The Block ‘s Jess and Ayden spill the secrets that turned them into home renovation superstars.
When it comes to home renovation, nobody has the tools for the job quite like Renovation Rumble winners and The Block runners-up Jess and Ayden Hogan.
The Queensland-based reality show champions are currently in the midst of constructing and decorating their dream home on the Gold Coast Hinterland, following numerous room reveals on national television.
“It’s going to follow an old Queenslander style, it will be very traditional,” Jess said.
“A big veranda because we live on the Gold Coast, so we pretty much want to be outside all the time,” Ayden added. “We’re trying to maximise on the area we live in.
“The house will have four bedrooms and an activity room for kids. It’s actually going to be sort of a ‘Z’ shape. A split level style with a garage underneath.”
“It’s a different kind of pressure from being on The Block,” Jess said. “This is our house, our home, so we have to get it right.
“We’ve been told we could be in before Christmas, but realistically it will be later. I just hope we’ll be in by next Christmas.”
Less than two months after walking away with $665,000 from their time on The Block, Jess and Ayden recently won a further $50,000 and a car following their stint on Renovation Rumble.
Despite their star turns on the Channel 9 reality shows, the pair are ready to sink their teeth into a new project.
When it comes to tips and tricks of the home renovation trade, the couple said that the ultimate advice they would give to prospective DIYers was to do their research.
“Planning is the biggest thing to consider, it’s what will make your project a success,” Jess said. “You should understand this is a huge, huge thing that you’re undertaking and you should do as much research as possible. Get together as many pictures as you can, go through magazines and look for ideas, make sure you know what you want.
“We have a file on the computer filled with folders that we stick things into. We pull pictures out of magazines and save ideas, images and inspiration. It’s like an online mood board.”
“We did a lot of research,” Ayden agreed. “We drove around and physically went to see all the new developments and open homes.
“They give you so much information to start you off; they give you books and information to take with you. Physically going and seeing new homes will give you a perspective that magazines won’t.”
If you’re looking to renovate your home, rather than building one from scratch, the couple urge you to start small and get some training.
“Start somewhere like a bedroom,” Ayden said. “Pick a room you can easily move your furniture out of. This way, whatever style you chose, you can then look at the completed room and decide if you like it.
“It’s a smaller space to alter and this way you don’t have to redo the whole house. It’s also one of the cheapest rooms to do.
“If you’re not confident there are so many ways you can learn new skills. Go online or take classes. Especially when it come to power tools and stuff like that. You don’t want to put yourself in danger.”
As any DIYer knows, home renovation can be on the expensive side. Jess and Ayden recommend thinking outside the box when it comes to shopping and putting your hand up to help the professionals.
“Go to auctions; you can pick up a lot of great pieces there,” Jess advised. “Also, don’t be afraid to ask for deals. If you’re going to be buying furniture in big quantities, ask for a discount.
“You can always save on labour by offering your services to your contractor. Tell them to show you what to do if you’re not sure. Do as much of your own work as you can.”
When it comes time to decorate, the couple said they tend not to pay attention to trends and just fill their home with pieces they fall in love with.
“We don’t follow trends,” Jess said. “Although I have noticed people are getting quite bold with colours at the moment and that’s quite interesting. Leather is really in, along with grey colours, cool tones and concrete.
“For our house, we’ll be using a lot of reclaimed timber which I guess you could say is on trend, and a lot of raw material as well. A lot of unpainted and unvarnished timbers,” Ayden said.
“Just trust in yourself when it comes to creating your own home. You’re the one who is living with it and at the end of the day you have to make the final decision.”
The Do’s and Don’ts of DIY
• Do your research
• Don’t follow trends
• Do start small, one room at a time
• Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty
• Do buy in bulk
• Don’t expect to stick to a schedule