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Guest Post: House Rules – And Now It Is NSW’s Team Turn

Michelle and Steve’s house in NSW shows just how crazy house prices are in Sydney with a $629,000 mortgage, I am sure Channel SEVEN won’t be wanting them to win.

To hear more about the NSW reno here is another fab recap from Annajjj:

Day 1 in NSW and finally it is Michelle and Kel’s turn. They are off for a well-deserved break as the remaining teams tackle their home. We’ve been warned the house contains termites, rats, possums and asbestos and if their mortgage is in double digits someone in Sydney deserves Realtor of the Year.

Kel appears on his balcony and tells us he loves his view. Ah the serenity. He and Michelle have a 1960s suburban shack in Northern beaches of Sydney, and although it is a dump it was all they could afford*. Their mortgage is a staggering $629K. I’m in shock but then we are in Sydney and it looks like a big block.

They have two grown up kids and tell us they lost everything a few years ago and need to win. Well the value of their house should go up after this reno so even if they don’t win (!) they have probably just made a fair profit.

Teams arrive and have a grizzle about the steep goat track of a driveway and at the end there is a love shack waiting. Jo is there to greet them and I have to take a moment out to agree with RR about Jo’s style designer. It’s a hot pink shirt this time, exactly the same as every other shirt she has worn this season and obviously bought in bulk, one in every colour. Jo shouldn’t be made to look this dowdy. She reminds us that the winners get their entire mortgage paid off just in case any of the teams have failed to remember what the prize in this game is.

Any final words? Daughter Alex likes romantic and 17 year old Jesse is a muso so keep that in mind. Kel and Michelle leave.

Boys have been assigned to the tent for the week and Jo hopes they like to snuggle which they probably do but not with each other.

Teams now wander through the house and Amy says what we are all thinking – knock it down and let’s start again. Jane is shocked that they have had to live like this for the past couple of years but* so don’t feel bad Jane, you were living worse for longer.

Teams assemble back in the lounge for the allocation of zones:

Leighton and Reece get lounge and back deck.  Seamy get Jesse’s bedroom, toilet and porch, the boys get Alex’s shoebox for the comedy value and the bathroom.  Jemma and Barry, or as Daze calls him, Possum, get the master bedroom, hallway, entry and stairs and Team Plinth get the kitchen and dining room. Jo leaves.

House Rules are revealed and, somewhat surprisingly, they haven’t included Give us Ceiling Mirrors, Wall Muriels and Bring the Bling. Guess they thought that went without saying.

Relaxed beach house, Lime washed floors (oh lovely says Jane but that’s lime washed Jane not lime green), Touch of Morocco in artwork and tiles, bring Waikiki into the kitchen and we want a deep spa bath. They are pretty specific house rules, notes Jane, but really after five weeks of getting to know these contestants none of us are surprised Michelle and Kel aren’t willing to be a bit ambiguous in this area.

Teams go through the rooms to decide what to keep and hopefully Jesse and Alex were allowed to collect their personal stuff first. Jane finds a bag of shells and can’t decide which ones she likes best. Cut across to Michelle and Kel who are staying at a relaxed beach house and Michelle tells Kel she hates the beachy feel of it and doesn’t like shells or fish or anything so immediately reveal day just got interesting.

Boys settle into the tent and there are worse places to camp than here. Quick shots of the others settling in for the night at the motel and Jemma and Possum Barry do a quick Google search on Morocco.

Next morning and the teams arrive back on site. The boys are concerned about having to do Alex’s room and Plinth points out Nick would have been in a few 20 years old girl’s bedrooms but probably wasn’t looking at the décor. Jemma and Barry and I crack up.

Michelle doesn’t want anyone touching her walk in wardrobe but maybe she should have specified that. Jemma and Possum Barry have just given a third of it to the boys for Alex’s room. Why is it walk in? In such a small house they could use that extra 30cm of space and just make it a built in.

A stupid Dove ad tells us to imagine our skin is paper and if it really was paper then soap would dissolve it. Like the Mrs Marsh ad that told us our teeth were like chalk. Fortunately no one has paper skin or chalk teeth so we are probably all safe and can go back to the reno.

Seamy have come up with a Cunning Plan to set teenage son Jesse’s bed in the cupboard so all he has to do each night is pull it out and all he has to do each morning is make it and then put it away. Which will happen approximately once.

