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chris carroll in the block apartments 2018 bianca and carla bathroom

Inside my Revealing Tour of The Block Apartments

the block 2018 hans and courtney guest bedroom bedside table

I just got back from a tour of The Block apartments at The Gatwick in St Kilda. And gang, I’ve gotta admit, it changed everything.

So I rocked up to this morning’s media tour of The Block and assumed it would confirm everything I had already mentioned in my weekly recaps. The white walls: ugh! The empty rooms: so barren! Terrazzo tiles: the absolute devil’s work! But then I walked into the first apartment – Kerrie and Spence’s – and things started to fall apart.

The tour came courtesy of my mates at Freedom Kitchens, so naturally that’s where things kicked off. And from the moment I walked into the space – praised by the judges for its dark cabinetry – I felt a sudden craving for humble pie. And as I walked through all of the apartments (you can see loads of videos on my Insta stories here) I just kept eating more pie.

But that’s not to say my initial thoughts about some spaces were wrong. So let me break it all down for you. Here’s what I learnt from my walk through The Block Apartments.

Kerrie and Spence’s Apartment Shocked Me

the block 2018 entryway artwork

The Entryway was Phenomenal

So as soon as I stepped foot into the entryway I got it. I got it in a way I didn’t get it when I saw the images on my PC and watched footage of the show. The artwork in this space did feel like a gallery, and they were amazing pieces. They popped against the white wall, so I 100% gobbled up my first piece of humble pie there and then.

The Kitchen and Butler’s Pantry wasn’t Heavy

I said on kitchen week that the wall of dark brown cabinetry was too much, but when you’re there in-person it’s actually quite divine. The images you see online make the space feel jumbo. So I thought the whole concept of this great whopping Butler’s Pantry was just silly and overdone. But it’s not that big in real life. Spatially it works quite well.

Sure, it’s not the best kitchen of the five, but it’s not as overbearing as it appears in photos.

the block 2018 kerrie and spence kitchen island

The Master is Still too White Though

I stand by my comments that the bedrooms are too white. The open plan living and dining can carry the white because there’s actually a fair bit of brown cabinetry in there, but with the bedrooms they do feel quite clinical and cold. In this master bedroom, there was nothing above the bed so it just felt quite unfinished.

Kerrie and Spence have the Moodiest Apartment

I honestly didn’t love their apartment on-camera, but in-person it was a different story. If you’re looking for an apartment that speaks to a luxe Melbourne market, this one does it.

Hayden and Sara’s Apartment Came Next

the block 2018 hayden and sarah living and dining room

So much Better In-Person

Hayden and Sara’s apartment was another one that looked a thousand times better in-person. What I also loved about it was that it was super cohesive. Every room made sense side by side. There are no jarring elements. Nothing that makes you think WTF is that all about? I was actually most taken by this apartment. It’s become my favourite. I think it has mass appeal and is very now.

The Island Still Bugs Me

I said during kitchen week that the orientation of the island bothers me, and that they needed to turn it to face the dining room. Having seen it in-person, I still feel this way. Though I gotta say, I adore the hidden butler’s pantry and I really like the mix of materials here. This kitchen also feels very now. I use the term ‘now’ because I think a few of the kitchens are ahead of their time. They may be a sign of what’s coming in a year or two, but the styles are not yet dominating interiors. But Hayden and Sara’s is.

the block 2018 hayden and sara ensuite with gold bath tub

That Bloody Gold Tub

So I went into the bathroom; probably the most divisive room this year on The Block. And here’s the real deal: that tub is still 10000% ugly. I don’t think for a minute that the person who purchases this apartment will keep it. It stands out for all the wrong reasons. Apart from the white walls, it’s probably the only thing in this apartment I’d change.

Then it was onto Hans and Courtney’s

the block 2018 kitchens hans and courtney marble kitchen backsplash

My Least Fave of the Bunch

There has to be an apartment that falls toward the bottom of the heap and for me it’s Hans and Courtney’s. It just felt rather uninspiring to be in. From the moment you walked in the door it just didn’t have the sense of grandeur the other apartments had. And I blame that first and foremost on the fact that you open the door right into the kitchen. For a luxury apartment, the first impression is woeful.

