Do the five houses on The Block really measure up?


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Domain takes a look inside the five houses up for auction in this season of The Block.

Five derelict weatherboards in different postcodes of Melbourne were rescued from the wood chip, hoisted and trucked to a sprawling plot in blue chip Elsternwick. The ambitious start to this year's season of Channel Nine's hit renovation show The Block set the tone for the magnitude of the overhaul to come - nothing less than buckets of blood, sweat and sawdust would elevate these condemned properties from splintering eyesores to multi-million dollar family homes.

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Transformed, the four-and-five bedroom houses are on the market, with price guides of $2.4 million to $2.64 million (against a suburb median of $1.94 million).

Five teams were enlisted for the enormous task, which includes a self-contained granny flat to create homes of unmatched size for any season of The Block. The master stroke of this year is the return to working on standalone properties (after a few seasons of apartments), tapping into our national obsession with renovating houses.

Transplanting smaller old homes on to a large parcel of land has allowed for extensions which beautifully blend period and modern. Each property does this through a breezeway - an architectural touch from the 1970s, brought to life through louvred windows and lush landscaping. These addresses deliver impeccably on so much of what the target market expects - big, functional houses with multi-generational living, pools, gardens to play in and three-car garages - while being unique for Elsternwick.

Notes from The Block judge, Alice Stolz

You only need to look at the rooms The Block contestants delivered last week (a studio with en suite and three car garage for each house) to see how far each of the couples have come this season.

Walking through the houses each week is part eye opening for the simple fact of just how much can actually happen in a week and part mystery as to how the contestants hold up under the sheer pressure of the show, not to mention their relationships. And all of this with no decent shower or loo nor home cooked meal.

Alice Stolz The Block 2017 judge

Alice Stolz with host Scotty Cam and Shelley Craft. Photo: Channel Nine

The personal downside of being involved in a show like The Block is how one's expectations change. I'd go home each week, post-filming and implore to my husband that yes, we really could fix our kitchen in just one week. But alas, such is The Block effect. Anyone thinks they can do it ???

On to our cover stars, and yes, it really did come down to just half a point between Josh and Elyse and Ronnie and Georgia. I think what ultimately got Josh and Elyse over the line is the execution of their garden. What they did in this area works so beautifully with the rest of the house, it's the jewel in the crown. They planned cleverly and bravely and it paid off. But alas, the ultimate test will come on October 28 when the five houses go under the hammer.

Domain magazine cover winner

Josh and Elyse???
46A Regent Street, Elsternwick

46A Regent Street, ElsternwickPhoto: Hocking Stuart

5 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, 3 car spaces
Agent:Hocking Stuart, Todd Newton 0412 568 313 and Sophie Laforest 0432 610 949

You want to know one of our favourite words? It's "urbane". We reckon if you looked it up in a dictionary of design, a picture of this place would be sitting right beside it.

This is a thoroughly impressive piece of work from the jaw-dropping height of the entry hallway - 4.2 metres, if you don't mind - to the sublime main bedroom suite upstairs and pretty much everything in between.

From the front door, the hall opens to two bedrooms either side. To the left, a lovely, light room has gorgeous leadlight windows over the garden; to the right, superb guest accommodation has wardrobe space and a sparkling en suite.

Josh and Elyse's house on The Block 2017 at 46A Regent Street, ElsternwickPhoto: Hocking Stuart

Across the way, a fabulous kids' bedroom will have the ankle biters firmly ensconced up in the cool mezzanine study area.

While they're safely tucked away, you can hit the books yourself in the truly sublime study. Recessed rectangles of timber create some of the most beautiful, and individual, shelving you're likely to see.

If crunching the numbers is getting you down, just jag next right to the central bathroom and sink down into the ocean of suds in the oversize circular bath. This is a corker - a luxe centrepiece to a room that is all class.

Josh and Elyse's house on The Block 2017 at 46A Regent Street, ElsternwickPhoto: Hocking Stuart

Head beyond the seriously handsome black iron-banded hallway door, through the louvred breezeway and into the smooth open plan rear.

The living and dining area is a fine articulation of less is more. Pale white walls are offset by a central column of grey which, in combination with the gorgeous heft of a low, full-length concrete hearth, both anchor the floaty space and radiate warmth from the superb freestanding fireplace.

Behind here the kitchen runs more effortlessly smooth lines with an appealing deep grey and white palette.

Josh and Elyse's house on The Block 2017 at 46A Regent Street, ElsternwickPhoto: Hocking Stuart

A floating white stone bench faces the rear garden and the capacious butler's pantry, top notch appliances and separate side work station complete a truly fabulous space.

On the first floor, it's a wide-open expanse - we love the seamless tonal integration. Floorboards to bed's edge, pale carpet and cabinetry in the walk-in wardrobe are all given a rev via sophisticated timber display cabinets that bookend the space. Then there's the en suite and the sublime aqua herringbone tile of the shower; a divine pop of colour alongside the classy tapware and fittings.

There's a word for something like this - look it up. There's a picture of this house right next to it.

Josh and Elyse are set to sell their Coburg home just three weeks after The Block auctions.

Jason and Sarah
46E Regent Street, Elsternwick

Jason and Sarah's house on The Block 2017 at 46E Regent Street, ElsternwickPhoto: Gary Peer & Associates

5 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, 3 car spaces
Agent:Gary Peer, Jeremy Rosens 0413 837 723 and Daniel Micmacher 0419 376 521

If there's a better feeling than throwing open a house's front door and being positively bathed in radiant light, send us a postcard.

