Ham­mer time…

PUT THE CHAM­PERS ON ICE, BLOCKHEADS, AUC­TION DAY IS COM­ING

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Living - By Neale Whi­taker Neale Whi­taker is edi­tor-in-chief of

If I had a dol­lar for ev­ery time some­one asked me, “Who wins The Block?” I’d have about fifty bucks. But even if I knew – and I don’t – I wouldn’t tell. Af­ter 12 weeks of blood, sweat, tears and tantrums, I’m not go­ing to be the spoiler.

The fact is, no­body knows, as the auc­tion hasn’t yet hap­pened. Like the rest of Aus­tralia, I will be glued to the TV on Satur­day night to see which of the show’s five cou­ples go home: a) a lit­tle bit richer, b) very much richer, or c) dev­as­tated.

I’d like them all to win, but alas it’s a com­pe­ti­tion, and af­ter 10 sea­sons of judg­ing, I can safely say it’s game on. De­spite those all-im­por­tant re­serve prices, it’s a far more level play­ing field than it might seem, and that’s what makes the auc­tion ir­re­sistible view­ing.

This is the point when Shaynna, Dar­ren and I can put our feet up (metaphor­i­cally at least) and say, “Our work is done.” We’ve given our best ad­vice to five cou­ples (make that four cou­ples and a pair of lar­rikins) from dif­fer­ent cities and – in this se­ries – dif­fer­ent gen­er­a­tions, who have com­peted to build su­per-lux­ury apart­ments in one of in­ner Melbourne’s most sought-af­ter sub­urbs. Apart­ments with mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar price tags that tick all the boxes on the real-es­tate bucket list: ad­vanced tech­nol­ogy, under-floor heat­ing, cut­ting-edge kitchens, but­ler’s pantries, walk-in wardrobes, lush ter­races and some dizzy­ing sky­line views. And, yes, there are a hand­ful of ver­ti­cal gar­dens, but the real jewel in the crown is the hor­i­zon­tal one atop the mag­nif­i­cent Art Deco build­ing.

Judg­ing The Block is no pop­u­lar­ity con­test; it’s tough love. When I likened New­cas­tle cou­ple Kim and Chris’s pow­der room to a public loo, I meant it. It was cold and cheer­less. But, a week before, I’d told them their master bed­room was the most glam­orous I’d ever seen on the show. I meant that, too.

Soar­ing highs and plung­ing lows are par for the course on a re­al­ity ren­o­va­tion show, but it’s been a great com­pe­ti­tion and I’d like this par­tic­u­lar bunch of Blockheads to know they’re the best yet.

So Kar­lie, Will, Dan, Car­leen, Andy, Ben, Sasha, Ju­lia, Chris and Kim… here’s to all of you. There’s not a chump among you, and there never was. May the best apart­ment win.

Vogue Liv­ing.

TOKYO

The Ja­panese cap­i­tal is fa­mous for its crowded streets, neon signs and cat cafes. But under the big-city clam­our is a calm un­der­belly. Find your Zen in Tokyo’s se­cluded spots of tran­quil­lity and the nearby nat­u­ral sur­rounds.

1. HEM lamp shade, $715, district.com.au 2. MAGIS chair, $735, cult­de­sign. com.au 3. DI­NOSAUR DE­SIGNS vases, from $250, di­nosaur­de­signs.com.au

GO­ING ONCE... The Block’s apart­ments, (pic­tured from top) Ju­lia and Sasha’s, Will and Kar­lie’s, and Dan and Car­leen’s, are go­ing to auc­tion on Satur­day.

Head out of the big smoke to the quiet coun­try­side on a Vi­a­tor tour to the World Her­itage-listed MOUNT FUJI; vi­a­tor.com. Shin­juku’s OMOIDE YOKOCHO (aka Piss Al­ley) is home to tiny, ramshackle eater­ies spe­cial­is­ing in yak­i­tori (grilled chicken skew­ers).

At DOVER STREET MARKET KET you can browse el Louis Vuit­ton, Prada, Valentino and more, sans the crowds; ginza.dover street­mar­ket.com.

Lux­ury ho­tel THE WESTIN TOKYO is an in­ner- city oa­sis sur­rounded by a lush gar­den, wa­ter­fall and koi ponds; west­in­tokyo.co.jp.

Sip a craft gin mar­tini at THE COM­PASS ROSE sky lounge, lo­cated on Westin, with fab­u­lous views of the cityscape.

AP­PLE Macbook, from $1999, ap­ple.com/au UGG slip­pers, $139.95, au.ugg.com MARIMEKKO bathrobe, $239, marimekko.com

By Jane Law­son, $39.99, mur­dochbooks. com.au DYSON hair dryer, $699, dyson.com.au

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