Polly Porter and Waz Jones made names for themselves in 2011, when they were the only couple to sell their house at the end of the fourth season of The Block.

Since their big win they have busied themselves spending their $115,00 prize on buying a new house in Coogee and their wedding. Over the last couple of years, the two have taken on various TV gigs, however they say they’re now focusing on settling back into more regular routines.

Polly is studying to become a primary school teacher and working at a bar, while Waz is putting the renovation and design skills he learnt on The Block to good use in his position as a territory manager at Dulux.

Although they have been living a renovation free life in the eastern suburbs since their time on The Block, Waz says they are hoping to move to the north shore, where Polly grew up in Gordon.

“We’d love to move back to Willoughby next year. That’s something that is definitely possible. I’m desperate to get something that we can renovate.”

However they don’t seem to have forgotten what they learnt in their renovation hiatus. Although they started The Block as rookies they finished with a wide set of skills. They shared some of these skills with the Sydney Observer this month.


Make a realistic plan and stick with it
Avoid being unrealistic when it comes to creating a time frame for renovations. Accept the fact that you’re probably not going to be able to renovate an entire house in four weeks, and instead set an achievable timeline. Work through the plan methodically and try and avoid letting it drag out.

Take things one room at a time
Go through a house and renovate room by room to isolate the mess. Live in one room while you are renovating other areas. The downside of doing this is that it requires a couple more call outs from tradies, so if possible think ahead when it comes to calling out the electrician and see if they can do more than one room in one go.

Don’t be too conservative with your paint choices
Life’s too short to live in neutral shades of beige and white. Consider trying something a bit different, like a daring shade of red for a feature wall. If it turns out badly you can always paint over it. Remember not to skimp out on paint quality, always opt for good brand to ensure the colour lasts.

Don’t rush to fill a room
Unless you’re on a strict deadline, like the contestants of The Block, there’s no pressure to create a showroom finish in a couple of days. Once you have new rooms and freshly painted walls take your time to find furniture and furnishings you love. Don’t just throw any piece of artwork on the wall because you feel like you have to fill the space straight away.

Don’t sweat the small stuff
It’s easy to get caught up picking out door handles and paint colours, but it’s important to remember these things can easily be changed down the track. Instead spend your time working out a floor plan, and put money into important things like the ceilings, floors and walls.

Update and change things you already own
When it comes to furnishings it’s not always necessary to buy everything brand new. Instead take things you already have and alter them, for example an old bed head can be completely transformed with some new fabric.

Do as much as you can on your own
If you are looking to save money then try and do as much as possible yourself. While you can’t go without a plumber or an electrician, it isn’t essential to hire a painter. Remember to source any of the stock your tradies will need from local hardware stores, rather than relying on the workers, this will ensure you get the cheapest deals.

Focus on the living room
The living room should be the heart and soul of a house. A bedroom is just for sleeping but a living room is for entertaining, so put your energy into designing an open plan living and eating space. If possible hide the television in a cupboard to avoid making it the central feature in the room.

Consider why you are renovating
If you’re renovating for yourself then you have the freedom to do what you want without thinking about selling. However if you are renovating to sell remember to talk to your agent about maximising profit. While it’s important to make sure finishes are exact, remember a fancy dining table isn’t going to sell a house.