Carlene Chats About Her Winning Staircase, Laundry & Powder Room

Dani catches up with Carlene to get the lowdown on their design process for the week, their biggest hurdle and where they think they sit amongst the competition.

I’ve come to realise that any time there is a staircase involved in a renovation or new build, there is always ten times the amount of work involved than what you first thought. It’s like you’re lulled into a false sense of security and think, ‘ah it’s only a staircase, how hard could it be?’ At the best of times it’s a difficult space and a lot of work, but coupled with a wet room/laundry and a seven day turn around… well it makes me anxious just thinking about it.

Michael and Carlene from The Block Glasshouse were up against it this week with not only their dwindling budget but timeframe and work allocation also caused them a few headaches. These two seem to have adopted the title of ‘always the bridesmaid and never a bride’ as they have struggled to lock down a room win in the competition, but on the upside are yet to deliver a room that the judges haven’t liked.

I’m a fan of their style and think they are producing a very high-end apartment full of glamour and moody accents. Their brass detail alone has won me over, and their neat finishes and attention to detail has been a strong point of conversation with the judges each week. Let’s face it, the likable couple are ticking a lot of boxes and quickly proving to be a major threat come auction day.

Admittedly flat broke, Michael and Carlene needed the win this week and they got a little fist pump out of me for not only picking up that win but in my opinion, completely smashing the competition out of the ball park. Their choice of staircase was absolutely beautiful and a real showstopper, I can’t wait to see how the garden bed they plan on putting underneath turns out.
The detail in the laundry was again second to none, and the simple brass detail through their timber top vanity paired back with the bronze mirror is all they needed to get the judges on their side.
It’s detail and finishes like this that add a point of different and get buyers excited, especially when they are comparing your apartment to four others on the market at the exact same time.

Anyway enough jabbering… I caught up with Carlene to get the lowdown on their design process for the week, their biggest hurdle and where they think they sit amongst the competition.

Talk me through your design process for this week…
We wanted the laundry/powder room to be so much more than your average laundry/powder room. We wanted it to ooze sophisticated glamour and to be applauded for our detail. We used a standout pendant, which is the ‘hero’ of the room and pulled out the brass to use in accents in the small space. The tiles mimicked marble but the pattern was very subtle.
The stairs needed to be a piece of architecture in themselves because it is the first thing you see when you walk in the front door so we took a risk and spent more than the others. We were lucky that it paid off.

How much forward thinking and planning went into both areas? 
We literally worked week to week.

What is your favourite element this week?
I think it’s our bespoke vanity with beautiful brass inlay. Its simplicity is so elegant.

Those stairs are pretty impressive… so much so that Neale stated they feel ‘strong and solid’ and that it was ‘confident design’. What was the deciding factor behind having an open staircase?
Michael was determined to have this particular style staircase despite the cost. The stairs can be seen from every aspect on the lower level of our apartment so they needed to be a statement and reflect the design aesthetic of the rest of our apartment.

So this week it appears you have a sexy powder room and laundry haha… was it difficult to ensure functionality while maintaining the level of luxury expected in these apartments?
We had no issue with this fortunately. The space it what it is and it was all about not overcomplicating it.

The judges loved that you continued your signature style through to this week and that your attention to detail was spot on… do you feel like you have a firm style in place now and a clear direction for the weeks to come?
Thankfully by this week in the competition, Michael has learned to let go and trust me in all my design choices. It will make things so much easier going forward.

The brass detail throughout your apartment is so beautiful. What made you decide on using a brass accent in your rooms, in particular this week with the vanity top and above the laundry cabinetry? 
Brass is a bold and elegant material that I love and it is also very on trend. I think it’s a trend that will also have some longevity too. It just makes a space shine!

What was the toughest hurdle to overcome this week?
The stairs took a whole day to install, which made finishing very difficult as it restricted access. So much of the finishes, like painting, couldn’t be done until the night before the room was due.

Are you feeling comfortable with your design aesthetic and how it has evolved throughout the weeks?
I’m loving our design aesthetic! We feel it’s appropriate for Prahran. We see it as sophisticated but edgy.

How are you feeling about the competition at this stage? Where do you think your apartment is sitting amongst the others?
I think our apartment is up there.

And getting to know you a little better…

What did you want to be growing up?
A million different things! A Marine Biologist, Lollypop Lady, Dancer…

The best life experience you’ve had so far… outside of The Block? 
Having children.

What is the one thing you want but don’t have right now?
Just one?

What is the best advice you have been given?
You can’t change people, only your reaction to them…

What could you not live without?
My family.

What is your favourite ‘space’ – could be anything?
Living room.

If you could have a super power, what would it be?
I’d be Bewitched so I could wiggle my nose and the house would be cleaned and dinner on the table.

Treehouse or houseboat, why?
Houseboat! We love the water.

What is something about you that we won’t learn from watching you on The Block?
We can cut a mean rug on a dance floor.

Are you wanting to make your space ‘shine’ like Michael and Charlene’s? Check out the beautiful range of Brass products on The Home Journal Shop.

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