The Couple Behind the Kitchen – Dan & Carleen

The Block may be over for the year, but we’re still basking in the glory of having Dan & Carleen’s Freedom Kitchen from last year be crowned as Best Room ever on the show!

In case you missed it in the lead-up to The Block auction day, over 500 rooms across 13 seasons were considered, with the Best Room overall whittled down to a choice between a final three, including Will and Karlie’s Freedom Kitchen from 2016 (also a stunning kitchen, and runner-up).

The historical accolade was granted after much deliberation from the show’s three judges, Neale Whitaker, Darren Palmer and Shaynna Blaze, who ultimately awarded Dan and Carleen’s kitchen the title for its winning ‘bold contemporary’ design with a nod to the art deco style of the building.

We wanted to celebrate Dan & Carleen’s winning kitchen a little more (because why wouldn’t we), so read on for some further insight from their experience creating the Best Room in Block history.


FK: Congratulations again, Dan & Carleen! We’re thrilled that your amazing kitchen was judged to be the Best Room of all time. What do you think were the key elements in your kitchen that gave it the winning edge?

D&C: The seamless streamlined cupboards were key as they are not going to date, and look like a large piece of European furniture.

FK: The design process begins with inspiration – we always advise our customers to draw ideas from our kitchen galleries so that they have form a clear idea of the style they’d like in their own home. Given that your kitchen has inspired many, which features would you recommend as the best ones for people try to incorporate, regardless of the style of their home?

D&C: Functionality is important, so we’d recommend incorporating wide bench tops for entertainment, plenty of storage, and mood lighting.

FK: Your winning kitchen was praised for being contemporary whilst still having warmth and paying homage to the art deco theme of the building. How important do you think it is that the kitchen has a sense of continuity in style with the rest of the home or building?

D&C: It’s very important for the kitchen to follow the style of the rest of the house.

FK: Do you think the design of your winning kitchen was something you would have come up with outside of The Block – or did the nature of the competition push you further than what you’d normally design for the space?

D&C: To be honest the ideas for The Block kitchen came from our Subiaco apartment that we did 12 months before The Block – but on a grander scale.

FK: What would you say is the number one most important factor to consider when designing your dream kitchen – assuming it’s in your ‘forever home’?

D&C: Everything should have easy access, such as bench heights a bit higher than normal. And love a butler’s pantry for a forever home.

FK: Having been through the renovation process a few times now, do you have any tips for new players on how to be prepared for the kitchen design and installation process?

D&C: Make sure there is plenty of room for trades to work in, as this will speed up the installation process.

FK: What’s your own kitchen like – and has designing your Block kitchen made you want to re-do your own? D&C: Our own kitchen has the same colour palette, but after doing The Block l would tweak a few things. For example we have put a bi-fold window above the sink to open up to the outdoors entertainment area.

FK: You did well on auction day last year. How important do you think your kitchen was in attracting buyers – and fetching the final sale price of $2.3million?

D&C:  Auction day was so important because the whole space has great flow and fabulous for entertainment. The kitchen timber matches the cabinets in the adjacent living space. Walking down the passage way you were drawn to the massive kitchen high ceilings mood lighting it had the WOW factor.

FK: Your winning room was obviously a dream kitchen with a healthy budget, but do you have any tips for people on how to elevate the look of their kitchen without a huge budget?

D&C: A flat pack kitchen that you can install yourself with the help of your plumber and electrician is a great option.  See: Freedom Kitchens Essential range

FK: How did you find the kitchen design process with Freedom Kitchens, and is there anything valuable you learned that you’ve been able to apply to subsequent renovation projects?

D&C: The design process with Freedom Kitchens was inspiring as they have a wonderful choice of products catering for all needs.

To see more of Dan & Carleen’s renovation work, follow their Instagram account:  @danandcarleen