Bathroom week on The Block has always been one of my favourites… not only for the finished product but I just love seeing the bathrooms evolve from a bare room to something amazing. It’s also one of those rooms in the house that doesn’t need much for a drastic change and ultimately a huge improvement.
Chris and Jenna took out the bathroom win this week with perfect scores from every judge, and I agree it was a great bathroom with some very beautiful and well thought out elements. The custom shower pole was amazing and served as the perfect link back to the steel beams featured in their week one bedroom. The light well was a masterstroke and provided uninterrupted natural light to what would have otherwise been a fairly dark bathroom. My only criticism (if you’d even call it that) is that although there were some beautiful design elements, it was a fairly safe bathroom. In saying that though it isn’t offensive and will not polarise potential buyers come auction day.
I love it when couples on The Block are feeling brave enough to do what has never been done before, and although their bathroom didn’t have any quirky out of the box features… it was absolutely stunning and something that has never been delivered before. The couple and bathroom I am talking about, belongs to Dee and Darren.
I’ve never been a big fan of plain white rectangular tiles but that is possibly because I have never seen them laid the way they were in Dea and Darren’s bathroom. Not to mention the perfect variance in surfaces and textures they were paired back with. Although they were laid in a simple formation on two walls, they were seamless. White grout ensured that they weren’t a feature and didn’t deter away from the other beautiful objects within the space. Applying (what seems to have become) their signature paneling on the wall behind the bath and using the fabulous monochromatic floor tiles, the space just jells. Combined with a marble top custom vanity, a black-framed mirror, stone bath and THOSE WINDOWS… there was little I could fault in this room.
I caught up with the talented Dee to find out about her design process, her and Darren’s hurdles throughout bathroom week and why she wants a treehouse.
Talk me through your design process for this week…
Doing a bathroom on The Block is all about lots of quick decisions early so that there is enough time for the waterproofing, tiling, grouting, caulking and drying time in between each of those steps! Daz and I decided on the layout of the bathroom and then I was off to Beaumont Tiles to choose those gorgeous floor tiles.
After that I went to Reece and picked out the toilet, bath, tapware, showerhead, sink and towel rail. A visit to Reece always takes hours because there is so much to choose from. After that I sat down and designed the vanity. I sent a really simple drawing to our cabinetmaker and spoke to the stonemason to organize the vanity top and got all of that under way. Then it was all about Daz building the room and organising and managing all the trades. While Daz was overseeing all of that, I was out choosing and ordering the window blind and shopping for the finishing touches like towels, plants, soaps and the little wooden stool.
What did you want to achieve?
We wanted to create a bathroom that is beautiful but understated and classic with a bit of luxe. We wanted it to be really comfortable and easy to use with everything our buyer could need or want at their fingertips.
How important was it to continue your design aesthetic from last week into this week?
We felt like it was really important to have continuity throughout the apartment especially as our style is quite defined.
What were your key considerations when planning the design and construction of the room?
Functionality is always really important. Making sure we can tick all the boxes of what the sort of person that would buy our apartment would expect was very important. Making the most of the available space with a good layout and enough storage, and of course making it gorgeous.
How much forward thinking and planning went into the room?
Unfortunately you don’t really have much of a chance on The Block to forward think because you are so focused on the room you are doing each week. Having said that, as soon as we got the plans for the apartment, we thought that it made much more sense to switch the bathroom and second bedroom so that the bathroom had the amazing window and light and gave the second bedroom more space.
What is your favourite element in your bathroom this week and what are you most proud of?
Our favourite element is probably the window with the gorgeous view. We are most proud of the quality finishes like the stone bath and the amazing job our tiler did with our patterned tile.
Neale made the comment that your bathroom stands up as one of the best bathrooms he has ever seen as a magazine editor. You must be pretty stoked with that.
I was THRILLED to hear that comment from Neale! I’m a huge fan of Belle magazine so that comment was music to my ears.
The judges seem to be more conscious on the budgets this year and made a point of saying that everything you had invested money in was well chosen. Was it hard to find that balance or were you able to comfortably compromise to stay within budget?
I always tried to buy the best things we could afford in our budget and do things like not tile every wall if it didn’t need it or choose more budget friendly taps so that we could afford the killer bath. It’s a bit of a juggling act, but I enjoy that side of the decision making process.
The no under floor heating thing… I know you guys wouldn’t have gone against installing it if you new it was available. Do you think that will sway buyers one way or the other, as the judges suggested?
I think it’s interesting that although Melbourne is so much colder than Sydney, I feel like under floor heating is much more popular up there. I don’t really know anyone who has it down here. Since feeling it in the other apartments bathrooms though, I will definitely use it in our next house.
The judges stated that all of the couples are setting their own personal bars high and that the trick will be to maintain that throughout the competition. Are you confident in both your abilities to produce rooms like you currently are for the remainder of the series?
I am confident that we will continue to produce rooms of this standard. We are both really motivated and passionate about the process and really enjoy it, so I feel like that has built momentum for us to keep going.
Your styling is really beautiful this week and was also my favourite last week… I think we have similar taste. Are you designing and styling for a particular market or are you doing it for what you yourself would like?
Thanks Dani! I definitely have our buyer in mind whenever I am making decisions but I also design from my heart. I couldn’t pull a room off that I didn’t love and it would take all of the fun out of it so it has to resonate for me.
What was the toughest hurdle to overcome this week?
The towel rail! Up until that point, Daz and our tradies had worked so hard and the room was looking perfect. It was a shock to walk in and see it in a random, unplanned spot.
How are you feeling about the competition at this stage? Where do you think your apartment is sitting amongst the others?
It’s hard to say as our apartment has a really different look and feel to the others, but we are really happy and proud of how it is coming together.
And getting to know you a little better…
What do you do when you are not renovating on The Block?
I am at home with Daz, our gorgeous girls and our dog Rosie being a mummy. I also love cooking and we go down to the Mornington Peninsula for some beach time whenever we can.
What did you want to be growing up?
A fashion designer.
The best life experience you’ve had so far… outside of The Block?
I adore our girls and really love being a mum. Living overseas was also a life changing experience that was amazing.
What is the one thing you want but don’t have right now?
A house! We sold our house the week before we went on The Block and we are looking around now for our next project.
What is the best advice you have been given?
In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take.
What could you not live without?
My little family.
Where was your last amazing meal (other than at home eating Daz’s mean lasagna)?
Daz and I had dinner at Misuzu’s in Albert Park while we were on The Block. I used to live in Middle Park and go there all the time, but hadn’t been back for a while. It was amazing! Best Japanese ever.
What is your favourite ‘space’ – could be anything?
The beach and the ocean. I love it.
If you could have a super power, what would it be?
To be invisible!
Treehouse or houseboat, why?
Treehouse. I had so many fantasies about building a treehouse in our backyard growing up and still dream about building one for our girls. It would have to have a rope ladder so you have a say about who can come up though.
What is one thing that we won’t learn about you from watching you on The Block?
I used to be a singer in a cover band haha. Maybe Shaynna and I can partner up and start a band seen as she used to be a jazz singer.