The Block 2019 – Meet the contestants & first week challenge

The 15 th season of the Australian reality TV show “The Block” has kicked off and this year the contestants take on the challenge to renovate the Oslo in Melbourne.

The building, which used to be a hotel for gold miners and was later transformed into an inexpensive backpackers hostel, is now a renovator’s delight.

This season it’s going to be especially tough for the five teams, as they will have to renovate about 460m 2, which is double the space compared to the Gatwick last season.

Their budget is $250,000 and considering that each team has to renovate a terrace house with 14 rooms each, it will be interesting to see if the money will be sufficient. And for the first time on “The Block”, each terrace house will have a lift. Calling this a “massive project” clearly is an understatement.

The tough market and house price decreases are adding to the challenge and we can’t wait to see which team will nail it.

Meet the contestants:

  •  Andy & Deb:

The couple has been together for a whopping 28 years and they are parents to four kids. Andy works as a part-time stand-up comedian and Deb is a business owner. The adorable team seems to be full of excitement and Deb says “I’m ready for this” when she sees the Oslo.

  •  Mitch & Mark:

Mitch (56) and Mark (57) form the oldest couple in this year’s season of The Block. They have been together for 14 years and have five grandkids. In the last 5 years, they renovated over 15 properties.

  •  El’ise & Matt:

El’ise and her husband Matt truly know how to have a great time, as it is shown in the video clip of their wedding dance. Matt is a hardworking chippy, and El’ise is a fashion designer who describes herself as decisively indecisive.

  •  Tess & Luke:

The young couple from Cairns applied for The Block four times in a row and they are super determined to win. Luke is a carpenter and Tess works as a sales partner and has a huge passion for interior design.

  •  Jesse & Mel:

Jesse appeared in the last season of The Block as an auctioneer, he knows what the buyer wants. Mel is a tattooed rock chick that loves skulls and doesn’t mind getting her hands dirty.

The first-week challenge

In the first week of this season, the contestants have to deliver a bedroom AND a bathroom. The team with the best bedroom will win a safe which is full of vouchers and cash.

First off, the contestants are digging in the dirt to find their golden house number, then it is time to enter the Oslo. The contestants are absolutely shocked: The hotel looks like a crime scene with dirt, trash and pieces of furniture everywhere.

Getting started…

Jesse says that it’s unrealistic to deliver the room by Thursday morning, but all teams seem motivated, so they don’t waste any time and start to tear down walls and clean up until late at night before the tradies arrive the next day. While some contestants seem confident about the project, others struggle: Jesse reveals that he’s a tiler and a tradie and he plans to do the tiling himself, Deb and Andy on the other hand don’t have any trade experience.

Tess gets straight onto the tools and doesn’t shy away from anything – not even from a dead rat.

As the teams decide on wardrobes, Keith urges Jesse and Mel to clean up their mess for safety reasons but the couple doesn’t take the warning seriously. Meanwhile, Deb and Andy receive advice from their young son about the fireplace in their bedroom and Mitch and Mark are on the hunt for the perfect chandelier.

Tess and Luke want to keep the old ceiling, but this would make installing the insulation and connecting the pipework really difficult, so they decide against it and remove it.

Deb can’t stop crying…

Monday rolls around and at the start of episode two, we see Deb crying as a result of the pressure. The time frames are tight! Jesse and Mel are way behind and still cleaning up gravel, while the other teams are setting up the scaffold and pulling down floorboards.

The teams are picking furniture and looking at 3D plans for their bathrooms. El’ise wants to install pedestal basins and asks her husband to change the whole floorplan. Meanwhile, Keith is very unimpressed with the progress of Andy and Deb, so Andy is hiring more carpenters. Everyone is feeling the pressure. Tess is choosing carpets, but she has no idea which one to choose and keeps saying “I’ve never bought carpets before, this is new to me”. On the contrary, Mitch has no problem choosing, he’s picking marvel tiles and a smart toilet for their ensuite. He’s spending money as if they’ve already won the safe.

Things are starting to go very wrong and Jesse keeps stuffing up

Everyone’s timber delivery for the floors arrives, except Jesse’s, because he forgot to order it. Keith just shakes his head and says that auctioneers have no idea how to put a house together. Our power couple Andy and Deb are ripping up the floor they just put down, because they forgot to create a fall, so the water can flow to the drain.

Scott checks in with each team and realises that nobody is on schedule, so “Mighty” the carpenter comes in and the teams need to work out who gets Mighty and for how long. Then floors are going down and wall frames to separate the en suite are going up.

Jesse forgot to order the blaster, so Mel was not happy about him messing up another order.

Short temper and more tears

Jesse and Mel are focusing on getting the bedroom perfect to win the extra cash, neglecting the ensuite completely – what a risky strategy! Meanwhile, Andy is so determined to save as much time as possible, that he stopped showering and says he’d smell like a dead kangaroo.

Our team from Cairns, Tess and Luke, had issues with fitting their bedside cabinets next to the bed, sorting this out will add another 24 hours to the build time. But that’s not the only problem Tess is trying to solve: She’s also looking for her bedroom downlights and finds them in Matt and El’ise’s house. Matt is not happy being accused of stealing lights and he has a hard time keeping his temper under control.

Luke, Tess, Andy and Deb realise that their plaster won’t be dry soon enough and they’re not able to finish the room in time. Poor Tess can’t stop crying and says that she is not cut out for “The Block”.

Only two teams manage to finish the bedroom in time

The judges look at Mitch’s and Mark’s guest bedroom first, and they are impressed by the colours and the details and framings on the walls. The bedside tables add to the sense of quirkiness and are on-trend. They also love the handles and luxury cabinets of the wardrobe.

Next off is Tess and Luke’s bedroom which they named “a sh*t show”. Their room is unfinished; the walls are not painted, and Tess says she hates the room. The judges are less harsh and complement the layout, the carpet and the art. But Shaynna says “there’s eclectic and there’s just mixing the wrong styles”.

The next room that is judged in episode three belongs to Andy and Deb. The room is not done, but ignoring the unpainted walls, Darren says he’s amazed by the bed and the artwork. Neale likes the Australian vibe but doesn’t think it’s suitable for this house and location.

Perth couple El’ise and Matt didn’t finish their room, so they don’t have a chance to win the safe, but the judges liked what they did with the room. Darren calls it “very now” and Neale likes the luxury of the room.

Jesse and Mel’s strategy pays off: Neale says that he has never seen a room delivered to this level in week one of The Block, so the safe with $140,000 worth of goodies goes to Jesse and Mel.

The first week’s challenge was full of tears, joy and laughter and we can’t wait to see which team impresses the judges with their en suite.