The penultimate week on The Block 2020 sees the contestants working on their garage and studio space. A garage is pretty straight forward with plenty of storage essential, but the studio is a completely different matter. There is no doubt that a good decent sized garage with a studio is highly appealing for buyers and will add lots of value to your home, but when planning a studio you really need to consider how it will be used and what will be the best use of the space in terms of resale value.
This week we have seen studios with large kitchens that wouldn't be out of place in many main homes, but with absolutely nowhere to hang clothes. You can't even hang a coat in some of the studios, which trust me if you live in Melbourne, and I have, you most definitely need. There are studios that have European style laundries, but with barely any storage for the clothes, bedlinen and towels you would be using it for. While other spaces have nowhere practical to work from home. So what is the studio for? A teenage retreat, a place for the in-laws to stay, a full-time rental space or a work from home space? There is one thing for sure, the space available cannot successfully suit all of these scenarios.
As I viewed the finished rooms this week, this was the question that I kept asking myself and what would a prospective buyer be thinking and looking for. As you read through, keep this in mind when you consider how well each team has done.
The Block Garage and Studio Reveal
Time was clearly an issue this week as three of the teams didn't complete their reveals and this unfortunately lost them marks. I didn't agree with the judges this week – I will need to look back but I'm not sure I usually do! Sarah and George haven't won when I thought they should, but I didn't think that their space deserved to be just half a mark away from a perfect score or the winning space this week. In terms of the use of space, I think that Jimmy and Tam should have won, but again, I didn't think it was a space that was just one mark away from perfection. Again, nowhere to hang a coat! As these were the only two teams that completed their spaces, they had to be at the top, but I don't understand why the scores were so high. See what you think.
Sarah and George | Garage and Studio 29 ½ /30
It’s been a joy to see Sarah and George finish so strongly on The Block, with this week being their best yet. The judges loved the fact their garage had some storage and artwork of local Brighton landmarks. Upstairs in the beautiful studio, Sarah and George had a laundry, kitchenette, bed, bathroom, and work from home space. The bathroom style of terrazzo tiles was a huge hit and the workmanship was spot on. Sarah and George are peaking at the right time, after a really tough start to the grind of The Block.
There is no doubt that this space is highly appealing if you are planning to rent out the studio but otherwise, I can't see the point in using up valuable storage space for a European style laundry. You wouldn't expect visitors to do their own washing and really if you have young adult family in the space, they would use the large laundry in the house. I spent quite some time years ago house hunting in the Brighton area and it certainly wasn't somewhere you would expect to see granny annexes for rent. I think that Sarah and George's intentions were good but realistically in that market, I don't see the need.
The work from home space is nicely thought out and could double as good clothes storage if you needed it to. Visually, I didn't like the tall dark cupboard next to the window. In fact, I think as you walk in the room that it becomes the focal point and is extremely off putting from a design point of view. Without the laundry there would be heaps of storage in the hallway and this could have all been low cabinetry, creating a far more pleasing space.
The colour scheme is lovely and welcoming and the bed is dressed nicely. I love the stone in the kitchen too and think for a kitchenette that the space is planned out well. The bathroom tiles are very appealing but I have to question the size of the heated towel rail. It needed to be at least double the size that it is to be visually pleasing and effective.
Without precious space being used for a laundry and more thought given to minor details, the space could have worked well, but I really don't agree that it was a half mark from a perfect 30.
Jimmy and Tam | Garage and Studio 29 /30
Every week Jimmy and Tam set themselves apart with a different approach from the rest of the couples and this week was no different. Their garage features a fully installed home gym with television. In the era of Covid-19 gym restrictions in Melbourne, this is a huge plus. Upstairs they had the most obvious work from home space, with a galley style kitchenette that morphed into a desk. A huge sofa bed that can be pulled out to turn the space into a bedroom. Yet another very strong week for Jimmy and Tam.
Jimmy and Tam have delivered a lovely light, clean and fresh studio space. I do think that the kitchenette is too large for a space without a dining table and this is a shame as the work from home area could have been more generous. I'm not a fan of the tiles extending along the wall into this space but that's a minor point. The large sofa bed is an excellent idea and really gives you great versatility for how to use this space but where is the storage for bedlinen and where does that coffee table go when it's not in use? I think that although the cabinet and artwork is very appealing, some tall storage there and perhaps a nest of tables might have provided more functionality.
