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the block 2020 master ensuites harry and tash gloss green wall tiles

The Block 2020 Master Ensuites Uncover Major Issue this Season

The Block 2020 has unveiled its master ensuites and I’ve gotta say, it’s revealed a major issue with this season that’s been bugging me from the start. 

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Three of the rooms were outstanding and are spaces I’d be proud to call my own. One was OK but needed some tweaks to get it up to standard. And then one was so diabolical it needs to be gutted and redone. I’m sure you already know which one I’m referring to. But we’re going to break it down and examine which ensuites were winners and which were woeful below.

The issue that keeps coming up for me this season though is the issue of daring design versus saleability. We’ll delve into what I mean by this further below, and as always I’d love to know your thoughts. Drop me a comment at the end of this post once you’ve had a read of this week’s ensuite recap. I always love to get your take on the reveals too. 

the block 2020 master ensuite luke and jasmine bathroom with curved tiled wall the block 2020 master ensuite luke and jasmine brass bathroom taps with white tiles

Luke and Jasmin came Joint First

This win was very deserved and I’m so happy that Luke and Jasmine finally got top scores. I feel they’ve been robbed the last two weeks so this win made me very happy.

I always believe that a bathroom should either be soothing and calm escape, or a rich and moody cocoon to retreat to. Here, Luke and Jasmin took the former approach and it was clearly stellar. 

There are so many things to love about this ensuite, and I know many of you are going to be as obsessed with it as I am.

It’s Subtle but Still Interesting

Some of the bathrooms this week were about as calm as a rock concert, but here Luke and Jasmin managed to pull off a master ensuite that was visually calm but still packed with interest. The tiles on that curved wall are just beyond. They’re so simple and yet used en masse like this, on that curve, they’ve become a real focal point in the space without yelling at you. The brass accents are glorious, the layout works and it speaks to the style of the other bathroom in the home. Tick, tick, tick.

It’s Not Without its Issues Though

While I do love almost everything in this room, I do feel the black bath was a step too far. The tiles on the curved wall were the moment for me, but my attention is taken away from them by the large-scale black blob in the room. A white bath would have worked better here.

Neale was right to point out the vanity being squished against that (beautifully reeded) shower screen. If it was moved over to the left it would not only be more usable but more impactful as well. It would have given the room more sense of space.

Overall though I’m really pleased with this zone. It speaks to the master bedroom stylistically and is exactly what a buyer will want. Luke and Jasmine keep addressing the saleability factor, producing rooms buyers will adore. Which is the exact opposite of what some of the teams are doing.

the block 2020 master ensuite luke and jasmine ensuite with black master bath the block 2020 master ensuite jimmy and tam pink bathroom

Jimmy and Tam Came Joint First

I have to stop getting angry at the judges for praising a room like this. It’s really not their fault. It’s the brief they got this year; to judge the homes based on this baffling ‘five homes, five decades’ concept. I think the concept works against getting a good price for the properties come auction day, and that’s the major issue I have with this series.

I feel like some teams will keep pleasing the judges because they’re addressing the brief (but it won’t sell well), or they’re ignoring the judges somewhat and getting lower scores (but are going to rake it in come auction day). Which is the best approach? The latter, of course, though it’s not working for the teams week-to-week.

That said, even if we agree to judge this ensuite with the era brief in mind, there are still multiple issues with it that deem is worthy of last place, not first.

The Colour Palette is too Warm

The pink tiles paired with the gold trim and accents are so garish and in-your-face. Not only does this ensuite feel overwhelming to be in, it reads as incredibly warm. The tiles and gold are one slap of warmth, and then the vanity with the pink basins are another huge slap.

There’s no restful moment in this room. No visual break. Every element is a focal point. There are way too many ideas packed into one small footprint. It absolutely doesn’t work and it absolutely didn’t deserve first place.

The different height of the pink tiles in the shower zone just draws your eye to it and makes matters worse.

This Isn’t a 2020 Melbourne Home

I know I keep banging on about it each week, but this is the Block 2020. By all means have a fun concept in mind to shake it up, but don’t encourage teams to create rooms in a home that ultimately needs to have mass appeal in order to rake in a good profit.

The amount of buyers who would appreciate an ensuite like this are so few and far between, it’s just bonkers to praise it and ask Jimmy and Tam to give them more of this. This isn’t House Rules, where you’re transforming someone’s forever home based on their individual brief. This is a show aiming to sell a luxury property in an expensive suburb. I’m just so baffled by this win.

the block 2020 master ensuite jimmy and tam pink bathroom tiles and floating timber vanity the block 2020 master ensuite jimmy and tam floating bathroom vanity warm timber the block 2020 master ensuite sarah and george bathroom with light pink wall tiles

Sarah and George Came Joint Second

I’m not angry that Sarah and George came joint second. I actually feel it’s quite deserved. Putting aside the fact that they had a rough week (because I always like to judge purely on the room design), this space is very successful.

