Shannon & Simon have fast become one of the most popular teams on the current series of The Block. The two brothers from New South Wale's north coast have been praised by the judges for their use of colour, styling and architectural elements in their rooms, and I had the opportunity to sit down and talk about design, fashion and their time on The Block.
Shannon 35, greeted me at the entrance to The Block Glasshouse and led me through their recently finished luxury apartment under the sounding fire alarm that was being tested. Their style is masculine, but not overly so. It's the soft finishes and use of colour that set the mood in their apartment. Shannon's younger brother Simon 28, showed me around the vast foyer that connects all the couples apartments, complete with a gym. Fans were already lining up outside 24hrs before the open inspections to ensure their entry, and had been there since 6am. After a quick photo op we headed to a local cafe and talked over coffee, porridge and a bacon and egg roll. We spoke casually as if we were mates catching up, their bond is one that any siblings would envy.
What initially led you both to pursue renovation & interior design?
Shannon: Well we are both in the building trade and enjoy hard work to an extent; I have always had an interest in interior design and studied it for the past two years.
Simon: I love renovation & I just like building things! I love going back home, getting in the shed and building stuff.
You have been praised for your interesting architectural elements in your rooms, what was the inspiration behind this?
Shannon: We like to play with light and spaces; we didn’t want to spend all our money on expensive furniture. We wanted to spend it on good trades and putting in a good design. You create drama in a room with bulkheads and nib walls, which is something people cant change. We have always had a keen eye for architecture and the way it changes space.
Simon: its just renovation you know, I have been in construction for eight or nine years and its something you just pick up naturally.
Who are the people that influence and inspire you the most?
Shannon: I have a favourite designer Axel Vervoordt, he’s a Dutch designer and uses a lot of natural timbers and surfaces, and he loves reusing old things. But we are both in construction and we do a lot of high-end houses, we see a lot of architectural spaces. We get a lot of inspiration from work.
Simon: I get all my inspiration from work. Pinterest is really good! It's amazing, you just flick through and think “Wow look what they did there”.
If you could choose any creative project to complete, what would it be?
Shannon: I’d love to design a big hotel lobby, with an unlimited budget (laughs); I reckon that would be fun.
Simon: I would love to design a studio apartment, one of the ones you see in the city. You know the ones that are just one big square with a glass panel all on one side, with a view of the city. No beams just a big open box. That would be really cool.
What media platforms do you use when you are in need of creative inspiration?
Shannon: Magazines, I still buy print. I love print because it’s nice to flick through a magazine. But online, blogs and Pinterest as well. I subscribe to design blogs and what not as well.
Simon: Pinterest and an interior design blogs. But I think talking to trades is a big one, I’m not en electrician so I don’t know what lights work well & even the colour temperature in lights. Its good just to speak to experts in the trades and not just look at Pinterest.
Shannon: A holiday, a big ass holiday in Bali, Matawi or the Maldives! I don’t even care, just warm water & sun!
Simon: Surfing and just having time to look through blogs and visit different places, just something a bit more relaxing.
Away from the chaos of The Block, what happens during a regular day of S&S?
Shannon: Yeah just work. Last year I was studying three nights a week. I’d work until 4.30, come home jump in the shower and go to school till about 10.30 at night. That was three nights a week and the other two nights I’d just do homework. But I loved it, I loved going to school.
Simon: I get up at 5.30 for work and have to be at there at 6.30. I have a coffee with all the boys, eating my Bircher on the way (laughs). Then, either finish work around 4.00 and go straight to the beach for a surf or I go to the garage and just build stuff.
Shannon have you finished your course now?
Shannon: I’m three quarters my way through a Diploma in Interior Design. I had to put it on hold (for the block) and defer. I deferred in March, so I will just pick up where I left off when I have time.
What are the biggest things you have learnt about each other since starting The Block?
Shannon: Simons pretty funny! He’s so entertaining, you are (looking at Simon)! Like, I thought I was funny but I look at you and I’m like “ Oh, you're stealing all the TV time with your funny stupid antics!’ (Laughing).
Simon: I didn’t know Shannon was as hard of a worker as I thought! (Laughing) He has the stigma of you know, if we are at the same job and he was supposed to be there at 7 then he’d rock up for a coffee, have surf and then go to work.
Shannon: That was back in Coffs ( Harbour) though.
Simon: He had the stigma of just cruising around, because he’s a painter. He wasn’t doing his interior design; he was just like going through the motions and would just rock up and be like “Hey guys!” But he was always up before me (on the block).
Shannon: I think I was up at quarter past 6.00 everyday, before the cameras. I don’t think the cameras ever caught me sleeping.
People are lining up (for open inspections) already! Are they screaming as you walk past?
Simon: (laughing) Yeah, they’re screaming, “ Take your shirts off!”
Individually, how would you describe your fashion style & how has it changed over the past few years?
Shannon: Farsharn! Nah, surfing style with a bit of an edge. You know, we are a bit older so we don’t wear Billabong and Quiksilver and that sort of stuff anymore. Something different, usually function over form, usually. But every now and then you do something stupid and put something weird on.
Simon: Adventurous! Ha-ha did you say fashion? Sorry, not adventurous! I just like clean cut, TCSS is me. I don’t like ‘brands’ and stuff; I wear a lot of black and white.
Shannon: TCSS, that’s you in a nutshell Simon. They do make cool stuff. I also do like The People VS; they’re not so surfy. They do a bit more street and are a bit more out there, like this floral print jumper.
Simon: We aren’t like ‘branded’ people. We’re not like “Oh, got to go get the new KSUBI jeans!” (Laughing). I wear my country hat; I literally do not care what people think about me.
What are your go to items to pack when going away for the weekend?
Shannon: Always my board, a couple boards. Long board & short board.
Simon: It goes my board, spear fishing gear and then my girlfriend (laughing). It actually goes in that order! I’m like “ Hold on babe I’ve got to see if there’s room for you”(laughing).
What do you like most about being at home and where can we find you on a Saturday morning?
Shannon: Having coffee or in the surf on a Saturday morning.
Simon: Yeah coffee and surf.
Shannon: We don’t really drink, and I don’t go out at all. So I am never hung over. So I’m always up at 6.oo even on a Saturday.
Simon: Literally, you have big night Friday and it wrecks all of Saturday, and Sunday your tired anyway!
Shannon: I can’t handle it anymore! I’m too old.
Simon: (About being at home) Having your own space. Because here you have no space, it’s just cameras in your face, even when we are finished filming.
Shannon: Having no agenda. On the weekends I love waking up and knowing I don’t have to do anything. I’m like “ I’m going to get up and sit down and take 4 hours to have a coffee”.
Via:The Second Edition