How beautiful is The Gatwick’s refurbished exterior looking? The challenge apartment was a surprise – or should that be shock – for this season’s contestants. But, with the chance to win dollars off their reserve prices, they had no option but to steel themselves and get back down to business in preparation for last weekend’s reveal.
By the way, these challenge apartment episodes are not to be missed if you bought a Block Monopoly game because this is the apartment you’re going to win if you hold the winning ticket!
Courtney and Hans
Having secured kitchen rights in the challenge apartment, Courtney and Hans got to set the tone for the whole apartment and it was fitting that they chose St Kilda as their inspiration. A well-planned and beautifully balanced space, their guest bedroom was much more in line with our expectations of a luxury bay-side apartment. Their choice of wallpaper made a strong statement, but they counteracted the eccentricity of the wallpaper with a charming, tranquil, slightly kitsch room that nailed the boutique brief beautifully. The Australiana-themed artworks, llama pot plant and meticulous styling details worked so well, and took the design right up to the limits of the brief, without overstepping. A thoroughly well deserved win for the week, rewarded by $20k off their reserve come auction day.
Bianca and Carla
Charged with making over the master ensuite, Bianca and Carla created a space in perfect synergy with its St Kilda surroundings. Their bold palm tree wallpaper was 100% in keeping with the local beachfront, and we loved the layout of the room with the bath located beneath the window – all the better to enjoy the ambient sounds from the street below. Bianca and Carla obviously also got the message about hiding their toilet from full view of the apartment, and their loo came with some impressive functionality (I think it could probably walk the dog and answer the door if you could find the right button)! Their double shower with a light show and accompanying soundtrack was a big winner, but the positioning of the lighting above their wall mirrors was less impressive. There were some other fiddly little execution fails including the badly set tiles around the drain, but overall they created a dream master ensuite that nailed the quirky St Kilda boutique hotel brief and earned them $10k off their reserve.
Kerrie and Spence
Tasked with the smallest room in the challenge apartment, Kerrie finally decided to let her hair down and let her creativity run wild. And nobody could accuse her of playing safe this week! We didn’t feel so much that we were venturing down the rabbit hole, as we were tumbling into vortex on stepping into Kerrie and Spence’s guest bedroom. The scale of their wall mural was totally at odds with the size of their room. Their bedhead, with its protruding shelf, was a knock out – and not in a good way – but they had more success with their choice of small artworks including their neon flamingo, which was gorgeous, and their wardrobe was beautiful.
Kerrie and Spence definitely pushed things right to the edge this week, and took some risks as we’ve been imploring them to do all series. Their next challenge is to find a happy medium between their conservative apartment, and this challenge guest bedroom.
Norm and Jess
Poor old Norm and Jess struggled hard in week one of our challenge apartment makeover. Faced with the master bedroom– the biggest space of the week, with a disproportionately small budget, Norm had to go into overdrive and cover for the trades they couldn’t afford beyond Wednesday.
Happily for Jess and Norm, they’d built up so much goodwill with their fellow contestants over the weeks and months of this series that they got some well-deserved help in their hour of need that carried them over the finishing line.
It wasn’t enough to win our hearts on judging day however. First impressions were totally underwhelming. Uncharacteristically, they completely missed the mark in terms of scale, dotting the big space with a mish-mash of tiny pieces like the rug, couch and bedside tables, that were totally overwhelmed by the space they had to play with. The bed looked like a cushion factory had exploded on it, their wall panelling was unattractive (a soft bedhead would have worked so much better), and their fireplace was a fail too. The photo montage was a sweet touch and a great memento of the season, but it’s a shame they hid away their other artworks in the wardrobe. They would have gone such a long way to lifting this master bedroom. Admittedly, the joinery in their walk-in ‘robe was outstanding, but Jess and Norm’s trademark vibrancy and creativity appears to have flown out of the window this week.
Hayden and Sara
Hayden and Sara’s main bathroom projected a beautiful first impression from the moment we walked through the door, and we couldn’t help but be impressed by their choice of Alexa-powered showerheads. I don’t care what Darren says, I loved their choice of tiles and think they were smart to veer away from the penny rounds they’d originally planned. Big points for Hayden and Sara’s generous base level storage, and for getting – and reading – the memo re our dislike of visible toilets (and for concealing theirs from view).
Sara’s quirky styling worked, because the eclectic details aren’t fixed. Their space definitely benefited from all the bathroom feedback we’ve given throughout the season and earned them $15k off their reserve.