Steph and Gian from The Block: Week Three Winning Room

This week, we're sitting down with the dynamic duo, Steph and Gian from The Block. Steph, an accomplished architect, and Gian, a finance professional, are fresh off the back of their sensational win for room three – which featured a range of familiar products. We’re incredibly humbled to have our products so beautifully integrated into their winning room, and are excited to be learning more about their process and journey on The Block.


Q: What has been the most enjoyable part of this process so far on The Block?

Steph: The most enjoyable part has been staying true to my style, something I initially thought might be challenging due to certain limitations with suppliers and parameters. But surprisingly, the constraints pushed me to think creatively, allowing my vision to shine - even in this environment.

Q: Were there limitations, and how did you work with them?

Steph: I surprised myself by finding ways to work beyond the limitations of set suppliers. I looked past the restrictions and still achieved the aesthetic I had in mind within the given parameters. Gian was a tremendous help in managing the budgets effectively, allowing me to focus on the creative aspects without worrying about financial constraints. In this way, we’re learning to really play to each others’ strengths each week to reach our goals.

Q: What has been the most unexpected aspect of The Block?

Steph: The most unexpected aspect was the super stressful environment. I had to plan for every single room ahead of time, which required thinking ten steps ahead. It challenged me to ensure each room contributed to the overall cohesion of the house, a key aspect of my design philosophy.

Gian: Steph and I work together on the vision, and then it’s my job to keep her focused on the goal. Sticking together and encouraging each other is what gets us through to harder days at the moment, we just remind ourselves that we share the vision and we’re in this together.

Q: What was the goal for the (winning) room? What was your creative process?

Steph: The media room had to be versatile, serving as both a study and multimedia room, with the potential for future adjustments. The challenge was to create a space that aligned with the overall palate and materials used throughout the house.

Gian: We incorporated sliding doors for flexibility – to hide the TV and transform the space - and our CoTheory pinboards. The pinboards are just so versatile – whether used for study, creative mood boarding, or even as a fun creative space for a media and games room situation – and add both functionality and aesthetics. They provided the perfect way to tie everything in the room together.

Q. CoTheory is all about where form meets function so it's very aligned - and I know you love all elements of this room. Are there any particular elements that you feel made the room what it is?

Steph: Definitely. At a few points, I was questioning the tones in the room. The couch, for me, was too grey – I know that might sound strange, but I was going for grey-ish, rather than actual grey. When I added the Tundra Grey CoTheory products to the room, the couch suddenly fit, which I loved. These simple details solved a major design dilemma that I was having, and the marble pieces are also so functional at the same time.

Gian: For me, these pinboards are the stars of the room, really key items. They’re like functional art pieces – incredibly aesthetic while also being functional for the study space, but also beautiful. The judges really shared this view, marvelling at the fact you can use them as artwork and pieces that have real utility. They’re a piece in themselves, and we absolutely love how they elevated the room for us.

Q: What inspiration did you draw from to create this room?

Steph: I drew inspiration from my own style and philosophy. My focus was on ensuring functionality and style aligned seamlessly. Having functional elements that also doubled as art, like the CoTheory pinboards, was a key aspect of my vision. Gian's support and encouragement during the design process were invaluable in bringing these ideas to life.

Q: Does your role as an architect influence the way you work on The Block?

Steph: Absolutely! Being an architect, I brought unique advantages to our team. I was able to approach the project with my architectural background, using tools like ArchiCAD to model the entire house. This allowed me to plan and make design choices that ensured connectivity and cohesiveness throughout the rooms.

Gian: While Steph led on design, having a financial background meant that I could guide the creative vision and provide some guardrails when it came to cost. Having clear parameters meant that we stayed on track.

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Q: How do you and Gian work together as a team?

Steph: Gian manages the budgets effectively, allowing me to focus on the creative aspects without worrying about financial constraints. He provides clear parameters, which is a massive advantage. Additionally, his manual labour skills have been invaluable in executing our vision. We're a great team because we complement each other's strengths and trust each other's expertise.

Gian: I manage a lot of the manual labour and costings, while Steph’s design skills and attention-to-detail brings it all together. Our skills are really well-matched for this kind of environment, and we’re excited to see how the coming weeks play out as the competition progresses.

Q: How do you normally stay organised and manage your time?

Steph: I used my ArchiCAD program to grid the whole house, allowing me to plan and make decisions more effectively. I also have a clear vision board for both architectural and textile elements that has helped me stay on track and create rooms that are well-considered and aesthetically pleasing.

Gian: While Steph pays attention to the design side of things, my main aim is to figure out how long things will take, what they will cost, and how I can support and encourage Steph’s creativity to get us there on time, and within budget.

Q: Has working with the architects been a smooth process?

Steph: Working with the architects has been great. I approach them with respect, and our collaboration has been incredibly positive. I present my ideas and vision, ensuring that their expertise and vision aren't compromised, resulting in a healthy working relationship.

Gian: Agreed, the work with the architects has been incredibly rewarding. With Steph being an architect, too, we’ve really tried to ensure effective communication between us and them, and keep things respectful and working well at all times. Sometimes, it’s high pressure, but that’s where I feel like I add value – really mediating those relationships in a room full of architects and designers, I can remain quite neutral.

Q: What were some challenges you faced with the changing builders?

Steph: Changing builders was necessary to find the right fit for our project. The time constraints were a challenge, but we managed to find a permanent solution that allowed us to move forward confidently. Gian's expertise in handling the budget and managing the process ensured a smooth transition during this phase.

Q: Any final thoughts on your journey on The Block?

Steph: This experience has been so transformative. It's allowed me to grow and evolve as both an architect and designer, and as a person. Meeting different people and facing challenges head-on has been inspiring.

Gian: The journey has made us more resilient too, and we’re so excited to continue this kind of work after The Block. I’m excited to see how Steph will apply some newfound design skills to her other projects, and our partnership has grown so much stronger during this process.

Q: Do you have any special messages for aspiring designers, and people following the show?

Steph: First and foremost, believe and trust in your ideas and expertise. Surround yourself with a team that complements your skills and work collaboratively, remembering that you always share the same goal.

Gian: Pay attention to your constraints – time and budget, etc - but don't be afraid to take calculated risks and push the boundaries. That's how you stand out. Steph and I are so incredibly thankful for all the support we've received, and we hope to inspire others to pursue their passions and create beautiful spaces, too.

To follow Steph and Gian's journey, follow their official Instagram account here.

Photography by @sabi.collective / Words by Jacqueline O'Neill, Inneka Agency.