Where are they now: Steph and Gian


As we kick off The Block 2024 and take you on a trip down memory lane of the last 20 season's we thought it was only apt to kick off with 2023 Block Winners, Steph and Gian, we sit down with them and see how life has been since their history making Block win.


Steph and Gian catch up with The Block ShopBlock Winners in 2023, Steph and Gian, set a new Block record for highest winnings after their Block House sold for $5,000,000, their reserve was $3.350 mil giving Steph and Gian a profit of $1.65 million + $100,000 prize money taking them to $1.75 million in winnings.


In the drama-filled season of The Block 2023, Block Fans were thrilled to witness the dynamic duo of Steph and Gian.

With their infectious enthusiasm and undeniable talent, Steph and Gian brought a fresh perspective to the competition. Their innovative design ideas and meticulous attention to detail captivated both the judges and audiences alike, setting the bar high for their fellow contestants.

Throughout the season, Steph and Gian's unwavering determination and teamwork proved to be their greatest strengths as they navigated through the challenges of renovating and transforming their assigned spaces into stunning masterpieces.

Their exceptional creativity and commitment to excellence earned them widespread acclaim, making them a formidable force to be reckoned with on The Block and ultimately seeing them win the season and aldo set the record of highest profit the show has ever seen across it's 20 seasons.

The Block Shop had the pleasure of catching up with Steph and Gian to discuss all things The Block, life after The Block and of course their new business venture, Japandi Estate.


Tell us about applying for The Block...first attempt? Initial Reaction?

Steph: Whatever we do we put 110% in. We had never applied before! This was our first attempt to get on the show and we only felt confident because we had already renovated our house, we didn't think we should do it unless we were proficient. We never would have applied if we haven’t already done a reno. We had renovated and felt confident.

Gian: We got back from our honeymoon and we were watching the 2022 season. We thought about applying and just decided to give it a go. We were thinking what are the odds? But before we knew it we had prepared the questions, got the audition video professionally done, so that it showcased us and our personalities but wasn't too staged, just showing who we are. It wasn't a stiff audition video. We walked through the house talking about our renovation. We wanted to be relatable, show who we are and why we would be a good casting fit.

Steph: The stars need to align, you and your partner have to have a certain chemistry, then fit in with the other contestants. The dynamic is really important. It is a bit of pot luck.
Gian: When we got the call up, we were in shock! Although Steph was manifesting.
Steph: Gian is a realist but I knew! Something came over me, I was so positive, I just had a feeling we were going to be on the show. I didn't even take on any jobs because I knew I couldn't commit to a three year-long architecture project if I was about to go on The Block - that's how positive I felt about it happening.
It was a beautiful moment when we got the call, we just looked at each other and said "we have to pack'' and we also started talking immediately about what our outfits would be!
When we spoke to the other contestants about this, they said it never even occurred to them to plan their couple outfits! They didn't think about it. But I kept thinking I need to match Gian, what's my colour tone, I'll have to match with my house - I was very wholistic about the whole thing.
Steph and Gian showed they meant business right from the audition tape, it was so professional and highlighted they knew exactly how to transform a high end build, walking the casting director and producers through their showstopping renovation oftheir own home, it was immediately evident this young vivacious couple needed to be on The Block. Watch their audition on instagram here.
Steph and Gian The Block 2023 winners
Steph speaks about the moment they got the call and heard the words, "you're going on The Block"..."It was a beautiful moment when we got the call, we just looked at each other and said "we have to pack'' and we also started talking immediately about what our outfits would be! With a strong attention to detail, Steph later learned the thought of having tonal outfits had not entered anyone else's mind.
So your presentation as contestants was deliberately within the Japandi style! How did you land on Japandi and develop that style?

Steph: Japandi was born on the show, but I had a consistent Scandinavian style and we prefer natural, earthy tones so that was all normal for us. The Japanese influence came from the moment we saw the facade (we had originally thought about pursuing a Scandi Art Deco style) but once we realised that the facade wasn't going to align with that art deco style, but it still was a bit Scandi, we changed to a Japandi aesthetic.
All of the facades were quite modern, except House 4 which was the only non modern facade. We were adamant we wanted to get that house, but luckily the contestants didn't want House 4, they all wanted the modern looks.
The Before and After of Steph and Gian's Block House Facade
Steph said they had originally thought about pursuing a Scandi Art Deco style, but once we realised that the facade wasn't going to align with that art deco style, but it still was a bit Scandi, we changed to a Japandi aesthetic.
Your Block win was record breaking, tell us about that day and the feelings. Did you expect that result? 

