• News + Media  • There’s so Much to Say About The Block 2018 Kitchens
the block 2018 kitchens norm and jess tan leather stools

There’s so Much to Say About The Block 2018 Kitchens

The Block 2018 kitchens have just been unveiled and I’m one confused judge. Yes, I consider myself the fourth, unpaid and unofficial judge of The Block. I might be judging from my sofa, in Cookie Monster pyjamas, with a glass of wine in hand and the cat in my lap, but I’m still the fourth judge. They just don’t know it yet.

I’m confused with the scores more than anything this week. They seem absolutely topsy-turvy to me. And it begs the question, what makes for an amazing kitchen design? Maybe I look at things differently to my three colleagues on the show, because I would have scored this week’s rooms very differently.

Functionality is important, of course, but what about the colours, the textures, the layout, the styling? Were all of these elements considered when scoring these kitchens? I’m not entirely sure.

Let’s explore more below. And don’t forget to scroll to the end of this post for your chance to WIN a $100 Block Shop voucher.

the block 2018 kitchens norm and jess grey kitchen cabinetry the block 2018 kitchens norm and jess marble benchtop the block 2018 kitchens norm and jess butlers pantry

Jess and Norm were the Clear Winners

After roasting Jorm’s design last week (Jorm is Jess and Norm’s celebrity couple name), they completely turned things around with their kitchen. It even made me like their other zones more. Although nobody can convince me that their living and dining rooms don’t need rugs. That you’ll never change my mind on.

The colour palette here is breathtaking though, don’t you think? Those gorgeous mushroom-coloured cabinets are all that and (two quote everyone in the nineties) a bag of potato chips. And they were made even more beautiful by the shaker style details on the profile of the doors. Add to that the crisp white benchtop, the black and gold handles, and the matt black tapware and I’m spent! Pass me a cigarette.

Every Detail was Spot On

I’m even obsessed with the minimal styling here. Those stunning tan leather stools connect the kitchen to the other spaces in this massive zone. And the pop of pink in those flowers was a nicely pared-back inclusion.

The butler’s pantry is also quite delightful and I’m smitten with Jess and Norm’s tile choices for this zone. It’s a shame they couldn’t have been incorporated into the kitchen design somewhere, but we can’t have everything.

Jorm were even smart enough to include timber shelving in the butler’s pantry that spoke to the furniture they have in the living room. Clever cookie award goes to you, Jorm! You deserved to win.

the block 2018 kitchens bianca and carla blue cabinetry the block 2018 kitchens bianca and carla kitchen pendants the block 2018 kitchens bianca and carla butlers pantry

Bianca and Carla, there’s a Lot to Appreciate here

My fave ladies produced a lovely kitchen this week. I’m by no means salivating over it the way I am Jess and Norm’s room, but there is a lot to admire.

I like that they’re staying true to their aesthetic. This kitchen ties in nicely with everything else they’re doing in the apartment. The floor to ceiling cabinets are great from a storage perspective, and I like that there was a mix of colour here. The study nook is probably my fave part of this kitchen, and the buyer is going to love it. No other teams included one, so the girls definitely set themselves apart there.

Kitchens are going in a darker direction for 2019 and beyond (as I showed you in this post) so this feels quite ahead of its time in that respect.

Here’s the issue I have though…

A kitchen needs a splashback. It’s an opportunity to have a mix of materials in the space. The problem I have with this kitchen, and a few others this week, is the fact that there’s a giant wall of cabinetry coming at you. It makes the zone feel quite unbalanced and heavy.

To have all of this cabinetry in a dark tone, and then three ovens built into that area, just feels quite dominant. I’m just not into this modern, stove-in-the-island approach to kitchen design. I like to see a splashback included so there’s some diversity of materials.

