"Our first win!"

Madi and Jarrod’s win was very well deserved, with some extraordinary use of colour, tiling and space. The Block, is rarely an easy ride for anyone. Dani recently caught up with Madi for a little insight into her Block experience, the inspiration behind this beautiful winning room, and of course her top tips for getting that look perfected.

Congratulations on your first room win! And I must say, it was by far my preferred room this week. I personally love what you have done with the joinery behind the bedhead, and of course the subway tiles in the ensuite, but what is your absolute most favourite part about your bedroom/ensuite this week?

I’d say my favorite part would have to be the feature wall colour, and just the feeling it evokes when you spend time in the space. It’s definitely a happy and positive room.

The immediate wow factor in your room this week is definitely the ‘Accent’ feature wall colour “Banana Custard”. What was the inspiration behind this colour choice?

The inspiration behind this colour was actually from our Sundae Wall print. This was the first piece I got for this room, and it was a great starting piece to draw inspiration.

Do you think it’s important to have a starting point for a room?

Yes, its so much easier to pull a space together when it all starts and references back to the same point. When you have to buy things without seeing it all together, having a reference makes it much easier.

The joinery behind the bed head is so well done… do you make a lot of your own joinery and furniture? What is your favorite piece at home?

Jarrod did such an amazing job of the bed head. It was his first chance to make a furniture piece on The Block, and he really enjoyed it. He was struggling in the first few weeks not having the time to make stuff, as at home, he has made all the furniture.

Not having a win for a few weeks can really throw your confidence, how have you both managed to stay positive and keep the creative juices flowing?

I guess we both came onto The Block with the attitude that we would take the good with the bad and try to remain positive in every situation, and we actually did almost the whole time.

The judges often were not overly impressed with what we had to offer, but we take the comments constructively. We’re definitely the underdogs, and it will take time for us to get our head around this whole ‘High End’ look they expect from us. I’m sure we will continue to make mistakes along the way – but a win this week has definitely given us something to be extra proud of.

How have you found your overall experience so far, is it what you expected?

I guess when we applied we thought it would be another town house, which we thought we would easily be able to adapt our own style to. But being given high end penthouses is not what we expected at all, and that has made it a lot more difficult for us, as we are now faced with trying to develop a whole new style.

Coming into The Block 2013, did you have a game plan, and has it changed since the competition has progressed?

Our plan is to stay positive and enjoy the ride, and we have definitely been doing that. Competition aside, we want to remember this once in a lifetime opportunity as a positive one.

Madi, do you feel that your background in graphic design has helped you with the design and styling side of the competition?

I don’t really feel like it’s helped at all! I would loved to have had time to make some prints for the bedrooms but you just never do. So I guess an eye for design can help, although like I said, high end isn’t us, so it’s challenging enough.

I love the simple, contemporary and sophisticated approach you’ve taken with your ensuites throughout the competition, do you have a favourite?

My favourite would be this week’s. I love the way the Moods subway tiles create that softness and movement with the texture, and the nib wall with the LED lights is a nice touch, instead of the glass screens we have used in the other bathrooms.

How have you approached the design aspect of the competition? Are you trying to stay consistent and true to your taste and style or are you altering it depending on the Judges comments and feedback each week?

Definitely altering it. They have made it clear our style has no place in the sub penthouse! So we’re using this as a learning experience and enjoying the weekly feedback, and applying it where we can.

I know you guys struggled in the beginning with the workload after making the decision to not hire a builder. Do you think you have found your groove a little more now?

We now have an amazing carpenter called James helping us out when we need him. He’s always there when we need him (like last minute unplanned challenge days!), and we can trust him to get the job done, so that has made it much easier on Jarrod.

Every time I have been asked tips and advice about renovating, my number one thing has always been “have great tradies and plan for everything to go wrong”. What’s your number one piece of advice for aspiring renovators?

Having someone on board who knows what they are doing (aka Jarrod), and research. The more you look around the more you can know what will suit your space best, and may help you draw inspiration from things you think work, and also to avoid those things that really don’t work at all.

I know we are still in the early stages of the renovation, but we are starting to see each of the couples really improve. Who do you feel is your biggest competition?

I’d say the twins are the biggest competition. The judges have made it clear that they like what they’re doing, and it seems to be the styling the girls would like or usually use in their own home, which means they are very confident with it and should progress really well I’d imagine.

What are your top 5 tips for planning a comfortable guest bedroom?

1. Lighting – (to create atmosphere and a felling of lux … learnt that last week the hard way!)
2. Creating a lasting impression – adding artwork or styling that leaves an impression, and almost creates that feeling of a hotel oasis for your guest.
3. Storage – so that guests can feel at home
4. Seating – I also think if you have the room, a desk or armchair is a great addition, as sometimes your guest might retreat to the room, as it is their private space.
5. Comfortable mattress! and of course lush linen.

What are your top 5 tips for planning a practical yet stylish ensuite?

1. Somewhere for your guest to store toiletries.
2. Spacious shower.
3. As little clutter as possible.
4. Funky tile choice, as that’s the opportunity to create the most impression.
5. Beautiful soaps and hand towels.

It was lovely talk to you, thanks!

Thanks Dani!

For more from Dani, check out The Home Journal