The Block Villa Wars | Entrance, Kitchen & Dining Reveal

Wowza, a lot went down on The Block Villa Wars last week. It was pretty huge with contestants needing to completely finish their interiors, which included their kitchen, dining room, and their entrance. Somewhere in the middle of all that craziness, Sarah's boyfriend arrived looking dapper and got down on one knee to propose - so sweet! Then a bombshell was dropped when not one, but two teams were disqualified from kitchen and dining reveal. More about that later, first to the entrances...

Entrance - Cat and Jeremy: 1st place | 18 points

Cat and Jeremy had the largest entranceway and they created a beautiful first impression with panelling on the walls and a statement art piece by Trent Davis on the far wall, which is framed by the doorway.

I love the panelling, it adds subtle texture, and the shadows cast by the light adds subtle pattern. Each team had to use a rug they'd made in a previous challenge, and although none of them are very nice (sorry guys), a rug is a great addition to an entrance, leading you into the home.

Entrance - Brooke and Mitch: 2nd place | 17.5 points

It's nice to see Brooke and Mitch using a statement piece of art. The trio of lights and the character villa features are beautiful.

Something's not quite working for me with the console table and the art. I love the idea, but they seem to be fighting a bit, and the styling on the table is too small and bitsy. Perhaps a large solid vase picking up one of the colours in the painting would've been better.

Entrance - Sarah and Minanne: 3rd place | 14 points

There's a big jump between the top two teams' scores and the bottom two, and I'm not sure that it's justified. Although a little bare, Sarah and Minanne's hallway was really nice. I would've painted the front door a nice bright colour. That wouldn't have cost them much (and I know money is tight), but would've created a bit of 'wow'.

Once again the villa details are gorgeous, and I like their choice of light. A long Armadillo runner and a huge piece of art would make this hallway look amazing - that's what I would add if I was to buy this house.

Entrance - Jamie and Hayden: 4th place | 13 points

Once again, is that a harsh score? I think Jamie and Hayden's entrance and hallway should've scored higher if you're comparing them to the top teams. I do think those dark floorboards are going to be super hard to keep clean, but the David Trubridge light and the round mirror are great.

I also like the bench seat - they look great and are super handy in an entrance for putting your shoes on and off. They styling on the bench is a bit under whelming though.

Kitchen/Dining - Brooke and Mitch: 1st place | 19.5 points

Brooke and Mitch scored the first perfect 10 of the season for their kitchen/dining, the judges loved it. The wood is a nice contract to the white and adds warmth. I like the open shelves, that's a great place to style some favourite bits and pieces. We have very similar in our own kitchen (see more below).

The dining table is bespoke, built by Brooke and Mitch's builder and gifted to them, but this is what got them disqualified, as it's against the rules. Their builders are allowed to make furniture for them but they must pay for their labour and the materials.

Kitchen/Dining - Cat and Jeremy: 2nd place | 17.5 points

It's lovely to see how the houses all flow now that they're complete. Cat and Jeremy re-did their fireplace from living room week, and it looks so much nicer tiled in a white brick look. They continued the tiles on their kitchen splash back.

Unfortunately the tiles are what caused Cat and Jeremy to also be disqualified. They used a New Plymouth tiler, and to help them out he only charged them $1. I can see why these rules need to be enforced, otherwise all the teams will start to do similar things and what is the point in having a budget. What do you think?

Kitchen/Dining - Sarah and Minanne: 3rd place | 16.5 points

Although they came third on the leaderboard, Sarah and Minanne walked away with the $5,000 this week, which they desperately needed. Of course they would've preferred to have won the money fair and square, but I really like their kitchen and they deserve a win.

I love the choice of pendant lights, and the tiles add some subtle pattern and texture. The bench top ties in with their bathrooms, and there is a lovely flow between the indoor and outdoor cooking areas.

Kitchen/Dining - Jamie and Hayden: 3rd place | 7.5 points

We sort of knew this low scoring was going to happen, even Jamie and Hayden said the judges would hate their kitchen. They haven't backed down from their bold style, and the splash back was certainly controversial.

I think the black cabinetry is pretty cool, and although I love the braveness of the splash back, I don't actually love it myself. I worry that they will have limited buyers on auction day as they are appealing to a younger market who may not be able to afford the house. I hope they prove me wrong as I'd love to see them walk away with some cash at the end of this.

Now this final pic is my own kitchen. Don't you think Brooke and Mitch's open cabinets, Cat and Jeremy's high wooden shelf, and Sarah and Minanne's hexagon splash back could all merge together to look like mine? :)

Add the Unexpected

I eat, drink and breathe interior design! It's my job, but it's also my passion, and in my down time, if I'm not spending it with family and friends, you'll usually find me with my nose in an interior book or magazine, or checking out my favourite interior websites.

For me, there is nothing that inspires me more than a home that has shied away from "the norm" and created their own look and style. Absolutely you should take inspiration from others, but don't just copy someone else's look... take pieces you love and put your own spin on them. Think creatively and add the unexpected - things that will make you, and your visitors, smile.

A royal blue painted ceiling is unexpected,
and doesn't it make a beautiful backdrop to those stunning lights?!

Don't limit yourself, think outside the box - get your stainless steel towel rack
(or handles, or toilet roll holder...) powder coated in your favourite colour.

Invite friends over to help you paint an old canvas then use it as a wall hanging or alternative headboard.
You will've created art and memories! Balls of bright coloured wool can be as beautiful as a vase of flowers.

Use a beautiful birdcage to house a plant instead of birds.
The rug helps to anchor the cage and creates a statement, sculptural piece.

Take everyday items and place them in an unconventional way or place to create a whimsical look.

Displaying the things you love in your home says a lot about who you are and creates a home with personality. Why not have your favourite cameras (or shoes, or vintage toys...) on your console table?!

Bathrooms are often thought of as functional rooms, so you may not expect to see a down-lit shelf in a bathroom, with it's sole purpose to display a lovely vase. But if you have the room, why not!

Often the simplest and most effective way to express who you are is a simple grouping
of pieces that have meaning to you. Don't think that by displaying knick knacks you are just
creating clutter. These are the things that make the house your home.

It's your home, stamp your mark on it, be brave and bold with your choices. That element of surprise you create shows you're not afraid to step outside the box. Start small and play with different displays of your favourite things. As your confidence in your style grows you may want to make bigger statements. I'm not suggesting you turn your home into a totally eccentric space, but I am urging you to be original.

Rue Magazine Update

Have you had a chance to check out the latest Rue magazine? I was really inspired by their latest issue. There's a great article on the Venice Beach offices of B-REEL. Kate Driver of West Haddon Hall designed an amazing space and I loved how they included three different lounging areas, each one with a different vibe. They're great for staff to take a break from their desk, or to hold informal meetings with clients.

Interior designer, Soledad Alzaga, worked on what I would call a "dream job" recently. A client needed an apartment turned around within a month, and because he's worked with Soledad before and trusted her, he stepped back and gave her full control of the design - amazing! The result is a very cool and stylish bachelor pad which the client loves.

The home of interior designer, Cristin Priest, is much more feminine, and equally as gorgeous. Kelly green cushions and flamingo wallpaper will get me every time!

Finally, a house in Toronto was transformed into a modern, eclectic and welcoming home with the help of Stacey Cohen. It's a "must see" so make sure you check it out in it's entirety, as well as all the other fantastic content.