From one of the most challenging years in our history, to one of the most unusual series in The Block’s history -each contestant group is renovating a completely different style and era of home and all under the confines of COVID-19 and lockdown restrictions.
Contestants Sarah and George Bragias, in house number two, have partnered with The Agency, who enter their fourth year running as selling agents on The Block.
A school teacher and electrician by trade, this couple bring tenacity, positivity and a great sense of humour to the 1940’s renovation.
As Sarah explains, most of her design experience has been focused on modern styles, so it was a big learning curve getting her head around an earlier period of design, let alone the specific features of the 1940’s era.
“All the contestants found their eras a challenge and it really takes time to understand what the judges are interested in and want to see,” Sarah explains.
“I got stuck into my research, which brought up the post-war limits on resources at the time, but we were able to put our spin on it and really came round to the era in the end – we came to love it.”
Heritage considerations and a successful contemporary spin on the era is not only important from the judges’ point of view, but from the end buyer’s of course.
The stunning beachside suburb of Brighton is famous for its beautiful period homes and so the type of buyer looking to purchase in the area will have high expectations of the home’s finish.
“Coming from Oran Park in Sydney’s south-west, the homes are predominantly new builds but as soon as George and I were immersed in Melbourne’s Bayside area, we saw just how important a sympathetic heritage design was. Buyers would want and be drawn to carefully considered period features,” Sarah says.
The Agency’s General Manager Peter Kakos said the couple were proving a pleasure to work with.
“Our amazing couple Sarah and George have been an absolute pleasure to work alongside and are two of the most genuine and delightful souls I’ve met,” Mr Kakos said.
“As we enter our fourth year running as selling agents on The Block, which is always a privilege and a thrill to partner with contestants on this extraordinary renovation feat, we face one of the most unusual renovation challenges in the show’s history.
“These five unique homes, located in one of Melbourne’s most salubrious and beautiful suburbs, Brighton, are successfully renovated throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The 1940s is a complex era to tackle, even judge Neale Whitaker acknowledged the post-war austerity made it a very difficult aesthetic to capture, and yet we watch Sarah and George work through the controversy and uncertainty on the judges’ part, to create amazing rooms week after week. You have to take your hat off to them.”
This year on The Block, The Agency has its secret weapon, 2019’s on-site tradie, agent and contestant – Jesse Raeburn.
“After coming back from one of the hardest renovations in The Block history, I could give Sarah and George the emotional and mental support they needed,” Jesse says.
“Having been through it myself, I think my advice and support really meant something to Sarah and George. The Block is a very unique and full-on experience, which is hard to understand unless you have been through it.
“We talk regularly, whether it’s pep-up talks or renovation advice. But the best part was being paired with such lovely and caring people.
“Sarah and George never stopped smiling and laughing, they never lost their sense of humour even in the face of such a complicated Block during COVID-19.”
For Sarah and George getting to work with Jesse Raeburn and The Agency team was a big win from their point of view.
“When we realised Jesse and The Agency team were onboard, we knew we had to work with them,” Sarah says.
“To have Jesse’s insights, not only someone who has sold on The Block but been on The Block – it was just unbelievable!” Sarah says.
“George and I are very upbeat people and as soon as we met Peter, Brendan Walker and Jesse, we felt like a team. They are all so positive, calm and confident, we knew when they gave us advice we could be confident as their experience speaks volumes.”
One of Jesse’s top tips for Sarah and George was staying true to their vision, backing themselves even in the face of the judges’ comments – something he and Mel did confidently during their 2019 season. Peter Kakos couldn’t agree more.
“As we have seen in the past, contestants take time to not only find their feet, but find their groove and build their confidence as room by room they strive to find the winning style.
“That’s exactly what we are seeing with George and Sarah as they have a clear vision on what they want the overall home to look and feel like. That’s the most important thing, holding firm to your overall game plan with your final buyer in mind,” Mr Kakos says.
The Agency’s CEO Matt Lahood has been involved with The Block sales from the show’s inception, witnessing the show’s evolution.
“I remember being involved in the very first Block series in Bondi Beach back in 2003,” Mr Lahood recalls.
“It is just amazing to see how the show’s fan base has grown around Australia and the quality of renovations have continued to astound me.
“From what I have seen of Sarah and George’s 1940’s home, not only is the execution spectacular, but they are on the money for the local Brighton market.”