The Oslo in St Kilda was in dire need of refurbishment, but the new Blockheads are sure to return the iconic structure to its former glory and then some.
With the return of The Block comes work to the rundown Oslo Hotel in St Kilda – The Block site for season 15. The huge renovations are only just beginning, but we simply can’t help but wonder about the trends sure to dominate in the season ahead.
Though it most recently operated as a budget backpackers hotel, the huge neo-Georgian property was originally a row of five three-storey terrace houses.
The charm and grandeur of the original facade was altered sometime during the early 20th century to include asbestos sheeting, squared-off balconies, and a brick Art Deco front extension with rounded windows.
But something tells us the five teams will work to restore the old-world glamour of the original structure in their soon-to-commence renovations.
Here, with the help of industry experts and former Blockheads, we take a guess at the five trends we expect to see as the show progresses into room reveals.
1. A coastal connection
As it stands right now, the facade of the Oslo shows no indication of its coastal position just a short walk away from St Kilda Beach.
Proximity to the beach is highly regarded among the modern buyer, so we predict the contestants will make the most of the location with coastal decor and designs. Former Blockheads Alisa and Lysandra agree, saying: “The location of the Oslo, being in a desirable coastal locale, will mean that buyers are very discerning.”
We can predict the contestants will utilise a crisp white colour palette interspersed with shades of blue and blonde timber hardwood floors (an easy-to-clean option for sandy toes).
Though we’ve only seen a handful of room reveals at this stage, we can see that Mitch and Mark have already utilised this theme in their guest bedroom.
2. Curves in all the right places
Arched features and curves in general are one of the biggest interior trends to feature in 2019. This, in addition to the original building’s arched facade makes this trend prediction one of our strongest for the season ahead.
Mia Lake, interior design director at Vic Lake Architects, agrees. “It would be criminal for the contestants not to make the exterior arches the hero of the design.” she says.
“Interior design trends of late have encouraged a curved shape, whether it be a curved edge on an island, rounded pendant lights, or arched doors.”
And the contestants have already begun making the most of curves, with Deb and Andy opting for a round mirror in their guest ensuite.
3. Luxury with an artistic flair
Wondering what the overall theme of the Block homes will be? Well, there’s only one way to know for sure (and it involves hours of TV time), but our experts are here with an educated guess.
“Similar to last year, luxury with artistic flair and a point of difference should please both judges and buyers,” says Alisa and Lysandra. “St Kilda is not a conservative neighbourhood, so these rooms are going to need wow-factor.”
Mia agrees, and thinks we can expect to see these ‘wow’ moments shine through in two ways. “I think we will see exciting wall panelling and hopefully some beautiful pendant lights take centre stage in the room reveals.”
Looks like our experts are onto something because we’ve already begun to see this take place in the formal living room reveals.
4. Period features
The Oslo building, though in a poor state, is filled with old-world character and charm. And the contestants would do well to take this into account. “The most successful Block contestants will be the ones that know just what to preserve but also what alterations to the original 1859 built Oslo are necessary to accommodate modern living,” says Alisa and Lysandra.
Mia agrees, adding: “The contestants should complement and respect the design era of the building. I hope to see symmetrical layouts, grand hallways and an emphasis on doorways, especially those leading to verandas.”
In formal living room week, we saw Matt and Elise make the most of period features like the ornate ceiling plaster around the pendant light.
5. Open-plan layouts
The Oslo Hotel is The Block’s biggest renovation ever. Put simply, each of the five homes are huge: they’re set over three storeys, with 14 rooms and three bedrooms each. But the access to light is limited, and should the contestants wish to allow more natural light inside, they’ll have to consider structural changes that are both time-consuming and expensive.
“Their greatest challenge will be ensuring their design maximises opportunities for natural light and open-plan living as this will require structural changes,” says Alisa and Lysandra.