HAM­MER TIME

The Block con­tes­tants rate their chances in tonight’s fi­nale

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - TV Guide - - FRONT PAGE -

EX­PE­RI­ENCE counts for noth­ing on The Block. Just ask Chantelle Ford and Steve O’Don­nell who pock­eted a mas­sive $736,000 when they won Fans v Faves ear­lier this year.

Ford, a milliner, and O’Don­nell, a chim­ney sweep, were rank am­a­teurs when they en­tered the Chan­nel Nine ren­o­va­tion show.

That didn’t stop them beat­ing more fan­cied con­tes­tants in­clud­ing Brad Cran­field and Dale Vine as well as twin sis­ters Alisa and Lysan­dra Fraser come auc­tion night.

It is that un­pre­dictabil­ity that has nerves jan­gling among the five teams com­pet­ing on The

Block: Glasshouse – Michael and Car­lene (Apart­ment 1), Chris and Jenna (2), Max­ine and Karstan (3), Shan­non and Si­mon (4), and Dar­ren and Deanne (5).

Tonight’s win­ner is any­one’s guess. Neale Whi­taker has been a judge on seven sea­sons of The

Block and even he can’t work out which team will take home the $100,000 first prize – on top of any profit the cou­ples make over re­serve.

“More than any pre­vi­ous se­ries, The Block: Glasshouse will be open slather come auc­tion day,” Whi­taker says. “Th­ese are five very in­di­vid­ual apart­ments which all of­fer unique ad­van­tages in terms of scale, po­si­tion and plan­ning.

“Michael and Car­lene have prob­a­bly ticked the most boxes in terms of broad ap­peal.

“They’ve cre­ated a fam­ily home which rep­re­sents in­nercity liv­ing at its best.

“And if you look beyond all the con­tro­versy, Deanne and Dar­ren have cre­ated an apart­ment that is highly de­sir­able and beau­ti­fully con­sis­tent.

“But The Block has a his­tory of rank out­siders per­form­ing well on auc­tion day so it’s any­one’s race.”

Deanne, who has given plenty of lip to hubby Dar­ren, her fel­low con­tes­tants and even judge Shaynna Blaze dur­ing The Block:

Glasshouse, ad­mits that she has but­ter­flies about auc­tion night.

The pair have more rid­ing on the re­sult than most. Dar­ren is us­ing The Block as a spring­board to a post-AFL build­ing ca­reer. Deanne wants to be an in­te­rior de­sign con­sul­tant.

“We’re a com­bi­na­tion of ex­cited and ner­vous but it feels like there’s a lot of in­ter­est from buy­ers,” Deanne says. “Our master bed­room is like a re­treat – so spa­cious com­pared to some of the other apart­ments … The whole apart­ment has a re­ally con­sis­tent feel through­out and it’s a re­ally great en­ter­tain­ers’ home.”

Shan­non and Si­mon have only just re­cov­ered from the strain of com­pet­ing on The Block:

Glasshouse. The brothers each lost 7kg through the course of the show. They are hop­ing all that ef­fort will pay off tonight.

“We think we’ve got the best lay­out of all the apart­ments,” Shan­non says. “We never skimped or cut cor­ners.”

Chris and Jenna were this sea­son’s new­bies – a cab­i­net maker and a video ed­i­tor. Their lack of ex­pe­ri­ence showed early with some poor scores but the fi­nal apart­ment is a tri­umph.

“Our main bath­room got a per­fect 30 out of 30 plus we’re the only ones with a rooftop ter­race,” Jenna says. “The cop­per wall in the master bed­room is prov­ing a real sell­ing point.”

Max and Karstan went for open-plan liv­ing, high ceil­ings and glossy sur­faces. “We wanted to cre­ate a time­less apart­ment where the buyer could vi­su­alise liv­ing for the next five or 10 years,” Karstan says.

Michael and Car­lene’s apart­ment over­looks busy High St but, given Whit­taker’s praise, there are com­pen­sa­tions. “We love our apart­ment’s warm, so­phis­ti­cated feel,” Michael says. “We think it is our ter­race that will sell the apart­ment. It serves so many func­tions.”

Cre­ator Ju­lian Cress doesn’t want to throw cold wa­ter on the con­tes­tants’ hopes but he knows from ex­pe­ri­ence that

Block auc­tions can go hor­ri­bly wrong.

Cress still has nightmares about the 2011 se­ries when the ham­mer went down on only one of four ter­race houses in Mel­bourne’s in­nercity Rich­mond. It was a dis­as­trous re­sult.

“This is the ul­ti­mate re­al­ity show be­cause no­body ever knows what is go­ing to hap­pen,” Cress says. “The cou­ples who have com­peted this sea­son have worked harder than ever. All we can do is cross our fin­gers.”

Not here to make friends: Dar­ren and Deanne are

se­ri­ous con­tenders.

Pranksters: Brothers Shan­non and Si­mon, be­low, have had fun with the ex­pe­ri­ence.

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