I was sitting watching The Block last night and it hit me that I could not continue to post about it this season…..when the season started this year, I wrote about how I was looking forward to seeing if there were some sustainable inclusions, given some of the contestants usual green lifestyles, and the solar energy of last year. I started the season with an open mind, and then missed week 2 reveals as I as travelling. As I sat there and watched the process and judging this week, I realised that this was a waste… a waste of my time, a waste of opportunity to create more variety in the interior design world, and a waste of chances to create truly sustainable examples of design in a programme watched by many. Listening to the judges talk about “too many cushions” or “over styled” beds, reminded me of my hate of judgement when it comes to people’s homes, your homes, our homes; and why we started the #realhomesmovement. Watching the very pretty but essentially “same same” look of each bedroom and enormously luxurious ensuites, reminded me that there is no real individuality when it comes to The Block, a whole lot of excessive non conscious consumerism, and other than Wombat and Stick’s timber log side tables, (that got bagged), there were really no green elements to these rooms. What there is, is a whole lot of closed mindedness and pressure to look a certain way, which in my books, is a waste for so many reasons. My cynical self can’t help but wonder if they included the quirky Wombat this year to entice people like you and me to watch, with endless cut shots to his shipping container home but no real consideration of his ethics in the design process.
The problem with shows like this, is that they create a drive to consume. They entice you to want to have that “dream” bedroom or kitchen, to rip out your perfectly adequate bathroom, and create a “sanctuary”, your own day spa at home. They encourage you to feel bad about your home, your life, yourself…they push you to want to get the latest of whatever is being used on the show; and they don’t advocate for refuse, reduce, recycle and reinvent. While they may sometimes ask the contestants to consider the originality of the homes, and keep the heritage features, and this year, those houses have been rescued from the chopping block, essentially the aim is the create saleable homes, and saleable homes are ones that look the way the industry says is on trend; and encourage you to buy certain items to decorate your own home. There is also a lot of real waste that goes on, with things being ripped out and tossed away, when they could easily be reused or rennovated.
For me, the ideal home renovating show would be somewhere between Grand Designs, Kirsty’s Handmade Home and The Block. It would be one that encourages individuality, sustainability, affordability and creativity, one that talks about how you can create a safe and eco-friendly home that sings to your own song sheet, not one created for you by the so called trend setters. It would encourage reuse and upcycling, selection of materials and finishes that are healthy for you and the environment, locally designed and made homewares, furniture and art. The judges would not judge based on whether you had to many cushions or the room looked like a magazine cover, but more on the heart of the room, how it reflected the people who designed it, how uniquely them it is, and whether it ticked the boxes of a healthy home and a sustainable approach. This is a unique opportunity with a huge audience, to make changes. I would love to see what someone like Wombat and Sticks would do if they were truly given complete control over the design of their house.
While I adored the wallpaper that Sarah used this week and those log side tables from Wombat and Sticks, while some of the art is from Aussie artists, some of the bedding is linen or organic cotton, the skylights are a great addition in a sustainable home (if managed for increased heat during summer), the carpets may be wool, and some timber floors retained, the majority of the choices in the decorating of each room are from big name stock standard stores, and there is no discussion about consideration of healthy paints, finishes and fixtures, or sustainability. I also thought the judging was way off last night and think that the winning room was the one most like a show home and hence, the most saleable..case in point.
So, you will not see me posting about The Block in 2017. I won’t be watching and spending a few hours of my life writing about it and editing the photos to share with you. I won’t be providing a platform on Recycled Interiors to talk about things that really go against my belief in your unique individual REAL homes being the most beautiful 10/10 rooms I have ever seen. And I will be spending that wasted time doing something else – probably watching The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt or Suits instead – maybe a reality check out is what I really need.
Are you joining me?