, and got the paper shipped from the UK express. That wallpaper won them the first challenge week, thanks to Hans’ dedication and quick thinking.


Source: The Block Official YouTube


Have moments of Zen

The whole “keep calm and carry on” movement from a few years back resonates pretty strongly when it comes to renovation. Without moments of calm, you can lose direction in the constant chaos and just go down the abyss of renovation woes.  You don’t want to add on to the stressful situation that a renovation already is.

Be calm. Have a quiet spot to do your project. Be like Kerrie and Spence when they redid the terrace in Challenge Week 2. They got the nitty gritty of the room done and then closed off the terrace so they could focus on the remaining portions of the terrace, painting and styling. They’ve made a calming nook in the apartment, and it couldn’t have happened without shutting out the chaos of the rest of the apartment. Now say it with me. OOOHHHHHHHMMMMMMMMM.


Well, that’s another Block done and dusted. And now it’s time for A-Day. Will Norm and Jess get the happy ending they want so badly? Will Kerrie and Spence upset the competition and take The Block crown, or will Hans and Courtney win after dominating in the challenge apartment? Who knows! Guess we’ll just have to watch on Auction Day!


As always, keep your tools sharp and your hard hats on Blockheads!