The room is very nicely presented though and finished very well but I do wonder how practical it would be. The bathroom is a nod to the 1950s retro style but more restrained in colour which I think works well for this space. Although the garage has a gymnasium space, there is no storage which I think is a big mistake.
Daniel and Jade | Garage and Studio 25 ½ /30
A B+ for effort from the judges for Daniel and Jade, who have been consistent all throughout their journey on The Block. The fact they had a toilet in the garage was a huge value add to the property, so close to the pool and back garden. The judges were devastated to see the staircase not finished. The way they presented the studio space was like a bedroom, which means House No.3 has six bedrooms on The Block. Shaynna thought it would have been better to incorporate more of a home office space, as six bedrooms is probably too much for the average family in Brighton. The work from home space they did have – a small desk with no power point – was a disappointment for the judges. The bathroom was a decent effort. With one of two changes, Daniel and Jade could have had a much higher score.
Another lovely space but with hardly any storage and again, no long hanging space. Without a built in work from home space too, there really is hardly anywhere in this space to store anything. The powder room in the garage is an excellent idea, but some built in storage cabinets there too would have added value. I don't think there is much to fault here in terms of decor. The colour palette is lovely and soft with layers of texture throughout the space adding to the interest of the room. While the kitchenette is simple and stylish.
I like the choice of tiles in the bathroom and it looks to be finished well but the vanity unit is really impractical. Again there is only minimal storage in the mirrored cabinet and the only place to put a toothbrush down is on the top of the toilet seat.
I think that Daniel and Jade have really come a long way on this programme and I like their simple, understated style. I loved their house exterior last week and feel that this has followed through well. If only they had considered the practical elements of the space better. And of course, their stairs weren't finished which affected their score too.
Luke and Jasmin | Garage and Studio 25 ½ /30
Walking in the judges loved the practical storage in the garage. Luke and Jasmin didn’t go over the top and you don’t have to when delivering such a space. Unfortunately they had issues with their plasterer and the staircase wasn’t finished, much to the devastation of Jasmin. The judges loved the Velux skylights in the studio. Velux has done an incredible job this year throughout The Block. Everything was beautiful, the bed, the kitchenette, and the bathroom. However functionality wise, the judges felt the bathroom needed a door, and once again there should have been a more obvious work from home space.
If the staircase had been finished, I feel that this was definitely the winning space on The Block garage and studio reveal this week. Rather than try to be all things to everyone, Luke and Jasmin have delivered a gorgeous studio for visitors to stay in. For anyone with family overseas or interstate, this space would be invaluable. There is good built in storage for clothes, a lovely comfortable seating nook with dining table that delivers a comfy seating area and a dining space. If you did want to work on your laptop, you could do that too at the table. There is added storage in the seating area too which in a small space is an excellent design inclusion.
Notice that there is a tall cupboard next to the window but as it is in white it doesn't stand out as a feature unlike the dark timber one in Sarah and George's studio.
The bathroom is divine. Truly a really lovely space with gorgeous warm and welcoming colours and plenty of storage in the generous sized vanity unit. I am with the judges on the door though – not sure how the in-laws would handle this! In my view, this was the winning space, probably even with unfinished stairs. I believe that Luke and Jasmin's hard work will pay off when it comes to auction time on The Block.
Harry and Tash | Garage and Studio 20/30
Serious budget issues once again hampered Harry and Tash’s efforts this week as they delivered an unfinished studio and garage. With a large kitchen, bed and a bathroom, the studio is completey self-contained adding huge value to House No.1. The judges felt the kitchen was too big for the space, and they could have had a more obvious work from home space. While they loved the tile choices in the bathroom, which was unfortunately unfinished, they thought the layout could have been more functional. They did love the beautiful artwork in the studio. So a lot of potential for Harry and Tash’s studio and garage, but unfortunately because of budget issues and time, they didn’t quite get there.
I agree with the judges that the kitchen was far too big for the space – this is a kitchen rather than a kitchenette. You can store enough dinnerware, glasses and kitchen equipment for a family of four. There is no hanging space at all and little other storage. As usual with Harry and Tash's rooms, they are light, bright and airy and the pink and grey colour scheme works well in the space. I feel that the pink tiles are overwhelming though in the small bathroom. The space needed more artwork too – it looks a little unloved and unfinished.
What do you think of The Block garage and studio reveals this week? Do you agree with the judges? I would love to hear your comments below.
I have been reviewing the reveals from the beginning and if you haven't been following this, you can start at the beginning here.