Kitchen Week!! Sometimes Kitchen week is the absolute toughest week on The Block, as the pressure associated with designing and building the perfect kitchen is huge and a definite weight on the shoulders of all contestants.
You’re often torn between really pushing the design boundaries to wow the judges, and creating a simple and beautiful kitchen that will have universal appeal. Trixie and Johnno have managed to tick both those boxes this week with their modern, spacious and well thought out Kitchen.
Despite the short timeframes, these guys always manage to pull off really skillfully put together and perfectly detailed rooms, and it’s great to see them finally rewarded for it. The Judges all agreed that their Kitchen “was perfect for the penthouse” and they “loved the subtle modern colour palette”.
As far as the Judges were concerned, Trixie and Johnno got all the important things right this week, stating that it was “designed for exactly the way people live their lives” and that “the layout and lighting was just right”. Along with “perfect styling”, Trixie and Johnno (much to their relief) finally got themselves a win.
I caught up with Trixie to ask the all important Kitchen questions…
Firstly, Congratulations!!! I’m so happy you guys have finally nabbed yourself a win. I have really enjoyed watching you grow in the competition and seeing your rooms get progressively better and better. I’m a huge fan of your relaxed yet polished style.
Kitchen week can be a real killer but you guys fought through it and have come out on top with a fabulous Kitchen, Pantry and Bar/Study. I’m struggling to pinpoint my favourite element in your room this week, however I love that you have been able to create a practical and functional space that feels so open and well considered. Do you have a favourite element?
My favourite element of the kitchen would have to be the openness. I was surprised by some of the other contestants closing areas off. I’m also very happy with the design.
That openness would have to be the immediate wow factor for me, thanks to your smart layout and great use of materials such as the large-scale concrete tiles and soft wall colour. Talk us through your design process for the Kitchen, Pantry, Bar/Study.
It was funny, because I wasn’t confidant about doing the kitchen, as I haven’t designed many. Never in my head was I thinking that we would win it, but in saying that, I was still trying to make sure it was a great kitchen, and that it was neutral to attract more potential buyers. I have always done white kitchens so I kept with that theme, but wanted to keep the textures and natural materials like timber throughout the kitchen to tie in the rest of the the apartment.
What was most important to you when you were designing your kitchen?
Making sure we had plenty of bench space and making sure the appliances were good quality. It was hard with our lack of budget, but we managed to pull it off.
It’s often said that “kitchens sell houses!” What elements have you added to make your kitchen stand out from the crowd?
I think clever design to create the openness and a soft colour palette. It also has a warmth about it, which makes the space feel inviting.
What do you think is clever about your design?
One element, which was a fluke at the time, was the dining table that came off from the island bench. It will ultimately enabled us to have more living space.
What was the most challenging aspect of designing your kitchen?
For me it was picking the splash-back. Everyone seems to be doing glass lately so I wanted to do something different and use tiles. Picking the tiles proved a challenge though, as I knew I would have to pick something that would appeal to the majority of people.
What did you think the other couples did well in their kitchens?
I really loved the concrete bench-top in the twins’ kitchen.
Not having a win in this competition for a few weeks and constant budget pressures can really throw your confidence, how have you both managed to stay positive and keep the creative juices flowing?
It was definitely hard work, but I never lost confidence in what I was doing. It may sound silly, but we just couldn’t understand why we weren’t getting the judges to side with us. You put so much pressure on yourself and when you see workmanship that isn’t up to scratch in rooms that win it really gets you down. We just kept telling ourselves that we know what we are doing and if we don’t win any more money at least we can continue our high quality workmanship and deliver high quality rooms, even if they aren’t furnished.
How have you found your overall experience so far, is it what you expected?
The renovating experience was absolutely amazing but the aftermath is not what I expected. I wasn’t ready for the social media side of things. At one point I was so low I wished I had never done the show, but then I remembered the fun we had with the other couples, the challenges and the renovating, and it’s absolutely the best experience.
Coming into The Block 2013, did you have a game plan, and has it changed since the competition has progressed?
Our game was to deliver high workmanship and hopefully blitz the others by having the experience and knowledge of what is expected in a renovation. I also wanted to just be myself and try to be helpful and kind to everyone, and show that you can go on a competitive television show and still be kind and respectful.
How have you approached the design aspect of the competition? Are you trying to stay consistent and true to your taste and style or are you altering it depending on the judges’ comments and feedback each week?
We tried not to let the judges’ negative comments get us down and stayed true to our style; we just tried to improve each week from the previous. I made a conscious effort to keep continuity throughout the apartment, and did a plan for this. In saying that, we have never done a high-end renovation, so we had to alter our normal style to fit that mold.
Every time I have been asked tips and advice about renovating, my number one thing has always been “have great tradies and plan for everything to go wrong”. What’s your number one piece of advice for aspiring renovators?
I would say my number one thing is to sit down and do a budget of everything you want to do and pick a styling plan so there is continuity flow. Budget is the most important thing though. Oh, and good tradies.
Having the penthouse, you must feel you’re at an advantage, however who do you feel is your biggest competition?
I honestly don’t have a clear answer, all of the apartments are so different, but if I absolutely had to pick, perhaps the twins, as they will have the lowest reserve, so more potential buyers. It will definitely come down to the reserve, but perhaps Madi and Jarrod, as they are only one level below the penthouse
What are your top five tips for people who are renovating a kitchen on a budget?
1. Don’t skimp on your splash-back
2. Always try to keep greenery in the kitchen
3. Have as much bench space as possible
4. Make sure it’s well designed with plenty of storage
5. Don’t skimp on appliances