The Block 2021 laundry and hallway reveal just went down, after seven days of what the teams call ‘hell week’. If they thought it was hell week, wait until they read my critiques! And yes, the teams read my critiques because they contact me about them. If these walls could talk 😉
We have so much to discuss. From spaces that had me salivating to rooms that looked like dog grooming parlours, it was an absolute mixed bag of triumph and terror. I’ve put fresh drops of Visine Revive in my design eye and cast it across each zone, with no stone left unturned.
Read on I tell you the truth about each of The Block rooms from a design perspective, and let me know what you thought in the comments at the end of the read.
Kirsty and Jesse Came First
The Hallway Won’t Return My Calls
There must have been a stocktake sale at Runners-R-Us this week because almost every team went bananas on them. The truth though, is that Kirsty and Jesse’s floor runner is the only one that works. It features a delicious pattern that will hide dirt, and it works beautifully with the vibe of their home.
The entry zone in this hallway is everything. The sun, moon and stars. It is the whole enchilada, the bag of potato chips, and the bomb.com. It delivers everything you could functionally wish for, and is packed with charm and warmth. Even the pendant light, which I wouldn’t ordinarily like, is a stunner.
Their bedrooms aside (didn’t love those), these two are indeed on the best trajectory the show has seen in years. Neale is right there. I said early on, once they revealed their bathrooms, that they were onto something, and they’ve proved it. Room after room is delivering the unexpected.
The Powder Room Has Me Baffled
I spent a long time looking at this powder room, like the meme of that woman with the mathematical equations roaming around in her head. Like 14 year old me seeing a Manpower Australia poster for the first time; I shouldn’t be aroused, but I am!
Something about the combination of the brass and the dark grey shouldn’t work, but I feel like it does. That’s why I’m so conflicted and confused. My mind is telling me that the tiles in the shower zone are too much on all three walls, but then the other half of me feels like this is some level of newness I truly appreciate.
To quote Kath Day Knight, I am on confused tramp. Help me out here. Is it stunning or is the grey too heavy? Maybe if the VJ panels were tiles, I would have taken the grey tile just halfway up the wall in the shower. It feels a little off-balance. But I could be wrong.
I’m also amazed that they got all of this done in one week, and to such a high standard.
The Laundry is a Gorgeous Sister to the Kitchen
The laundry is lickable from top to bottom, there’s no doubt about it. I always say that kitchens and laundries should speak to one another stylistically, so they get points for cohesion. I do fear they are a little too same-same though. You want the rooms to be sisters, not twins.
A different wallpaper would have helped. The gingham was a show-stopper in the kitchen, but doing it here means you see laundry first and then by the time you hit the kitchen it feels like there’s no element of surprise. I want the laundry to be the supporting player; a quieter version of the kitchen.
Outside of that, I personally hate washer and dryers stacked one on top of the other, but it’s quite a common approach so they lose no respect there. Everything else in this zone is just pure joy and rapture. They deserved the win this week for sure.
Ronnie and Georgia Came Second
The Hallway Was Not Giving Me Wow
I must admit, I didn’t gasp like the judges when I saw this space. I actually thought, “Good God that’s a long hallway”. It’s reminds me of the gauntlet on Gladiators where Vulcan or Tsunami (or whatever their names were) tried to stop you getting to the other end. This challenger is not ready!
The different-sized art I did not enjoy. I want the uniform feel of a cohesive collection in the same size leading me down the hall. And while I’m utterly obsessed with the first artwork above, I feel the style of the second one depicting the female has been overdone a little.
The console overlapping the 45-metre hall runner is triggering my designer OCD. A runner isn’t even needed in this hallway, and will get dirrtier than Christina Aguilera circa 2002. Ladies: move. Gentlemen: move, I need to roll up the runner before the kids drag in the mud.
On the plus side, this is actually a space where I fully welcome the skylight overdose. An entry and hallway is a transient space that can take lashings of heat and sun without effecting your comfort or needing to be closed off. So here, they work and give the zone an ethereal feel.
The Laundry Turned Things Around, For the Most Part
When I first saw the images of this laundry from Ronnie and Georgia I thought, oh no they didn’t with regard to a missing broom cupboard. But then the judges walked in and revealed it and everything was good in the world again. This is a space that not only looks impressive but will function well too.
There’s a beautiful sense of cohesion as you move from kitchen to butler’s pantry to laundry. It’s seamless in terms of its appearance and all three spaced feel like one delicious zone. While I didn’t love a few spaces in this home, I adore the living zones immensely, and so will buyers.
One issue comes into play for me though, and it’s an issue they can’t fix now: laundry placement. I don’t understand the decision to put it where they have, so you have to walk through the kitchen and butler’s pantry to access it. It’s a fundamental layout fail I can’t wrap my head around.
