Handy renovation tips from WA’s The Block contestants Ronnie and Georgia

Ronnie and Georgia Caceres
Ronnie and Georgia Caceres

Experienced The Block combatants, Perth couple Ronnie and Georgia Caceres, are looking forward to getting back to the renovation of their 100-year-old weatherboard house in Bedford once the hubbub dies down around the reality TV series now on our screens.

The pair, who have a renovation company, are back from Melbourne and around Perth renovating for other people as well as getting to work on their own place.

“We’ll be doing an extension in the next couple of months,” says Ronnie.

“Whether it’s on camera, or off camera, we’ll be renovating for sure. It’s just what we do. We love it and I love working with my wife.”

According to Georgia the best place to start for people contemplating a home renovation is with kitchens and bathrooms, which are the most important spaces in a home.

“Look at your budget and make sure you allocate enough money to those spaces, then get your colour palette right, think about your material mix and your selections. Are they all complementary to each other?

“Then lock in some trades, get some quotes, and make sure you lock in maybe not the cheapest tradie, but the best tradie.

“At the moment, trades are in high demand, so have realistic timelines when it comes to your renovation as well.”

Georgia says that much like fashion, design trends come and go, so if you are renovating for longevity try and stay neutral.

“But if you are renovating for your own personal taste and you love a particular colour or style then absolutely go with that.

“Often when we’re renovating properties we’re doing it for resale, so we have a mindset of trying to appeal to as many people as possible.”

The Block Fans v Faves sets three novice couples against two sets of returning all-stars in a bid to renovate separate homes in the bayside Melbourne suburb of Hampton.

The Faves, include Ronnie and Georgia who came third in the 2017 Elsternwick series.

The pair have two children, Leo (9), and Charlotte (7), who have adapted to their parents’ life on the road a little better second time around, says Georgia. They keep busy with sport and lots of after-school activities.

“It was a big impact on their lives, asking someone to step in and play mum and dad, while we were away, so for me that was a bit of a mental struggle on top of everything we were already dealing with on The
, but they understood why we were doing it and they are really excited watching it on TV now,” Georgia says.

“They get really angry when contestants are a little bit mean to us; they get really fiery about that and start yelling at the TV, which is quite hilarious.

“It’s a good little life lesson we’re having, and we have to explain to them that in a group of people you’re not always going to get along with everyone. It’s a nice social exercise for them to learn,” Georgia says.

Fortunately, Covid has dovetailed into the shooting of the reality series with the show starting when masks were coming off in Melbourne. When The Block was finishing Ronnie and Georgia were on the last flight out of the city before they would have been required to go into quarantine on arrival back in Perth.

“We were very fortunate although we do have to go back in November for the auctions so let’s just see how that all pans out,” Ronnie says.

Georgia says that after going through the gruelling process of renovating a house within strict time limits on The
in 2017 it taught them to have fun with the process.

“It’s just understanding how it works and understanding the mental and physical effort that you have to put in each week, which is an advantage for us, but you blink and it’s gone.

“For us we’re going to play a competitive game, but we’re also going to have fun with it, so this time around you’re seeing a lot more of that from us.”

The pair don’t believe the frivolity of the show gets in the way of the renovation process.

“Nothing is staged on The Block, you’re renovating a single house in the real world, so there is always stuff that happens, so if you can imagine five houses together and being filmed, the drama happens naturally,” Ronnie says.

“Yes, it’s extremely stressful, but you just have to deal with it and keep your eye on the prize and be focussed on that room you are delivering on Sunday, so you try not to pay attention to all the drama.

“But it’s so hard not to, you want to know what’s going on, you want to know all the goss,” he says.

Georgia says when you are renovating a house in the real world, you don’t have the same strict guidelines.  On
The Block
, they have a ready supply of quality brand products and an amazing budget.

“Renovating on The Block vs renovating in real life are two very different scenarios, but each time we come away from The Block we’re more skilled and more aware of what’s out there on the market in terms of materials and we’re always learning new tricks of the trade.

“It’s a massive learning curve and really great advantage.”

Georgia believes she and her husband work well together as a team because they understand each other’s faults.

“Ron’s very much the hands-on builder and I’m very much the designer of the duo, so we just know our roles. We’ve been married and together for a very long time, so we know how each other works and we have a pretty strong relationship, so it’s a bit of a no-brainer for us.”

While renovating a project as a couple can be stressful, Ronnie says the best advice he can give is to keep open communication.

“Just be aware that you both are allowed to have an opinion because it’s your forever home, but it’s finding that happy medium in the middle ground. Just don’t get upset, respect each other and don’t take it personally.”

The Block Fans v Faves can be seen on Sunday at 7pm, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights at 7.30pm on Channel 9 and 9Now.