What I do bow down and pray to though, is that stellar set of pendant lights. I mean come on! Get a load of them. Bianca and Carla once again delivered a killer lighting moment and I am here for it.

the block 2018 kitchens hayden and sarah kitchen island the block 2018 kitchens hayden and sara kitchen with marble splashback the block 2018 kitchens hayden and sara butlers pantry

Hayden and Sara’s Kitchen has Mass Appeal

This is the kitchen a lot of buyers will feel quite connected to. It has a lot going for it in terms of look and feel, and I can see people losing their minds over that built-in seating area. It was a very clever idea from Hayden and Sara. Have a rabies shot at-the-ready for when I get to tour this space in a few weeks time. I reckon I’m going to froth at the mouth over this zone.

This kitchen is a close second for me this week after Jess and Norm’s. It also feels really in-keeping with the style and design of the living and dining rooms. All three spaces feel very cohesive. What this kitchen has, which many didn’t this week, is a mix of materials. That’s my fave part of this design; the balance of textures.

I’m in love with the giant marble splashback. The dark timber cabinetry doesn’t feel heavy and dominant because they were smart enough to include white moments in the space. I’m really fond of those gorgeous round pendant lights, and I also really love the gold handles on the cabinets in the butler’s pantry.

I Take Issue with the Island Though

The layout of the kitchen island throws me off a bit. It needed to be turned the other way so it faced the living room. I understand that they probably thought it best to have it face the built-in seating, but it looks odd as it is.

From a functional point of view it doesn’t work like this. If you have people over and some are sitting at the bench on those beautiful stools, anyone who sits on the seats behind them will be talking to their back. It doesn’t work.

the block 2018 kitchens kerrie and spence brown timber cabinets the block 2018 kitchens kerrie and spence white benchtop the block 2018 kitchens kerrie and spence butlers pantry

Get Out your Boxing Gloves Judges

I am ready to duke it out, fellow judges. There’s no way to say this delicately, so I’ll just cut to the chase: this is not a 30-point, winning kitchen. It’s not the best of the bunch this week. In fact, I consider it one of the weaker rooms of the lot.

Gadgets do not make for a winning kitchen. I think there was too much focus on all the bells and whistles and not enough on the look and feel of the elements in the space and how they impact the apartment.

A hidden rangehood, Sub-Zero fridges and big-brand appliances don’t make up for the fact that this space feels quite dark. It doesn’t change the fact that there’s too much brown timber and not enough of a mix of materials. It doesn’t take away from the fact that those stools are the devil’s work, or that the wine fridge is the focal point in the room when it shouldn’t be.

I Just Don’t Get it. Am I Wrong?

Talk to me, talk me through this. I need some explanation as to what makes this space a perfect score. I’m just not seeing what the judges are seeing here. It feels dark and gloomy. There’s no glam factor. There’s no balance. It feels quite heavy to me and there’s way too much stainless steel in the space.

I welcome your comments below because I need someone to make sense of it all.

the block 2018 kitchens hans and courtney black kitchen the block 2018 kitchens hans and courtney marble kitchen backsplash the block 2018 kitchens hans and courtney kitchen with beige cabinets

Courtney and Hans: Houston, we have a Problem

Ouch! This kitchen kinda hurts, doesn’t it? I can’t say there are many redeeming features here for me. The layout alone reminds me of kitchens in corporate offices. Pop in a water cooler, sandwiches covered in post-it-notes so nobody steals your lunch, and an IT department that tells you to restart your computer every time you raise an issue, and you have everyone’s Monday to Friday working life.

The choice to go bold with the metallic kitchen cabinets was a poor choice in my eyes. I just don’t get this as a trend. I don’t see it taking off. I’d like you to resist all urges to do this in your own home. Sorry Freedom Kitchens, but please take this out of production immediately if not sooner. I cannot. I just cannot.

The Butler doesn’t Want to Work in that Pantry

The butler’s pantry also feels like a bit of an apology; squeezed in behind the kitchen. It doesn’t feel grand enough and the layout is kinda sloppy. If the space wasn’t big enough for a grand butler’s pantry, don’t have one.

I know that sounds like blasphemy for kitchen week – to forgo a butler’s pantry – but this is a luxury Melbourne apartment. I assure you, the Brady Bunch won’t be living here. We aren’t catering for a family of nine. A large cabinet pantry will do. Or something similar to what Hayden and Sara went with, where it’s hidden away behind doors, would have worked.

The black cabinet handles also feel too large and heavy for the size of the doors, and that giant pylon/beam painted black is doing nothing to help the space either. This was not a good week for Cans (that’s Courtney and Hans’ celeb couple name).

the block 2018 kitchens norm and jess tan leather stools


Every Sunday night I’ll be giving you the chance to win a $100 voucher for The Block Shop. The winner will be announced in next week’s Block recap (right here on the blog), where you can then enter again to win. Repeat each week until the end of the season. How exciting!

LAST WEEK’S WINNER: Isabel Boniface


Simply pop a comment below telling me what you thought of The Block 2018 kitchens. It’s that easy!

Comp open to Aus residents only. Comp closes 7pm Sunday September 23.This post contains affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission (and you will help support TLC Interiors) if you click through and make a purchase.

Outside of writing this blog, Chris is an interior designer, presenter and author. He's also spent time on TV, on Channel 10's Changing Rooms, as well presenting segments on Channel 7's Sunrise and The Morning Show. If you'd like to book a design consult with Chris, you can find out more here

  • Bianca


    Jess & Norm for the win in my books too! Those stools – I need them
    In my life!!!

    16 September, 2018
  • The world has gone topsy-turvy this week in Block Land and I am not living it.
    What I am loving is Jess and Norm’s kitchen. Ohhhh my god! I want to have kittens with this kitchen. The shaker profile cabinetry, that marble, the leather stools. Sorry, I’ll stop drooling! What is wrong with the world if this isn’t the top room of the evening?
    S+K’s kitchen was dark, dark, dark, and uninviting. Maybe the judges saw something we didn’t, or maybe they are obligated to give the team with the flashy product placement the win?! Something tells me I’ve picked a winner.
    And poor Courtney and Hans. What a monumental error of planning this week. That kitchen layout is a massive flop that will be a costly mistake to correct.

    16 September, 2018
  • esra


    the butler doesn’t want to work in the pantry- best line!

    16 September, 2018
  • Kaiya Cucinotta


    Boring! Nothing I haven’t seen before, besides the Bianca and Carla’s pendents and the colour of the Jesz and Norms cabinetry. Agree all the kitchens felt really heavy with the big walls of cabinetry and appliances. I loved Carla and Bianca’s study nook as that is where you want to go your admin, but it looked out of place right next to the oven. I’m really angry at Hans and Courtney’s total stuff up of the floor plan, they could of had s 4th bedroom or a true 2nd living area. I do have to disagree on Sara and Hayden’s kitchen though, I though it looked odd with the dark heavy cabinets up top and the white floating cabinetry below. Generally disappointing as the rest of the rooms have been.

    16 September, 2018
  • Eva


    Nope. Always agree with you but not this time. Think the judges got it just right. Winning kitchen a bit cold but great to cook in.
    Loved the orientation of Sara & Hayden’s kitchen
    Didn’t think the pent house kitchens were that functional but very pretty.
    Do agree about the champagne cupboards. Great in a glass, leave of it off the cabinets.
    the layout was just wrong. I don’t think these guys like to cook (or decorate).
    Interesting series this year

    16 September, 2018
  • Jenny Vasiliadis


    I agree with you entirely about the 30 point kitchen! That is my least favourite kitchen in terms of colour, feel and big, bulky, blinding appliances. Hayden and Sarah’s kitchen was my fave. It had the nicest feel and colour palette. Pity about the island bench. Hopefully their reason for that placement had to do with measurements rather than being their actual design plan.

    16 September, 2018
  • Fiona walker


    Jess and norm should have won! I also loved Hayden and Sara’s kitchen too. I think their apartment will be the dark horse come auction day, I’m betting they’ll end up close to the top once all the apartments are sold

    16 September, 2018
  • Jenny


    I have never been a fan of dark kitchens and this week’s reveals have confirmed this! Kerry and Spence’s kitchen feel dark and depressing. And all the bright lighting coming from the wine fridge just makes it feel even more oppressive. Give me Jorm’s kitchen anyday! Light and bright with so many beautiful textures. Now that’s a kitchen I’d actually want to cook in (or at least lean against the island bench with a glass of wine).

    16 September, 2018
  • Kerry


    I found them all ok except the travesty that was Cans. The word ‘Champagne’ should only be used in the same sentence as kitchen when you are pouring said drink in said room. Never as a colour choice for cabinetry. It’s also perplexing why they didnt have their kitchen in their main living area – it’s so disconnected across the hall which will deter many buyers. It felt flat. Like cheap bubbly.. the day after..

    16 September, 2018
    • George


      I thought Jess and Norms was absolutely stunning, the marble is gorgeous and feels very contemporary. It’s the obvious winner

      17 September, 2018
  • Belinda reid


    Tots agree, they only won cause there was a trillion sponsored products in it. I instantly thought, why would you put a wine fridge there? If you brought it from Kmart would you put it in the centre of your kitchen, ah no, it would be in the butlers pantry. (Ps love Kmart ) Don’t get me wrong it was a nice kitchen albeit a little dark for my taste but Jess and norms was the only one that made me catch my breath for a second. I know which kitchen I shall be looking at for inspiration next time I’m renovating a kitchen.

    16 September, 2018
  • I so agree!
    I loved Jess and Norms kitchen, it was light and bright and looked high end. I despise flat fake looking surfaces so the timber shaker style to me looked a million $ better than the others. Add in real marble and you have a winner.
    The more modest sized butlers pantry was also much more realistic. These are not family homes entertaining will be something you shop for that day, cook and clean up. You will not need to store food for a family of 5. The enormous pantry’s are a colossal waste of space for these markets – space better used elsewhere.
    I agree regarding the winning kitchen. I think the high end appliances were not complimented by high end finishes. The cabinetry was all sorts of horrid – fake timber look which clashed with the lovely floors. You’ve lovely blond timber floors so use a light cabinetry.
    Hans and Courtney are doing their best but they didn’t stand a chance once they decided not to put the kitchen at the end near the outdoor area. Instead we have a dining area blended with a formal living area blended with an informal area….. I hope they didn’t pay the architect too much for that disaster.
    I could go on but I am loving norm and jess – they know their market better than all he other teams and hey know high end. Not what I expected from them at all and am happily proven wrong

    16 September, 2018
  • Ky


    Jess & Norms is beautiful and complimented the whole space. The main sink would have been better if it wasn’t so close to the edge but I doubt anyone would be doing dishes in there anyway.

    Spence & Kerrie’s kitchen – that fridge belongs in a commercial kitchen, it’s ugly and overbearing. Their front sink is way too small and completely dysfunctional. It needed to be in the island, central to the fridge ovens and cook top.. even if you do all of your prep out the back (which is 1km from the fridge), you’re still going to need to wash your hands many times when cooking.

    Hanz & Courts was a monumental disaster however they did plan it right at the beginning of the competition when they were 100% rookies. Doesn’t explain all of the fails though – the stools, whut??

    I think the huge cabinetry a few of them put in is a must in an apartment, where else do you store all of your “stuff”?? Maybe I’m just a hoarder? :p

    16 September, 2018
  • Tammy


    Hayden and Sara should of won in my opinion. I wasn’t a fan of the winning kitchen at all.

    16 September, 2018
  • Annette


    I found them all a bit meh. There wasn’t a standout OMG moment in any of them. That said I like lighter tones in general so I would probably go with Jorm.

