The Block NZ: S03E23

blocknz300One of the teams had help from someone with the X Factor in a challenge; a past winner of ‘The Block’ paid a visit; and Jo and Damo’s tradies found themselves in trouble again.

Tonight’s episode opened to day four of childrens’ bedrooms week.

Alex and Corban had spent the previous night top coating their ceilings, and told us that they thought they had done a good job from what they could see, but they were working with only one light. The natural light of day showed up some imperfections, so they were going to spend this morning re-doing the top coat.

Maree and James finally went to bed at 4:00am; they told us the day ahead was likely to be tight, but their plan was to “smash it” with their team [of tradies] to get everything done.

Damo pulled an all-nighter; their plan for today was for Jo to go and get the furniture sorted.

With Quinn sleeping for two and Ben working for two, he didn’t go to bed at all last night.

Peter [the Site Foreman] paid each of the teams a visit, telling them that there was to be no work done on any of the houses until all the cleaning up was done – rubbish out, material stacked, leaves picked up and access ways cleared. He told us there was never enough time for these things to be done so he decided to make time. The teams grizzled and groaned about having to do this, but they got on with it and an impressed Peter then gave everyone the go-ahead to proceed with work on their houses.


Jo excitedly told us more about her idea of a custom-built timber tree in their kid’s room, explaining how it will have LED lights running across the horizontal branches. Jo said she thought this could potentially win them the room as it is “special, different, out there” and she didn’t think anyone else would do one [a tree]. Jo and Damo’s approach for their rooms was to keep them gender-neutral, so that any accessories added in later would work well.

Throwing the second bedroom into the mix this week had left Alex without a plan; she told us she was struggling and frustrated, as the plan she did have [pre-planned] was for a guest room. Corban said seeing Alex without a design plan was unusual. Alex and Corban were painting their room the same colour (white), but Alex told us they were using a combination of flat, and low-sheen, to mix it up. They said they didn’t want to use colours that the new owners would have to change later.

Quinn told us she and Ben had ideas for one room but not the other, and then the ideas were all getting muddled up … so Ben decided to take the kid’s room and she would handle the teen’s room. Quinn said her theme for the teen’s room would be moody and dark, with grey wallpaper on three of the walls – “luxurious and sophisticated at the same time.”

Maree and James were thrilled with the progress of the construction of the boat-style bed in their kid’s room. For their teen’s room, Maree said she always wanted a dark room, accented with colour; she was confident that what she and James were doing was risky, which is want the judges would be wanting.

Having had no sleep, Ben struggled to find anything when he went shopping. He bumped into Alex and later, Jo, while out and about. He told Jo that his theme for the kid’s room was the same as their dinner wars one [that was animal petting zoo-style … we’ll have to wait until tomorrow night to see if he was serious].

We then saw the wardrobes being fitted into each of the teams’ bedrooms [Alex and Corban’s being a step up from the others, thanks to their challenge win, and with features such as a sensor light automatically switching on as soon as the sliding door was opened].


The venue for tonight’s challenge was the North Harbour BMX Track, where each team was given three hours to design and construct a bicycle entirely out of plywood (the frame, handlebars, seat, wheels – everything). At the end of the three hours, the teams would race the bikes, with the winners of the race being the challenge winners. The winners would receive a small kitchen appliances pack from Breville (valued at $2,750), plus $2,000 towards their budget. There would also be consolation prizes for the runners-up [Mark said this, but never actually said what the prizes were].

After constructing their bikes, Mark told the teams that they would all be racing relay-style, with one team member racing half-way, and the other to the finish line [in reality, they had to use a combination of running, walking and pushing, bike positioned under them; and if they were fortunate to have constructed a bike with movable wheels, they could ride down the hills]. Quinn was not allowed to take part [due to her pregnancy], so Jackie Thomas, winner of the previous X Factor New Zealand, stood in for her.

1st: Maree and James
2nd: Jo and Damo
3rd: Alex and Corban
4th: Ben, Quinn and Jackie


Later that night, we saw:
* Ben finish hanging wallpaper on one complete wall [he is very skilled at doing this!);
* Jo changing the paint colour on her walls (after Damo told her he didn’t like what she’d originally used); and
* Alex painting mountains on one of her walls.


The expectation for the following day (Friday, and the day before reveal), was that all the teams would have painted their skirting boards with as many coats as possible, so they could dry before the carpet was laid.

When the carpet layers arrived at 7:00am, none of the teams were ready [much to Peter’s annoyance, who told us that the teams all knew that they had to be ready by 7:30am on Friday morning for the carpet layers].

Despite the teams frantically rushing to get all their areas prepped for the carpet layers, by 10:30am the carpet layers were still waiting.

Maree and James were the first couple ready for the carpet layers, with work starting on their teen’s room first.

