The Block Room Reveal Guest Bedroom week saw a particular challenge for the contestants. To turn around a room in one week is a huge challenge for anyone, but to present and style it in a particular era adds another layer of complexity. In many ways this is a challenge faced by professional designers daily who regularly need to meet an exact brief from a client. Interpreting a particular era which is outside of your comfort zone is an enormous challenge, particularly without a design education.
I hope the contestants relished this challenge and that you enjoy seeing some of my favourite shots from each couple in The Block Room Reveal Guest Bedroom edition. Remember as you view the rooms that products can be found at The Block Shop.
Below is the winning guest bedroom from Jimmy and Tam.
The Block Room Reveal Guest Bedroom
As you browse through, remember to consider the brief that the contestants received. I have added some notes about each period and will let you consider how well you think each couple met the brief.
Harry and Tash – Guest Bedroom 24/30
After coming last in the House Decider challenge the judges noticed the huge improvement this week for the Melbourne father and daughter. The raised ceilings and Velux skylights were stunning. All the furniture choices by Tash, including the Art Deco bed head and bedside tables were perfect. Shaynna loved the slippers that Tash put in, what a lovely touch. Their use of space and planning was also praised. Harry and Tash had a tough start to The Block, but they look like they are now hitting their stride.
I love the way that Harry and Tash have embraced the strong colours of the Art Deco period. With its abstract geometrical stylisation, expressive zigzag lines and dynamic streamlining, often combined with vibrant colours and lavishly decorated surfaces. The period after the First World War saw an era of optimism with travel to exotic places by ocean liner popular with the wealthy. The colours of the period were the vivid colours of the Ballet Russes and were chiefly shades of red, yellow, orange and green. The natural materials of the era were derived from exotic woods, snakeskin, jade and silver.
I am a big fan of linen look simple sheers with an inverted pleat heading. This is a small but important element that adds to the elegance of the space.
Jimmy and Tam – Guest Bedroom 25.5/30
The judges thought Jimmy and Tam just snuck into the 1950s era, concluding their stunning room fitted into 1959 when it came to the inspiration. The room had a very purposeful sense of style, highlighted by the incredible Grafico wallpaper. For the first week on The Block, Tam has already excelled at styling. The Velux skylights were literally, a highlight. They also loved the secret door into what will be their Guest Ensuite Bathroom, which is an extension of the Kinsman wardrobe. It’s been a very strong start to The Block for Jimmy and Tam, their second win in a row.
I love the graceful and elegant feel to Jimmy and Tam's guest bedroom. The 1950s were an amazing and exciting decade for change and creativity. After ten years of hardship, deprivation and austerity the 1950s dawned a bright new era. The colour palette for the era was one of pretty colours, far removed from the drabs of the war years. The floral names of colours reflected the number one hobby, gardening. There are three definitive retro colour palettes: Scandinaviaan, Pastel and Modern.
The pastel tones were evident throughout the era with cleaner colours becoming popular. The Scandinavian look was known in the US as the Contemporary look and the clean lines, fresh whites and pale timbers of Jimmy and Tam's room demonstrate this perfectly.
Daniel and Jade – Guest Bedroom 25/30
Spectacular. That’s the word that Darren, Shaynna and Neale thought best when describing Daniel and Jade’s room delivery. They loved the restoration of the beautiful, original pendant light the couple found in their 1930s house. The Asian influence in the room, including the bamboo print, was excellent. Daniel and Jade thought hard about their 1930s era this week, and it paid off.
The Art Deco period was in full swing in the 1930s. After the stockmarket crash of 1929 and the great depression that followed, governments began cranking up consumption to fuel the economy. American designers at this time started to streamline their designs which originally came from Italian trend forecasters which produced a style of innovative elegance and simplicity of form and function. I feel that this room was a little too tizzy to meet the brief. By streamlining it more and using a less elaborate side table, the outcome for me would have been better.
Luke and Jasmin – Guest Bedroom 20.5/30
The judges really struggled with Luke and Jasmin’s room this week as they thought it didn’t fit the 1910s era at all. Shaynna believed there should have been more of the timber strapping and panelling in the room and the use of Venetian plaster didn’t fit the era. There were some positives though. Neale thought while it didn’t fit the era it was a beautiful, contemporary room. Darren also loved the colour palette and thought the finishes were promising. Luke and Jasmin came into The Block with a vision of what they wanted to do, a modern, contemporary room. But the era theme has really thrown them. However, they are competitive and determined to do better.
The decade of 1910 is one of my favourites as it was the beautiful Art Nouveau period. This period was a backlash to the Industrial Revolution. Some Art Nouveau designers welcomed the technological advances of the late 1800s but many others deplored the shoddiness of mass-produced machine made goods and wanted a return to fine craftmanship and individual creativity. William Morris started the arts and crafts movement which saw the blossoming of the Art Nouveau period. The typical designs of the Art Nouveau period were stylised organic forms, plant designs, flower stems and tendrils while the colours were deep indigo blue, deep red with greens as a centrepiece in most designs. Although the colours were rich they were muted because the influential designers of the time wanted to rely on natural rather than synthetic dyes.
I feel that this room does contain these stronger colours but they are too highly saturated. With some more thought to the introduction of green and artworks with more traditional Art Nouveau motifs, the room would have worked better.
Sarah and George – Guest Bedroom 21/30
The Western Sydney couple delivered not only a guest bedroom but also a home office or study. Shaynna loved the colour palette and the gorgeous bed throw. Shaynna thought, however, the home office or study would have worked better as a walk-in wardrobe. Darren loved the benchtop in the study and the Kinsman wardrobes. Shaynna felt the pair struggled with the 1940s era and Sarah admitted to being a bit confused. Shaynna did, however, have a lot of praise for the execution. A solid start for Sarah and George, but with a lot to improve.
The colours of the 1940s were strong and bold with navy blue, sunshine yellow, red and green being popular. We always consider the years of the Second World War to be drab and grey, which of course they were but once the war ended, there was a strong feeling of optimism which carried through into the 1950s and a great economic boom for some nations, particularly the US. I do feel for Sarah as this would be my least favourite era to decorate in. Art Deco was still popular but with the world in such disarray, it is difficult to define a look. I found when studying the history of styles and trends and teaching the subject, that this period was the least appealing for everyone and I do therefore feel for Sarah with this brief.
I do agree with the judges choice for winner this week. I did like the elegance of Jimmy and Tam's 1950s era guest bedroom. The room is light and airy and a good start for these contestants of The Block. Click through here to go to The Block Shop to see more and to purchase some of these items. More information is also available at Nine Now.
Which room did you like the best this week? I would love to hear your feedback and whether you liked the idea of exploring some of the earlier trends from the last century. This was certainly a challenge for an amateur decorator, but one which I hope they enjoyed as all designers need a thorough grounding in the history of styling and trends to interpret the trends of today and the future. Remember, there are rarely new ideas, just ones adapted from previous and historical styles.
I also wrote a piece some time ago for Country Home Ideas magazine on how to style a guest bedroom. There are some good tips here too.
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Photo credits for all images in The Block Reveal Guest Bedroom: David Cook Photography