We’re back on The Block and this time we’re heading to a quaint little cul-de-sac in Hampton, or as it’s better known by the locals, “Pramton”, because of all the prams.
Scotty Cam tells us it’s a very family-friendly bayside suburb of Melbourne and we’re sure it won’t take the new Blockheads long to shake up the neighbourhood.
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This year the teams will be tasked with renovating five very different houses, with real neighbours dotted in between too — oh and House 5, it’s an absolute monster, and the only two-storey property.
We’re also going somewhere we’ve never been before: underground.
Yep, this year every house has a basement just begging for a luxury fitout, and while there are some obvious suggestions like a wine cellar or home theatre, Scott even threw out the idea of a “COVID bunker”.
“Oh, and one last thing, something we’ve never done before,” Scott announces. “This year there are no house plans. Our teams will get the opportunity of a lifetime, designing and building their whole house, creating the home of their dreams.”
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Before we can wrap our heads around the idea of no house plans, the first Fan team arrives.
Kirsty and Jesse are both dressed head-to-toe in denim. If you didn’t already pick it, she’s the country singer.
These two met in primary school, then were in the same roll call in high school and started dating at 16. Now they’ve been married for seven years and Kirsty says they “really are each other’s best friend” — it’s as cute as it sounds.
Next up, twins Josh and Luke. The brothers are curious to know if Scotty is a fan of Love Island, which they both appeared on during the 2019 season. Josh won the season and we reckon they’re hoping they’ll have the same luck with The Block.
It might be a tad difficult though, seeing as they have no renovation experience. But they’re hoping having parents in real estate will give them some sort of upper hand.
“Two brothers from Love Island, no reno experience, about to do The Block, yep… see how that goes,” Josh jokes.
Melbourne couple Tanya and Vito are next to hop in the car. They’ve been together for 20 years, married for 18 of those, and they have two kids.
“I don’t fit in, I fit out,” Tanya says, and her purple hair definitely reinforces that.
With three teams all standing in the cul-de-sac getting to know each other, Tanya figures it out.
“Brothers, twins, clearly,” she squeals at Josh and Luke. “Love Island! You two! I knew it, I have seen these two before!”
Looks like these Fans have a fan.
They’re excitedly waiting for more teams to arrive, except it’s Scott who pulls up.
“Is there just three of you?” Scott asks.
Three teams started The Block. L-R: Kirsty and Jesse, Josh and Luke, Tanya and Vito. (Nine)
Everyone is very confused and even the host can’t believe how awkward it is, but there’s no time to stand around — it’s time to kick things off with the House Decider challenge.
“I want you guys to deliver up a bedroom to the judges for your chance to decide which house you’re gonna renovate and you can choose any house you want! One, two, three, four or five,” Scotty explains.
They’ve got just two days to do it and a budget of $5,000. Oh and their time starts right now.
It’s a scramble as they race into House 3 to pick a spot and throw the work boots on.
It doesn’t take long for a couple of problems to pop up.
The twins decide to go all out on a commercial window, which is going to cost heaps. But Luke checks an invoice and they’ve also over-ordered on materials already. They’ve got $1,860 worth of timber thanks to an enthusiastic builder and around $400-500 left in the kitty now.
Thankfully, a deal with Mitre10 gets a bit of cash back in their pockets.
Tanya and Vito have no windows in their room, which has Scotty concerned. He pushes them in the right direction and encourages them to take one from another house on site.
With the builds ticking along nicely now, the twins get to show off their (lack off) experience with a couple of flat pack builds. Anyone who’s ever dealt with it can imagine how well it went.
Scott calls tools down and gets everyone together. He’s so happy to see everyone ripping in but it’s just the beginning. There are other teams coming.
“The people that are going to be driving into this quiet little cul-de-sac at the end of this challenge are going to eat you alive… Unless you can bring this thing up to the next level and play the rest of this thing harder than you ever thought you possibly could,” Scott says.
“I’m just your friendly neighbourhood host popping in with a weather forecast. There is a storm coming, people.”
The twins are way ahead and have tradies just sitting around doing nothing, so their gyprocker goes to help Kirsty and Jesse and their builder picks up a paint roller.
Uh-oh, let’s take a look at the rules of The Block.
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“You know the rules are only the contestants can paint?” Kirsty tells the twins and their builder.
Their builder slowly drops the roller like he’s putting down a weapon.
“We don’t do the dibber dobbing thing,” the twins tell the cameras, salty.
Josh and Luke were fuming after Kirsty called them out for having their builder paint. (Josh and Luke)
They’re not happy to see their tradies helping Kirsty and Jesse, and quickly call their gyprocker back.
The final minutes of the challenge arrive before they know it, and there’s a push to add finishing touches and style, something Josh and Luke have never done.
Up first for judging are Kirsty and Jesse.
The wainscoting on the walls impress Shaynna Blaze, and even Neale Whitaker is surprised to see this level of sophistication on day one.
The colour and styling is a win with the judges, although Darren Palmer is less than impressed with the paint job on their VJ panels.
“This is a really strong, strong start, and it sets the bar always of what we’re going to see in the other two rooms,” Shaynna says.
Kirsty and Jesse’s Challenge Bedroom
The judges were blown away by the level of sophistication on day one
Next door is Josh and Luke’s room.
The twins are praised for their big, “very, very expensive” window.
But the lack of blinds is a big miss. The brothers blame it on budget. The LED lights are another misstep.
Darren feels like the pair may have taken a little bit of inspiration from the Love Island Villa.
“Kind of feel like they’ve been inspired by the set because it’s a little tacky, as in when I say a little, I mean a lot. That’s tacky as hell,” he says.
Josh and Luke’s Challenge Bedroom
One judge slams ‘tacky’ room feature
Lastly, it’s over to Tanya and Vito. Shaynna loves their choice of colour from the moment they step inside.
“You know, having the lavender and the plum and the salmon and the peach. I love that moulding all the way across, I think that’s actually beautiful, and love a grand bedhead that goes the full width of a room,” she says.
Neale on the other hand, is not a fan at all.
“I am struggling to see anything I like in here,” he says. “I hate that dressing table, it’s horrible. This is not grabbing me with the exception of the terrazzo floor, which I do like. To me this is feel like a real mish-mash, it’s like where the hell do I look first.”
Tanya and Vito’s Challenge Bedroom
The judges couldn’t quite agree on their thoughts on the space
“None of the rooms today were perfect, none of them were even challenge perfect, all would be marked ‘room for improvement’,” Scott tells the three teams.
But there has to be a winner, and for the first challenge it’s Kirsty and Jesse.
The pair have a very big decision to make, but Scotty is drowned out by a Mustang roaring into the cul-de-sac.
Something is going on, but we’ll have to wait to tomorrow to find out what it is.
The Block airs Sunday at 7.00pm and Monday to Wednesday at 7.30pm on Nine. Catch up on all the latest episodes on 9Now.