Gian: We knew that Adrian would be there, but he had voted for House 3, Kristy and Brett, in the open house challenge, we didn’t have much expectation. Before Adrian bid we had another buyer at $4 mil. We weren’t expecting the result. There's a risk going on the show, nothing is guaranteed. It was a pretty cool feeling.

Steph: To this day I'm still shocked, I had no breath. I'm so grateful. We left nothing in the tank  - we were so exhausted, but it paid off. We would do it again and it was the best experience of our lives and it has now changed our lives. We are working out a long term plan to make the best of the winnings.  


Steph and Gian pictured on Auction Day with the winning bidder Adrian Portelli.
The first couple of episodes really highlighted that being a trained architect did not give you an advantage due to the nature of the show and how it doesn't function like a normal construction project - so you were on the same learning curve as everyone else?

Steph: I'm really glad that Scotty explained that to the viewers because there was a lot of pressure for me to know what to do, work quickly but as everyone saw, it made it even harder for me because I had to abandon my usual processes and adjust to The Block way of things.
Although I wasn't the project architect, I received the most amazing letter from the Institute of Architects thanking me for bringing to people's attention the value that a trained architect can offer - something that they've been trying to communicate to the public for a long time. I was so chuffed!
Steph and Gian with Block architect Julian Brenchley
Steph felt the pressure as a professional architect on The Block as the couple got hammered in their House Decider room in week 1, the couple certainly found their feet, pictured speaking with Block Architect Julian Brenchly onsite.
Tell us about your personal hardship during the filming..
Steph: We still can't believe that it happened - both our grandparents passed away within a week of each other. 
Gian: When you're in this insulated bubble, it's such a high pressure environment 24/7 as a standard then when we heard the news it pulled us out of the bubble and gave us perspective.
It really helped us make decisions in those last two weeks, you can get so fixated on details that maybe don't matter too much and it allowed us to see bigger and focus on what we needed to. It was bittersweet. 
Steph: I think our grandparents were with us, it gave us an extra boost of energy that the others didn't have. We were really defeated by week 10. 
Gian: I felt like our building team was a family to us, it really helped and they could read our moods and helped level us out. That was unique. We had a really strong relationship, we are friends with our builder for life now. We are so lucky. 
Steph and Gian The Block 2023
Both Steph and Gian's grandfathers sadly passed away whilst the pair were on The Block, Gian said it really helped them make decisions in the last two weeks, they realised those decisions were perhaps not such a big deal and the couple came into their own, no doubt making their family at home even prouder.
Tell us about the artworks you chose for your house...

Steph: We made choices by sending the moodboard to the artists, then they came back to us with their visions.
For example, Jackie Green created the art for the room, based on our design and based on the feeling we wanted to create. Being a creative, I like going on that journey with a fellow creative. The two Michelle Keighley still life pieces in the kitchen were perfect, I loved the colours.

Steph and Gian pictured with Michelle Keighley Artworks on The BlockStef said "the two Michelle Keighley still life pieces in the kitchen were perfect, I loved the colours."


Gian: All the artworks were texture rich, core to the Japandi style. Jackie Green actually went to Brighton Beach and incorporated sand from the bay into the paint she used in the artworks, that was really cool. We wanted that connection to space and area as a whole. When you walk up the stairs there is a painting by Yolan Eke called Circa 1934, and the way in which she used colours for the different beach houses was influenced by and flowed to each of the kids rooms on each side. We went to high detail with the artists. 