Those Kitchen Cabinets are Still Horrid

Nothing and no-one will convince me that gold metallic kitchen cabinets are a hot trend we need to get all over. I hated these cabinets when I saw them in photos, and in-person they’re just as bad. The pillar Hans and Courtney have in their kitchen also stands out and slaps you the moment you walk in the door. Overall the kitchen is just not working for me.

the block 2018 courtney and hans ensuite with terrazzo tile

I might not be saying no to Terrazzo

You’ll know all too well from my bathroom reveal recaps how against terrazzo I was. But I’ve gotta be honest here: I’m being swayed. If it’s one thing I’ll give Hans and Courtney a great whopping thumbs up for, it’s for being daring with their tile choices in the bathroom. I saw both the white and dark grey terrazzo tiles in their apartment and both looked pretty lovely. Give me another helping of humble pie! I can take it!

Bianca and Carly’s Apartment Proved Interesting

the block 2018 bianca and carla dining room art

Needed to be Pushed Further

The girls were my front-runners. My faves. The couple I thought were going to rake it in. And that’s not to say they won’t. But when I saw their apartment in-person, particularly the living and dining space, it felt quite white. And then when I walked in the master bedroom… so white. I hated that they ditched the dark feature wall in this room. It was the one wall in the whole competition with some design to it. And now it’s gone. Cue the sad music and pass me a Kleenex.

The All-White Thing does not Sell Apartments

I feel their concept for the apartment was strong. And sadly I feel they either got scared to push it to 100, or they were asked not to go wild. I think if these two ladies were permitted to go all out with their design it would have been breathtaking. I think this whole ‘worry about the buyer’ mentality took over for a lot of teams. And it did not help them.

The Art Selections Are The Bomb

I gotta say I was very impressed the art choices in Bianca and Carla’s apartment. They have a great eye for selecting interesting pieces. The one above the sideboard in the dining room was all sorts of magnificent. I also loved the black and white bathing suit pieces in the hallway, and the one above the bed in the master. All super gorg.

chris carroll in the block apartments 2018 bianca and carla bathroom

The Bathroom was OMG YES x 100

I said I was going to stop drop and roll in Bianca and Carla’s master bedroom, and I did. It was amazing. All that stone was utterly sublime, and the timber feature was just as impressive. The bathrooms in this apartment were my fave part of the property.

Jess and Norm’s Place Delivered Some Surprises

the block 2018 norm and jess shaker style kitchen cabinets

The Kitchen is Undoubtably Everything

It is the sun, the moon and the stars. It is my world and my universe. I wanted to hide in one of the cupboards and then come out later when everyone had left and lie on the benchtop. Just lie on it. I want to feel the cold stone against my face as I admire the shaker cabinets and gush over the black and gold handles. In case you haven’t picked up on it, I love this kitchen.

That Dining Table… I Can’t

Whoever sold this to Jorm on Gumtree… you cheeky devils! Karma will get you! The table looks every bit as second hand as it is, and it has absolutely no place in a light and bright penthouse apartment like this one. The colour is awful, it’s overly clunky and chunky, and it clashes with the softness of the kitchen beside it. Please replace this before auction day. I beg you.

the block 2018 norm and jess guest bedroom green velvet headboard

The Apartment is Fighting with Itself

Jess and Norm’s apartment has split personality disorder. There are two styles fighting one another in this home and it’s not working out. There is this gorgeous, ethereal, relaxed style going on (think the kitchen and second guest bedroom). And then there’s this blingy luxe situation happening in other spaces (think the green velvet headboard and the wall sconces in the master).

I’ve never loved and hated an apartment at the same time with such equal force. The former style is lovely. It suits the orientation of the apartment wonderfully. But this random luxe furniture and decor is ruining it something shocking.

the block 2018 bianca and carla dining room art above sideboard

Terraces are Revealed This Sunday Night!

I got to see the terraces too, but of course I can’t show you any snaps of those until Monday morning. So do watch the reveal on Sunday night and then join me on the blog the next morn to chat all about it. You know I won’t hold back. And because I got to see them in-person, my opinions are sure to be 100% on the money!

Some of the terraces were beautiful beyond belief, while others were less than impressive. You’ll have to wait ’til Monday to find out how they all panned out.

Lemme know your thoughts on The Block apartments this season in the comments below. Which apartment is your fave and why? I’m dying to know!

Chris Sig


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Chris Carroll

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

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I’m interior designer Chris Carroll, and at TLC Interiors we’re all about helping you create an amazing home without breaking the bank. It’s affordable designer style at its best, and we make the whole process easy and fun for clients & readers alike!

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