TALKING ART DECO REVIVAL AND DEEP WINTER SURVIVAL WITH SHELLEY CRAFT
It’s part renovation, part restoration and part innovation, says co-host Shelley Craft of the 2016 instalment of Channel Nine’s hit series The Block. Season 12 will see five couples from around Australia take on a behemoth former soap and candle factory in the inner-city suburb of Port Melbourne. Built in the early 1920s, the building is characterised by rare art deco architecture and details, which back in its heyday included doors made of polished maple and an exquisite mosaic-tiled foyer.
“From your arcs and cornices right through to what sort of tile you choose for your bathroom ... (the contestants) really had to do a masterclass in art deco architecture and design to impress the judges this year,” Shelley says.
While previous seasons’ contestants have been heavy on minimal, industrial and Scandinavian trends, things look set to be turned on their head this time around.
“This art deco influence means a lot more glamour and a lot more luxury than we’ve seen in the more modern designs that contestants have done in the past,” Shelley says.
“It will be flashbacks to the Golden Era, whether it be in your velvets, a lot more colour than we’ve seen in the past.
“Hopefully this will get new trends happening and see a move away from the Scandi.”
Larger floorplans and higher ceilings than ever before only add to the opulence, not to mention a sprawling rooftop garden with killer views of Melbourne.
Maintaining the integrity and honour of such a grand structure will be no mean feat.
“I’ve always said the best contestants on The Block will be great budgeters,” Shelley says, adding that teams’ cash pools won’t be inflated to accommodate the grandiose scale of the project.
The couples have been busily working on their apartments for a couple of months now, meaning they’ve battled one of Melbourne’s coldest winters in memory.
“It was a shock for the Queenslanders,” Shelley giggles, referring to Logan lovebirds Will and Carly.
They are joined by four other pairs, including Dan and Carleen Foley from Western Australia. At 55 and 52 years old respectively, they’re the oldest team to ever compete on The Block. Also vying for the top prize are Melbournites Julia and Sasha – the show’s first lesbian couple.
While the talent pool has certainly diversified this year, their shared passion for the program remains the same.
“We’ve got some serial Block viewers on the show this time, so to see them actually living their dream is pretty awesome,” Shelley says. The Block, Sunday, 7pm, Nine
The Block co-host Shelley Craft at home in Byron Bay.