Demolition starts and teams are warned about Sydney’s noise restrictions. Thanks Clover.

Voice Over now sets up the drama by advising that teams can’t possibly afford a single seconds delay and then we see termite damage and a big nest and rotted wood.  The supporting beams are paper thin says Jane so she’d better keep the soap away from them.

Chris puts in his 2 cents worth of clichés, Hit and Miss, can of worms, win some lose some then the camera finds Plinth in the kitchen and he has discovered a dried rat in the wall. He decides to frame it for the owners. That dry understated humour has me liking Team Plinth more each week. Please don’t let them be the ones to go home.

Seamy have discovered ants in their wall and Nick declares that he is disgusted by the smell in the bathroom. We cross to Michelle who defends her house. It’s still our home* she tells us.

Now we discover a possum in the wall and just think of the great muriel collage we could make with all these wall treasures. Barry goes berserk. The Possum Whisperer comes in again and Born Free soars in the background as he gently releases it into the garden.

We revisit Reece and Leighton pre Couples Counselling with that awful wall lights scene and then they tell us how much happier they are now. She is tugging on the window frame while he bends over underneath it and if it comes free it will land on his head.  Then he goes outside and tries to kick it in while she supports it from the inside and either this is a subtle way of trying to murder each other or they really weren’t paying attention in safety training.

Another wall discovery that isn’t rats, ants or possums. Asbestos! So Chester comes running to tell everyone they need to leave the house again and the site is going to be shut down for a whole day. This is so stupid, why can’t they either sort out this crap beforehand or tack an extra day on the end. 7 days reno turnover is tight enough without these ridiculous stop work parts.

Teams decide to make the most of their day off to go shopping. Reece and Leighton are in the car and suddenly we are starting to see why Leighton was always getting arky earlier in the series. Reese reckons she is always doing her best but truthfully she is pretty annoying. Jemma takes her possum shopping but manages to lose him in the paint section.

Seamy have a little chuckle about Michelle and Kel’s ridiculous Moroccan/Waikiki design rules but *cough*modern/country/industrial*cough* Seamy. I’m starting to lose the Seamy love.

Boys go shopping for a big bath and this bit is pretty funny. They try out a number of baths and even hop in one together to check the space. Kel would love it. Elsewhere Seamy find out their stupid cupboard bed will cost $2500.

Teams arrive back on site with less than 4 days to go and the walls are gone including some exterior walls. Both Jane and Chris are looking pretty tired and it must be hard on them having to supervise their workers all the time. Chris has mapped out where all the plumbing is going in his bathroom. The concrete has to be cut and the plugs drilled he says, trying to sound like he knows what he is talking about, and the layout can’t possibly be changed. Bet McCrave will have some different ideas about that when she gets here.

It is Teams vs Termites and we keep seeing that footage of live termites which is clearly Channel 7 file footage and nothing to do with this house. Is anyone going to be able to complete their zones this week?

*It was bought last year for the sole purpose of going on this show.

House Rules on SEVEN Monday to Thursday nights at 7.30pm.


1 Jason { 06.19.13 at 9:42 am }

I hate it when people say “it is all that I could afford”…. no, it might be all that you could afford in the northern beaches area of Sydney with a bit of view! If you have a mortgage of $629,000 there are many good houses you could buy in other suburbs.

2 AJ { 06.19.13 at 9:49 am }

Thanks Annajjj!

I feel bad for Michelle and Kev. I don’t see how their house can possibly be finished in the time remaining given that two teams couldn’t finish their areas in Sean and Amy’s house. Where the participants are forced off the site, they really should be given an extension of time.

The room allocation seemed unfair. If the real intention of the show was to give the couples the best house possible, then shouldn’t Sean and Amy have received the daughter’s bedroom and Nick and Chris received the son’s bedroom? Sure, it makes for great “entertainment” to have Nick and Chris trying to design a young girl’s bedroom, but will it benefit the intended recipient?

At least the house rules were generally clear, except for the Waikiki kitchen. And perhaps Michelle should have been clearer about her interpretation of “beach house” if it wasn’t intended to include all of the elements of the beach-themed motel room that she hated.

I was also confused by Carly and Leighton insisting that the TV in the living room had to be placed on a wall, even if it meant closing in the stairs. Haven’t they heard of TV cabinets? Is it so unusual to sit a TV on a specially designed cabinet which can also house the DVD player, stereo, etc? At the very least it avoids having a TV placed off-centre and too high on a lime green wall.

