The Block 2014: Sleek & Sleepy


Was that a rather sleepy Episode 1 start to the Block for 2014…? Skills: impressive. Drama: hmmmm… not convincing.

If TV revolves around the game of jeopardy … we didn’t really get it here. But do we need to fall in dog-whistle style behind teams of miners and surfers? “I really thought I was going to quit…” says cool, calm Kara without a shred of conviction. It’s a home renovation show after all… the tilt to drama was just a distraction.

The elimination round set Kara and Kyle (married 6 years, surfers from NSW’s Central Coast) against “The Diggers” being Jessie and Kenny miners from QLD. We saw the usual planning misdemeanors with Scotty’s benefits-of-hindsight cut-in (“If you’re under the pump, don’t shop together”…) The task – create a Downtown Manhattan loft… in a packing case corner of the Block HQ warehouse. Cool. In 24 hours. Only $10K. What could possibly go wrong? It does of course, but we’re dealing with two incredibly unflappable couples. It’s good renovating, if not good entertainment. Just as well we’re in the renovating camp here at TV Homes.

The Block 2014’s Kara and Kyle

Kara and Kyle went for the multifunctional bedroom/dining/lounge… and proceeded initially at a snails pace. We got to see their own stunning home renovation – a lofty 300m square temple space constructed over the top of a little white bungalow… inspiring but 3 years in the making. With scenes of Kyle wistfully dreaming of nipping out for a surf, there was a sense that it would take the same 3 years to get started on their apartment… but while the others waited for a tradie to finish their plastering Kyle jumped in and finished the job.

A time-saving stroke of smarts came in the form of a plan to keep the graffiti that arrived on the inside of the packing case. Judge Neale loved it “Nothing’s is as New York as street art…could be a masterstroke”… and, somewhat predictably, it was.

Kyle’s carpentry skills possibly won the show – his speed walling meant Kyle and Kara’s space could be divided to create an apartment rather than just a room. Kyle used packing timber to great effect as interior lining… “Most people think it’s rubbish but I can turn it in to something special”. We’re wondering what the finish coat was – did anyone see?

The couple also lucked out with their $2000 vintage gift poster in colours that just happened to work with the room. Jessie and Kenny were not quite as impressed with theirs.

I’m still trying to figure out of that ladder hitting the Beacon pendant light was some kind of product placement… but it was of course, replaced in time for a stunning reveal. When Neale announced he wanted to live in this apartment, you knew the Surfers were on to a winner.

Shaynna immediately recognized the building skills – a bankable asset in the series to come. The inclusion of a graffiti wall won this space for me. Kyle and Kara really made good use of what was there… “The way it’s framed makes it look incredibly expensive original art,” gasped Neale. (Yes Neale – this art form did actually come from the streets – you don’t have to go to a gallery). Kara and Kye’s room was impressive for elimination round. We look forward to seeing what this dynamic duo can do in episodes to come.

The Block’s Diggers – Jessie and Kenny

Jessie and Kenny – “The Miners” – got in and mapped it all out with a touch of industrial modern glam. They functioned like a well-oiled machine but were let down by the ubiquitous tradie who never showed up. (Block Wisdom: “Booking a Tradie doesn’t mean you’ve got a tradie”… gasp – even on National TV).

The couple had already done a unit and a house. Jessie knew how to shop the good stuff from the start… “Any interior website and online shop I know about…”she says. It’s somewhat incongruous therefore that Carpet Court was her fist destination. The two couples ended up selecting the same flooring product at the same time.

Of note in this project was the sandblasted brickwork – a adding a balancing cool grey to the tangerine room. The plasma screen was mounted on a series of timber panels that made their way up the wall. The scale of Jessie and Kenny’s room won admiration from the judges – Big sofa, BIG mirror, BIG everything. Oh, and of course the BIG cinema light in the corner… .

How To Win The Block: Go Bold, Go Personal

In true Block Style they both couples went bold in the colour department. For the Diggers it was lots of orange, with Jesse uttering her fears out loud “you don’t normally say I want an orange living room when you’re building a house do you?”. Come on guys – this is THE BLOCK – where bold rules like nothing else. “I’m just happy to see colour” says Judge Darren. Kara and Kyle’s graffiti wall with its lime green fluro pink won the day. Of course, says Neale “It has to be the right bold otherwise it can be a masterstroke or disaster”.

To win the Block you have to go bold not just in colour. In everything. It’s TV – you can’t be shy. The only disappointment for the judging crew was that Kyle and Kara chose to play it safe with the grey shag carpet. The judges also wanted to see their furnishings BIGGER than what was presented. Can I supersize that?

And of course much airplay is given to those personal touches… which the womenfolk typically run out and purchase twenty minutes before the big reveal. “Personal touches like plants and books are a great way to get that personal feel,” says Judge Darren. We agree.

The Twitterspere was surprisingly quiet this time around for The Block … although good to see Interiors Addict Jen Bishop getting in early there. We’re going to see a lot of Bissell Workwear, Carpet Court, Mitre 10, Samsung and Kennard’s this time around … but we’re here, we’re watching… we look forward to seeing more.