    16 September, 2018
  • Georgie


    Agree! Kerry and Spence’s fridge-heavy kitchen reminds me more of the backlot tour of McDonalds than a luxe “paradise”. #thatscold

    16 September, 2018
  • Kylie Docherty


    That bloody pylon in Cans’ kitchen is an eyesore! I agree with your feelings about Sara and Hayden’s, it’s what most people will love. But I too was frothing over the cabinetry in Jorm’s apartment…gorgeous!

    17 September, 2018
  • My thoughts EXACTLY!! Jorm for the win, that wine fridge front and centre was killing me!! I mean, the kitchen ticks lots of boxes but I certainly had zero fuzzy feelings. No way was it ‘the best kitchen ever on the Block’ $$ appliances just doesn’t cut it imo.

    17 September, 2018
  • Jess


    I actually really loved the layout of Kerry & Spences! It felt really grand. That daytime photo of it looks terrible though. Very ugly dark timber. I loved the orientation of Sara and Hayden’s island…I like my spaces connected but in more defined zones, I felt like their orientation gave their living, dining, kitchen space a much needed extra zone that was essentially separate.
    No argument about the beauty of Norm & Jess’s. So so so nice! Definitely wish those tiles and the floating timber shelves could be seen from the lounge though.

    17 September, 2018
  • Courtney and Hans’ celeb name is Courns. You wont change my mind.

    17 September, 2018
  • Penelope White


    Chris I’m afraid I’m with you on this one (as I sit with my Llama jarmies on, hot lava cake with cream in one hand, watching the rerun of ‘The Block’ on 9Now ~ AND it’s Monday as well)
    I just loved Jess & Norms use of that marble piece it’s stunning. Do they not have like a reference folder they can look at to make sure that they are covering all the requirements, like a checklist or a brief. Because if not I think they all need one!

    17 September, 2018
  • Isabel Boniface


    After dropping the mike, throwing my toys and storming out the room…I couldn’t help myself. Especially after spending the whole weekend painting and decorating my own house – I was ready to be inspired…or have a good old bitching session!

    Sorry, Chris – I love the winning kitchen! A little dark…maybe, but I love the flow of it. As a matter of fact, I designed something very similar in my previous house and it worked a treat. A butler with an entry and exit. I love the appliances – If only I could afford them! And if you can – Flaunt them! Why not! You don’t drive a Mercedes and keep it in the garage. You enjoy it.

    Really don’t like Jorm’s cupboards! I find the design a little old fashioned and safe actually…Or maybe I am really out of touch! The colour is just more bland! I love the light from their beautiful windows, but the cupboards is just not appropriate for their audience. Sorry! I know you love them, Chris.

    I enjoyed the episode more than last week and I will be back based on the little preview they gave us on what’s to come! There might be hope.

    17 September, 2018
  • Totally agree about the island! It looks weird being that way around.

    17 September, 2018
  • MM


    A little from column A and a little from column B
    Still cannot work out what the colour of Jorm’s cabinetry but it seems rather boring to me and shaker style details ……who wants to clean them
    I get mixing materials for texture but get some consistency polished sinks with black taps is confusing then add some rose gold handles and mirror kickers too much. All the bench tops were amazing as was the stools. Where were the cookbooks so many open shelves and none Lighting seemed spot on in all areas
    Loved reading your judging again this week ✅

    17 September, 2018
  • Natashia B


    Jess and Norm’s was beautiful, hands down the best use of colour and and style. BUT, I’m a big cook, and what I have issue with in most of the kitchens, is the lack of bench space around you. The wall of cabinetry and fridges behind the island and sink is so wasteful.. storage is for the butlers pantry. Behind the island should be a cooktop and bench space! Once you start cooking and have stuff laid out over the island, then people sit down with a drink or snack, you start to loose space and the island is full of crap. Have a vase of flowers or fruit bowl on the island and again no space left. I just don’t find any of these kitchens actually practical. They just look nice. Sara and Hayden’s is actually the most practical kitchen, but even then there are heaps of flaws, like the coffee machine placement and doors. Sorry, rant over.

