grand dame – Michmutters

The Block house shut down after asbestos found

There was a worrying development in Monday’s episode of The Block, as a contestant hammered into the floor of his house – only to discover what he suspected to be asbestos.

Melboune plumber Tom was nearing the end of the demolition process for he and wife Sarah-Jane’s guest bedroom, with just a small section of floor left to smash.

But when the mallet came down, he made a startling discovery.

“As soon as I saw it, I’m like: Oh god, here we go, more delays,” he said.

The Block moved quickly once the deadly substance was spotted, with everyone in House One downing tools for a full day as a team moved in to assess the risk and remove the asbestos.

“They shut our house down, and rightfully so – asbestos is very dangerous,” said Tom, who was left with little to do but visit his fellow contestants while he nervously waited to see how long his house would be out of action.

Some six hours later, foremen Keith and Dan finally returned to the site to give the all-clear that work could summarize.

And Dan also offered some explanation as to why the asbestos hadn’t been spotted before the houses were handed over to the contestants: “In this location, under the fireplace and used as formwork, it’s very hard to locate. That’s why we didn’t find it – Tom’s done the right thing in alerting us,” he said.

Elsewhere in Monday’s episode, contestant Sharon was clearly still smarting after she and partner Ankur’s bathroom came dead last in Sunday’s judging.

The couple had copped a particularly tough critique from judge Shaynna Blaze, who warned them that their house was “the grand dame, the jewel in the crown. Are you going to treat her like Este? Because if you’re going to treat her like this, you’re going to have to deal with me.”
Sharon was left in tears immediately after the judging, declaring that in a week one on The Blockshe was already “over it.”

One episode on, and she was in a more defiant mood.

“(Shaynna) goes, ‘That’s my house, I love this house, I’m really angry that they did this…’” Sharon began.

“Well, it’s not your house, babes. You haven’t bought it. If you’re gonna buy it, that’s a different story.”

She continued to call out Shaynna directly, arguing that she had missed some of the key details in the room the couple had included to appeal to her.

“Also, I did try to cater for you. You said you wanted antiques, but your antique eye didn’t even recognize the antiques in the room. I literally had stuff in there from the 1890s!”

Sharon said that, in the wake of the tough judging, she’d made a promise to husband Ankur that she wouldn’t beat herself up so much moving forward.

“That’s the pact that we’ve made to each other, because I’ve literally spent every day crying since I got here – and that’s not a good thing.”



The Block judge Shaynna Blaze leaves contestant Sharon in tears

The Block judge Shaynna Blaze didn’t mince words when it came time to judge the first bathroom of the season, delivering some tough feedback to this year’s least-experienced team.

In short: Stop ruining this grand old country house, or you’ll have her to contend with.

Blaze and fellow judges Darren Palmer and Neale Whitaker went for their second walk-through of the five country properties on The Block: Tree Change during Sunday’s episode, and for the most part, their critics were positive.

Then it came time to visit accountant Ankur and lawyer-turned-actress Sharon’s bathroom. After some tough critiques in the first challenge, Sharon was confident she’d done a lot better this time around.

“I think I nailed the brief of luxe, sexy, but heritage,” she said.

“There are absolute nods to heritage all the way through… I hope they take away the energy, that feeling of luxury and country warmth that I think the buyer will want.”

They did not.

“Last week, Ankur and Sharon took us to the winery – this week, I’m not sure where they’ve taken us,” said Whitaker as the trio entered the bathroom.

“Well it ain’t this beautiful Victorian house, that’s for sure,” said Blaze, pointing out the details that most disappointed her: “Just because you’ve put that type of tap, and that type of bath, does not make it heritage at all. If any house could get me angry, it’s doing Este to that beautiful house we’ve walked through,” she said.

Blaze even asked the other two judges to start their critiques and come back to her, as the sight of the bathroom had put her “on the back foot”.

Whitaker was similarly disappointed, complaining the bathroom felt like a “pastiche” and didn’t feel “authentic”.

There was some positive feedback from Palmer though, who said he liked the room but still pointed out a few issues – tiling and an unnecessary internal wall – two things that would be very hard to change.

Blaze then continued her critique, announcing: “Honestly, it’s not a bathroom I’m feeling good in.”

She said it was especially tough to swallow, given Sharon and Ankur had chosen her favorite of the Victorian houses on offer this season.

“This is the grand dame, the jewel in the crown. Are you going to treat her like this? Because if you’re going to treat her like this, you’re going to have to deal with me,” she said.
As expected after that tough critique, Sharon and Ankur came dead last for bathroom week with a score of 20.5. (Friends Omar and Oz were the surprise winners with a score of 26, a big improvement on their negative feedback from the first challenge.)

Sharon was deflated after the judges’ scores rolled in, crying on camera as her husband comforted her.

“It just feels like I got it completely wrong, again. The choices that got caned today – they were mine,” she said.

“I’m over it and it’s week one, basically. I’m over it, and I’m so tired, and… maybe I don’t have a clue.”