Yolan Eke Art The Block
Yolan Eke's artwork "Circa 1934" was deliberately used between the two kids rooms in the hallway to tie the colour in, every cm of this house was a considered choice by Steph and Gian and it shows!
Steph and Gian Jackie Green artwork The Block 2024
 Jackie Green originally visited The Block with her trademark bright artwork but that was never going to work for Steph and Gians house, the pair worked with Jackie and she managed to create two commissioned pieces for them to suit their asthetic, Jackie even went to Brighton Beach to use sand as a medium on the artwork.
What advice do you have for new contestants about to embark on The Block journey?
Steph: Ride the wave! I encourage the low moments, that's when you grow. 
Gian: Not having so much expectation, lean into the magic and I don't think anyone, no matter what your occupation or experience, is prepared for The Block. Look at Steph, look at Ash - he's a registered builder - people think they should be cruising through, but that's not how The Block works. That's what's so empowering about it, you take on the challenge and get to the other side. 
Steph: The three main trades you need a good grip on are your builder, plasterer and your tiler. 
Gian: We really wanted to bring the commarady to this season, we loved seeing couples helping each other in previous seasons and that's the kind of team we wanted to be.
Steph and Gian Building Team The Block
Steph and Gian's advice for our newest Block Contestants..."Not having so much expectation, lean into the magic and I don't think anyone, no matter what your occupation or experience, is prepared for The Block."
Any new opportunities opened up post Block?
Steph:  After the airing of The Block we stayed in Melbourne and tried to find a buyer for the house. We also spent time developing lots of connections in Melbourne with people we had met during the filming, manufacturers, homewares suppliers etc and got to know people on a deeper level.
We began to realise our next path. We will continue to design houses and reno but we want to do a Japandi homewares range. We fell in love with that idea. Now we are working on a new project called Japandi Estate.
Gian: I have resigned from my work, so I can focus on our new work with Japandi Estate. We will be working together full time.
Japandi Estate by Steph and Gian
Steph and Gian have opened up their first business venture since appearing on The Block, Japandi Estate, with a focus on Architecture and Homewares, they have honed in on their strengths.

Tell us about your Japandi ranges...
Steph: We have a homewares range coming out in Japandi style, that is going to complement many partnerships we have with Block sponsors, we are creating masterclasses and how-to guides and a renovation series of our next project.
Gian: We didn’t invent the Japandi style, but lots of people asking us how to achieve it. We wouldn’t be where we are without the support of the viewers, we want to give back to them - if you like that aesthetic, it's timeless, we want to educate and help people by showing how to create it for themselves.
Steph: Educating our company ethos is really important, Japandi is a lifestyle, not a trend. You can grow with the investment, as your needs change, the products you’ll see have dual purposes. We are so aware of trend trapping, that's why the homewares collection will go hand in hand with a masterclass range
Gian: When people regret purchases it leaves a negative taste and it puts them off, they lose confidence in their choices.
Steph: We will still align with companies that share a similar ethos, we partnered with Camerich to show people exactly this.
Gian: We want it to be a wholistic offering.

You had a great real estate agent, do you think your extra marketing helped sell to Adrian?
Steph: I think it helped with him buying because he asked the general public to choose a favourite house. We didn't know what impact it would have. He ran a poll a couple of weeks before the auction, the public loved 4, 5, 1, he said that the response was overwhelmingly house 4 as the favourite.
What was your worst experience?
Steph: Not having confidence, struggling with self doubt. Not backing ourselves and our design. 
What about the criticism from the judges?
Steph: I loved the feedback from the judges, I understood that they had slept and we hadn't and they were looking at our work with fresh eyes. So anything they had to say, I was taking it all on board 
Gian: It felt extreme to us, like we were either leading and coming first or coming dead last - so those weeks we came last, we took their constructive criticism on board. For example, our master ensuite, that was the harshest feedback we received and we thought afterwards - They are right! What were we thinking!? 
What was the best experience? 
Gian: The three tens! We heard the feedback, then seeing the tens on the board, where we had come from with the house decider challenge and then having that redemption with the kids bedroom, that was the best! 
The Block Steph and Gian with a perfect score for Kids rooms week
After a deflating start with a kids bedroom in week one getting absolutely slammed by the judges, the audience were skeptical, but these two just went from strength to strength and got a perfect score in their two kids bedrooms!
Are you still close with the other couples? 
Steph: We are still close with everyone but mainly the girls, probably because of the Melbourne/Sydney connection. We just had genuine connections with Eliza and Liberty, we were neighbours on the show, we had really raw and vulnerable moments on the show and we aligned in many ways. We feel the same about Kyle and Leslie but they are so far away. It's so hard to be in touch with everyone, especially post Block - it's chaos. But if we are in each other's hometowns, we would definitely catch up. 
The Block 2023 contestants
Kyle and Leslie, Liberty and Eliza and Steph and Gian fall forged a strong friendship on The Block 2023 and have caught up since finishing up on The Block, Image via @instagram.
What have you got your eye on at the moment?
Gian: I definitely want the Banksia on Blue and Eucalypt on Blue still life artworks from Michelle Keighley that we had in our kitchen.
Steph: I am getting the Arden Outdoor setting from B2C that we had on our deck
A massive thank you to Steph and Gian for speaking with us, the couple have been very busy, having sold their first reno since we spoke, 20 Glenfarne Street, Bexley, NSW. Congratulations and we cannot wait to see the next exciting chapter!
Japandi Estate by Steph and GianDon't forget t take a look at Japandi Estate here. Images via @japandiestate
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