Is a $500,000 renovation aspirational or out of touch?


Shaynna Blaze renovates a home in her new Foxtel series Deadline Design to the tune of a whopping $500,000 but claims the high price tag is not representative of the whole series.

“Every budget is different. That’s their budget and what they want, but the next budget is $120,000 and the next is $60,000,” she insists.

“We only have two that are (that high).”

For the Blackburn home makeover, Blaze is joined by builder Mike Griggs and emerging designer Yasmine Ghoniem delivering a two storey renovation for a couple who are becoming empty nesters. But isn’t a $500,000 budget out of touch with middle Australia?

“They haven’t touched the house in 10 years,” Blaze continues. “So it’s out of touch to the everyday person if you put it in that perspective. But if you have people who want to reach towards that it becomes like a Grand Designs thing. So it’s a case of aspiring to elements within it that you can take away.

“So it’s about aspiration. You don’t have to have the whole lot. You can have a room that gets inspired by something else.”

“I’d been chatting with Foxtel for a couple of years to get my own show”

Deadline Design becomes the third ongoing show for Blaze, whose popularity on Selling Houses Australia saw The Block come knocking on her door.

“I’d been chatting with Foxtel for a couple of years to get my own show and World of Design was the start of that process to see how it would work,” she explains.

“Then we talked about the types of shows and I came up with the process of being a show about my own design studio.

“We took it further with Beyond and Foxtel and brainstormed it to where we are now.”

The show features 10 Melbourne homes -in order to fit into her busy schedule- with renovations completed before a looming deadline.

“Everybody wants a deadline. If I want something done around the house I have to give my husband a deadline, like a party or something like that. Renos can go on for a year and people need to have a reason to do it other than ‘I just want my room done,'” she says.

“We’re using their money. So they would be potential real clients for me, using their budget and working out how they’re going to live in this home for the next 10 – 20 years.

“So it’s very personal which makes it very different to Selling Houses and The Block. I’m working to their design lifestyle, their brief, just as I would with a client.

“It’s about having a show on design, which is what I do I my real world. It’s making interiors fit the person rather than the other way around.”


“People hang for the Before & After!”

Like all good property shows, it includes the all-important Before & After shots. Is it possible to do a show without them?

“Never! People hang for the Before & After!” she laughs.

“A Before & After show how far you’ve come, as well as going from drab to fab. It shows you how much things have changed. Even as you’re renovating it’s very hard to remember what it looked like before. So it’s a reminder of what it was.”

Blaze also denies that the show is a dressed-up advertorial for her own design business, saying Mike and Yasmine are not part of her company.

“No it’s not an advertorial at all. It’s showing people that if you want a Designer then why are you paying somebody, what does that engage, what do they do?” she asks.

“So it’s showing how I go about it and how I make decisions on personal emotions and design styles, to make ‘forever homes.’ We get so caught up in ‘saleable looks’ rather than focussing on our own home.

“And I can’t take on any more business!”

“Some of the comments are a little bit tired and I think ‘Really?'”

Blaze is currently filming the upcoming tenth season of Selling Houses Australia, due in 2017, while The Block is still going gangbusters for Nine. On the renovation competition, she has come in for her fair share of criticism from irate contestants.

“If you break down Darren and Neil’s comments they say just the same as me,” Blaze insists.

“But whatever. Some of the comments are a little bit tired and I think ‘Really? You can do better than that.’

“They are playing to win and if they don’t win they get really angry. And if they do win, you never hear a peep! Funny that.”

Meanwhile if Deadline Design carves out its own audience her next challenge could be finding the time for a second season. Blaze believes the show has something for high and low budgets, even if the first is wildly over the top.

“The first home is very Hollywood classic but then the next week is very minimalist, and then we have a couple who can’t make up their mind which is what a lot of people go through,” she adds.

“And we even do a one bedroom apartment!”

Deadline Design with Shaynna Blaze airs 9:30pm Wednesday October 19 on LifeStyle.


  1. thedirtydigger

    If these are typical Shaynna projects as she would do from her own business I have no doubt these are the costs …I think they are real renovations with the homeowners getting some free stuff chucked in where possible. But 500 k is a bit if a turn off for most Australian families …will be interesting to watch though. Lots of the usual fake jeopardy as Shaynna and team “race” to meet the deadlines imposed by some flimsy programme point of difference. I can’t wait for the stresses of late deliveries wrong deliveries etc etc as the clock ticks down to Armageddon outta here.

  2. I did find the high price renovations a put off from watching this show, even the “low” $60k budget is high for most people. I had originally expected this show to have redesign budgets in the style of Better Homes, The Living Room, Selling Houses, etc.. I’ve got the first episode in the IQ set to record, so I’ll see how it goes.

    • timmydownawell

      $60k does sound like a lot of money but renovating is expensive. Earlier this year I spent $18k renovating a kitchen in a *studio* apartment. The units were (from memory) $6k and the composite benchtop was $3k – it all adds up very quickly. I even did all the demo and the floor levelling myself to save on costs.

      I don’t care for Shaynna on The Block, but I enjoy SHA and will watch this show.

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