We've all enjoyed the tears and triumphs, and sometimes even the tantrums. We've seen site foreman Peter Wolfkamp sharing his wealth of renovation experience with the contestants, but what we haven't always seen on-screen is the clever planning and quality control that has gone into making these houses such great homes for their lucky new owners.

Underneath all the facelifts are good, solid bones - insulation exceeding most new-builds, double-glazing for quiet, warm spaces and luxury fittings from generous sponsors.

Behind the scenes and rounding out the contestants' efforts, Peter's contractor teams have ensured the houses are fully compliant and ready to go. The Block NZ's master plan has managed to sneak in driveways, carparking and sculptural front walls. It's not just a popular TV series that's been created, but four quality renovated homes in sought-after Takapuna.


Herald Homes talked to the contestants for the inside word on all their hard work.


The Block NZ's renovation newbies, Wellingtonians Rachel and Tyson, describe themselves as magpies, preferring anything that has had a life and a story. Many viewers identified with their quirky, retro style - and with their first-timer DIY struggles.

Inspired by being part of a big multicultural family, the couple aimed to create a home for any stage of family life, from starters to retirees.

Anyone who has shared their budget grief will identify with their biggest lesson for home renovation: shop around for tradies and negotiate a price that works for both of you.

1. What DIY job are you most proud of?

Tyson is very proud of his tiling job in the kitchen/dining - he did all the grouting himself over a few sleepless nights.

2. What's your favourite room?

Our family spends most of our time in the kitchen, so our Block kitchen is our favourite space. It's a cook's kitchen, allowing family life to continue while someone is cooking. The timber cabinets and splashes of colour have a retro feel - and a bit of our personality.

3. Biggest indulgence?

The Sophia mirrored commode from Interior Design Online - starring in our first room challenge.

4. Anything you'd change or do differently?

Just do it - we wouldn't ask permission to do anything.

5. We couldn't have done it without ...
Our iPads from TV3 - our only contact with the outside world.



Even though they were the show's babies, Sarah and Richard arrived with the most renovation experience, aided by Richard's professional skills in landscape design and cooking. Don't mention the Dinner Wars, but with the only weatherboard house on The Block NZ they needed all the painters they could get.

With a passion for food and entertaining, they prefer rooms that ebb and flow in a style they call "contemporary with a few classic twists".

They wanted to take their kitchen home with them, but what they will take home is confidence in their own gut design instincts - doing things simply and not trying too hard.

1. What DIY job are you most proud of?

Rich's concrete benches in both of our bathrooms represent real DIY. An original idea, some Kiwi ingenuity, a few YouTube tutorials and test batches. Voila! Easy as that.

2. What's your favourite room?

The kitchen is the hub of every home and ours was enormous, functional and pretty. It also has great flow to our lounge and dining spaces, as well as to the outdoors, which was really important to us. You'll just have to wait and see our favourite space - it may or may not involve some greenery.

3. Biggest indulgence?

The dining room suite and pendant light were certainly a designer indulgence for us. We had just won our first prezzy card so we figured, why not enjoy it - and enjoy we did.

Oh, and let's not forget the Italian bed in the first bedroom - $3000 later.

4. Best buy? Favourite source?

We loved Paper Room, they have a fabulous collection of unique pieces. We loved the wallpaper and folded paper dress from them and that pendant light - such a feature.

5. We couldn't have done it without ...

The wonderful team of people who made The Block NZ possible. The eternally patient production team, the retailers and manufacturers who were unfailingly kind and clearly have magic wands, too.

I think during the stress of the time we definitely didn't say thanks to you lot enough, so cheers, guys.



Sister-and-brother team Libby and Ben share the creativity gene, sprinkling their photography and art throughout their house. They admit their day jobs mean they're surrounded by design inspiration, but their own relaxed style combines Scandinavian and industrial influences with timber, textures and colour punches.

Their biggest take-away is good planning, so smaller projects don't compromise the big picture. They aimed for a holiday bach-like feel in the ultimate urban escape, and their only regret is that they won't be able to enjoy the first summer in the house.

Fingers crossed they get an invite to their lucky buyers' first barbie!

1. What DIY job are you most proud of?

Our wood wall. There was no shortage of sceptics when we first floated the idea, but now that it's built it's become a major talking point of the house. We put some solid hours into it, with the help of our awesome builder.

2. What's your favourite room?

We love the whole open-plan living/kitchen/dining flowing seamlessly to the decks front and back, via our massive 5m-wide door that makes the whole rear wall disappear. Escape, relax, unwind, share, entertain. Ben's an extra big fan of the breakfast bar, too.

3. Biggest indulgence?

Our table and chairs from Well-Groomed-Fox in Wellington are favourites, and we were really pleased to support local creativity.

Our funky knotted-rope pendant lights in the master bedroom also deserve a mention, another talking point of the house, from Collected in Mt Eden.

4. Best buy? Favourite source?

We were stoked to find our old metal sign at Junk and Disorderly. They were a lifesaver for us, and came to the party so many times with small details that helped to turn our house into a home.

5. We couldn't have done it without ...

Garrick, our builder extraordinaire, and the rest of the Haven Building Concepts team. Garrick rode every high and low with us, of which there were many! We were so lucky that he was a perfectionist, just like us, and this shows in the finishing throughout the house.



Up from the 'Naki, Ginny and Rhys were savvy enough to pick the best Sky Tower view when they won the first challenge.

Takapuna's beachy, vibrant, social feel inspired their relaxed contemporary style, adding their own stamp with funky vintage touches and colour. They didn't want to leave their house either, loving the character and charm they added. They've taken away so many design ideas - and trade tips and tricks - they can't wait to get their hands on another project.

1. What DIY job are you most proud of?

Completing The Block NZ. It was the first real DIY project we have ever done, so we're pretty proud of what we achieved. Bring on the next project!

2. What's your favourite room?

The master bedroom is definitely one of our favourite rooms. It has got a really good feel about it - we never wanted to leave. The kitchen would have to be a very close second. Our Peter Hay designer kitchen turned out absolutely stunning and the restored matai floors really set the whole space off perfectly.

3. Biggest indulgence?

Our amazing leather lounge suite from Hunters Furniture. We saw it in the shop and knew we had to have it. It's super comfy and looks awesome in our lounge.

4. Best buy?

The headboard from the master bedroom was probably one of the best buys. Gin spent ages trying to find a bed head for the room and couldn't find anything she liked (or that we could afford). So Gin drew up a sketch and found some fabric she liked. Rhys built up the frame and we found an amazing upholsterer who was able to upholster the bed head in the short timeframe at a super price - and it turned out amazing.

5. We couldn't have done it without ...

Our tradies, especially our builders, Wardy Construction. They were beyond amazing. They went over and above their duties and put in some huge hours to get the job done, and done well.