This room is a perfect example of how you can do a somewhat divisive colour like pink but have it work. The tone of those wall tiles is so subtle that even if you were a potential buyer who wasn’t a fan of pink, it wouldn’t stop the sale.

The Colour Palette is Divine

This is a really soothing, easy-on-the-eye ensuite. It’s like I was saying earlier about a bathroom being either soothing or dramatic. This one is soothing and yet it doesn’t follow an expected, all-white organic approach. It just goes to show that you can have a colour like black in a room (the vanity is stunning btw), in quite a few pieces, and still have the bathroom feel calm. There’s really not anything to dislike here. 

This is Perfect for the Melbourne Market

I always view The Block as half design show, half reno-for-sale show. So the rooms need to offer something new in the way of design but still appeal to the Melbourne market they’re selling in. I feel like this ensuite is the perfect coming together of those two elements. It is roomy, well laid out, spacious for two people to get ready in, plus it’s modern and designer.

To put Jimmy and Tam’s Barbi-glam bathroom ahead of Sarah and George’s in the scoring is just pure insanity. 

the block 2020 master ensuite sarah and george bathroom with pink wall tiles and black vanity the block 2020 master ensuite george and sarah bathroom with black bath and floating vanity the block 2020 master ensuite harry and tash green tile bathroom with grey floor tiles

Harry and Tash Came Joint Second

Harry and Tash are swinging from dire to divine and then back again when it comes to their spaces. After last week’s shock win for what was a really unsuccessful master bedroom, they go and deliver this ensuite which is all sorts of amazing. I would have tied them for first place with Luke & Jasmin and Sarah & George. Yep, all three spaces were stunners.

This is a bathroom that stands out because it moved away from trying to be calming and serene. Instead, it’s rather bold and alluring. I enjoy a luxe-feel ensuite with high-end vibes, and Harry and Tash delivered it in spades.

The Green Tiles Work

I’ve seen gloss green tiles used in bathrooms before and they’ve looked rather overbearing. But the shape of these ones is rather simple and they chose a grout colour that didn’t make all of the lines around the tiles pop too much. It’s a high-drama moment, for sure, but then it’s balanced out with the grey tiles on the opposite wall and floor.

This is what I was saying they failed do to in their master bedroom. That dark green wall paper against crisp white walls was too high-contrast. But in the bathroom they paired the green with an earthy grey tile and it’s worked wonders.

The Right Period Details

The bath and basins both give a nod to a period era without the ensuite feeling outdated. A 2020 buyer will walk into this space and feel that it’s moody and sophisticated without having taken the concept too far. Sure, you’ve gotta like green tiles, but if the rest of the home follows a similar dark-luxe approach I feel it’ll all work.

Can I also point out that they’re the only team who didn’t install arched mirrors? The mirror cabinet they did choose was wonderfully modern and provided a nice sense of balance to all of the period features.

The only thing I’d lose in this ensuite is the gold wall lights. There’s no gold anywhere else in the room so they feel a bit out of place.

the block 2020 master ensuite harry and task floating black vanity with white tiles the block 2020 master ensuite daniel and jade

Daniel and Jade Came Last

If you’ve read this far then you know that I feel Jimmy and Tam deserved last place. To deliver something so divisive and unsellable is just beyond my comprehension. The woman in the Slim Aarons painting is not buying the home! Karen from BRAHTON is and she does not want a hot pink ensuite.

Anyway, moving right along to Daniel and Jade’s space before I burst a blood vessel. Now, this did deserve a lower score than the others and there are a few small reasons why.

It’s not a Terrible Bathroom

It’s really not. It has a lot going for it in terms of the colour palette, layout, and the design inclusions themselves. The problem is that there are waaaay too many ideas here. 

Every room needs a focal point. Choose what that one wow moment is going to be and then build the room around that. Sadly Daniel and Jade went full throttle in this master ensuite and packed in many eye-catching moments.

The white tiles were clearly the standout, but the black floor and wall tiles detracted from them. The vanity fronts and handles detract from them. The plant, the shutters, the lighting do as well. It was just a lot of good ideas that needed to be edited down.

The Black Gloss Tiles are the Issue

In examining what could be changed, it really is the black tiles, especially the choice to use gloss-finish ones on the walls. If you take a look at the photo below you’ll see that the plantation shutters don’t work with them. They’re also fighting with the white tiles. I also don’t see them in the same space as a shaker-profile vanity.

Still, in case I haven’t said it enough, Jimmy and Tam’s bathroom was worse.

the block 2020 master ensuite white bath and fish tiles the block 2020 master ensuite floating vanity and arched mirrors

What’s Your Take on the Master Ensuites?

Which of The Block 2020 master ensuites would you honestly love to live in? And is it the same bathroom that you believe a potential buyer would want? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. Do you think daring design is more important that saleability? Let me know what you think about the ‘five homes, five eras’ brief this season. Is it working against the teams?

