A large property with a couple of cows on the outskirts of Maitland is Brad Cranfield and Lara Welham’s dream.
Since winning the Channel 9 reality renovation show The Block on Sunday and collecting $606,000 in prizemoney – as well as a new car – the East Maitland couple’s dream is almost a reality.
After 10 weeks living on barely any sleep, constant pressure to deliver rooms for the show’s three judges and the challenge of managing trades and supplies as they renovated a South Melbourne terrace house that was badly rundown, the couple, both aged 30, should be ready for a rest.
But instead they are about to embark on a new challenge.
Their dream home is in three pieces in storage at Rutherford and all they need to do now is to buy land – up to 20 hectares – close to Maitland to put it on.
“I used to live in the bush and I like it because it’s a nice and quiet lifestyle, so we’ll start looking and see what’s out there,” Mr Cranfield said.
Mr Cranfield has lived in East Maitland for 14 years and learnt a lot from The Block.
“The biggest challenge was managing trades and supplies so everything ran smoothly,” he said. “The long hours and lack of sleep were tough and the living conditions were trying at times.”
The couple decided to enter the reality show competition when they were renovating Mr Cranfield’s parent’s home in East Maitland last year.
“We were doing the renovations when the last series was on TV and we thought we’d enter and have a go,” Mr Cranfield said. “We never thought we’d hear back from [the show’s producers but we did,” Ms Welham said.
“One of the most exciting bits of The Block was when we did that first room [to be chosen for the show] and we won it and got through. We never thought we had a chance.”
The couple was amazed at the fan base that has evolved from the show.
“It’s been crazy; I’ve been to [Stockland] Green Hills a few times since we’ve been back, before we won the show, and people were recognising me and saying ‘I know you’ and wanting to have a photo with me,” Ms Welham said. “The producers told us about [the fans] and what it was like last year, but it was nothing like we ever imagined,” Mr Cranfield said.
Mr Cranfield said potential renovators should make detailed plans.
“Plan everything very well and plan a budget, a lot of people start and then run out of money,” he said.
The couple’s terrace house sold for $1.62 million, earning them $506,000 plus $100,000 prizemoney.
The four couples on the show shared in more than $1.84 million prizemoney.
They won the car after viewers voted them the best sports on The Block and they made the most money in the program’s history.
The network will screen an all-stars version of the series in 2013.