Peter was very concerned that with only two carpet layers, eight rooms to carpet involving 12 hours of work, and only seven hours to complete it all in, that someone(s) might end up going into judging with bare floors [given that all tradies must leave the site by 6:00pm and none were allowed onsite on Saturday].

Due to an issue with Maree and James’ custom-built boat bed not being able to be lifted out the windows or door, they flipped it up onto its side, intending for the carpet layers to lay carpet on one side of the room, then they would lift it onto the carpeted side when the carpet layers were ready to move over. However, this room was taking far too long for them to do, so Peter made the decision to tell the carpet layers to leave that room and go to the next couple’s house (Alex and Corban’s [and by this time, all the other couples were ready to have their carpet laid]). This did not sit well with James, who challenged Peter’s decision. Peter told James in no uncertain terms that if the carpet layers stayed in their room, they [Maree and James] would be the reason for the other rooms failing. James told us he felt like a scapegoat. Peter told James that if there was enough time at the end, the carpet layers could finish off his and Maree’s kid’s room.

While the carpet layers were tackling Maree and James’ house, Jo was tackling the issue of her and Damo’s aquarium-themed desk, instructing their builder on what modifications should be made. Mark told us that he said they could modify it, but it [the state of the desk following the modifications] was sounding suspiciously like a piece of wood with a fish tank on it.

Later in the day, and with 52 minutes to spare, the carpet layers returned to a very relieved Maree and James, to finish off the carpet laying in their kid’s room.


Once again, one of Jo and Damo’s tradies breached the parking conditions, by parking on the wrong side of the street. The penalty for this was a $975 fine.


Mark took Alice, the co-winner of ‘The Block NZ 2013’, around to meet the teams.

“Wow!” Mark exclaimed when he saw the wallpaper that Quinn and Ben had hung on one of their walls (he then told them he liked it). Mark asked Alice what advice she could offer to Quinn and Ben; in response, she told them to always have a plan, as if they’re behind on one thing then they’re behind on everything.

Upon entering one of Jo and Damo’s rooms, Alice said she loved the tree. Mark suggested that the room was a bit too grey, and that they needed something to get them across the line. Alice recommended they add bold things into the room to show their design flair, as colour always draws the eye and excites people. “You can’t be afraid of it [colour] – embrace it,” she told them.

When visiting Alex and Corban, Alice told them that Caleb [Alice’s husband] was a perfectionist when it came to painting, but said you can’t nit-pick every little thing.

Mark instructed Alice to put her hands over her eyes when entering Maree and James’ room; in uncovering her eyes, he exclaimed, “Welcome home!” in reference to Maree and James using similar colours to those Alice and Caleb had used in one of their bedrooms last year.


At 6:00pm on the Friday night (the day before reveal):

Maree and James decided to end their hectic day on a high, taking a selfie with all of their tradies. Peter visited and told the tradies it was time to leave.

Over and Quinn and Ben’s house, Ben told their builder that it was time for him to go; in response he told Ben that the only thing Ben had to do was put the handles on the wardrobe doors.

When Peter paid Jo and Damo a visit, he was pleasantly surprised to see that their tradies had already left. Jo told us they’d managed to get all the prep and jobs involving power tools done, but there was a lot of painting left for her and Damo to do that night.

Corban was the only one pushing the time curfew – Alex told him a number of times, “It’s 6:00pm!” but he would not listen, continuing to sand the windowsill with the electric sander. Peter came in and told him “Tools down!” which Corban finally responded to.


Tomorrow Night:
* We’ll join the teams for the final frantic push until tools down.
* The judging of each team’s two rooms – and $8,000 up for grabs! Who do you think will win?


To see the teams’ house listings on Trade Me, copy and paste the links below into your browser:

Alex and Corban’s house:

Jo and Damo’s house:

Maree and James’ house:

Quinn and Ben’s house:

~ ~ ~

“The Block NZ” airs 7:30pm-8:40pm (approx.) on TV3, Tuesday-Friday inclusive.

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  • Guest

    I’m surprised to see that Alex and Corban didn’t win the challenge. This episode sounded quite drama-free?

    • Tania

      Corban over-thought and over-complicated his bike … it looked great, and the wheels turned, but one side of the handlebar fell off partway on the course. He also got cranky with Alex talking to him when he was building it, saying she was stressing him out.

      The episode did contain a bit of drama but I left it out of my recap as it involved Quinn and Ben and I’m cautious that I sound like I’m picking on them all the time! But so you know, they moaned about having to do yet another building challenge; and they spilt a huge puddle of diesel on the floor in one of their bedrooms (prior to the carpet being laid) … thankfully, Peter Wolfkamp threw some sand over it to soak it up, because if he hadn’t done that I think they would’ve just left it.