7 min read

Basements, cellars, garages and THAT spiral staircase

The auction date looms for the contestants on The Block 2022 and one lucky team has scored their place on the cover of coveted Domain magazine, whose editor Alice Stolz sat down with The Blockcast host Jono Fleming to talk about basement week’s big reveals.

As someone who’s seen these gorgeous homes up close and in person, Alice confidently says that “what we are seeing are true, family homes – in this most picture-perfect street in one of Melbourne’s most idyllic family suburbs”. We know Domain to be the go-to place, both online and in print, for prospecting buyers and sellers to browse homes and Alice kindly shares with us listeners the latest in what Domain visitors are looking up when it comes to The Block teams. Keep reading to find out how each team placed and the highlight of their reveals last week. From polished and organised garages, to nooks, basements and grand staircases, there was a lot to love and a lot to talk about!

Ronnie and Georgia

Coming in first place according to Domain readers, there’s so much to talk about when it comes to this team. According to Alice, Ronnie & Georgia’s success is a result of their “impeccable, immaculate planning. They have thought of everything”. From the placement of their power points and drawers, all the way to their cushions and décor, their styling has been second to none throughout each room reveal and has successfully hit the mark each time. They delivered a number of well-styled dreamy spaces this week to complete their family home build, from the finished garage leading into a “mud room” complete with bench seat and storage, through to a study nook, and of course the crown jewel of their house – that immaculate three-storey spiral staircase landing on their rustic basement wine cellar.

Jumping down to the basement, Ronnie & Georgia used brick facings from the PGH Manhattan range in a new and innovative way, using East Hampton to match and tie-in with their outdoor pool area. They laid these in a chevron pattern to create a seamless inside-outside transition for unique their wine cellar. Alice explains that the choice of flooring and the acoustics are so important in evoking the feeling and atmosphere of a room, quoting Shaynna – “It’s Provence. It just takes you back to that amazing place on the other side of the world… I think that it shows that the flooring materials can really transport you.”

These high-end areas of the home are not only beautifully styled, but well-built, using Gold high-performance thermal insulation and Soundscreen acoustic insulation throughout to really enhance the intimacy and cosiness of these areas, allowing the opportunity to entertain guests with minimal disturbance and keep temperatures under control with minimal heating and cooling. The couple have also done a stellar job on their spiral staircase, flawlessly executing a level 5 finish spanning the three storeys of the house, “it’s such a strong architectural statement… it feels like a sculptural work of art” Alice remarks. Jono also explains perfectly how Ronnie used Gyprock Flexible which, at about half the thickness of regular plasterboard, is designed to bend when wet – allowing the team to achieve that very tight curve.” The staircase is so impactful, in fact, that Jono and Alice agree this could very well be the staircase that sells the house. The team have shown off impeccable plaster work throughout all their rooms this week, from the staircase to bulkheads, ceilings and walls.

Mitch and Mark

Each team this week has approached their basement area quite differently, which is a testament to how new the concept of basements is to Australian homes as a whole, as Alice says. In typical Mitch & Mark fashion, they created a two-in-one cellar bar area and home theatre-style set up, after turning their other basement space into a home spa. Their space was critiqued for being too cluttered and, although Jono and Alice agree they were harshly judged, they concede that this couple has built a great canvas should the new owners want to change furnishings or change up the space for whatever they want it to be. Interestingly, Mitch & Mark ranked in third place in terms of who Domain users are searching for – so their style must be rubbing off on plenty of loyal watchers!

Tanya & Vito

They have taken us by surprise starting off from their garage door. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” says Jono “…a teal garage door!” he says of their unique choice in what’s usually an uninspired part of the façade. “It is sublime,” Alice adds “it went with the house so perfectly!” and makes special mention of the portholes and the uniqueness of this design. Moving on to their basement and, of course, their cellar bar was kitsch and quirky, complete with neon sign and roller-skating statue. Jono loved the layout of the basement and noted that although it’s been styled to reflect Tanya & Vito, it’s a super flexible basement area that is ready to move in to and have a new owner stamp their personality on.

Josh and Luke

Placing second on Domain’s most-searched-for-list, Josh and Luke have created a house that’s very, very different to the others. Although they’ve had a rollercoaster season, the boys have certainly amassed a fan base for themselves, based on the data from Domain’s searches. This week, they also had a clever garage door design with a unique folding mechanism plus a ‘sitting room’ that may have better served as an extra bedroom. All in all, their basement and powder rooms weren’t quite finished to the same high standard as set by the other teams and has brought them down on the scoreboard this week.

Kirsty & Jesse

The Hamptons hopefuls have delivered another on-brand reveal, with (you guessed it) a garage door to match. They have done a fantastic job of carrying their theme all the way through their house and that didn’t stop at the basement. Using the hallmark Gaggenau fridges in their cellar and decorating the space in moody shades of navy blue, it is a simple but functional and practical space that is in keeping with the rest of their house. Surprisingly, they sit in fourth place on Domain’s list and Alice says this could be down to the sheer size of their house – it can be intimidating, and people are tending to look for ideas on how to transform smaller spaces, which is what the other teams have done quite well.

So, what were the trends this week?

Garage doors and grafico walls were the standout this basement-garage week according to Alice. Although a little pricier than the average metal roller door choice, it can really enhance the façade and functionality of the space by investing in a seamless garage entry, that can also add to the house style rather than be hidden away.

Alice is also loving the movement towards the earthy tones coming through – think taupe, chocolate, caramel and eucalyptus. Highlighting people’s apparent change in attitude towards their homes as we move towards a post-COVID era, where they are embracing their homes and surroundings, rather than waiting til retirement or saving for ‘one day’, people are splashing out more to enhance their homes now.

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