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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

  • Estelle Fitzpatrick


    “The woman in the Slim Aarons painting is not buying the home! Karen from BRAHTON is and she does not want a hot pink ensuite.”
    SPOT ON!
    The brief is not working and its starting to get awkward.
    I was perplexed when Shayna suggested that some towels, some hydrangeas and a copy of “The Great Gatsby” where a nod enough to the era, they are all things that can be removed from the room?!
    If that is enough to win the judges over and I were a contestant I’d be ditching the brief for most “fixed” things in a room (such as tiles) and also big impact furniture items (such as a bed) and I would be doing my research on what I thought would make the house more saleable for that specific area and choosing more fixed and high impact pieces based on that research. , Then I would style with objects that weren’t “fixed” that apparently tick the bygone era brief such as flowers, art & soft-furnishings with the exception being door-furniture, doors, windows & ceiling details (those I think are the only details that people still actually like from bygone eras.)
    My rant over & out

    20 September, 2020
  • Kerry


    100% agree. The pink and gold is just so awful. The lack of a bath is also problematic- if I am in my $3 million plus house and want to relax in the bath, I want to be in my own ensuite haven, not have to go to the main bathroom. The judges aren’t thinking about resale at all which will ultimately bite the contestants on the backside come auction day.

    21 September, 2020
  • Kellie Cavenett


    My favourite bathroom was Sarah and George’s. I felt it was stylish, tasteful and relaxing. I’m not a big fan of green, so I’m not 100% sold on Harry and Tash’s bathroom. I did not like the black bath in Luke and Jasmin’s bathroom. It was the shape of the bath as much as the colour that I disliked. I definitely did not like Jimmy and Tan’s. The huge timber vanity was too dark and moody. I didn’t mind Daniel and Jade’s room but the vanity stands out to me. It just doesn’t work – it’s adrift on the great wall of tiles. I do like those fishscale tiles, but there are wayyy too many of them.

    21 September, 2020
  • Glenda Smith


    I just look at all of the bathrooms and say to myself ‘how much cleaning there will be to keep all those tiles clean’

    21 September, 2020
    • Jackie


      Hi Glenda. Tiles are easy. Although those walls are high. A long handed duster will keep the dust at bay weekly when dry. In the shower keep a little squeegee & small hand towel the colour of your tiles. A hand held shower is a must. Wash down tiles when finished shower then remove the worst of the water & dry off with towel. Takes two or three mins .. most importantly use the extractor fan every time you go in. Saves the moisture running down the walls. I have a small bathroom the bath is wiped over each day with damp cloth and floor too Keeps it perfect. Towel consigned to wash& clean one in place. Might sound hard but once set up & routine in please you will love it.

      22 September, 2020
      • Jan


        I agree with you whole heartedly Jackie. I have 3 bathrooms all have hand held heads for cleaning purposes. Just a hint the best glass/tile cleaner is cheap shampoo as it gets rid of body oils etc. Even my teenage son had to clean his shower this way every Saturday, he was Hm until he was 29 last year.

        23 September, 2020
  • Kerrie


    I agree with all your thoughts…Sarah & George definitely had my vote…elegant, spacious….& most importantly, the toilet is discreetly placed behind a wall!

    22 September, 2020
  • Lydia Albert


    I also think the toilet being discretely placed or ideally in it’s own little room should be a priority when designing a master ensuite!

    22 September, 2020
  • Geoff Wilson


    I’m fairly much with you, but I do love the black bath in Luke & Jasmin’s bathroom, disagree with you on that one. I think it ads the little extra pow to the room. Such a stunning bathroom overall.

    22 September, 2020
  • Cate


    I watched the reveal and you must have been reading my mind for most things. My stand out views was the black bath; the pink tiles with basin and gold taps and the squashed up cabinet against the shower recess, and of course the opening that fell short and would let the shower splash out.
    My thoughts were how easy the judges were marking compared to previous shows. Losing half a point for a squashed up cabinet or the bathroom with one little light lighting up the mirrors that in the night wouldn’t work. In days gone past they would have been penalised heavily. Can’t help but think the producers are getting the judges to talk up everything ready for the auction!!!!!

    22 September, 2020
  • Jan


    Agree with Luke’s win, second for me George the rest I don’t care, they were all pretty even.

    23 September, 2020
  • Amanda


    Chris, you kill me with laughter! I love your very honest reviews each week and couldn’t agree with you more on all the things said about Jimmy and Tam’s master ensuite.
    I too felt the black bath in Luke & Jasmine’s was too much and also totally agree that Daniel and Jade’s marble look, black gloss tiles did not suit the room. Just the wrong choice there.
    George & Sarah definitely deserved the equal tie first; practical, modern, subtle but heavenly.
    Keep up the reviews, I look forward to them each week! xx

    23 September, 2020
  • Lee


    I have to say that I wouldn’t really happy with any of these en-suite as I have my pet hates……loud colour, small tiles, too busy with all those features, small mirrors. I’m not a fan of period features in bathrooms or kitchens. These areas are expensive and can make or break a sale. Heritage architraves, skirting, cornices, etc are wonderful features with just a nod to the period for me and subtle colours. Love all the skylights…..

    28 September, 2020

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