The Block Stairway + Entranceway | Girls vs boys

When I first heard that The Block teams had their entranceways to complete, I thought it would be a fairly easy week. But once I realised that it also entailed their stairways and additional landings and hallways I knew it was a much bigger than I first anticipated. It turned out to be the hardest week so far and not one of the teams were able to complete their spaces in time.

Dyls and Dyls won the "Block Stars" challenge with their acrobatic routine which gave them the ability to completely knock out another team from judging. It was no surprise that they chose front runners Niki and Tiff, which was a good call as the girls once again got the highest score. Emma and Courtney won a game changer challenge during the week which gave them the "-1 point" and they used that against the Double D's. So finally Emma and Courtney won a room reveal - even without playing the -1 the would've just pipped D+D.

Emma and Courtney: 1st place - 10 points (5 from Fiona and 5 from Paul)

The scores were all on the low side because there was so much left unfinished, but 10 points was enough to won this week. The repetition of black accents was nice in the girls' entrance. I like the clean lines of the console and the large round mirror which is a nice contrast to all the straight lines. Even better would've been a runner and a little bit more styling on the console, but that can all be added.

I like the mix of materials used on the stairs - wood, glass and chrome. Judge, Paul Izzard, really seemed to enjoy this week's judging with all of the architectural elements, and I agree that the slight overhang on the stair treads was a nice detail here.

A previous challenge win meant E+C got to commission a piece by artist, Greer Clayton. The piece she created for the girls is beautiful, and it goes to show what an impact a large scale artwork makes. The size is perfect for the space, and I like that the girls' console and styling are both simple as it allows the art to shine.

Dyls and Dylz: 2nd place - 8.5 points (4.5 from Fiona and 5 from Paul and a -1 from E+C)

Big Dyls designed and created his dream floating staircase for their home, and it was quite spectacular. Unfortunately a slight error in measuring put each tread out by 3mm, and meant they couldn't complete the stairs in time for the reveal. An extra step will have to be added in the coming weeks. I love the really large front door, and the plugs under the stairs mean a console table with a lamp could be added, which would look great.

The panelled doors look really nice down the hallway. The lights up the stairwell were a little too simple. In a stairwell where there is no furniture, you can afford to be more adventurous with your lighting choice. As Fiona said, treat it like a piece of art or sculpture.

The wall opposite the door is crying out for a lovely big piece of art. It would be a great focal point as you enter, but this can be added at a later date.

Sam and Emmett: 3rd place - 7.5 points (3.5 from Fiona and 4 from Paul)

Sam and Emmett had a rough week with flooding and failing to pass initial pre-line inspections, and their house was perhaps the most unfinished. I'm not a "red" fan so don't love their front door, but I know it's good luck in some cultures so I'm sure some prospective buyers will like it.

The window revealing a glimpse of the wine cellar as you descend the stairs is a clever feature and will also appeal to many.

The boys need to take a lesson in scale from Emma and Courtney. The artwork at the bottom of the stairs is far too small.

I photoshopped it to show you the size I think looks better. When it comes to art, if in doubt, always go bigger...

Also, the hall table is sweet, but the mirror is too small, and the styling a bit small and insignificant. Once again, these are all details that can be rectified, if not by S+E then by the new owners.

Niki and Tiff: taken out of judging by D+D through a challenge - 11 points (5.5 from Fiona and 5.5 from Paul)

My favourite of all the spaces, and the reason why is that Tiff gets all of those little details right. She knows how to work with scale and texture. The artwork is cool, I love the moody colours.

The white staircase with space between the steps creates a light, airy feel. It also allows the art and accessories on display to take centre stage.

The girls were the only team to use a hall runner, which I think is always a good idea for adding softness, texture, and sometimes colour and pattern. The large landing created a space that was almost another room in itself. The large window and the sky lights are brilliant - natural light is always a winner. I love the bench seat, but as the judges said, the cushions on the floor aren't that practical. A small chair, or even a pouf would've been a better choice, or nothing at all.

The round artwork is divine. A lot of people have been asking on our Facebook page where the girls get all their artwork, and I think Tiff sources it from a photostock library and then has it framed. Clever girl, and the round frame is fab - it's different, which I know Tiff always strives for, and it softens and contrasts the straight lines. Dael & I use circles as much as possible in our designs. A room will always be filled with straight lines and angles, so the introduction of circles and curves will be welcomed.