3 JK { 06.19.13 at 9:53 am }

They should really get 1 day extension for the reno or else I will suffer from a heart attack with stress of not finishing.

4 2ndhand { 06.19.13 at 9:56 am }

This house may end up looking pretty spectaculat (according to the promos – which, of course, are all true) but I would imagine that with only 3 days left to completely redo this house, the only buyer for it, should K’elle decide to make a profit and sell (let’s face it, they ain’t going to win!) would have to be those who never, ever watch tv or someone from another country (or planet!) It is NOT POSSIBLE that this team of lovable (well, some of them) but incompetent builders could complete this to a passable standard in the time frame. (And yeah, I know they have ‘workers’ – but even so, I will still stand tall and say it can’t be done.)

Also, producers MUST have know about the asbestos before hand – how else did they manage to get the removalists on such short notice?

Very good point Jason, but I think you are missing on Annajjj’s * comment. It was only bought for the show!!!!!!

5 Jason { 06.19.13 at 10:14 am }

2ndhand: Yes, I know it was only bought for the show but how many viewers know that? (apart from those who come to this site). Michelle and Steve are portraying to viewers and the other teams that they have lived there for years after they lost everything (their “sad story”)

I also agree that the producers must inspect the houses beforehand so they can organise the specialist tradies once the “problem” in each of the houses is “found”….

6 2ndhand { 06.19.13 at 10:25 am }

True Jason. It is only the RR followers who know the ‘true’ story behind these farcical shows. And still we watch them. Religously.

My immediate question when I saw last night’s episode was “How on earth did that house pass the building inspection that would have been mandatory prior to getting a mortgage. Let alone one that big. Am thinking even more manipulation from the producers perhaps?

Also thinking that a mortgage that size would require a considerable monthly repayment. Yet they can take a few months of work for the show. If they ‘lost everything’ a few years back, how can they afford to make the repayments if they are not working full time? In the words of Alice : Curiouser and curiouser.

7 Bolders { 06.19.13 at 10:41 am }

This has nothing to do with House Rules but when is the Great Bake Off going to start?

Surely we’re coming up to the tenth anniversary of the first time NINE started advertising this show.

8 Georgie { 06.19.13 at 10:53 am }

It’s a pity the working teams can’t deduct points from the homeowners score for having such a heap of shit house that requires so much intervention.

9 Littlepetal { 06.19.13 at 11:00 am }

House Rules fans must be happy. Finally for the first time HR beat The Block in the rating war. Last night, HR has 1,159,000 viewers compared to 1,131,000 for The Block.

Same here. When is Channel 9 going to air the Great Australian Bake Off? I thought it will start next week as The Voice is finished.

10 Reality Raver { 06.19.13 at 11:02 am }

Bolders – rumour has it Bake Off starts next week but no confirmation yet. Will believe it when I see it.

By the way House Rules received higher ratings then The Block last night. Not surprised as The Block was a filler episode that was close to unwatchable. House Rules 1,159,000 and The Block Sky High 1,131,000.

Also a lesson to networks to have confidence in their product. If it is good people will watch!

11 Reality Raver { 06.19.13 at 11:06 am }

Jason and 2ndhand – agree a mortgage that size is a big weekly repayment. They did say one of their parents helped them with them deposit. Maybe they are also guaranteeing the loan?

12 AJ { 06.19.13 at 11:07 am }

I fast-forwarded through the entire episode of The Block. I didn’t see anything of interest except for repeated footage and what appeared to be another lame, time-wasting and extremely dull challange that had nothing to do with renovating a motel into million dollar apartments.

I did fast-forward through some parts of House Rules, but at least it was watchable.

13 Daze { 06.19.13 at 11:17 am }

Totally agree, these houses must be checked prior to the show for asbestos etc but still feel it’s unfair the teams are penalised by a lost day – the show is for viewing pleasure so maybe with the editing it’s meant to look like that but really they do have a day tacked back on? There is no way you can get the asbestos specialists in at short notice. Yes, I was wondering how in the heck they’d be paying such a huge mortgage. Can’t even imagine what the repayment per month would be.