This home has, at its heart, a most inspired central hallway - a soaring cathedral ceiling with angled skylights drawing down to distribute a gorgeous glow along the impressive passage. As an introduction, it's hard to beat.

It does have some rivals though; witness the gorgeous front bedrooms with their signature wallpaper - that blue seagrass feature wall is heavenly.

The pared back central living room and crisp mid-hall bathroom are both subtle and stylish too.

Jason and Sarah's house on The Block 2017 at 46E Regent Street, ElsternwickPhoto: Gary Peer & Associates

Beyond that sublime hall, the rear open plan has living and dining set to the right with a terrific glass-fronted fire the urbane focal point. Behind, the kitchen is a sleek affair where metallic finishes shimmer beside pale stone benches, timber veneer cabinetry and a beaut butler's pantry.

Upstairs, the main bedroom is a glorious spot with those lofty angled ceilings and a simple palette allowing air and the light to shine.

Behind the bed, wind around to the superb walk-in wardrobe, with acres of smart storage.

A masterful en suite with black herringbone tiles and marble walls seals the very impressive deal here.

Hannah and Clint
46D Regent Street, Elsternwick

Hannah at Clint's house on The Block 2017 at 46D Regent Street, ElsternwickPhoto: The Agency

5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 3 car spaces
Agent:The Agency, Peter Kakos 0418 123 993

The deeper you go here, the more there is to love. Some clever ideas create difference, depth and a bit of design dash too.

The use of dramatic wallpaper is eye-catching and we love the "slip" hallway - a recessed section that creates a private zone accommodating two bedrooms and a sharp bathroom where the rose gold tapware makes a softening statement against the black-framed shower.

Hall panelling repeats in the fine sitting area that has "the good room" stamped all over it. The perfect place to escape from the hum of family life for a quick breather.

A delineating bagged grey wall separates dining from living and a low double-sided fireplace provides an appealing connection.

Hannah at Clint's house on The Block 2017 at 46D Regent Street, ElsternwickPhoto: The Agency

There's a pleasing depth to the kitchen courtesy of the pale recessed cabinets above, with dark surrounds anchored by the sober heft of stone benches. The butler's pantry is a ripper too.

What's not to love upstairs with all that ceiling loft and all those views over the Elsternwick rooftops?

The walk-in wardrobe is to die for - roomy with a central glass-topped storage unit to add luxe.

The en suite, with its pretty white "feathered" motif tiling and some excellent fittings, is a suitably fine finish.

Ronnie and Georgia
46C Regent Street, Elsternwick

Ronnie and Georgia's house on The Block 2017 at 46C Regent Street, ElsternwickPhoto: Biggin and Scott

4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, 3 car spaces
Agent:Biggin & Scott, Daniel Ashton 0408 078 515, Angelos Stefanis 0402 232 399 and Bill Stavrakis 0418 327 622

Sometimes you can fall in love with a house because of one single thing. A petite, pink round vanity basin had us at hello.

The elegant hallway, the dark drama of the sitting room, the fine bedrooms all hold their own in this sophisticated front section. The black, white and gold of the central bathroom is effortlessly good too, but oh, that little pink basin in the guest bedroom is joy itself.

Out in the rear section the muted tones are superb - we love the long, low fire and the kitchen, set behind, is as smooth as they come. Pale Caesarstone finishes, acres of storage and top notch appliances. The butler's pantry boasts bling - a gold sink.

Ronnie and Georgia's house on The Block 2017 at 46C Regent Street, ElsternwickPhoto: Biggin & Scott

Upstairs there is something to rival that little pink basin in design smarts; this time it's the rather more epic drama of the hall leading to the main suite.

The brilliant zoning of this fine retreat lends its lofty, light and generous dimensions even more classy depth. The superb walk-in wardrobe has a marble topped make-up station to add a little va va voom.

The sleek, fully tiled en suite has a neat, white hanging vanity and en vogue black tapware. It's the little things here, as well as the big, that make this house a stand-out.

Sticks and Wombat
46B Regent Street, Elsternwick

Sticks and Wombat's house on The Block 2017 at 46B Regent Street, ElsternwickPhoto: Gareth Richards

5 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, 3 car spaces
Agent:Noel Jones, Daniel D'Assisi 0411 863 338 and David Fileccia 0402 026 748

How deeply lovely is a beautifully laid central timber hallway? The gleaming grain and handsome brawn leavened by delicate hall panelling here is fabulous. This is a house of appealing contrasts where the elements coalesce rather than clash.

There are two elegant bedrooms front of house - one offering an en suite and wardrobe - while a bit further afield, fun and games ensue in the kids' bedroom with a climbing wall and custom bunk bed.

A study offers some fine artisan timber shelving and then there's the striking central bathroom with mosaic digital tile tree in the shower - it's a stunner.

Sticks and Wombat's house on The Block 2017 at 46B Regent Street, ElsternwickPhoto: Gareth Richards

The open plan rear here displays a lighter touch again, with the living area's pale panelled walls and low timber-topped storage unit creating a relaxed vibe.

The kitchen's steely bagged cabinetry is set flush against the drama of the grey stone splashback. And how good are the tuck aways here? The schmick butler's pantry, the slanted shelved wine rack, the disappearing wine cabinet. Terrific.

The main suite upstairs is all easy style too with light playing across the peaked ceiling. There's an appealing utilitarian style to the en suite too - black, white, cool as cucumber. A bit like the whole charming place.

The story Do the five houses on The Block really measure up? first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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