A chip off the old block

September 28, 2019

I confess. I’m a ‘Blockhead’, a fan of Channel 9’s renovation show The Block.

I’m not much interested in the personalities, tears and dramas that come with each episode. What draws me in is watching a decaying building being restored to its former glory. In this season, the former Oslo Hotel in St Kilda is being renovated into five luxury apartments. 


The Oslo was originally a row of five, three-storey Neo-Georgian terrace houses built around 1859. In the early 20th century it was converted into a boarding house, with an ugly facade added at some stage, and enclosed to make it look even uglier a decade or two later.

By the time Channel 9 acquired the building to turn it into a Block project it was a derelict, filthy, crumbling mess. In short, perfect for the contestants to transform. 

It’s fascinating to see the process of taking an interior space from shabby to stylish, from dilapidated to luxurious. It’s interesting to note that it takes much more than dressing up a room with a coat of new paint, expensive curtains and trendy furniture. So much of the transformation involves work that is unseen — the re-plastering, rewiring, the new floors and ceilings and the replaced plumbing.

That’s the challenge with deciding to improve something, whether it’s our home’s décor, our garden, or attitudes, behaviour or characteristics we fear are destructive or negative … it takes more than just prettying up the surface. If you don’t prepare the walls before you apply paint, it will peel off; if you don’t pull out the weeds properly they’ll grow back, and it’s the same with us. 

Profound changes need to come from deep within and God promises his divine touch if we believe in him. “When someone becomes a Christian, he becomes a brand new person inside. He is not the same anymore. A new life has begun” (2 Corinthians chapter 5, verse 17).

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