Odd that this is the only house without an en-suite – all the other couples, bar J-Plinth have no kids and all had en-suites (Vic, WA, SA, Qld). Can’t remember if J-Plinth had an en-suite? Tas and SA houses were rather small as well if size is the issue at K’elle’s (good one 2ndhand!!!)

Annajjj, thinking the same thing about Joh’s stylist at Ch.7 – Julie on Rafters, same shirts, different colours as well, lol. Moving on, I think Nickhead and Chris will do a great job on daughter’s room – they actually come up with some great styles and might surprise the other teams, smirking. I didn’t mind how they did up Seamy’s spare room even though the judges didn’t like it much. Altho, yes quite odd the boys didn’t get the son’s room. Too easy maybe?

At least this time Michelle said don’t get rid of the daughter’s bed unlike what happened to Carly’s king bed changed to a queen by Lame, sorry, Jane. Talking of bed’s, will Seamy pay $2500 for a pullout? Can’t see a teenager pulling it out each night, it’ll just stay out permanently, so what’s the point?

Had a giggle when ‘oh no, another possum’ was found along with the rest of the menagerie – Possum Whisperer to the rescue “I prefer animals, to people” lol, cute touch with Born Free playing in the back ground. Someone has a sense of humour at Ch.7 !

I’m now visualizing Seashells in a Moroccan tile design splashback in the kitchen – J-Plinth, don’t take the Waikiki design format literally, Michelle will have a melt down and may have visions of strangling you with hibiscus leis!

14 LB { 06.19.13 at 11:34 am }

I don’t know about NSW, but in Qld it isn’t mandatory to get a building inspection prior to buying a house. The main thing to securing a mortgage is “will the bank get their money back if they have to foreclose?” and obviously Kel & Chelle’s bank thought so. Most people would have looked at that house as a knock down (rightly so) & so the mortgage is quite likely close to land value. Kel & Chelle have obviously adhered to the “worst house, best street” real estate stategy, whereas other homes have been on main roads, swampy spots, etc.

Interesting that the houses have been progressively much harder to reno as the show has progressed &, of course, the reno’s have gotten much better. I’d be peeved if my house was done first!

Had to laugh at the thought of the brothers rolling out of the tent and down the hill! Better snuggle up tight boys.

Can’t imagine that, in reality, the teams aren’t given more time to deal with major structural issues like asbestos & termites. Maybe a bit of poetic licence there just to increase the drama?

Really warmed to Plinio when he was taking the possum out. Even more when Jane was saying how he should treat people as well as that, and muttered something about liking animals more than people.

15 LB { 06.19.13 at 11:38 am }

Ugh *and Plinth muttered something about liking animals more than people

16 CAM { 06.19.13 at 11:38 am }

Is it serious that the house was bought for the purposes of going on the show? That sucks if it’s the case!!

I’m another who hates it when they lose time through no fault of their own, it just makes it too stressful and it sucks when they can’t finish. I prefer to see the room finished to a high standard rather than seeing the ‘drama’ of delays.

The pull out bed idea is woeful.

I agree with annajjj that Reese /Carly was being extremely annoying in the car with the directions. Hand the bloody phone over already! No wonder Leighton has lost it with her in the past.

I agree with you LB – I would have felt ripped off being the first house, it was so lame compared to what they have been achieving later on in the series.

Am I alone in thinking that I would love for the House Rules team to come in and re-do my house? I don’t necessarily want to go on the show (and have to do all that hard work myself) but holy crap I would love a team of people to come in and make over my house in a week!! We have projects that we have been sitting on for almost seven years – getting the house renovated in seven days would be my wildest dream come true 😀

17 Techhater { 06.19.13 at 11:47 am }

I cracked up when Jane was concerned about getting the kitchen right. And Plinth says something about her having the confidence in doing what she knows about kitchens. Yeah Jane put it in a cupboard with a campstove and get your husband to do all the cooking.

I’m sure the contestants could save at least 2 days if they stopped banging on about how much time they’re losing.

18 2ndhand { 06.19.13 at 12:23 pm }

Techhater – maybe they need your clock – that way time would never run out!!!

19 Techhater { 06.19.13 at 1:30 pm }

2ndhand the funny thing is there is only 2 shops and post office in town. The mini mart doesn’t sell button batteries and the other shop does so I bought a battery only to discover it’s the wrong size. It doesn’t open every day so have to wait till tomorrow and hope they’re open.

