With each new annual offering, phenomenally successful The Block NZ aims to break new ground — and this season has been no exception, writes Louise Richardson

By Louise Richardson

Almost a year ago, locals began to suspect that a section in Potter Ave, on Auckland's North Shore was to be the site for the latest edition of The Block NZ TV series on Three, and eventually this proved to be true.

Production company Eyeworks (aka Warner Brothers) had bought the Northcote property, going on to demolish the existing, single dwelling, to make way for a new development of four large terrace houses with floor areas of up to 262sq m each.

This puts them among the biggest The Block NZ properties thus far, with at least three bedrooms, three bathrooms and a double garage in each.

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Post-demolition, builders soon moved in to construct the new framework in anticipation of the four teams' arrival, late in June, for 12 roller-coaster weeks of fun and frustration, creativity, tension and endless hard work as they compete to win the best room each week and ultimately get the best price for their home at auction.

And, as if that wasn't enough, the new teams also had to endure a number of sometimes bizarre, and often demanding, challenges along the way, in order to fund their grand building plans.

All properties:

Schools:

Onepoto School, Northcote Intermediate, Northcote College

Auctions:

Sunday, September 17 at 7pm, Grand Millennium Hotel, Auckland

Inspect:

Viewing by appointment.

TEAM PURPLE - HOUSE 1

58A Potter Avenue, Northcote. Photo / Supplied
58A Potter Avenue, Northcote. Photo / Supplied

Enter Ling (Levi), 22, and Zing (Zach), 24, Inglis, two hilarious, have-a-go brothers from Christchurch.

The pair work as a suspended-ceiling installer and newly-qualified electrician, respectively, and have already had quite a lot of renovation experience. All the same, they've found that the going can get tough when time is in short supply. Luckily, Ling and Zing have been able to keep a sense of humour with loads of banter and brotherly competitiveness.

Favourite room and why?
The kitchen and the living room. We're really happy with how they turned out, they look good.

When was your toughest moment?
During the bathrooms. Especially when we had to do another room alongside them. Getting it all done in a short time frame was hard.

What are you most proud of?

It would have to be our living room, which won the room reveal that week. It has a nice, calming, family feel and the judges loved it.

What inspired your decor?
We wanted to create a neutral and minimalistic house, suitable for a family. One that wouldn't polarise potential buyers.

The best features of your house?
We have the front house, which has the easiest vehicle access, great views to Takapuna and Rangitoto, the most windows, and the biggest section. We really like the way that we've kept neutral decor throughout so a new owner can simply add his or her own finishing touches.

TEAM YELLOW - HOUSE 2

58B Potter Avenue, Northcote. Photo / Supplied
58B Potter Avenue, Northcote. Photo / Supplied

Andy (Andrew) Murdie, 38, and his brother-in-law, Nate (Nathan) Ross, 33, are from Hamilton. They boast a variety of skills that have helped them during the often turbulent course of their build. Andy is a fireman, who likes making furniture when he's not on duty, and Nate is doing his building apprenticeship. While they get on extremely well, their bond has been sorely tested during The Block NZ, yet both have come out smiling.

Favourite room and why?
We love our kitchen, it is absolutely stunning, and the bedrooms are great too. There were spaces that the judges didn't approve of, but we've truly loved every room that we've done. There isn't a single one that made us stand back and say "Oopsie!".

When was your toughest moment?
It definitely came in the third week - the blank canvas week - with the hallway and the study to get done fast. There were a few all-nighters as it was a really big space to finish in four days.

What are you most proud of?

Our black kitchen. Black is really on trend for kitchens at the moment and they are absolutely spectacular if they're done correctly with natural timbers throughout. We think ours is really beautiful.

What inspired your decor?
We wanted to produce a high-class, fun-loving and functional home for a family, with good use of colour to make it stand out from the other houses.

The best features of your house?
The amazing garage with gym and TV, our fully-stocked Bosch wall of power tools and the laundry. Also, the kitchen-dining area art by Andrew Steel. The kitchen is an entertainer's dream and we also really like the louvre wall in the living room with LED backlit timber feature.

TEAM BLUE - HOUSE 3

58C Potter Avenue, Northcote. Photo / Supplied
58C Potter Avenue, Northcote. Photo / Supplied

Twins Julia and Ali (Alexandra) Heaney, of Auckland, are 28 and they brought an impressive range of skills to The Block NZ.

Apart from anything else, they run a feature design company together, so the planning and processing were right up their alley. All the same, they've found the series gruelling at times and tempers have sometimes flared. Space, materials and light were the cornerstones of their design aesthetic.

Favourite room and why?
We're really pleased with our downstairs guest bedroom. We like the lightboxes in there, the colours, and the fact that it's so relaxing to be in. We're also proud of the bathrooms and the way that they all match.

When was your toughest moment?
The hardest thing was creating a luxurious vibe on a really low budget. Our master bedroom and en suite were the toughest of all in terms of this - because it's essentially two bedrooms in one, and we added a walk-in wardrobe.

What are you most proud of?

Our kitchen, because we really maximised the space. We're really happy with how the scullery worked out and we love the marble benchtop, which kept it all nice and light.

What inspired your decor?
Having a simple, elegant theme. We had a clear vision of what looks good and we stuck with it right through.

The best features of your house?
We have the biggest kitchen, a fourth bedroom - unlike two of the others - and amazing views from every level of the house.

TEAM ORANGE - HOUSE 4

58D Potter Avenue, Northcote. Photo / Supplied
58D Potter Avenue, Northcote. Photo / Supplied

Stace Cottrill, 40, and Yanita McLeay, 29, are friends and flatmates from Palmerston North.

Both are very outgoing and confident, but nothing could have prepared them for the exhausting process of pulling together a large house in just 12 weeks.

Luckily Stace had quite a lot of background in renovating and Yanita is a quick learner, with budgeting and research skills that have definitely come in handy during the show.

Favourite room and why?
We love our master bedroom. We know it's not everybody's cup of tea but we were really proud of the layout, which we adapted effectively to get the look that we wanted. We both think it's a great space.

When was your toughest moment?
About halfway through, when we had no money, we weren't finishing our room and weren't winning anything. We were so exhausted at that point, we just wanted to pack our bags and go.

What are you most proud of?

We're really proud of the whole house, and the journey we've had in these past few months creating it. It's been a tough ride but it was worth it.

What inspired your decor?
Our style is minimalist, geometric and colourful. We spent money on items that add value to the house, like our American oak desk and the cavity sliders in our media room.

The best features of your house?
Again, the master bedroom because it's so massive. The layout is really cool because you can get out, either side, and walk straight ahead to the bathroom. The harbour and city view from the bed is incredible - and arguably the best on the block, since we have the highest elevation.