What will this week bring? Tune in for the action and drama, and for more pics and information, pop over to the TV3 website.

Architectural + INTERIOR Inspiration | High House

I recently came across 'High House', a major home renovation by Dan Gayfer Design, and was so inspired that I knew I had to share it with you. Located in Fitzroy North in Melbourne, the homeowners were determined to have their inner city lifestyle without compromising on the size they needed for their young family. From the street the house sits quietly amongst it's neighbours, but the inside and back of the house has been turned into a modern and functional home with a spacious, airy feel.

The house is a mere five metres wide but the clever use of built-in furniture helps to maximise the space and it's functionality. The clean lines and the simple colour palette also add to the sense of cohesion and simplicity. I love how the height of the sofa is mirrored by the outdoor bench seat. Also, take note of the powder blue tiles featured on the base of the outdoor bench and the outside back wall, as they are repeated in the downstairs bathroom creating a visual link.

Perhaps my favourite feature is the concrete bench top and how it runs down between the wooden floorboards to the concrete floor beyond. The tiles used in the splash back and under the island bench 'speak to' the tiles used in the two bathrooms and outdoor spaces.

In both bathrooms the built-in cabinetry is kept very simple allowing the coloured tiles to be the hero. The matt black fixtures complete the look and compliment the dark grout.

Some of the cutest house models ever!

Purple velvet is an unexpected touch, and I love subtle surprises like that.

Although I have huge admiration for the design of this home, I would love to see a piece of art above the bed or a headboard in a soft linen or velvet. But I'm crazy about those bedside lights with their pink base that pulls your eye through to the ensuite.

Those gorgeous tiles are repeated on the bedroom balcony, as the blue ones were downstairs.

Each space and every detail is so well thought out, I think this home is super special! To see more work by Dan Gayfer Design head to their website.

Messervy House For Sale

Matt and Kate Arnold discovered the Messervy House whilst on a walk down a quiet cul-de-sac in their hometown of Christchurch. After talking to it's owner, they learnt that it had been designed for her family in 1964 by architect Allan Mitchener, and she'd lived happily in it ever since. Matt and Kate kept in touch with Biddy Messervy, and when the time came for her to move out, they bought the house off her.

As only the second owners, Matt and Kate spent last year restoring Messervy House back to her former glory. They painted inside and out in the original colours, replaced the cork flooring and cracked windows, had new linen curtains made, re-wallpapered, and replaced the kitchen benchtop. Everything was carried out with the intention of maintaining the original design of the house, and using the original materials where possible.

Now that she's finished, Messervy House is on the market, and it's very important to Matt and Kate that her new owners are design enthusiasts who will fully appreciate her. Not only the highly imaginative design, but also the effort that has gone into her restoration. The house has a stream at the back with a footbridge connecting to Ilam fields and gardens, and it's a nice walk across the park to the University of Canterbury.

For more information about the house and how you can view and/or buy it, click here. I asked Matt a few questions about the restoration process, read on for his answers.

What was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome?
Finding cork tiles. We hit a national shortage, nobody had them. Kate called almost every Bunnings in New Zealand and sniffed out anybody who had cork tiles stashed away. We scrounged together just enough by buying them in small packets from all over the country. We almost went down the route of parquet floors, but finally got the cork.

Tell me more about the wallpaper you used?
The house originally had wallpaper, which is slightly unusual for a modernist house, but it seemed to work. The old wallpaper was done for, it was torn, faded and stained, but finding a replacement was surprisingly difficult. Have you ever shopped for wallpaper? It's bewildering. We finally settled on a seagrass, but at the last minute we spotted the green arches designed by Claesson Koivisto Rune (architects we really admire) and we were away.

Do you have any advice to help people find the right architect or draftsman for their project?
Go straight to Michael O'Sullivan.

You've done such a fantastic job with this home, will you be taking on another restoration or renovation in the future?
I think we will. There are lots of these wonderful little houses in and around Christchurch designed in the 50s and 60s that are perhaps a little bit under-appreciated. And when they're made of concrete, like this one, they don't rot or leak, and all you need is some white paint and enthusiasm. I think with these types of places, the less you do the better, really.

photography: Sam Hartnett

I wish you luck Matt and Kate, and to all my readers... if you are interested in buying this beautiful home, or know someone who might be, get cracking! I have a feeling it may be snapped up quickly.