In a luxury Hampton home, of this size and price, I don’t want a Lord of the Rings journey from bedroom to laundry every time I want to dump my dirty clothes.
Mitch and Mark Came Third
The Hallway Was a Quieter Moment
Judging hallways can a bit blah on The Block. It’s all too often just a white space with some art in it, and that’s pretty much what we have in Mitch and Mark’s zone. Unless you’re going to commit to textured or patterned wallpaper, along with feature lighting to really create some mood, it’s always going to fall a bit flat.
They tried to make something of it with the floor runner, but it’s too long and doesn’t really work here. It already looks filthy in the images above. Wait until the buyer walk-through.
I’m intrigued to see what comes of the glass floor though. I’m not going to form an opinion on it just yet. OK, so maybe it feels a bit gimmicky, but we’ll see. I don’t think I need a glass floor in my home. It feels a bit pointless. But I’m absolutely willing to be proven wrong. Let’s stay tuned.
The Laundry was a Delicious Moment of Divinity
Mitch and Mark deserve the win for no other reason other than the fact that they raised their washer and dryer off the floor. If I’m dropping millions on this home I certainly don’t intend to bend down to pull out my smalls. This is a genius move from a functional perspective and is very much appreciated. It’s these small things that make a big difference.
In terms of placement in the floor plan of the home, it ticks a box that Ronnie and Georgia’s didn’t. I love that it’s near the garage and back door and not far from the bedrooms. It just makes sense in this spot and gives the whole zone a mudroom feel.
I do hear what the judges are saying about the storage near the garage being in a different finish to the laundry cabinets, and have to agree. It feels like a bit of an afterthought and definitely isn’t as nice. It’s as though the laundry cabinets are Gladys and the other ones are Dominic (yep, I dish out political zingers now! See you on the next episode of Q&A).
All in all though, my fave laundry of the week.
Tanya and Vito Came Fourth
The Hallway Feels Rather Juvenile
I actually love the idea of a study nook in this zone. But sometimes, like when your relatives give you a cheap gift at Christmas, you realise it’s actually not the thought that counts, but the end result.
Let’s start with the doors, because they too are a great idea but they way they open is problematic. Sitting here with your kids coming in and out all the time will grate on you like the over-reacting on The Masked Singer. It also restricts where you can sit because you have to be mindful of the swing.
Glass cavity slider doors would have been better here, or make it a barn door so you have full privacy, and install a skylight above. This home has 84 skylights in nine different shapes and sizes, so one above the work zone would have been genius.
I also find the desk and shelving quite messy and impractical. Custom joinery with proper shelves and drawers would have been more successful. There’s something very juvenile about this zone. It needs to feel more sophisticated and adult.
The Laundry Is Giving Me Dog Groomer Vibes
I know Tanya and Vito wanted to ensure some continuity here. It does makes sense in that respect, that the hallway matches the butler’s pantry in terms of look and feel. But it is, much like their study zone, quite juvenile in vibe.
There is no sophistication in this room. And that doesn’t mean it’s bad design, per se. I don’t want to bag out their colour choices, because by all means everyone’s entitled to like pink cabinets with black accents. But the reality is, it’s not luxurious or up-market in look and feel. And that’s an issue.
In fact (and it pains me to say this), the space is giving me dog groomer vibes. I can see a puppy being washed in that sink. It’s the combination of the pink in that rather vibrant tone, with the black handles, and then the speckled terrazzo flooring. I can’t un-see the pooch parlour.
Sorry guys. Like I said, not bad design, but just not appropriate for this home in this suburb.
The Powder Room Raised a Bigger Issue
The powder room is 80% beautiful. The flooring works here, the wall tiles work here, I do enjoy the black toilet, and the basin colour is actually quite charming. I’m on board until the eyes hit the worst thing to happen to interiors since 60 Minute Makeover: that mirror!
It is the devil’s work. Pass me the holy water because we need to conduct a design exorcism. It’s really not cute, and has raised a much broader issue I have with Tanya and Vito’s home overall.
I feel like a potential buyer would walk through, and at first glance, love the quirk. But as you spend more time in each room the list of amendments and polarisation would just grow and grow.
Pink kitchen cabinets: need to change those. All the skylights: Can’t fix them. Powder room mirror: change that. Study nook: install new joinery. Bedrooms: carpet those. The list is getting longer and it’s really unfortunate because there are some good ideas, but overall it’s quite confused.
Josh and Luke Came Last
The Powder Room and Layout Flips Weren’t Ideal
It was hell week indeed for Josh and Luke, and it started the moment they flipped their living and dining room. This was based on advice from the judges, but this judge (the fourth and unpaid one) disagrees with this approach. The layout was not the issue, the size and scale of furniture was.
