‘Tacky’ kitchen feature to avoid
Bondi boys Mitch and Mark may have won last week's room reveal on The Block, but in Sunday night's kitchen reveal they copped flak over a design feature the judges hated.
If you're in the middle of designing a kitchen and you're going for a luxurious look, avoid artificial light windows - well, that's what The Block judges think anyway.
While the boys were trying to create the effect of "real" windows, it was a big fail in the judges eyes, with Shaynna Blaze describing it as "tacky".
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HOUSE 1: Mitch and Mark
The judges' feedback started off positive. As usual, they were blown away by the boys' elaborate styling.
"Look at all the light from the stone. Whoa that looks absolutely spectacular," Shaynna said, referring to the kitchen bench backdrop.
"If anyone is going to serve glamour, it's the boys," Neale Whitaker added.
Darren Walker was amazed at how much was achieved with light, pointing out the backlit Caeserstone.
"It's just amazing," he said.
The Bondi boys really made an impression on the judges, with Shaynna saying the mood and classiness of the kitchen was just "incredible".
"They have made really broad choices and I think that's very clever, so the buyers that might not like their aesthetic in terms of some of the decorative choices they've made can still fall in love with the house," she said.
That was until the judges spotted something that made them question the boys' style - the artificial light and artwork in the window.
"Sheer blinds with faux windows?" Neale asked confused as he touched the curtains.
"The faux windows are leaving me scratching my head slightly," he continued.
Then Shaynna jumped in and, in true Shaynna style, offered her very direct feedback.
"That's just tacky as anything," she said.
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She thought the picture the boys chose for the window was weird.
"What's with the English country garden theme?" she asked.
"Even if they were going to do a lit picture, not an English garden with box hedges and a sky."
Neale wondered why the boys wouldn't stick to their Palm Springs theme.
"I was expecting that to be in keeping with the rest of the journey they're taking us on," he said.
Aussie chef Adam Da Silva then popped out of nowhere and escorted the judges to the butler's pantry where he sold the space as best he could.
"You've got a dishwasher, more bins, more storage and you can never have enough storage and work space," he said.
He did his best, and then the judges walked back out and questioned why the island in the kitchen had nowhere to sit.
"I find this standoff-ish as a guest," Neale said. "It can't be the heart of the home unless there's somewhere to sit."
Mitch and Mark also copped flak for wanting to put in a table. "It's not the way we live in open-planned space … it's not the same as sitting on a kitchen bench."
Neale said for a house that had given so much consideration to how we live and entertain, it was surprising they missed these details.
But overall the judges thought it was a "spectacular kitchen", just with nowhere to sit.
The boys came third with a score of 26 - they're also considering making changes to their artificial lighting and English artwork after the brutal feedback.
HOUSE 2: Tess and Luke
"Wow" was the word the judges used (they love that word) when walking into Tess and Luke's kitchen.
"That island bench needs its own postcode." Good one Neale.
It did. It was massive and the judges thought Tess and Luke nailed the functionality of the room.
They were super fascinated by the cupboards, which opened automatically with the touch of a finger.
Shaynna is always mesmerised by these clever little features and this was no exception. She screamed with laughter when accidentally brushing her hand against it.
"I like that," she said. Always a good sign with Shaynna.
Darren loved the colours they used, especially the dark floors and the chocolate laminate cabinetry.
"I do think this is pretty magnificent, I really do," Neale chimed in, adding what he loves about he kitchen is its "contemporary", "classic" and "timeless" feel.
He started again on the island, saying he loved how there was so much space to sit.
But Shaynna thought Tess and Luke could add more stools and turn it into an eight seater (not just three)
She loved the functionally of the kitchen too.
"Oh, we have a pullout pantry, a microwave, two ovens, coffee machine, we have a fridge," she said as though she was on The Price is Right. "There's some pretty good functional bells and whistles."
Shaynna described Tess and Luke's styling on the island bench as superb and enough to sell the dream but found the styling on the cooktop bench to be cluttered.
"I agree, this is very nicely done," Neale said, pointing to the island. "This not so much," he said about the benchtop.
"You know me I love a good kitchen island because I just believe it's where life gets lived, and this to me serves that purpose beautifully," he continued, adding it's going to be the heart of the home.
Darren agreed: "As a kitchen it's spectacular. Add some more seating and it will be perfect."
In the laundry, the judges loved the size. It functions and ticks every box.
The positive feedback still wasn't enough for the top score. But Tess and Luke did come third with 27.5 points.
HOUSE 3: Andy and Deb
When this couple deliver, they really deliver. Their kitchen was that good, the judges could barely find a thing to fault, which we all know is rare.
