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 this week, I realised that there is such a wasted 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. I love the judges and think they are all very talented, but listening to talk about “too many cushions” or “over styled” beds, reminds me of my hate of judgement when it comes to people’s 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, a whole lot of non conscious consumerism, and other than Wombat and Stick’s timber log side tables, there were really no green elements to these rooms.
The problem with shows like this is that they create a drive to consume the same kinds of looks. 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 in any way.
While they may sometimes ask the contestants to consider the originality of the homes, and keep the heritage features, such as those houses this year being rescued from the chopping block, essentially the aim is to 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. New things are great, but what about preserving some of the old too?
For me, the ideal home renovating show would be somewhere between Grand Designs, Kirsty’s Handmade Home and The Block. Using the talent we have here in Australia, such as that of the judges of The Block , it would be one that encourages individuality, sustainability, affordability and creativity. It would encourage the combination of new items with a reuse and upcycling approach. Selection of materials and finishes that are healthy for you and the environment and locally designed and made homewares, furniture and art. It is great to sometimes see the inclusion in The Block of local makers and creatives, but it would be better to see even more of this. The judges would not judge based on whether you had too 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.
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 stores, and importantly, there is no discussion about consideration of healthy paints, finishes and fixtures, or sustainability, which means there is no awareness of this for viewers.
So, you will not see me posting about The Block in 2017. I will be spending that time doing something else. And maybe I will give it a go again next year to see what happens, or look for an alternative renovating show – as I do love them so much