As it stands, you’ll walk in the front door and hit a dining room. A dining room that’s so concealed you can’t talk to anyone in the living room or kitchen. I feel bad for them because they don’t know what they’re doing and so they’re following advice in an attempt to make it right. But I don’t think the advice is right. I think they’re going from bad to worse.
The powder room is indeed too small. The vibe is nice, but it does remind me of Home and Away in the early nineties when Morag locked Sophie under the stairs. In other words (for those of you younger than me), it’s a zone you get sent to for punishment. A punishment poo is the only variety you’ll drop here.
The Laundry was Spectacular Though
This zone from Josh and Luke is the best room in their house, hands down! I love a dark vibe in a home, so much like their kitchen, the colour palette is a winner for me. Outside of looks, it was also functionally awesome and ticked all the boxes.
There’s oodles of bench space, loads of storage, a broom cupboard and open shelving. One thing I would have put in here, given it’s so large, is a second sink. The other laundries didn’t have them, but to be fair they were way smaller. This one would benefit from a second sink.
If you’re soaking something in one sink it would be nice to have another you could use right beside it. That’s the only criticism I have. Everything else is *chef’s kiss*
What was your fave hallway and laundry on The Block 2021 this season? Do you think the judges got it right? As always I love to read your feedback so drop all your thoughts in the comments below!
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I don’t even watch The Block (my husband is a builder and I work in the design space so in the evenings we don’t feel relaxed to be on a building site watching people bicker lol) – BUT I love your recaps and seeing the spaces the contestants come up with. I agree with your thoughts overall. I think black toilets work best in bathrooms or powder rooms that are going for a dark moody vibe – and same for the dark sink and tap in Tanya and Vito’s powder room. Perhaps they could have gotten away with just the toilet and tapware, or just the sink as the wow/contrast element of the room. I could have maybe accepted the mirror if it was the only stand out feature of the room, but it just had too many things competing for attention for such a small space. And the joinery in that study space. Yeah, not good. I am very function focused though and would never compromise function to achieve a look (eg, lets do that thing where they use pipes as shelves) especially in a space that is for getting shit done.
In our home, in order to add a walk in pantry we had to make the entrance to the laundry off it, and it works fine in our house. I love the person above’s comment about teenagers bringing their dirty laundry through the kitchen hahahahahahahahaha, I have teenagers – they rarely bring their laundry out of their bedrooms, although they do their own washing, and have a basket for it. It’s not really an issue. I like having the laundry near the kitchen as that part of the house is where I am during the day, so when the load is done, it’s not far to go to get it out, and I can easily hear it beep. Sure beats where it was when we moved into our house 23 years ago – a washing machine and a trough in a dusty, dirty, very old garage. Outside!! And I had two little kids. It was horrifying!!
I agree 100% with your comments regarding all 5 houses. I’m not a fan of Tanya and Vito’s black toilet seat and green handbasin a,d that awful mirror is yuckie…
Im writing the following only because I had such strong views on the room reveals and this space isn’t big enough lol. The block is all about the drama, they choose contestants which will add to tv appeal and they don’t have any design talents. They take advise from the sponsors, eg Kinsman, Velux, Beaumont etc so they can promote their business and get more customers after the show. It is definitely catch 22, how do you get drama, a bit of bitchyness and get stunning homes to sell to pay for the money outlaid in buying and renovating the properties, I’m sure most of the contestants are listening to the experts and going with their advise and this is where the problems lay. In the past shows contestants all ways got money to complete the house and the best possible prices at Auction, so the work behind the scenes have it all worked out. BUT it leaves us with some judgement on the outcomes, I’m sure not two people could come to the same agreement, which creates such interesting discussions. Your forum is a perfect place for people to come together and discuss trends and layouts, the likes and dislikes and this creates our future design choices and together we are creating the next Aussie style. maybe the sponsors should cast their eyes over this site too when it comes to new creative products.
So love reading your comments each week Chris. The Block this week was a mixed bag, some good things mixed with some bad. Nothing excellent, none worth 10 points. Why would you want your teenagers walking past your friends having a coffee in the kitchen with their dirty, smelly laundry? I loved the boys dark cabinetry, so over R&G’s magazine copy styling. Their styling is “safe”, I watch this show to get ideas, not what I can get by buying a magazine. Agree, get rid of that mirror please Tanya!
Look forward to your next weeks recap.
Once again you’ve nailed it Chris!
Tanya & Vito couldn’t put in a skylight above their study nook due – apparently it would have meant changing the whole roof? Personally, I don’t think a skylight could have saved this study anyway – its just ‘cheap’ and nasty and in the wrong spot