    17 September, 2018
  • Emma


    Jorms kitchen is so beautiful that “Calcutta” marble bench top with the gorgeous grey shaker cabinetry are now on my kitchen reno list. I personally think gold taps would look amazing.

    17 September, 2018
  • Melanie machut


    30 out of 30…. yeah right! I’m with you, the fridges were overbearing and should NOT be the focal point, and the dark cabinetry and cool tones made it feel despressive and dark (like a bunker).The stools remind me of the Japanese dark wood ones that were big in the 90’s. (You’re probably too young to know what I’m talking about!) I would much rather Jorms kitchen. Putting a bin in is an easy fix! Their butlers pantry, breathtaking! And those tiles *swoon! Makes me want to build one now . That’s my whinge for the night!

    17 September, 2018
  • Kristy


    30/30 simple win. I knew this would happen at the start of the week. Dont get me wrong those appliances are fabulous and id love that in my house but i believe this win was purely based on sponsorship. They want the sponsors back next year – they sinply had to give them the win. That was a lot of coin thrown to those contestants it would have been a kick in the teeth for the sponsors had they not been afforded the win.

    18 September, 2018
  • Love the tan and timber brought into Jorms 😉 kitchen and the oak desk top in Barlas! Made a difference to bring some warmth in, as some of the other kitchens looked a bit sad. Extra bench space and therefore less dark cupboards out the front would have helped the heavy looks too. But yes, did love seeing Barlas lights – that’s a first.

    18 September, 2018
  • Janelle


    Total agree with your judging and design comments again!!
    Love the colour palette of jorm’s kitchen! and integrated refrigerators are total luxe – does anyone like looking at large shiny refrigerators? Obviously the winners were winners due to expensive appliances provided to them – and shouldn’t a wine fridge be in the butlers pantry?

    20 September, 2018
  • Jon


    Agree that Hayden and Sara’s island might look better turned facing the living room, and the window seating perhaps converted to include a study nook!

    21 September, 2018
  • May


    Where to start? So many great features but a lot of FAILS too. I too loved jess and Norm’s kitchen the best. I want a light, bright clean kitchen. I hate the dark and gloomy look of some of these dark kitchens (keep dark and moody for the bedroom if you must).
    I disagree that Sara and Hayden’s was worthy of 2nd. The orientation of the island is ugly and just plain wrong. But it’s the butler’s pantry that I take exception to. The doors are an accident waiting to happen. How stupid to have the door swing into the coffee machine – where people will be frequently standing. And cooks and kids wandering into and out of the pantry with equipment and food are likely to be struck by someone coming in the other direction. Oh dear.
    Did not like Hans and Courtney’s at all. Obscuring the windows in the pantry was a big mistake – most people want to bring natural light into the kitchen. And those stupid little high glass windows don’t work and look odd. Don’t get me started on the ridiculously small island with the in-your-face pylon. I know the engineers could have come up with a better solution. Also thought that the metallic cabinets looked tacky. Great appliances (although very desirable), don’t necessarily make a great kitchen The wall of appliances looked ostentatious rather than tasteful

    21 September, 2018
  • Milly


    I think all of the kitchens have so much cabinetry in their butler’s pantry that they didn’t need a massive full wall of cabinets in the kitchen. A full wall of cabinets with ovens built in does not convey any character or charm! Give me gorgeous splashbacks with eclectic design and decorating. (If I had spent that much $ on Can’s kitchen which has nothing going for it I would rather die!!)

    21 September, 2018
  • Gia Scott


    Mixed feelings… I just don’t get the need for a butler’s pantry, and it didn’t work at all in Courtney and Hans’s kitchen.
    I LOVE the shelving and tiling in Jess and Norm’s butler’s pantry, but the cabinets were too drab for me.
    Kerry and Spence had high quality however I was underwhelmed. Too dark, plain.

    21 September, 2018

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