The Block boss’ bonkers $4m pad
IT'S a warehouse-sized example of the light, space and luxury those fussy judges Shaynna Blaze and Neale Whitaker bang on about every week on every series of The Block.
But this isn't the work of any rookie renovator. It's the $4 million Sydney inner west home of the The Block co-creator and executive producer Julian Cress, and it's magnificent.
Late next month, it will be the scene of Cress' most heart-rending auction.
That's when the sprawling Annadale warehouse he and wife Sarah transformed into the luxurious family home they'd live in forever, goes under the hammer.
Cress admits it's the most reluctant of sales, and it will be "heartbreaking" to bid goodbye to the 500-plus square metre monolith they lovingly renovated.
"I blame the kids," Cress laughingly told news.com.au on a break from shooting the latest series of The Block, at the notorious former Gatwick Hotel in Melbourne.
"We are gutted to be selling. But with two boys (Max, 4, and Charlie, 3) we have realised The Block is going to be keeping us in Melbourne for a while. The kids are going to start school soon, so we won't be back for 15 more years.
"We want to see a family enjoy it."
The family has split their time between Sydney and Melbourne since the hit reality renovation show abandoned the harbour city and shifted production to Melbourne, forced south by the insane Sydney property market and more reality renovation show-friendly council restrictions on production.
Ten series later, Cress and Sarah have now renovated a new family home in Melbourne's Albert Park.
With the sale of Annadale, they will farewell a big slice of The Block, and family history: the warehouse was once the sparse studio of his Cress' Archibald-winning artist father, Fred Cress.
Today, it's a four-bedroom, three-bathroom award-winning dream of light, polished concrete and luxury which ticks every box a Block judge could possibly list.
Yep, right down to the butler's pantry.
Behind the exposed brick exterior lurks a home of yawning scale - the lounges may look standard sized, but were custom-made at almost three metres long to fit the space.
The high ceilings tower above exposed steel and timber trusses.
There's a private rooftop terrace, a gourmet kitchen with crafted stone benchtops, and bathrooms groaning with marble, copper and timber details.
And to make it easy to get out of the four-car garage, a turntable ensures drive-in, drive-out ease.
In the early days of The Block, the home doubled as a studio set, with host Scott Cam using it as his base to deliver the show's Sunday night scoring verdicts.
"It's kinda heartbreaking to sell a house that we really designed and renovated as our dream home," Cress said.
"It was Dad's art studio for more than 20 years. He painted the portrait that won him the Archibald Prize in that studio in 1988."
Back then, Cress says, it was a far cry from what it is now. The studio was a "rudimentary living space ... a one-bedroom bachelor pad with a makeshift kitchen",
"It was all about a place to paint pictures," Cress says.
"When we decided to start a family we made it into a modern home."
"We did two renovations, one in 2010 and the major one 2015 to such meticulous standards the builder we used won the master builder award for 2015," Cress said.
"At the time we spared no expense. We thought it was going to be our home forever."
In the ultimate example of "working from home" in 2012 the house was used to shoot The Block All Stars.
"It was Scotty's (Scott Cam) headquarters for the series," Cress said.
"We built the set in there, and every Sunday night the contestants would come to hear their fate." It also hosted many end of series wrap parties.
The house, listed with Damien West of McGrath Edgecliff, will go under the hammer on March 24.
No word on whether comedian and TV star Dave Hughes, who coughed up $3 million for Josh and Elyse's winning house on the last series of The Block , will be among the bidders.