20 2ndhand { 06.19.13 at 1:34 pm }

Wow, what a thriving metropolis you must live in. Are you sure your clock doesn’t work – doesn’t time always stand still in small towns?

21 Veronicali { 06.19.13 at 1:44 pm }

From info posted on other forums, all the contestants bar Jane & Plinth bought their houses in 2012, so we can presume for the purpose of getting on the show. Could be that the couples previously auditioned for Amazing Race and Seven nudged them in this direction.

I think reality contestants are paid a ‘wage’ while on the show to cover their at home costs eg mortgage/rent, bills etc. since they’re taking months off from their regular jobs.

Also reckon that 7 days in HR land is similar to 7 days in Biggest Loser land ie 10-14 days.

Carly & Leighton if you don’t want to work 2 jobs until you’re 60 to pay off the mortgage, buy in a cheaper area! Same for Kel & Chell, I can’t feel sorry for them when they choose a $650,000 dump with views over a solid house in a cheaper area.

Yes it would suck to be the first ones to have your house done, as the standard is improving.

Didn’t watch The Block as it was another stupid challenge.

22 Andrea { 06.19.13 at 1:45 pm }

I agree with everyone re the asbestos and termite situation, these problems need to be sorted out by professionals before the reno starts as its just not fair on the teams to be rushing so much.
Did Michelle and Steve get an advantage by basically adding an extra two house rules as they were leaving by saying what they expected in their kid’s bedrooms?
I definitely think an ensuite should have been added, strange that it wasn’t with them having teenagers.
Agreed mortgage is way too high, they could have bought much cheaper out in the Western suburbs, and yes, how do they afford to have time off work and pay their mortgage whilst working on the renos?

23 Techhater { 06.19.13 at 1:47 pm }

Yes it is small, population 120 about 40 of that are kids. We do have 2 pubs though. This time of year there would be about 3 to 4 hundred tourists camped along about 20klm stretch of river. Fortnightly shopping is a 250klm round trip. That’s when time stands still. Hours of same old scenery on single lane road. Boring as hell:-S

24 Techhater { 06.19.13 at 1:58 pm }

Veronicali the same on the Block. In week 3 one of the contestants said they’d been there 5 weeks so it’s all BS. I was surprised that slip actually got through.

25 nanaliz { 06.19.13 at 2:13 pm }

Just thinking about Michelle and Kels mortgage, perhaps they are on long service leave and would therefore be still getting income coming in.
The Moroccan/Waikiki theme really could be badly interpreted. I shudder at what will come from that.
If Michelle is so into her wardrobe, should she have put something in the rules about no touchy or replicate? She has seen how everything is knocked out in all the other houses they have done.

26 KG { 06.19.13 at 2:30 pm }

re: Michelle’s wardrobe being ‘perfect’ as it was…..
Interesting that having a ‘good’ wardrobe is apparently more important to Michelle than her daughter having a decent sized room. Either give her more room or don’t insist on fitting in a double bed.

Which is all nonsense anyway if it’s not their ‘real’ home and only purchased as temporary base so they could enter in competition. Seems a risky way of safeguarding family’s future. Although I guess either way they come out in front – sell reno’ed house or get mortgage free house to sell?

27 nanaliz { 06.19.13 at 2:36 pm }

Reno’d house still probably a knock down in that area and size of land.

28 Veronica { 06.19.13 at 3:15 pm }

Maybe K&M need to live where they do because of work or family commitments.
It’s not easy finding a cheap house anywhere in Sydney and, having lived here all my life, the mortgage doesn’t surprise me in the least.
Of course some parts of south western Sydney, which is always in the news, might be cheaper, but you’d need to get used to the odd drive by shooting!

29 KG { 06.19.13 at 3:43 pm }

Mortgage payment would be about what ours is and I don’t know how’d they’d pay it with Michelle only working part-time – as well as having 4 people to feed and clothe (assuming kids are both still schooling/studying and not working full time).

Must admit I snorted when they said daughter had had to pay for food at times – ‘why wouldn’t Michelle work full time then?’ – rather than get kids to pay for groceries?

Not that’s there’s anything wrong with adult ‘kids’ contributing to household but it all seemed a bit odd.

30 charlene { 08.09.13 at 7:05 pm }

Hello I’m new here I just want to know on house rules when teams don’t finish in time then do the owners of the house have to pay and fix up any mistakes themselves or does the show fix it up for them afterwards?