October 1, 2018
Best of The Block
You probably know her as one half of local breakfast radio team, Barrat and Jess. But along with juggling her hosting duties, as well as being mum to Fred, four and Matilda, one, our very own Jess Eva and her fiance Norm Hogan have become regular faces on Channel Nine’s hit reality television series The Block. We catch up with the loveable larrikin for behind the scenes goss as well as the latest trends in home renovations.
Why did you apply to be contestants on The Block? Why wouldn’t ya? The Block is reality TV royalty! How amazing to get a wad full of cash and have a crack at designing prime real estate in Melbourne. Every week you get feedback from interior designers who are legends in their own right. How lucky are we?
Have you always had an interest or flair for home renovating? Norm is a builder and has renovated many houses. I hadn’t even dabbled in it, despite reading many magazines and saying what I would like to do if we ever won lotto.
How did you find the experience? Without sounding cliché, The Block was one of the greatest things we have ever done. It allowed us to work together and achieve things as a team. Competition aside, what a great gift to give a couple. We have laughed, cried, freaked out, laughed again … and to do that with your partner is an experience that reminds you why you love each other.
Was it what you expected? No way! It was so much tougher! We have read social media comments saying the work is all for the cameras. Trust us, it is really that hard. We barely had a Saturday night that we slept and we had no recovery time. It was straight back into it the next day after judging.
What was your favourite room to transform? The living/dining area. We feel it is the space that isn’t determined around a bed or sink or shower. It’s basically an empty box and you can put whatever you like in it.
What was the most challenging room/area and why? The kitchen, of all places. Our floorer was away that week and Norm had to lay it all himself. The cutting around the benches was horrendous and definitely put him in a mood!
What was the biggest thing you learnt in renovating and home design? We have learnt to stick with your theme and make it continue throughout the space. Just because you love three different tiles or three different pieces of furniture doesn’t mean they are going to work together.
What are your tips on creating the wow factor on a budget? Use a couple of wow pieces as opposed to lots of okay pieces. Keep it simple yet amazing. If it looks bare, chuck a plant in there, they are cheap, especially online.
Did Norm’s experience as a chippy/builder give you an advantage? It certainly helped in some areas, yet was a hindrance in others. He could build, however it didn’t leave much mental space to help with design or anything else.
How would you describe your signature style on the show, compared with the other couples? Simple and bright!
Where did your inspiration come from? We aren’t really sure to be honest. However we Pinterested the crap out of everything!
What are some of the trends that were popular during this season that we can expect to see translating to Australian homes? Mustard tones, I personally love black steel doors with the frosted glass. Books put in bookshelves backwards! It’s ridiculous but it’s on trend. I think simple, elegant and timeless is really big right now with lots of greenery. As we get busier as a society I think the home needs to be an oasis to mentally reset.
What is your advice to others considering applying for The Block next year? Be yourselves! Lucky the casting director is a hawk for people pretending to be someone they aren’t. Don’t tell the camera what you are like for example, “I’m really funny” or “I’m really fiery”. Let your personality shine and let them make up their own mind of what you are like.