After getting introduced to all the contestants, we get to see inside the Gatwick hotel, the true star of this season’s The Block. And what a dump! Built in 1937, the 58 room hotel has seen better days after digressing from a beautiful hotel to boarding house for ex-convicts, cockroaches and rats alike. The hotel closed down, and will get a new lease on life with the contestants creating 5 luxurious apartments within its walls.
The 48 hour challenge kicked off the season, with the teams required to renovate a kid’s room. Teams had to remove all the remnants from the room, fix ceilings, walls and floors of their decrepit rooms and give them a facelift. Bianca and Carla played it smart, by visiting the local Kennards Hire branch and using an airless sprayer for the bulk of their painting. Want to learn how to use an airless sprayer like a pro? Watch this space!
NSW couple Hayden and Sara (plus her safety lashes!) won the challenge after going against the grain by using their first night to plan ahead and getting help from their builders in moving their furniture. Their clean and simple kid’s room managed to wow the judges with a false ceiling and inset shelf for bedtime books. What was surprising is the couple (okay, maybe more Hayden than Sara) didn’t pick a penthouse as their project. Apartment 3 according to Hayden had better acoustics.
Acoustics Schmacoustics! On The Block sound is next to irrelevant!
Kerrie and Spence came in second, but to some they may be the real winners here. Not only have they already had a renovated home featured in Grand Designs Magazine, but in picking apartment 1, the crummiest unit and also the one predicted to fetch the least at auction due to being on the bottom floor, they received $150,000 in vouchers from a variety of suppliers to use to kit out their apartment. When budgets are tight these vouchers will certainly give them the advantage.
In a first for The Block, third and fourth placed teams Bianca and Carla plus Norm and Jess in the 48 hour challenge managed to snag the two penthouses. The penthouses were actually newly built apartments and so they might not have the same problems as the other three teams when it comes to working with old building, but hey, who knows!
There’s no rest for the wicked, and there certainly wasn’t any for the teams as they started immediately on the main bathrooms. Sara struggled to convince Builder Keith to have a vertical garden in her bathroom, but wore him down in the end. Norm and Jess and Bianca and Carla created building faux-pas by installing door jams and removing wall reinforcements without Keith’s okay. Kerrie and Spence stayed on Keith’s good side and made sure their tiles had smooth, perfect cuts by using a 730mm electric tile saw, something which didn’t occur to the rest of the competition.
Courtney and Hans were left with apartment 2 as their unit. And when it rained, it poured for the Perth couple. First, they lose the 48 hour challenge. Next, their builder drops out due to illness, then their tiler can’t make it, making them more than a day behind the other teams during Bathroom Week. There were understandably a lot of tears and f-bombs dropped.
But all the let downs, frustrations, and stress sweats paid off when Courtney and Hans nailed the Bathroom Week and won (see what we did there? #dadjokeforthewin)! Their sleek and bright bathroom, with matte black fixtures (who else noticed that the trend in matte black fixtures lives on?), and a splash of colour with their accessories was exactly what the judges were looking for.
Here are all the tools Courtney and Hans hired to make their bathroom renovation job easier: