It’s one of the most successful television shows on our screens right now and for good reason, what homeowner doesn’t want a few tips on styling and renovations? When Deanne Jolly applied for The Block, she was a stay at home mum of eight years, living life happily behind the scenes of her AFL playing husband Darren Jolly. It was Darren’s idea to apply for The Block, but it was Deanne who has without a doubt, become one of the most talked about ‘Blockheads’ to date. The fiercely strong, what you see is what you get, creative genius, was absolutely lovely to chat with. I turned up after a morning of painting and re-rendering the front of my house (kill me now) and Deanne was quick to offer advice and generously shared her contact details for any renovation questions I might have. The Interior Stylist and winner of The Block, caught up with Lunch with Liz, for a bite to eat at Corbett & Claude at Indooroopilly Shopping Centre after sharing festive season styling tips with shoppers.
WHERE WE WENT: Corbett & Claude, bar, pizza, share. Indooroopilly Shopping Centre, Brisbane.
WHAT WE ATE: Salad: Beetroot, Carrot, Incaberries & Pinenuts $14, Pizza: Sweet Dreams – Sweet Potato, grilled Zucchini, Micro Amaranth. The Top Paddock – Ham, Salami, smoked Turkey & bbq sauce.
WHAT WE SIPPED: Cloudy with a chance of Apples – Ketel One Vodka, Pear Liquor and crushed Apples $14. Lychee & Elderflower Martini – Ketel One Vodka, Elderflower Liquor, Lychee Liquor $16.
WHAT DEANNA WORE: Dress: Camilla. Shoes: Anthropologie.
WHAT LIZ WORE: Dress: Sheike and Co.
What are your tips for creating the perfect table settings this Christmas?
“I like an Australian contemporary table and I think particularly for Queensland, it’s so lovely to bring in lots of natural elements. Go outside into your own garden and collect things like beautiful Eucalyptus branches, go to your herb garden and get some fragrant Basil, parsley and Rosemary. Have a big abundant table full of greens. Get some flowers and then candles. Couple that with a natural table runner and a neutral tablecloth. Fold your napkins up, with a piece of twine and a sprig of Rosemary. Keep it rustic and fresh … and you can smell it as well! It’s so affordable, just use lots of it, so it has an impact!”
And for decorating the Christmas tree?
“Everyone has a collection of decorations, so if you want to add to it, you can always pick a different colour theme. I like a mish-mash, real Christmas Tree! I’ve got little girls that make Christmas decorations every year that we’ve kept. I’ve got a lot of decorations collected from Dan and I’s travel all over the world. I love a collection of all those things and memories on our tree. A sentimental tree!”
Traditional vs contemporary, where do you fall?
“I’m probably more contemporary, because I think traditional is formal and specific in terms of colour pallet – red, white and green, whereas I like mine to be a little more organic.”
What do you think it was that made you such a clear crowd favorite, on The Block Glasshouse?
“Oh Glass House (cue sigh!) … I mean, well, I think people can really see that I am passionate and genuine about design and style, and that I’m doing it because I love it. I wasn’t just creating rooms because I had to. I was actually really into it! So I think people were inspired by that! I think people do like a direct woman that can stand up for themselves and speak their mind. Well, some people like that, not everybody (she says with a laugh).”
What went through your mind when you and husband (former AFL ruckman) Darren Jolly were asked back to battle it out on The Block Triple Threat?
“Well we were actually asked to go back, after halfway through filming the first one. So we knew for half of our first series, that we would be going back and doing it all again. I guess after what happened with the first auction we were really scared, because we’d done all of that hard work, spent so much time away from our daughters and then had no result. We had this moment of ‘do we really want to do this again?’ but then we thought, we’re actually really lucky to have an opportunity to have another go at it and try and turn it around. Which is what we ended up doing! So rather than closing the door between our series, we just tried to keep the momentum going.”
You smashed the 10-season benchmark, bagging a windfall of almost one million dollars, the highest in The Block’s history. What is it like to win that amount of cash and how did that money change your life once the cameras stopped rolling?
“That kind of money, well no one would ever guess! There is no way of ever knowing you could get those sorts of figures. We were just so lucky. It’s been life changing. We can do things that we couldn’t do before, like developments and it gives us freedom essentially. Darren’s a builder now and we have used it to help assist us to go down that new path.”
What do you credit your astute eye for style to?
“I don’t know! I do have a creative family, with artists and fashion designers, so there’s been glimpses of it around me my whole life. My mother’s creative, I think I’ve just inherited her instinct. Sometimes I feel like it’s something you can’t always teach, to be creative, and sometimes you don’t always know you are! Like, being on The Block was a really great confidence builder for me, because I thought that I had something, but it was good for me to do what I love and go with my instinct and nothing for me was about what anyone else thought, I literally just did what I love, it was risky and scary, so then to have judges loving it and these fans watching it and reacting to my work, was really great.”
Your best advice to first time renovators … especially for those newly married and wanting their relationship to survive ?
“Go with your strengths, leave him to his strengths and make him leave you to yours! If you’re in a marriage and you’re renovating, you have to kind of delegate who does what. I think if everyone’s trying to do it all together than you end up butting heads, that’s what Darren and I learnt. I stayed in my design world and he stayed in his building world and if each of us crossed into each others worlds that’s when we’d have problems. For renovating in general, really planning. Be realistic about getting quotes, three quotes minimum, for everything you do. So that you have a really clear picture about how much things cost. Because renovating becomes really stressful when you run out of money and you can’t achieve what you wanted to achieve and you feel let down by the whole thing.”
Your number one tip to someone wanting to restyle their home?
“Spend a lot of time researching, look at images, Pinterest, Magazines, wherever you get your inspiration. Spend a lot of time collating all of that so you have a really clear picture of how you want your restyling to look. Then look at your budget – what can you afford? If you can only afford to do one room, then pick the room you spend the most time in. That’s really going to mean the most to you – if that’s your bedroom, or living room or kitchen. Then build it up from there, trying to maintain some continuity as you go.”
What did your daughters think of their parents winning the block?
“They really were so engaged in the whole thing, I don’t know if they necessarily understood the winning of money, but they understood, wining and loosing. They couldn’t really take in just how devastated we were the first auction and then just how thrilled we were the second time, but they were crying both times, because they could see we were crying the first time and then they could see we were really happy the second time. It was actually beautiful, a real family journey, even though they couldn’t be on set with us while we were building, we had them involved in the journey everyway we could. They’d come to HQ for judging and they knew Scotty and Shelly and all the crew and contestants, so they felt really involved!”
Kara’s Question. *note to reader Kara is my adult best friend (not a child) who gets to ask each week’s celebrity one question. How did you survive?
“oh my god, you know I think what happens when you go on a show like The Block, is you get immersed in this world where you get trapped in a bubble and you just don’t think about your life outside at all. Like sometimes I’d find myself sitting for a moment and I’d think ‘oh it’s Saturday night, I wonder what everyone’s doing’ while I’m painting and haven’t slept for two days! You’re in another universe and you are so focused on what you want to achieve – that was what you needed to do, to survive!”