For the 2018 edition of the popular renovation show, The Block, South Australian couple Spence and Kerrie Thomson dreamt up and produced a sophisticated and highly detailed apartment, with a kitchen that was, according to the judges, a peerless 10/10.
When Spence and Kerrie were selected from 45,000 applicants to take part in season 14 of The Block, they had already had one of their previous renovations — a Victorian property — featured in Grand Designs magazine. The site for The Block project was the former Gatwick Hotel in St Kilda, a 3-storey Art Deco block built in 1936, and on offer to the contestants were a choice of three older apartments and two modern penthouses. As the second of five teams to choose their individual apartment, Spence and Kerrie selected one of the older ones as their renovation canvas of approximately 300 square metres.
Aiming to appeal to the 50+ market, Spence and Kerrie created their own brief for the room-by-room renovation show format, one that foregrounded timeless design, consistent materials and quality. “Fixtures, fittings, cabinetry, artwork and — most of all — the construction, had to be spot on,” Spence says. With his experience as a prestige builder, he and Kerrie were highly tuned in from the beginning to the importance of reaching for the highest level of detail throughout the project.
“A simple palette made our apartment work,” the couple believes. Oak timber floors, white walls and ceilings, black timber furniture, cabinetry and fixtures, white marble tiles and grey benches set the sophisticated tone. However, it was the kitchen that took out a perfect score from the judges, with several practical elements that made it appealing on many levels. Designed to be an ‘entertainer’s kitchen’, “It had to look sophisticated, expensive and, most of all, be functional,” Spence says. Due to its luxurious size — about double that of a normal kitchen — the kitchen features an abundance of storage, which, as the couple knew, would be important come auction day.
“After living with a Zip HydroTap with sparkling water in our last house, it was a must in the apartment,” Spence explains. He and Kerrie selected the Matte Black Celsius All-In-One Arc for its flexibility and great design, and positioned it at the smaller sink at the front of kitchen, “So that it was easier to access when getting a glass of water,” he continues. The matte finish was chosen to seamlessly combine with the other fixtures and fittings in the kitchen — “It’s timeless design was exactly what we were after,” they say.
Having experienced the benefits of a Zip HydroTap before, Spence and Kerrie are confident that the residents of their apartment, which sold for $2.85m (taking out second place in the competition), will enjoy the same. “When we moved to a house without [the Zip HydroTap] it was very frustrating not having the sparkling, chilled and boiling water at hand,” Spence recalls. “We tend to drink a lot of water, and as soon as we build our new house there will definitely be another Zip HydroTap going in the kitchen!”
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