How was your experience on the Block & how much have things changed since winning?
Our experience on the block was filled with a lot of highs and a lot of lows. It challenged us in ways we didn’t think possible. We have changed and grown because of the show and we are so grateful for the experience and what it has enabled us to achieve since. We are now living a life we used to put on our vision board years ago and we couldn’t be happier.
Tess, did you have any guidance when styling or was it completely your own vision? Where did you find inspiration?
We had zero guidance. On our season, there was literally no time for mood boards or taking your time with selections. Some weeks we were only finishing the demo work on a Wednesday then trying to have a vision for your room on a Thursday to deliver on Sunday morning. I have never proclaimed to be a stylist, but working as a hairdresser for almost 10 years, I know colour and how to compliment it. We were building on Grey St in St Kilda, so I took in the surrounds. We created a moodier aesthetic and I wanted it to have personality and stand out from the rest - just like St Kilda. I would always pick my art first and then work out a colour scheme from there and used lots of different raw textures and materials like concrete, brick and timber. Our house wasn’t necessarily my personal style, it was more of what I saw St Kilda as.
Which room was most stressful to create and which room do you think won you the Block?
The most stressful room to create was the main bathroom, which was our first win. We all had to build a bathroom that didn’t exist. It was a floating room in the air… it had no existing floors, ceilings or walls to start with and it was on the second level… try work that one out! It was an enormous week and we can’t believe that every single house finished it. We also had finger mosaic tiles laid on every wall… definitely a room we are very proud of. In terms of a room that we think helped us win the block, we would have to say it was our house as a whole. We had so many points of difference. We had a huge media room, glass floor/ceiling, self contained granny flat out the back, spiral staircase taking you to the roof top, the largest kitchen island bench in the history of The Block and the only house with a formal dining. Lots of the features we have seen on the block since our season such as the granny flats and glass floors - they are amazing points of difference to have in your home that add a lot of value. We created a home for a family to create memories in and that’s exactly who bought it.
What advice would you give to someone going on the Block?
Be prepared to be pushed past your limits. The build is tough, reality tv is tough and the tribulations of it all is difficult to get through. However, the people you meet, the opportunities you get and the life changing money you can win is worth it. Make sure you and your partner are resilient, strong, determined and ready to get your hands dirty!
What trends do you see in 2022?
We predict we will continue to see a lot of render, timber and stone materials being in vogue. When it comes to tiles, bone, natural and warmer tones are going to be everywhere. The “less is more” approach is definitely on the rise where you won’t need to over-style your home as the furniture will do the talking.
Lastly, what is your favourite Casa Blanco piece and how would you style it?
Our favourite piece would be the Cuatro Coffee Table. It is so unique in its shape and the fossil stone stunning. When it comes to styling it, you wouldn’t want to do too much. This piece of furniture is art in itself and gives your home that designer feel without having to do anything. A simple, open coffee table book is all you would need.