"Let there be light," Shaynna said as all three of the judges looked up at the massive void in the centre of the kitchen.
"That is incredible," Neale said.
"The eye is drawn upward immediately," Darren said, adding it's a masterstroke of changing the floor plan.
"The effect of this big, voluminous space of vast height and light just makes this kitchen feel so grand," he continued.
Shaynna also loved the layout, saying the orientation makes perfect sense with the dining table yet to come.
"I love the style they've done. They've done these little pillars at the end," she said as she touched the island. "It's actually like a butcher's block bench."
And the compliments kept on coming, with Neale saying it's a kitchen you can just "engage" with. "It's a really happy place," he said.
He did have a go at their stools, but once he sat on one he admitted that while they didn't look the best, they felt super comfortable.
"This really feels like the heart of the home," Neale said. "I am looking around me and I can't fault it."
Neale thinks it's one of the best kitchens he's seen on the show.
"If I could pick up this kitchen and take it home, I would." Wow, he must really love it.
"I think they have hit it out of the park," Shaynna added. "I absolutely adore everything they have done."
And when they walked into the laundry, Darren said: "Yas, Yas Queen" - which translates to "yes, Queen".
"That's the way to do it. This is all perfect," he said.
If you haven't guessed it yet, Andy and Deb came first with a score of 29.5 and $10,000 to add to their budget.
HOUSE 4: Matt and El'ise
There were a lot of tears during this couple's feedback. Sadly, they got slammed for their layout and functionality.
The first thing the judges noticed, as they did in all the kitchens, was the massive fridge taking up centre stage. It was a Gaggenau fridge that can easily cost about $19,000.
"That is serious luxury." Yes Neale, you would hope so at that price.
He thought the room felt more intimate than Andy and Deb's kitchen but no less luxurious.
"It's a different mood totally. This is much more of a kitchen that wraps itself around you." Neale sure has a way with words.
"I think there's a lot to love; the cabinetry is very sleek. I love the palette," he said.
Darren noticed it was the first kitchen to have a cooktop on the island bench.
"This is a design statement. They have really considered this being functional and not just a dining hub," Darren said.
Shaynna thought the Caesertone worked well on the benchtop, but rather than wrapping it around the rangehood, she suggested using smoked glass.
"It would have felt more light and bright," she explained.
Her main concern was about prep surface space.
And while there was ample storage, she said there was not enough benchspace.
"It's a beautiful-looking kitchen but feels like the planning is wrong," she said.
In the laundry/butler's pantry the judges also found the functionality to be wrong.
"I'm quite perplexed by this because I don't equate this level of poor planning with the couple that have produced it," Neale said in a rather confused tone.
"I am standing here thinking what went wrong, what caused it?" he asked, again very confused.
While it was beautiful to look at, the judges said it fell short on functionality.
And because of that feedback, El'ise was in tears. They came last with 23.5 points.
HOUSE 5: Jesse and Mel
Sometimes you can't predict how the judges will react to a Jesse-and-Mel-styled room.
But these last few weeks they seemed to impress the judges, and this week, they did it again.
Darren was smiling as he walked into their kitchen
"I like this a lot. I like the colour scheme, I like this laminate, I think it looks very timber like," Darren said as he slid his fingers across the cabinet doors.
He loved the combination of colours - the dark cabinetry against the light timber flooring.
"Sometimes people are afraid to mix timber types, but this is how you do it. You just have to have things to relate to it," Darren said.
Neale agreed the complete contrast worked.
"It seems to me the functionality is about spot on," he said as he glanced across the entire kitchen.
"The choice of handles, this gorgeous chevron floor - it's incredibly refined. There's luxurious details that add to the glamour," he added.
Shaynna loved the "gorgeous" light. She also told the other two judges how Jesse layered the floor himself after watching a tutorial on YouTube, saving the couple $10,000.
"I salute you mate. He has done a fine job," Neale said.
While the judges said it wasn't the coolest kitchen, they were impressed by how well it was presented.
"They lost the plot for a few weeks ago but they are very much back in the game, and they are presenting a beautifully refined house." No holding back for Neale. He is known for telling it like it is.
Into the butler's pantry, the judges thought it was way too tight, and Jesse and Mel needed to reduce the size of the cupboards.
Other than that, they nailed kitchen week, nabbing second spot with 28.5 points.
Mitch and Mark: 26
Tess and Luke: 27.5
Andy and Deb: 29.5 (Winners)
Matt and Elise: 23.5
Jesse and Mel: 28.5
The Block airs tomorrow at 7pm on Channel 9