Life & Style Weekend - - READ - WORDS: SEANNA CRONIN Buy­ing Blind pre­mieres on Tues­day at 7.30pm on Chan­nel 9.

The stakes have never been higher for Shaynna Blaze. The in­te­rior de­signer and Week­end colum­nist has helped more than 100 home own­ers ren­o­vate and sell their un­wanted prop­er­ties on Sell­ing Houses Australia.

Her con­struc­tive feed­back has also helped con­tes­tants on The Block achieve multi-mil­lion dol­lar re­sults at auc­tion.

But in her new TV show, Buy­ing Blind, fam­i­lies’ life sav­ings and her pro­fes­sional rep­u­ta­tion will hang in the balance.

In the TV ex­per­i­ment, six fam­i­lies en­trust Shaynna, buyer’s agent Rich Har­vey and builder Mar­shal Keen with their life sav­ings to find, buy and ren­o­vate their dream homes.

Rang­ing from first-time buy­ers to young fam­i­lies look­ing to up-size, and with vastly dif­fer­ent bud­gets, they’re all dis­il­lu­sioned by Australia’s ag­gres­sive real estate mar­ket.

“This is a project I se­ri­ously couldn’t say no to. It’s such a unique con­cept,” Shaynna tells Week­end.

“Also, I get to ac­tu­ally do more cre­ative de­sign than I do in my busi­ness. We’re not do­ing up to sell; this is about the dream and the home they want to stay in.”

It’s a risky prospect for all in­volved. The home own­ers have to give up com­plete con­trol while the ex­perts have to iden­tify and de­liver on their ex­pec­ta­tions.

“They hand­ball the stress and all of a sud­den it’s all up to us now. There’s a lot of anx­i­ety and stress in that,” Shaynna says.

“You’re try­ing to get as much out of the bud­get as you can, but you’ve got to look at com­pro­mise. Each house is so dif­fer­ent.

“Some­times we went over the al­lot­ted amount just to se­cure the prop­erty and I had less to work with. We had a few houses where we had to have a coun­cil ap­pli­ca­tion in­volved and that pushed us to the wire. A few weeks or a month isn’t a lot in the scheme of things.”

Picky home own­ers would seem like an in­te­rior de­signer’s worst night­mare, but Shaynna says it’s the op­po­site.

“There were a cou­ple of peo­ple who had no idea,” she says.

“You want them to fall in love with it, but it’s hard when peo­ple have a brief of ‘I don’t know’.

“Then we had two fam­i­lies who had a cer­tain look in mind and they had pic­tures, but once I started breaking down what it meant they ac­tu­ally ques­tioned what their style was.

“The last thing you want is for some­one to be dis­ap­pointed. I want to make sure they’re jump­ing up and down with joy.”

Shaynna re­veals the fam­i­lies are not only buy­ing blind, they au­di­tioned for the show blind as well.

“When these peo­ple signed up they didn’t know I was in­volved,” she says.

“They signed up not know­ing who any of the ex­perts were.

“I looked at this as an op­por­tu­nity for peo­ple to go out of their com­fort zone of what they wanted.

“Peo­ple tend to be very con­ser­va­tive. When peo­ple come to me for a de­sign they want some­thing un­ex­pected.

“I’ve made some in­cred­i­bly bold choices, and there were quite a few times where the home own­ers looked at it and just had to process it. If they want to move things or change things, that’s fine. I’m never go­ing to get it 120 per cent right. I’d like to think I get it 90 per cent right.”

She hopes to in­spire view­ers to see the po­ten­tial in prop­er­ties they may oth­er­wise over­look.

“It’s easy to get caught up in the fi­nal look,” she says.

“I re­mem­ber when I started 20-plus years ago, it was very easy to see the ugly duck­ling. Now we live these crazy lives where peo­ple are so time poor, they can’t see past the new.

“On this se­ries we’re show­ing a lot of ugly ducklings. I hope peo­ple can start look­ing at prop­erty differentl­y.

“Peo­ple will get to see where you should and shouldn’t put your re­sources. Even if you’re on a bud­get, it’s not al­ways about cheap al­ter­na­tives. You can also take your time to do a few things. Ev­ery floor plan is tweak-able.

“It’s hard for peo­ple to imag­ine how you can tweak some­thing in a small way to make a huge dif­fer­ence, but one of my favourite things to cre­ate a whole new feel­ing in a house is by tweak­ing the floor plan.”


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